To Top

Meet Lance Bertrand of Turn Key Design & Construction in New York City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lance Bertrand.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lance. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my company Turn Key in November 2013 after graduating from SUNY Stony Brook in May with a degree in Business Management focusing on Accounting. It was my “5th Year” and I was scrambling to get interviews as I prepped for graduation. I never got the job I wanted in corporate America. I felt defeated. How could I be in the same position for 5 years? I thought going to college would ensure me a “Good Job”. I had been a kitchen designer my entire college career and I was looking for the next step of my journey…

Young and naive, at age 22. I asked myself, what if I used my design skills as a service. I figured 4 appointments a month or one a week could make me the same amount of money I was making standing on the sales floor 40 hours a week. No brainer, Right? I had no idea how hard it was to attract and retain clients. In 2014 I completed one design and installation job and it almost drove me up the wall. I used my uncle, cousin, and some guy I met to do the job. 2 words, NEVER AGAIN!

Shortly after that nightmare of a first job, I decided to put Turn Key on hold. I was always interested in Real Estate and randomly met a man named Ban earlier that year who would encourage me to go get my real estate license. Desperate to get out of my previous employment as a kitchen designer, I eagerly took 2 weeks off of work to take my 75 hour crash course to get my real estate license. BOOM! I am a “Licensed Real Estate Salesperson” which is a fancy way of saying real estate agent. For the next 2 years, I would work seven days a week as I immersed myself in the buzzing Brooklyn real estate market. I would be in the Bed-Stuy office Monday-Saturday from 10:00am-6:00pm and networking at bars, restaurants, meeting clients and attending events from 6:00pm-11:00pm. On Sunday it was open house day and I would run open houses for luxury million dollar townhouses until the end of 2015. Early 2016, I decided to leave the real estate industry and take care of unfinished business, Turn Key Design & Construction, Inc the company I founded late 2013.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Running a business is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I became a full-time CEO at 25. My background is in design/sales, not construction so there was a bit of a learning curve. My youth and lack of experience led clients to believe I could not get the job done. As a young black contractor I would often walk into luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan and be greeted as a delivery man although I would be dressed up with a briefcase in hand. Another hurdle was the lack of capital. Capital is a big reason most businesses fail within their first 5 years of existence. I make the joke that Sallie Mae gave me a 30K loan for school and did not do a credit check.

As I enter year 4 of being a full time entrepreneur, I have learned so much and the journey has been a roller coaster ride I am grateful for. When I started, I was weighed down by the day to day operations dividing my time between office staff and field staff. It was not productive. I delegated some of my responsibilities and empowered key people on my staff. One of the greatest decisions I have ever made.

As we look to grow and expand our business in 2020. We want to get into doing contract work for the city of New York. That too has been a challenge even being certified as an MWBE (Minority Business Enterprise) which is a certification given to minority owned. You must apply and provide tons of paperwork. There are always loops and hoops to go through to get in the door with anything worth pursuing. These lessons have made me stronger and equipped me with the tools I need to grow this company to the powerhouse entity I know we can be.

We are in this for the long haul not looking for the quick buck. Turn-Key will be around 100 years from now!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Turn-Key Design & Construction – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We have over $1,500,000 million in sales to date. We are 100% black owned. I am most proud of being able to give people I care about and opportunity to be successful and be apart of something big. To be a role model for my family and community. Give the inner city youth a blue-print of another path that does not involve sports or entertainment.

My parents and family for being there for me and raising me. Without them, I would not be here today.

Karima joined me at the start of year two. Her brain works differently than mine. Her development is vital to the growth of the company with her analytical brain and love for spreadsheets and numbers.

Jose has worked on 40-50 million dollar high-end construction projects. He manages our field operations as well as the men in the field. My right-hand man.

Ban my former real estate mentor showed me how to provide a high-quality service in any business. Had me selling millions of dollars of high-end real estate as a 23-year-old.

Patrik, took a chance on me by awarding me my first big contract with a major corporation.

Jason, for being Turn Key’s first official hire.

To my bros, home girls and day ones, people who supported me from the start with giving me their ear. Anywho listened to me talk about my visions, goals and dreams. To people in my circle who inspire and motivate me to grind harder.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Expansion! Grow and scale the Turn Key business and brand. I am openly and actively looking to get into other business ventures. I have a couple of ideas in mind.


  • Projects pricing can range from 25K-75K on average
  • Looking to do projects $150,000 +

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Steven Eloiseau – photographer team pic
Amanda Jones – photographer (personal pic)
Lance Bertrand – model (personal)
Jose Pineda , Karima Bertrand, Lance Bertrand (models for team pic)

Suggest a story: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in