Even though Gene’s design-build firm was profitable, something was bothering him. Sitting down to talk about his tax structure and auditing needs, our questions began to stretch out from his finances to his marketing. What was on Gene’s mind was the fact that he was losing projects to general contractors who could submit lower estimates, but who didn’t provide anything in the way of complete design-build services.
We switched gears, and soon the conversation revolved around how Gene’s company could revisit their marketing to communicate the true breadth and depth of its services. At one point, he sat back and asked how we knew so much about the industry. To us, it was simple: we’d been supporting construction clients for decades by then, and we’d always gone to great lengths to know the industry inside and out.
Before the meeting was over, Gene knew that his accounting and tax planning would be in good hands with us, and that he’d continue to receive additional insight and advising on other aspects that would affect his company’s success. Fifteen years later, we’re happy to see his firm’s signage posted outside more and more residential and commercial construction sites throughout the area.
Constructive Thinking, Planning, and Building
Every segment of the construction industry faces unique challenges and outcomes in the areas of taxation, auditing and compliance. Whether working with large or small construction and contracting firms, we dig into our clients’ focus areas to address their questions and concerns related to every facet of their finances.
We’re inspired by the volume of moving parts and types of projects our clients handle on a daily basis, from the actual building components to the people and equipment, not to mention the precision and details involved in their forecasting and plans.
In serving our construction clients, we address everything from financing, loan negotiation, lending, sourcing materials, cost of goods, labor, insurance, employee benefits, estate planning and more.
When you deconstruct a built environment, you arrive back at the very kernel of an idea that launched the project at its onset. Overlaying this model against our own, we find a number of similarities, from the way ideas spark projects, to how our people come together to accomplish goals. Today, our construction clients have operations throughout the Western U.S., with gross revenues that range from $1 million to more than $500 million. In supporting their efforts to build for the benefit of others, we help set their finances in order so they can stabilize, expand, and prepare for the next phase of their professional cycle.
“Every day is different with contracting and construction clients, not just the types of projects they’re doing, but the circumstances for which they seek our support. The variety keeps things interesting, and creates the types of challenges we like to manage and solve." Tony Pizzuti, Shareholder
Working through tangible and intangible challenges
Over time, we’ve supported a number of long-standing clients as they’ve grown to new levels of operational sophistication. When they started, their business may have felt solid as long as they were able to construct, and had a small stable of subcontractors on which they could rely. As they’ve grown—and continue to grow—they’ve discovered they need greater precision on the numbers end of their work, from forecasting, to how best to utilize their financing.
The economic climate is such that every penny matters more today than it did in recent years. Some clients have had to streamline their operations and consolidate, while others have retooled in a way that allows them to zero in with greater precision on the types of projects they’ll take on.
Competition has also grown, as more and more firms are taking projects they may have turned down just a few years ago. How this translates for us is that it’s become more critical that we provide the right answers in quicker time for matters related not only to taxation and auditing, but also to strategic planning.
Our construction clients operate from a team environment, as do we. Part of supporting their needs involves taking a proactive role in helping them form new partnerships that will facilitate their success, making sure they have the appropriate insurance, bonding, and legal representation that will help keep their businesses protected.
“Our focus is on creating something for our clients, just as their focus is on creating structures and built environments for others. We love the minutia of it all, just as much as we love how a well-formed plan looks when it’s been followed, developed and delivered.” Graham Petersen, Shareholder
Maintaining industry excellence
Working with construction clients creates ample opportunities for our firm to specialize and expand our expertise, especially when you consider the industry’s many dynamics. A key to our success in the construction industry comes from our willingness to push our professional understanding of how firms operate, and how their concerns change on a regular basis.
Internally, we seek collaboration across industry groups in order to stay ahead of changes, from those coming from the IRS, to the requirements and tax incentives of LEED certified building. Toward this end, Geffen Mesher is one of the only firms in the Pacific Northwest to boast a Shareholder who also holds LEED certification, a strategic decision that is just one example of our desire to truly understand the intricacies of today’s construction industry. This level of inquiry and expertise also supports our ability to build more connections for clients, from interfacing with architects to networking with developers.
“The very nature of building requires creativity, strategy, teamwork, and an adherence to form and function. When the project is over, you have a long-lived asset that will improve the quality of life for everyone who encounters the new environment.” Rick Hawkins, Shareholder
Building for tomorrow
For many of our construction clients, their business trajectory leads them toward mergers, acquisitions, and, after a successful run, succession planning. Many clients who initially bring us in for auditing retain us for decades to come, eventually engaging us in various levels of estate and family tax planning. In these cases, we rely on the years of experience we’ve shared with them as we help them transition through a life that is constantly being built.