Growth goals: Finding a solid financial partner

First West Capital wants to work with construction businesses looking to go to the next level.

You wouldn’t step onto a job site with someone you can’t trust. 

First West Capital believes the same reasoning applies to financing your construction business. They explained that their team has in-depth knowledge of how the industry operates and are committed to the long-term success of their clients.  

Steve Chen, vice president and head of First West Capital, explained that trust is a requirement  for the job site and it’s no different for finance. 

“You can’t document or put in the legal contracts every nook and cranny, every possibility that comes up, so you have to trust the people that you’re working with will do the right thing right at the end of the day,” said Chen. 

A partner that will be there

First West Capital understands the intricacies of construction work and has the risk appetite to finance it. Rather than just being a lender, they want to seek out firms that are looking for someone to help them grow. 

“Those that have gone through different financings, or needed financing to finance a larger project or a bigger order, understand that they need a financial partner who will be there throughout all their cycles and changes and that’s what I mean,” said Chen, “Risk appetite means that the money will be there when you need it.”

He explained that this means the First West Capital team will help their partners figure out cash flows and forecasts so they are on solid financial footing. They want to remove uncertainty. 

“For the right companies, we are the partner that will make sure that you have that piece figured out so that you don’t need to worry or second guess whether or not that lender will be there,” said Chen. “I think that’s a big thing because, for folks in the sector, they’re good at running their business, they’re good at whatever their expertise is. They know they’re going to make money. It’s just they need that financing help to make money because the dollars are big and the projects get larger and they need somebody there with them.”

Geoff Devereux, a director at First West Capital, recalled that this was the exact reason one of their former clients sought them out. A project had gone sideways, leaving them short of working capital. 

“We were able to understand that it was really a one-off kind of Black Swan type of event,” he said. “They have really strong management and we were able to come in to provide some additional financing to right-size their working capital on the back of that and fast forward and they are back in great shape. That’s an example of us putting our money where our mouth is.”

Devereux noted that traditionally in lending there is less appetite for this due to cautionary tales or the niche understanding required for the ebbs and flows of a project-based business.  But First West Capital can demonstrate the patience required of a lender or for managers who are doing all the right things.

Finding the right fit

Whether you are looking to buy your first building, finance a project or need extra equipment, First West Capital’s team wants to dig deep into how major financial decisions can help you thrive. The boutique firm of only seven people are specialists that are zeroing in those looking for growth.  

“We are here for your ongoing success,” said Chen. “We are looking beyond just the credit metrics to what will benefit the business most in the long term.”

If, in their opinion, the project doesn’t build value, if the margins are too thin, if project risk is high, if overruns seem likely, if the bids are too tight, they will express those views which could help a company think more deeply about a project. 

“But sometimes it really makes sense,” said Chen. “It’s a fantastic project, you’re expanding in the right areas. You’ve done all your homework and we want to be there for you to support you financially with that.”

He stressed that above all, they are looking for partners with a growth mindset and who are looking for a financial partner. 

“We want people who are looking for advice and are willing to spend the time and money investing in systems and processes that will elevate your business,” said Chen.

Green flags 

It also comes down to the right people. 

“A key thing for us is character,” said Devereux. “The character of the people we’re working with is paramount, the grit, resilience and hard-working nature of our clients.”

Other “green flags” that First West Capital looks for are a diversity of projects (size, type, location, customer), owners who delegate effectively, companies with strong systems, processes, and procedures, and long-term business planning.

Carmel Tang, operations advisor at First West Capital, noted that once the firm finds a company that’s a good fit, the partnership that’s formed is unique. 

 “What makes us really special and really unique is how much we work with our clients,” she said. “Working with First West Capital means you have a partner who will be responsive and understanding. I am Just so proud of the level of service and communication that we give to our clients. It really is a working relationship to try to make them as successful and I think that’s what really truly sets us apart.”

Connect with the team to see if First West Capital might be a good fit to achieve your growth goals. Here’s how to get in touch:

Steve Chen, CFA,VP and Head of First West Capital

c: 604 862 7564 e: schen@firstwestcapital.ca

610 – 1040 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 4H1

Geoff Devereux, Director, First West Capital

t: 604-335-1239  c 604-996-4581 e:gdevereux@firstwestcapital.ca

610 – 1040 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 4H1


Get smarter on the 🇨🇦 construction industry in just 5 minutes

Sign up for the free weekly newsletter for news, trends and insights in the Canadian construction industry.

Construction job board

Discover senior-level construction jobs at leading companies in Canada.

Find a jobPost a job



Get the 5-minute, weekly newsletter about the Canadian construction industry.

© SiteNews 2024. All rights reserved. SiteNews is an independently-operated news website. Views expressed are that of the editor's and are based on publicly available information unless otherwise noted through sponsored content.