#FixForwardFix: How to Tackle Damp & Mould at Home

CAPE TOWN – Damp, mould and waterproofing issues can be a serious annoyance, a health hazard and a costly expense. Aside from the unsightly appearance and cold feel, damp could also be a sign of some more serious structural problems you might not be aware of.

Although it can occur at any time of the year, damp is far more likely to make an appearance during the rainy winter months. We’ve put together a few tips to help you identify, repair and prevent mould and damp in your home below.

1. Identify

Damp reveals itself by way of black speckles of mould and/or flaky, bubbling paint. Pay attention to your ceilings – if they appear discolored, or darker patches are present, you may have a serious waterproofing problem! Crumbling or damaged exterior bricks or roof tiles are also things to keep an eye out for, as most mould occurs when rainwater gets through the roof. Check around your geyser or water tank for any signs of leaks too. You can identify the early stages of damp by simply putting your hand to the wall and feeling for extreme cold or by observing water droplets condensing on the surface.

 

mould paint

A sure sign of damp is paint discoloration.

2. Repair 

After assessment, you can treat the affected surface area with a special mould remover, available from most hardware stores. You will also need to treat the cause of the damp by repairing damaged bricks and tiles on the exterior, or ceiling boards and leaks on the interior. Once the area is free of mould, it can be painted with either damp sealant or a stain blocking paint, followed by a final coat of the original paint colour.

If the damage to too large to take on yourself, our tradesmen are experts at damp and mould damage repair!

Book A Fix Forward Tradesmen

3. Prevention

Once the damage is repaired, the best weapon in the homeowner’s arsenal is prevention! Follow these simple steps to avoid mould from reappearing:

  • Check your roof regularly for storm or wind damage. Those South Easterly winds can really kick up a fuss!
  • Keep your gutters clear of leaves and debris and check for any damages regularly. Save yourself the time by installing gutter guards.
  • Check your geyser or water tank for leaks and seal any that you might find.
  • Prevent condensation in the home by keeping an even temperature around the house and install ventilators in restrooms and the kitchen. Also, just simply allow the rooms to “breathe” with a steady flow of fresh air.
  • Invest in a humidifier to remove excess moisture.

 

Herbert Makemba repairing damp damage.

Meet Charnice, Our Customer Service Ace

CAPE TOWN – At Fix Forward, we try to ensure all of our office roles are suited best to the employee’s personality, and boy does Charnice have all the personality! Coming from a background of working with NGO’s, coupled with a passion for social work, Charnice has been the perfect fit from day one.

FF: Tell us how you got involved with Fix Forward?

Charnice: During my studies at the Raymond Ackerman Academy at UCT, a facilitator recommended that I take on an internship at Fix Forward. I was truly inspired and motivated by the magic that happens here, so when I was offered a permanent position a year later, I was really happy to accept!

FF: Tell us about your role within the team?

Charnice: The technical term is client services, but it’s so much more. I am here to expose our tradesman to new opportunities, guide them on how to deal with customers and most importantly, I am here hoping to make a difference in people’s lives.

 

Charnice outside Fix Forward HQ

FF: Could you tell us about a normal day at the office?

Charnice: We’ve recently moved to newer offices which now allows for our workshops and mentor sessions to happen under one hub – which is great for a free flow of information. On a normal day, I spend a lot of time assisting and attending to incoming quotes and working through them with the relevant tradesmen. When a job or quote is finished, I’ll also get together with the tradesman to have a thorough debrief to ensure that any questions, comments or concerns are addressed.

FF: How do you ensure customer satisfaction?

Charnice: Dealing with a client that is not entirely satisfied can sometimes be a challenge, but it is also really rewarding once everything has been resolved. If a client sends through a complaint, the first thing I do is call the tradesman concerned and get his side of the story so that I am as informed as I can be when I respond to the client. When speaking with the client, I’m sure to listen carefully to their issue in order to understand how we can fix it. I remind the client of our stringent selection process and ask that they give the tradesman the chance to correct the mistake, which most clients do. I then inform the tradesman and make sure that he understands where he went wrong so that we avoid repeating mistakes. Once the mistake has been rectified, I do another follow up and ask the client for any feedback they might have so that we can improve our service.

FF: What is the best part about your job?

Charnice: I get to catch up with the guys face to face. It’s really awesome seeing their confidence grow day to day, and then also getting to witness some fantastic achievements!

Book a Fix Forward Tradesmen

Fix Forward Client Feedback: Andrew Black

CAPE TOWN – Recent client Andrew Black worked with Fix Forward painter Herbert Makamba on his Cape Town CBD and was full of compliments on a job well done. We asked Andrew a few questions about his experience with us…

Where did you hear about Fix Forward? 

I met Josh at a Start Up Grind seminar at the Waterfront about 18 months ago. I thought he was a great guy, and just loved the idea and overarching principles of the business. I immediately made a note to use Fix Forward as soon as the moment presented itself.

How did you find the booking process? 

The booking process was effortless – and combined with the follow-ups from the Fix Forward team – I couldn’t really fault it in any way.

Could you describe the work you had done?

It was a small job in a one bedroom CBD apartment – we repainted the ceiling; filled and repainted some holes in the walls, mounted brackets on the walls for a TV; ran the conduits; extended some electrical cabling; and hung a couple huge pictures on the wall.

 

fix forward andrew black

The completed living room.

How did Herbert and his team perform?

Herbert and his team performed excellently. Given the nature of my work, I wasn’t able to oversee much of the work while it was happening…so I entrusted Herbert and his guys to manage everything, which they did very well. We all learned some lessons about the value of crystal clear communication, which was important I feel. While there were two or three minor issues with quality and timing, Herbert was quick to rectify the errors and went out of his way to do so. He’s an absolute gentleman with a soft-spoken, professional demeanor and I’ll certainly be calling him up again for future work.

PS – you can read more about Herbert’s feedback in our post ‘Herbert Makamba’s Painting Hits New Heights‘.

Would you recommend Fix Forward to family and friends?

I would absolutely recommend FF to anyone in future – trust is one of the biggest concerns in doing this kind of work, especially when you can’t keep a consistently close eye on progress, and I felt at ease the entire time Herbert was working on the job. While there may have been minor issues, Herbert went beyond the call of duty to make things right…and somehow, from the very first handshake, I knew he was that type of man. The process was simple, the price was very reasonable, the quality was solid, the service was exceptional – what more do you need?

Book a Fix Forward Painter

 

fix forward hanging art

Crisp finishing touches on a job well done.

Herbert Makamba’s Painting Hits New Heights

CAPE TOWN – One of Fix Forward’s most highly-rated tradesmen, painter Herbert Makamba recently wrapped up work for yet another satisfied client in the Cape Town CBD. We sat down with him recently to find out what’s been happening since we last spoke and to chat about his thriving painting business.

With over 17 years of industry experience, Herbert is our go-to guy for jobs that require a delicate touch. Fix Forward recently received a quote request to have a ceiling skimmed and repainted, from a client residing in an up market apartment in Cape Town CBD, and there was only one man for the job.

 

Herbert Makamba

When we arrived to meet Herbert on-site he greeted us with pride and welcomed us into his “workspace”. At first glance the ceiling looked pristine, with immaculate lines and a smooth finish. Herbert was still busy with some touch ups along one of the walls, where he had gone the extra mile by re-mounting the TV stand and re-laying the cables when he was done. We pride ourselves on the fact that our tradesmen always go out of their way to ensure client satisfaction!

Before answering a few of our questions, Herbert walked us through the job process and identified the areas he considers when preparing for a new job:

“First I need to carry out an inspection and some research before deciding on the paint selection with the client. After that comes the preparation where we sand, fill any holes and skim uneven surfaces. When the surface is prepared, it’ll need a few coats of primer with plenty of drying time. Then it’s case of applying a few coats of paint and touching up any missed spots.

Book a Fix Forward Painter

Fix Forward: Was there anything that went wrong on this job?

Herbert: “There are always some small bumps on any job of course; this time around I should have been surer about the paint I selected for the touch ups. One of the walls was just a slight bit darker (which I only noticed after application). I let the client know of my mistake but it turns out that he wasn’t aware of it either, the light in the apartment is quite deceiving or maybe it was part of the interior design – I will never stop learning new things.”

Fix Forward: What do you think sets you apart from other painters?

Herbert: “I keep my work spaces tidy, clean and very organised – I think the clients can appreciate that I handle their homes and businesses with extreme caution, and I am pretty good at communicating too. The faster you attend to queries the more profitable your business!

 

A proud Herbert finishes up on site.

Fix Forward: What’s the largest contract you got through Fix Forward?

Herbert: “It was awhile back, on Fish Hoek Main Road. The job required an extra 8 guys (apart from the 3 I permanently employ) and it took 5 weeks to complete, but now I know I can do any job – no matter the challenge.”

A big thank you to Herbert Makamba for agreeing to chat to us and for the excellent work he and his team are doing!

Book a Fix Forward Painter

#FixForwardFix: Saving Energy This Winter

CAPE TOWN – Conserving energy does not only positively affect your pocket, it benefits the entire planet too. As we head into the winter months, a lot of energy will be used to heat homes and other buildings. Reduce your carbon footprint and save money in the long-run by gradually supplementing your household with these 10 #FixForwardFix energy saving solutions:

1) Manage the energy your geyser consumes – By installing a solar geyser you could save up to 40% on your electricity bill each month. If you don’t have the means for solar right now, you could install a geyser timer to control when your geyser is on and for how long. Quick fixes are installing an insulation blanket to retain the heat, and reducing the temperature on your thermostat to 55c’ or less.

2) Insulate your home properly – You could save up to 20% on your consumption by insulating your house from the roof down. Consider attic or basement insulation to reduce gust winds, duct insulation for any unconditioned spaces, and installing cathedral ceiling insulation allows ceilings to control room temperature and distribute heat evenly around the house.

 

Help ease the pressure on the national grid.

3) Install energy efficient windows or upgrade existing windows: Although windows provide light, great views and ventilation, sometimes they don’t aid in helping you save energy. Adding storm and window coverings can reduce heat loss but, if you have the budget or you’re about to start construction, we recommend investing in proper design and installation of energy saving double-paned windows. It pays for itself in the long-run!

4) Install water saving tap heads – They’re designed to use up to 40% less hot water. For more water saving tips, check out our #FixForwardFix on Saving Water.

5) Switch to gas stoves and heaters – While natural gas is a lot cheaper, it still impacts the environment. Consider investing in a home solar solution to reduce your carbon footprint by 70%. Or head for an island and just go off the grid completely!

Book a Fix Forward Electrician

6) Replace old bulbs with LED – Or set the mood and make use of candles.

7) Switch off all wall appliances – When not in use, unplug your cell and other chargers. And only do full loads of washing!

8) Fix all leaking taps – Chat to us about plumbing.

 

Modern lightbulbs have less impact and offer better performance.

9) Use motion sensor lights – Chat to one of our electricians about lighting solutions.

10) Be sure to look out for the International Energy Saving label when purchasing appliances.

Book a Fix Forward Plumber

Carpenter Masonele’s Fix Forward Inspired Revival

CAPE TOWN – As we continue to grow and improve, we regularly check in with both past clients and current tradesmen to get their feedback on their experiences working with Fix Forward. This time, it was the turn of Fix Forward carpenter Masonela [Surname], who sat down with us to chat about his life, career and experience with the Fix Forward.

FF: Tell us about yourself. Where do you come from and how long have you been a carpenter? 

I was born in the Eastern Cape but I moved to Khayelitsha 7 years ago. I have been in the carpentry industry for six years.

FF. How long have you been with Fix Forward and how do you feel the system works for you?

I’ve been with Fix Forward since July last year, so almost 1 year now. It works very well for me – the training provided really helped me to maintain a professional image for my business. I have learnt how to quote accordingly, cover all my costs and work out my profit percentages with a lot more ease thanks to the Elearning workshops and apps provided by Fix Forward.

I have also met some really great people along the way, and the clients I have obtained are really loyal… so I guess they must really love my work!

 

Masonele’s handiwork.

FF: Give us a quick run down on what it took to get to where you are now? 

In 2004 after I matriculated, I got a job at a cabinet fitment center and I stayed with the company for one year until I had saved enough money to get some formal training as a carpenter.

I got a great carpentry job in Paarden Island thereafter, and I was with that company for three years. I really excelled there because my boss at the time believed in me a lot, which inspired me to start my own venture. It was really slow because I think my designs did not suit the market I was exposed to – potential clients living in informal settlements could not afford my ideas. A friend told me about Fix Forward and I am so glad he did! Look at me now… I have clients from all over Cape Town keeping me busy. Some are even from Camps Bay!

FF: What are your passions other than carpentry?

I really love design & technical drawing, which I learnt from great mentors over the years. When I get the time I like to design ‘new inventions’. I call them that because it’s not your everyday stuff. One day I will bring these inventions to life, but for now they are top secret!

FF: What is your strongest skillset in your work? What do you feel you bring to Fix Forward?

I like a challenge, so designing extraordinary kitchens is my strongest skill set.

FF: Do you have any exciting jobs coming up? 

Yes, I have three exciting projects that will be completed by the end of the year. All three are very unique kitchen jobs – we’re all very excited to see the results.

 

One of Masonele’s past projects.

FF: Has your business grown since joining Fix Forward? How many people do you employ?

I have had exceptional growth and relationships since I registered with Fix Forward. It has given me new hope to reach my goals. They are large goals, but they don’t seem so far fetched anymore.

I currently employ two carpenters and two apprentices.

FF: Do you have any company goals / where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I would really like to upgrade my current workshop to be large enough to fit a truck and store more materials and bigger machinery. But ultimately I see myself with a large workforce with varying different skills and departments. I am also going to be a great CEO that looks after my employees – everyone will know and like me!

FF: Do you mentor or offer apprentice opportunities to your community or would this be something you would like to do?

I’ve taken in about 15 guys over the last year but unfortunately only 2 of them really stood out and have now joined my team as carpenters. However, it is also my goal to inspire more children that are better with their hands to get into carpentry- I hope to start an initiative similar to Fix Forward someday. Perhaps I can also positively impact the lives of many struggling and disadvantaged South Africans?

Do you know an exceptional tradesmens? Refer Them!

Tradesmen Required – Refer Someone Today

As we continue to expand here at Fix Forward, we need to grow our team of tradesmen to deal with an increase in demand. And that’s where you fit in! We’re looking for skilled tradesmen from low-income areas so that we can empower them to be successful entrepreneurs through the use of our platform. If you have recently worked with someone who matches that description, and felt that their service was of a very high standard, please read on to find out more about referring them to Fix Forward.

How do Tradesmen benefit from joining Fix Forward?

▪ Most tradesmen who join Fix Forward experience a marked increase in turnover
▪ Access to online Entrepreneur Development modules
▪ Access to Trade and Business Workshops
▪ Increased Exposure
▪ They run their own business with Expert Mentoring and Support

“Before joining Fix Forward my business was not getting enough work. After joining this organisation, my average turnover has almost doubled. I am being taught how to run my business professionally. Seven months ago, I did not have any clear goals about my life let alone my business, but now everything is crystal clear. Fix Forward was the missing link to success: they didn’t promise us stars but they are giving us more than we could ever have expected!” – Herbert Makamba

 

Herbert Makamba

How do I refer a tradesman?

▪ Click on Refer a Tradesmen
▪ Fill in the short form
▪ For more information on the process, Click Here

Who do we need?

▪ Tilers
▪ Pavers
▪ Builders

Refer A Tradesman

 

Join our team of industry experts!

#FixForwardFix – Weatherproofing Your Home

As the rainy season approaches, a little forward planning can go a long way to preventing any water damage in your home. In the latest of our #FixForwardFix series, we chatted to a Fix Forward carpenter of four years, Linda Madube-Dube, and asked him how he would recommend getting your home ‘water proof’.

Linda Madube-Dube was running a small carpentry business before joining Fix Forward, which he saw as an opportunity to uplift his business by learning key management skills. Linda began learning the ins and outs of dealing with clients; managing the financial aspects of the business and many other things which he knew could only make his business better. Since joining us at Fix Forward, Linda says “things have been better – I have more clients and more work. I feel like I am actually getting the full potential out of the work I am putting in by having Fix Forward’s guidance”.

Book a Fix Forward Carpenter 

As the expert in carpentry, Linda knows all too well the importance of weather proofing your home. “When it comes to the rainy season, many people experience the issue of swollen doors and windows. My advice is to first and foremost pick the right wood from the very beginning when building a house – a semi-solid wood for interior doors and a solid wood for exterior doors.” Linda suggests meranti wood for exterior doors, as this is both extremely durable and cost effective. If you’re building a house, your Fix Forward carpenter will be able to advise you as to the best type of wood for your particular build. Ensuring you use the right wood in the building process will save you a lot of hassle in the wet and rainy seasons.

 

Linda Madube-Dube

Linda Madube-Dube

Whether you were able to select your exterior wood or not, chances are that some (or all) of your doors or windows need a coat of varnish. Speak to the expert at your local paint store to ensure you choose the appropriate one. Most will last for a few rainy seasons, so being thorough with the application will mean less maintenance down the line. If your job is a little bigger than your DIY time allows, a Fix Forward painter will make quick work of all your varnish or painting requirements.

Here are a few more ‘Quick Tips’ from Linda for weather proofing your home this rainy season:

  • Clear gutters, drains and driveways to ensure water has clear passage.
  • Install a rainwater capture system if you can. Chat to us about this.
  • Varnish exterior wood (doors, doorframes and windows).
  • Inspect the roof to ensure that there are no obvious leaks. Look for loose tiles or other signs of damage or disruption.

Book a Fix Forward Painter/Plumber

 

Fix Forward Client Profile – Erika Espach

In the latest installment of our Client Profile series, this month we spoke to Erika Espach – a Project Manager at an Engineering Firm in Cape Town who recently repainted her property with the help of Fix Forward tradesman Herbert Makamba.

Erika had originally tried another painting service but was unfortunately left unimpressed by their unprofessional attitude, so she decided to keep looking. Having found Fix Forward through a friend’s Facebook recommendation, Erika was intrigued as to how Fix Forward differs from other service providers. Her friend Johaan, who wrote the original Facebook post, has worked on numerous outreach programmes and therefore seemed like the perfect person to ask. After receiving assurances that our project is a worthwhile one, Erika decided to take the plunge and get in touch.

When we received Erika’s request for a painter, we sent one of our best, Herbert Makamba, to go and quote. Describing Herbert as efficient, punctual and polite, Erika was satisfied that he was the right man for the job, however she just wanted some clarity on our fee structure and how the system worked for tradesmen like Herbert.

 

Herbert Makamba hard at work.

We informed Erika that Fix Forward takes 15% of the total job value, added on as a mark-up on the tradesman’s price, so the tradesmen don’t lose out. This fee helps us cover our administration costs as well as some of the costs of providing our tradesmen with entrepreneur training. It also allows us to provide our unique tradesmen guarantee – something that gives clients like Erika real peace of mind.

Satisfied that the tradesmen entrepreneurs are not losing out in anyway – in fact, they stand only to benefit by joining our platform. Erika proceeded with Herbert for her painting requirements. Suffice to say, she was left a very satisfied customer indeed!

Book a Fix Forward Painter

 

#FixForwardFix: Saving Water at Home [Updated]

As we all know, Cape Town is experiencing one of the worst water shortages in decades. Although we’ve had a little rain around of late, it is nowhere near enough and dam levels remain alarmingly low.

In light of the water shortages and the rapidly approaching end of year holidays, we thought we’d compile another #FixForwardFix with some handy tips and tricks to help you reduce your household water consumption.

1. Conduct a ‘water audit’ at home. How much is your average consumption, based on your utility bill? Make a note of your water use for a week and look at how you could cut back on certain things. Generally, between 40 and 60% of water use at home is considered non-essential (filling pools, washing cars etc).

2. Water your garden with grey water from your bath or sink. And make sure to only do it in the early morning or evening when there is less chance of evaporation due to heat. Drought resistant plants are a good idea too! Contact us to chat about installing your home grey water system.

 

Cape Town dam levels are at record lows.

3. Capture your rain water! While it might seem ironic to say this in a time of drought, but if everyone captures their rain when it does fall, the impact of it not falling will be considerably less.

4. Wage wars on leaks! An estimated 37% of water is lost from leaks in urban supply systems. Those leaks cost South Africa about R7.2 billion in 2016 alone. Report municipal leaks and make sure all your plumbing at home is tight. Call a Fix Forward plumber if yours requires expert attention.

Book a Fix Forward Plumber

5. Don’t pour toxic substances down drains! This means paints, oils, solvents and the like. The filtration needed to get rid of these harmful chemicals places further strain on the fresh water supply.

6. Use ‘economy mode‘ on all appliances that require water.

7. Install water saving devices on your shower toilets and taps. A common example is fitting aerators on your taps, dual flush toilet systems and low-flow shower heads.

8. If you rent your house out on AirBnb or a similar service, make sure to let your guests know about the city’s water shortages. Many international tourists visiting over the next few months have no idea of the situation, so make sure you communicate that in your correspondence and in your welcome pack. Also be sure to hide your bath plugs!

 

tap earator

Tap with aerator fitted.

8. Cover your swimming pool to prevent evaporation.

9. Try a few ‘classic’ bathroom fixes – take short showers instead of baths, don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth and exercise restraint when deciding when to flush your toilet. Last but not least, put a brick in the toilet cistern so that it requires less water to fill.

10. Rinse fruit, vegetables and crockery in a bowl or sink with a plug – not under running water.

Have any to add? Need a plumber? Please Contact Us.