CAPE TOWN – As we continue to grow and improve, we regularly check in with both past clients and current contractors to get their feedback on their experiences working with Fix Forward. This time, it was the turn of Fix Forward carpenter Masonele, who sat down with us to chat about his life, business 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 workshops 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!
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.
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?