Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects – Part 3

CAPE TOWN – In the third and final part of our ‘Fix Froward Takes on Large Projects’ series, we caught up with client Bjorn Rudner to chat about how his project is progressing, and his experience using Fix Forward’s Project Management services. If you’re not familiar with the blog series, please do check out Part 1 and Part 2 to get up to speed!

Fix Forward (FF) We last chatted to you a while ago when you renovated your bathroom using Fix Forward as a sort of ‘trial run’. What made you decide to stay with FF for the rest of the project?

The bathroom renovations went well. Fanie’s crew were friendly and courteous and the project was completed on budget and on time. As I was already pretty keen on going with Fanie for the full renovation project, all my expectations were met in the ‘pilot’ and thus it made sense to move forward with Fanie and the backing of Fix Forward.

After further contractual discussions we commenced the main project in early May with Fanie Manjete as our main contractor under the mentorship of Armien of Fix Forward.

Read More about Fanie Manjete in ‘Fanie Manjete’s Rondebosch Revival

FF: Could you describe the work being carried out, or the cope of the project?

The project is fairly extensive in that there is a substantial amount of excavation, with underpinning of the main house required. Our residence is on the slopes of Devils Peak and over 80 cubic meters of earth and rock needed excavating and removal in order to build a double garage and cellar alongside the existing house, with a concrete slab laid above this.

Above the cellar a flatlet is to be constructed with en-suite bathroom, while the flat entrance will lead onto the deck created by the double garage roof. Some changes are also being created to the existing façade of the house, while an existing upstairs deck is to be renovated, waterproofed and retiled. All in all, it’s quite a major project!

 

Site Foreman Richard keeps a close eye on progress

FF: What, if any, obstacles have you overcome? What role did Fanie or FF play in overcoming them?

A big part of the challenge for Fanie is the confined space of the front area to be used as the construction base where not only the excavated rubble would need to be stored before removal, but also a small area for tools, materials and for mixing concrete. This has been overcome through regular removals of the rubble as well as good planning and neat workmanship.

Another concern was that of security as the demolition of existing carport and walls would expose us to security risk, but Fanie’s crew did a good job in constructing temporary security walls behind the construction as well as barrier fences on the perimeter.

FF: Would you still be likely to recommend Fix Forward to family and friends?

I would! Currently, I am happy with the back-up which Fix Forward provides to the project and am confident that this will prove of value right until the final sign-off.

FF: What, if any, changes would you make to the Fix Forward project management service?

I was under the impression that no charges would be forthcoming through the involvement of Fix Forward as a result of Fix Forward being an NGO. But after certain quotes had been submitted, there were additions as the mark-up of Fix Forward had not been included – thus the quote was escalated. I feel that this should be more transparent up-front.

 

Fanie’s team were neat and methodical

FF: Anything further you’d like to add or note?

Fanie is a wonderful person with great humility and a tremendous attitude towards his clients. His crew are all hand-picked by him and they carry the same attitude. There have been great challenges with rain and weather during the excavation and underpinning process, but they have all performed extremely well through this time.

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Fix Forward Client Profile: Sue Kuyper

CAPE TOWN – After the successful launch of our web application and a busy week at Fix Forward HQ, we took some time to catch up with recent client Sue Kuyper to chat about her newly completed renovation and how she found the Fix Forward experience.

FF: Can you tell us about the project and why you went with Fix Forward to get the job done?

Sue Kuyper (SK): I am planning to upgrade my home in stages so that I could more easily manage the project, and so that I could find a builder I could trust without committing to use them for the whole project.

I approached various small and medium sized builders for a quote with many of them never getting back to me. Some came to view the house but never sent a quote. When I contacted Fix Forward, they got back to me straight away and I knew that they were a professional outfit I could trust.

FF: How did you hear about Fix Forward?

SK: I heard Josh being interviewed on Cape Talk and emailed them that very same day.

FF: How did you find the booking process and overall communication?

SK: The response was brilliant! Within hours of sending the initial email to Fix Forward, they replied and referred me to tradesman Shepherd Mtyatya. Shortly afterwards, Shepherd contacted me and arranged to come and view the project that same week. Within the week I had received Shepherd’s quote. As it had been so challenging to get any other quotes – and Shepherd seemed like a good person to work with – I decided to go with Fix Forward.

 

Fix Forward tradesman Shepherd Mtyatya

FF: What work did Shepherd do in the first phase of your project?

SK: Brickwork and plastering to restore and revitalise my aged passageway and bathroom.

FF: How did Shepherd and his team perform? Were there any challenges?

SK: Building is always a messy process but Shepherd and his team worked hard to keep the mess to a minimum and did an excellent job all round. There were no major challenges – at least none that Shepherd and his team could not easily overcome.

Read more about Shepherd and his team in the blog ‘Shepherd Mtyatya & the Fix Forward Model’


FF: Would you recommend Fix Forward to family and friends?

SK: Absolutely! The Fix Forward concept is brilliant as it quickly and easily connects the public to high quality, professional tradesmen. I would recommend Fix Forward for any building-related service.

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Fix Forward To Launch New Web App

CAPE TOWN – Fix Forward is delighted to announce the imminent launch of our new Web Application booking system. A critical part of our 2018 Roadmap, the application’s launch promises to take Fix Forward to the next level in terms of efficiency and customer service. Fix Forward Founder, Joshua Cox, sat down with us recently to run through the app in more detail.

FF: When will the app be launched? 

Joshua Cox (JC): We are launching the web application on the 5th of April. We’re really excited for the launch as this will make the process much simpler for clients to interact with us, improving their overall experience of using Fix Forward.

FF: What are the main features of the application? 

JC: There are several new features which we feel will really streamline the process and add great value to our customers. I’ll chat about each section in a bit more detail.

a) Booking Procedure

One of the key changes to the booking procedure is that clients will be able to give an indication of their budget for the project as well as the sub-trade. This means that for larger projects we will automatically be able to allocate builders with the right level of expertise to the job eg. full scale contractors to big building jobs and smaller teams for smaller projects. The sub-trade (eg. kitchen cupboards) also helps us to easily select the right specialist for the specific project.

b) Reviews

Clients will easily be able to review their tradesman on the platform  after the job is done.

 

New app? #JobDone! 

c) Payment

Payments will still happen by EFT but clients will now automatically receive invoices for payments due and will easily be able to view what payments have been made to date – particularly useful for bigger jobs where there are three or four payments during the course of the project.

d) Speed & Ease of Use

All of these features, plus a few others will increase the speed at which we can turn enquiries around. It will also give clients better sight of the project details and history without having to locate past emails from us.

FF: What stores the app will be available in? How would a customer use it?

JC: The app is in fact a web app, not a mobile app. Which means that people will still access it via our website fixforward.com. This is helpful for people working on desktop devices, rather than mobile and it also means that people don’t need to download another app that takes us space on their phone. If people wish to they can save the website to their home screen and access it much like they would a mobile app.

FF: How you think the app will benefit Fix Forward customers and tradesmen moving forward?

At this stage the app is most useful for Fix Forward customers in that we can more easily track progress, from the moment an enquiry comes through. This means customers will be getting an even more efficient service from us. We are launching a version for the tradesmen in the next few months, which will enable tradesmen to prepare quotes directly from their phone / tablet, which will significantly speed up the quoting turnaround time.

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Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects – Part 2

CAPE TOWN – In the second part of our series ‘Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects (Check out Part 1 here), this week we chat to recent client Bjorn Rudner, who was one of the first participants in our new service offering. We caught up with Bjorn to chat about his experience during the process.

How did you find out about Fix Forward?

It was actually just a simple Google search! I was impressed to find that Fix Forward takes accountability for their tradesmen’s work; it gave me comfort in making the decision without a recommendation. It’s really great to discover an organisation which has heart but also takes responsibility. In addition, I got many quotes and Fix Forward offered competitive prices which I found very reasonable.

Who was assigned to the job and how has the experience been so far?

Fanie Manjete, a  tradesman with 15 years experience, was assigned to the project. He has a great team and I was impressed with how he stuck to the schedule brilliantly, which also made the job run pretty smoothly. I wanted to start off with a smaller project before I committed to the whole renovation of my home, so I let him do the bathroom project first which was not a small job either don’t get me wrong; we had to bash out walls, move plumbing etc. so I’m happy to report I was thoroughly impressed with it all!

 

The completed bathroom – the first room tackled in the large project

Would you recommend FF to family & friends?

Most definitely! It’s tough to find organisations, or contractors for that matter, whom offer any sort of assurance. You hear horror stories so I just have to mention again that knowing FF takes responsibility for the people they represent and put forward is a huge game changer in the industry.

Was Fanie and his team water wise during the project?

Yes, absolutely! No using of the water hose to wash down driveways etc. And when the geyser needed emptying, it was poured straight into my garden.

Is there anything about the process you would change?

In all honesty, I really don’t have anything to pass on in this regard. Fanie and his team went above and beyond what was required. I’ll be using Fix Forward for the rest of my home renovations , so perhaps we can do a follow up later on this year!

Edit: Check out the follow up blog Fix Forward Takes on Large Projects – Part 3′ where we caught up with Bjorn to discuss how things went since we last spoke.

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Grace & Saskia Join The Fix Forward Team

CAPE TOWN – As we prepare for a big year, we are proud to present the two newest members of the Fix Forward team –  Grace de Jager (Operations Coordinator) and Saskia Schroder (Client Services). Having both recently graduated, Grace and Saskia impressed us with their passionate enthusiasm for fostering South African entrepreneurship.

We sat down with Grace and Saskia to chat about their new roles and aspirations.

1. How did you come to work at Fix Forward? What is your background?

Grace (G): Born and raised in Cape Town, I graduated from UCT as a social worker at the end of 2017. I have always had a heart for empowering others and seeing people reach their full potential. I believe that relationship is one of the keys to enabling others and seeing people flourish, as people journey together in life. After knowing Josh and hearing about the vision of Fix Forward, I was excited to get on board!

Saskia (S): I finished studying a BSc in Genetics and Biochemistry at the end of 2017 and wanted to start working straight away. I really wanted to learn administration skills and develop myself in a business role so when I received the application manifesto for Fix Forward from a friend, I was quick to apply.

2. What is your role in the team and what traits will help you succeed?

G: Formally I am the Operations Coordinator. My role is to give input to the operational side of Fix Forward, from streamlining systems to daily tasks. In addition to this and being a part-time professional photographer and videographer, I give insight into the marketing and creative component to Fix Forward. I will also be overseeing the recruitment and training processes. I think what will help me succeed is the fact that I have a diverse set of skills, and am therefore able to operate in a few capacities which is something I really enjoy doing.

S: I am the Client Services Officer. I love administration and am an organized perfectionist. Nothing satisfies me more than to do a job to the best of my ability and ensure that everyone is happy with the final product.

3. Had you heard of Fix Forward before working there?

G: Yes, I have known Josh for a few years from our church community and so had heard what Fix Forward were doing.

S: No, but that’s not surprising as my focus was pretty much always on my studies.

4. Has anyone you know used Fix Forward or been part of the program?

G: I know a few people who have used our services, but do not know anyone who has been in the programme.

S: Not yet!

 

Saskia (L) and Grace (R) outside Fix Forward HQ

5. Where do you see the company going in 2018?

G: I see big things for Fix Forward this year! Knowing that we are investing more of our finances and manpower to see the business grow, I believe that we have the potential expand to other parts of South Africa and begin to become a household name in the industry.

S: I see the company really growing with the launch of the new app and with the goal of launching in Johannesburg at the end of the year. There is so much room for this company to grow and there is such a need for this kind of work in South Africa. Everyone we speak to buys into the vision of Fix Forward.

6. If you had to describe Fix Forward in under 10 words, how would you?

G: Fix Forward makes any job a joy while empowering others.

S: A company with vision to see South African businesses thrive.

7. What inspires you most about South Africa / Cape Town?

G: I love the diversity of South Africa. I am inspired by this diversity and the vision to see the divide between different South Africans broken.

S: The hope people have for the future and the potential this country has for greatness.

8. Fun fact about yourself?

G: I’m addicted to coffee. Real coffee! Not the fake stuff.

S: My dream is to manage a wine farm.

Thanks for chatting to us Grace and Saskia – all the best for a busy and successful year ahead!

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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?

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fix forward hanging art

Crisp finishing touches on a job well done.

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!

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Fix Forward Client Profile – Keith Juries

This month we met up with Fix Forward client, Keith Juries, to discuss his recent home renovation project and why he chose to use a Fix Forward tradesman. Keith needed some paving done and, like any good home improver, he did his fair share of research of Cape Town pavers before he was confident that he had made the right choice.

Thanks for your time Keith. Tell us, why Fix Forward?

KR: “It’s really difficult to find reputable builders and workers that you can trust. I came across the business while on the internet searching for “pavers in Cape Town” and the helpful Fix Forward consultant put me in touch with Danny Kleinsmith, the paver who completed the project. It was a very simple process and, thanks to all of the quality checks that Fix Forward tradesmen have to go through to qualify, I was immediately confident in Danny and his ability to get the job done right.”

How did the project go?

KR: “The paving project took a week to complete and I really felt at ease throughout – the work was completed to a high standard and Danny and his team were really professional. This is in stark contrast to my previous building experiences with other suppliers, where I was constantly worried and chose to be present the entire time.”

 

Paving Cape Town

A job well done by Danny and team.

Would you recommend Fix Forward?

KR: “Absolutely! Firstly, the peace of mind when using a service like Fix Forward is worth it alone. You are able to view all the tradesmen profiles beforehand and are confident in the knowledge that each tradesmen was thoroughly vetted in the Fix Forward application process.

Secondly, there are the incredible benefits of the socio-economic empowerment which the business model encourages. It’s great model that allows those who are capable the opportunity to do good work.”

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Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 2

In the follow up to our original post ‘Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 1‘, we caught up with recent client Richard Thomas to discuss his experience using Fix Forward for the recent renovation on his family home in Claremont, Cape Town.

After deciding to give Fix Forward’s team of specialist contractors a try, Richard Thomas undertook to Project Manage the renovation himself in order to reduce costs and learn as much from the process as possible. And boy, did he learn! Below are some key findings.

Richard’s Key Learnings  – Post Construction / Renovation

  • The more you plan and prepare initially, the smoother the project will go.
  • Managing a project yourself requires significant time and effort, but it does help to ensure the end result is as aligned with your expectations as possible.
  • Do not be shy to communicate your ideas to your contractors – they are there to provide a service and should always try to realise your vision, whenever practically possible.

 

fix forward painting

Fix Forward painters hard at work.

Richard was incredibly happy with the standard of work delivered by Fix Forward, who had contractors working on bricklaying, joinery, tiling, plumbing and carpentry.

Handling the building was Fix Forward favourite Shepherd Mtyatya and his team. Shepherd was always available for a chat, whether in person or on the phone, and was meticulous in checking on the quality of work each day. All of the construction was completed to an incredibly high standard, and the team were more than happy to make alterations where requested. Check out a recent review of another of Shepherd’s projects here.

For all Richard’s carpentry needs, Yandisa Mpila took charge and ensured that the joinery was completed on time and according to specification. Richard was particularly concerned about a beautiful oak counter that he restored, so Yandisa and his team took great care in installing the counter in a way that both preserved and enhanced the wood.

Fix Forward plumber Marcus Sansvenga took care of all the tiling and plumbing throughout the house and received rave reviews from Richard. Hailed for being patient and professional, Marcus and his team took accountability for any inconsistencies and worked hand-in-hand with Richard to deliver a quality end product.

I would highly recommend Fix Forward to all family and friends looking to renovate or construct. They are professional and capable and made the experience of my own renovation as seamless as possible.” – Richard Thomas

Renovating your house? Starting a new build? Get A Quote!

 

Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 1

In the first of a new series of posts where we will be profiling our clients and their experiences with Fix Forward, this week we chat to recent client Richard Thomas and get his insight into the crucial decisions that need to be made when beginning a construction or renovation project. In Part 2 we check back in with Richard to find out how the project went and what he learnt from the experience.

Richard Thomas and his wife bought their house three years ago with the idea of adding value and then selling at the right time. This was inspired by his family constantly renovating whilst he was growing up, and from this Richard learnt to “buy the worst house in the best area”. The house backs on to the fields of Villagers in Claremont; and is therefore the perfect family home, central to everything.

 

fix forward richard thomas

Richard had big plans for his family home.

Initially Richard planned on adding another story to the house to take advantage of the mountain views, but decided against this for budgeting reasons. The main aim was to maximise the space of the property using what already existed and bringing out the best of what was already there. After conducting all his research and fine tuning his ideas, it was time to choose some contractors.

As a trustee of Fix Forward, Richard wanted to get some hands-on experience and see if the tradesmen live up to their reputations. With that in mind, his family renovation provided the perfect opportunity to put Fix Forward to the test! Check out ‘Fix Forward Client Profile – Richard Thomas Pt 2‘ to see how we did.

Richard’s Key Learnings  – Pre Construction/Renovation

  • Conduct market research into property prices in the area. What alterations are your neighbours making and how do they impact on market value?
  • Clearly define your ideas with detailed notes and reference images to show your contractor. This will help align expectations with reality.
  • Agree upon a detailed project timeline and budget with your contractor before beginning to ensure accountability and efficiency.

Have a project that requires our expert attention? Get A Quote!