CAPE TOWN – While 2017 was an incredible year for Fix Forward and our tradesmen, we’re looking ever forward and preparing for an even bigger 2018. With several key milestones on the horizon, the Fix Forward team are working hard to ensure that they continue to provide increasing opportunities for tradesmen to work, learn and grow.

We recently sat down with Fix Forward founder, Joshua Cox, to discuss the key focus areas for the year ahead. Josh identified four milestone projects which are first outlined and then discussed in further detail below:

1. To better understand Fix Forward’s impact using the Poverty Stoplight measurement tool. Fix Forward are conducting a baseline assessment with 25 tradesmen at the beginning and end of the year to measure the impact we’ve made on their businesses and their lives.

2. Launch our Web Application that will make it much easier for client to log a job, receive quotes and invoices and track the progress.

3. On-boarding 50 new tradesmen funded by Nedbank.

4. Preparing to launch Gauteng operations towards the end of the year.

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joshua cox fix forward

Founder and CEO, Joshua Cox.

Poverty Stoplight

Is this a Fix Forward initiative?

It’s not actually. It was developed by Fundacion Paraguaya in Paraguay and is now being used by non-profits and governments around the world. We created an alternate version of it together with the people from the Poverty Stoplight office in SA. This additional version is designed for people who are not living in dire poverty but there is still a big need for improvements of their quality of life.

Could you explain what the baseline assessment comprises of?

The original version consists of 50 indicators relating to health, infrastructure, services, income and a number of other categories. People do a self-assessment as to whether their situation matches the scenario for Red (dire poverty) Orange (poor) and Green (out of poverty). You can check out more at

Is this purely for research purposes? What will come of the results?

We are using it as a tool to understand the real impact that our work is having on the tradesmen as well as to see what are some other areas where we can provide support. There is a baseline assessment done now and then a follow up assessment in a year from now.

Web Application

When is this scheduled to go live?

We plan to launch in early February. The web app will be mobile-friendly too.

What are the key functionalities? 

1. Log a Job; 2. Receive Quotes; 3. Track Progress and 4. Receive Invoices. 5. Provide Feedback. We have also developed an algorithm that matches clients to the most suitable tradesman for the job.


Can you elaborate on this partnership? How did it come about?

We approached them in 2016 and have been engaging with them ever since. Towards the end of 2017 they generously offered to fund the training of 50 new tradesmen in Cape Town and 50 tradesmen up in Gauteng, as part of their enterprise development spend. We are extremely grateful for this partnership. It’s a very exciting time!

How will the 50 tradesmen be selected?

We are using our usual vetting process, checking that the tradesmen are reliable, do quality work and are excited and committed to improving their business.

Gauteng Office

When are you launching?

We are aiming to launch in Gauteng towards the end of 2018, somewhere in the north of Johannesburg like Fourways or Bryanston.

Why Gauteng?

There is a huge social need and a great business opportunity. Thousands of tradesmen need more business and the skills to become successful entrepreneurs. There is also a great deal of property development under way which presents us with a compelling commercial opportunity.

How will you ensure quality and consistency through the expansion process?

We are very focused on using the first 6-9 months of 2018 to develop strong business systems that can easily be duplicated to get consistency across Cape Town and Gauteng. Our app will also play a big role in ensuring that we deliver a great customer experience on each job. Lastly, we will be launching the Gauteng branch with a further 50 Nedbank-funded tradesmen who have all met our strict quality control standards.

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Fix Forward is set to launch in Gauteng in Q4 of 2018.

CAPE TOWN – Following on from Fix Forward’s E-Learning Program: Part 1, in this final post of the mini-series we meet Anack Amini and John Hopley, two tradesmen who have recently completed their e-learning modules and workshops, and chat to them about their experience of the learning material and Fix Forward in general.

Profile #1: Anack Amini (Builder)

FF: How long have you been with Fix Forward?

I’ve been with Fix Forward for one year now. It started out as just me and an apprentice in a broken down bakkie. Now I employ six people and have two company vehicles!

FF: How have the e-learning materials benefitted you?

The courses really helped me to handle my projects and day-to-day business better. I’ve also improved my planning and the way I deal with clients now.

FF: What has been the most valuable thing you learnt?

Learning about project management; the break down and guidelines provided were very useful and still are today!

FF: Has Fix Forward made a difference when it comes to gaining new and returning clients?

Yes! Since joining I have had a lot more of my quotes approved. For example, I recently landed a very large tender in Constantia so I am very happy about my journey here.


Fix Forward success story, Anack Amini

Profile #2: John Hopley (Plumber)

John, an experienced plumber from Athlone, joined us a year ago after being referred from a friend.

FF: What did you find most valuable about the e-learning material?

I learnt how to deal with people and how to have the right approach when things don’t go my way. Furthermore, learning about negotiation has helped me get a lot more of my quotes accepted.

FF: What was the most challenging part of the course for you?

I took a bit of time learning about technology and how to use computers, but now I can confidently say things are running smoothly and you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks!

FF: What are your future goals?

I’d like to give back to my community. There’s a lot of uneducated guys from the streets that have skill and talent but no opportunity. I would really like to develop them.

I currently employ one person full time and it is my purpose to grow that. I know where these guys have been because I was there too and I am so lucky to be given another chance, so I’d like to do the same for them.


John outside Fix Forward HQ

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CAPE TOWN – In part one of two in a series focusing on Fix Forward’s entrepreneur development programme, we chat to our Operations Coordinator Armien Harris. A vital part of our business, Armien is responsible for recruiting tradesmen, providing on-site support to clients for larger construction projects, mentoring the tradesmen and overseeing the delivering of our e-Learning programme and coaching. In this post we focus on the latter and find out how Armien uses his extensive experience to pass on best practice values in the construction industry.

FF: Tell us a little about Fix Forward’s educational component?

Fix Forward is a registered enterprise development beneficiary that runs programs to develop grassroots entrepreneurs from low-income areas. We offer mentoring, e-Learning, personal coaching, and workshop sessions all designed to develop our tradesmen’s skill in managing and growing a business.

Our partner tradesmen are all in the construction and renovations industry. When these entrepreneurs succeed, the benefits spread widely throughout their communities as they hire and train more local workers.


Armien Harris

FF: What is the duration of the electronic courses?

The e-learning courses can take anything from a week to a month to complete, depending on the tradesman’s commitment and schedule. The workshops – which run for about 10 months – are based on the curriculum in the e-learning courses so we encourage tradesmen to develop a study plan that best suits their schedule as early as possible. Although the courses and workshops are compulsory, there are a number of different course completion deadlines to allow for flexibility.

FF: What incentives do tradesmen have to complete the course? 

The courses and workshops are required in order for tradesmen to remain on our platform. We strongly believe in education and self-improvement and have developed our educational program on these principles. We are also duty bound to ensure our clients get the service and quality that we guarantee, so constant learning keeps all of our trade professionals at the top of their game!

The courses cover areas such as:

  • Managing Finances
  • Effective Marketing
  • Professional Quoting
  • Project Management
  • Tax and Compliance

Check out Fix Forward’s E-Learning Program Part 2  where we chat to two tradesmen about their experience of the e-learning program.

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CAPE TOWN – As Fix Forward continues to grow and expand, the relationships we have with our tradesmen become ever more important. We pride ourselves on delivering a quality service, as well as encouraging entrepreneurship, and we could not do that without our network of highly skilled tradesmen who have embarked on this journey with us. There from the very beginning, Kingstone Katuruza was our very first tradesman back in 2010 and has been with us ever since. We caught up with him to chat about his time with Fix Forward so far…

1) Tell us about yourself and how the journey at Fix Forward started?

Originally from Zimbabwe, I am 42 and proud to call myself a business owner that specializes in the painting industry. I found my passion in 1994 back when I was working for construction companies in my homeland. Although I grew in the field, I felt that I was being taken advantage of and not getting my fair rate. I came alone to South Africa seeking better opportunities for my family and of course to learn about how things worked over here.

I met Josh through one of the elders at my church that I had done a painting job for. At the time, I was standing at traffic lights with my roller and flyers ready, trying to meet new clients. Josh took me onboard and I started with the Fix Forward training courses shortly after. The team at Fix Forward acted as my mentors for more than a year – I gained so much confidence and skills in that time.  Although I was always confident in my ability as a painter, the mentoring really developed my skills in other departments such as managing my admin, quoting and how to keep your clients happy in order to get referrals in return.

2) As Fix Forward’s longest serving tradesmen, how has your life changed since you joined the team?

My business officially kicked off in 2012 and at the time I was only getting clients in Somerset West. After getting the exposure through the Fix Forward website, I started getting jobs all over Cape Town! I was quite reliant on Fix Forward in the beginning with helping out but now I have the confidence and ability to gain new clients on my own.

Personally, Fix Forward has enabled me to bring my family over and now my daughters attend school here while my wife has also found a job. I couldn’t be happier!


Fix Forward’s longest serving tradesmen, Kingstone Katuruza

3) What has been the most challenging thing for you on this journey? 

Finding the bridge between me and the client was very tough, especially if you’re new to a country. Fix Forward really assisted with filling that gap and understanding cultural differences.

Now that I’ve built up that aspect of my professional service, I’d just like to get to a point where I am more recognized in the industry for taking on bigger contracts.  This will allow me to employ more people full-time and reach new heights with my business.

4) When you meet new Tradesmen who have just joined Fix Forward, what advice do you give? 

I try and live by three simple maxims, which I am always happy to pass on. 1) Keep It honest; 2) Have your agreements in place; and 3) Knowledge is power!

5) Where did you see yourself before joining Fix Forward? 

I wanted to be a mechanic to be honest, but I saw opportunities with painting and it turns out I really enjoyed it too.

6) What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in a few years time?

I’d like to start an empire! I want to own a few more family businesses after I reach optimal success with my painting business and Fix Forward. My wife is in the sewing and embroidery industry and we’re already investing in machinery.

But my biggest future plan is to return to my country and start initiatives to help my people such as widows and orphans – I’ll get there one day, I know it.

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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!

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

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Join our team of industry experts!

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”.

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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.

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As the Fix Forward brand continues to go from strength to strength, we’re getting a lot of enquiries from professional tradesmen interested in joining us. Our application assessment is quite the process, so we thought that we’d break it down by answering a few of our most frequently asked questions. If you’ve ever asked “How do I join Fix Forward?”, or know someone who has, then read on…

1. What happens when a referral is received? What is the process thereafter?

We contact the tradesman and ask them to submit three references of clients whom they’ve done work for previously

2. Can you outline the vetting / selection procedure?

i) We call a minimum of three references to check on the quality of work and the reliability of the tradesman.

ii) If their references are good, we invite the tradesman to complete an application form so that we can assess their suitability.

iii) Once we’ve gone over their application form, we call candidates for a one-on-one interview where we find out more about their business and how they deal with clients. At this stage, we also find out whether they work with a regular trusted team or if they use casual roadside labour.


Fix Forward Founder, Joshua Cox.

3. How would someone apply themselves? Or can you only be referred?

We do get tradesmen contacting us directly and based on the phone call we are quickly able to assess whether it’s worth conducting reference checks and undergoing screening. Most of the time, the proactive guys who contact directly prove to be reliable and a good fit for Fix Forward.

Refer A Tradesmen

4. What tradesmen are in short supply and what do you no longer need more of?

We currently need more tilers, pavers and builders.

5. Once they have been accepted, how do you refer them to work? Is it a first come, first serve basis or how does allocation take place?

We give the bulk of the work, and the biggest jobs, to the best rated tradesmen. This provides an incentive for them to excel and ensures our customers consistently get only the best service. Our allocation process does however ensure that a tradesman with a slightly lower rating (minimum of 7.5 of 10 to stay on the programme) does still get business.



Fix Forward teams guarantee quality.

6. What are the benefits of joining Fix Forward for local entrepreneurs? 

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, most tradesmen double their revenue within 6 months of joining Fix Forward so the financial benefit is significant.

Aside from that, we offer amazing opportunities for our tradesmen to upskill themselves and their businesses. All our tradesmen get access to our e-learning platform with 11 entrepreneur development modules that cover everything from marketing and quoting to financial management and customer relations. They also get to participate in monthly group workshops for six months, where they share learnings and experiences with each other on the themes of their training.

Do you know someone who has what it takes? Are their references and skills up to scratch? Contact Us to chat about becoming part of our team!

Contact Us To Refer A Quality Tradesmen Now

Cape Town – We are proud to announce that Fix Forward began working with Pam Golding Property Management Services in November of last year.  Appointed to take care of the plumbing needs of the 190+ properties that Pam Golding manages in the Western Cape, we are thrilled to work with such a prestigious client and look forward to a fruitful relationship for both us and our entrepreneurs.

In a little over a few months, one of Fix Forward’s plumbers has already completed around ten contracts for them thus far – doing everything from fixing leaks to replacing geysers. We chatted to Jonathon about the experience of working with one of South Africa’s top property firms…

Thank you for chatting to us Jonathon! How has the experience of working with the Pam Golding Group been so far?

Well firstly I must say I was a little overawed by the sheer scale of their portfolio and was worried I wouldn’t know which property was which! After I had familiarised myself with the various sites, I felt a lot more confident and ready to tackle the job.

I have really enjoyed the experience of working with one client over multiple sites. Since we began near the start of the holidays, I’ve worked on a wide variety of maintenance jobs and that’s what I prefer! The increased client interaction is also something I really enjoy.


Pam Golding Fix Forward Cape Town

A property in the Pam Golding portfolio.

What do you think the partnership with Pam Golding means for Fix Forward?

The partnership with Pam Golding represents a massive boost for Fix Forward. The partnership is going to be helpful to both companies, as Fix Forward will get great exposure and experience while the client will get quality service and the best out of their properties. It is really significant that a company as reputable and established as Pam Golding has chosen to work with Fix Forward as it displays a lot of trust in our abilities, and other companies and individuals will take note of that.

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Fix Forward Plumbing

A Fix Forward kitchen installation.

How does the partnership with Pam Golding impact you and your business?

Let me just say that Fix Forward has already had a massive impact on my business, my life and my family. Having come through the Fix Forward training programme has benefitted me greatly as it provides a reference of trust similar to word of mouth. Working with Pam Golding has taught him a lot – especially with quoting and how to handle respective client call outs.

It’s not just Jonathon who is enjoying working with Pam Golding; Mike Howard of Pam Golding Property Management Services had this to say about Jonathon:

“He is proving so far to be great, and the people like his demeanour.”

Keep up the good work Jonathon and thank you to Pam Golding for the opportunity! Contact Us to learn more about our services.

A room filled with skilled tradesmen from the townships around Cape Town. We handpick the very best of these artisans: individuals with initiative, integrity and drive, who communicate well, and already have experience in dealing with customers but are not able to market themselves sufficiently to secure ongoing work.