Monday 30 August 2021
Founded in 2012 by Muizenberg businessman Joshua Cox, Fix Forward is a social enterprise aimed at creating opportunities for contractors from lower-income areas. “The inspiration to start Fix Forward came after I helped Simon, a friend from Diepsloot township,” explains Josh.
“He runs a small business doing building renovations and asked me to write him a reference letter and make business cards for him. These simple tools, and the added credibility, enabled him to secure significantly more clients. I realised that similar support given to other contractors could have a real impact.”
Since then, they have trained approximately 300 contactors and assisted close to 5000 clients.
“All of Fix Forward building contractors are vetted service providers,” says Josh, “which gives them an edge in an industry where many don’t know who to trust when it comes to hiring a contractor.”
While the contractors quote on jobs independently, Fix Forward oversees a rigorous review system that holds them accountable. For this Fix Forward charges the contractors a commission on their successful bids.
Through online opportunities, contractors are able to get new leads and with Fix Forward’s development programme, they can also gain access to workshops on everything from “how to balance your books” to “how to quote accurately for a job” as well as leadership training with a business mentor.
The ability to quote accurately was paramount to Pumla Makeleni’s growth of her business as an interior designer and flooring expert. The purpose of joining Fix Forward was to increase her client base and improve her small business management skills.
“I always had a challenge with quoting, because when you are doing something that you thoroughly enjoy, you often feel guilty charging for it. Thankfully that’s changing.”
Josh’s own business growth trajectory is similar to that of the contractors. Like many of them, he is a solo founder, which is a lonely road. “The key to getting through the toughest early years has been having a strong board of trustees, people who have provided valuable insight and support.”
His goal now?
“We want to grow Fix Forward’s national footprint beyond just central Gauteng and Cape Town, and for that we will need to invest in tech development of our user interface. A boost that will help the business impact more of the many maintenance men and women in the country,” he concluded.