Monday, 12 August 2013

As a woman, you buy a house looking at the general flow, the state of the kitchen and how luxurious the bathroom is or can be made. Garage???? Who cares about the garage, we don't think like the man of the house at the stage of purchasing a property re storage for the bikes, boats, scooters etc. When we bought this house, the garage looked huge enough to me, plenty space for all of those things. Well, once you've driven over the kids prized scooters once or twice, or scraped the buggy against the car or had to haul the buggy above your head just to get out past the car parked in the garage - this women was screaming for more space and a DOUBLE GARAGE - much to my husbands delight!!!
I always thought I'd renovate the kitchen before the ruddy garage but I've proven myself wrong - who would have thought I'd see value in a new garage before a new kitchen? Admittedly, I sort of thought it wouldn't cost as much as a new kitchen but turns out, if you're after on..........(this next bit has been written by my other half so it gets a bit more technical - skip the bits that dont' appeal :-)
Double Garage:
Our home needed a new double garage simple as that. We had finally tired of the old single garage just  big enough to squeeze the "mom mobeel" in and not much else.  The only positive for the old garage was that it formed an integral part of the house and had internal access. So our master plan was to simply build the new double garage in front of the old one thus maintaining the internal access and allowing us to turn the old garage into a much needed store room as opposed to storage around the vehicle. This is a picture of the driveway leading up into the single garage, the sides had to be extended and cleared away to make room for the new construction

Construction Type:
Our garage would match the style of the house. The construction materials where therefore decided for us. A reinforced concrete floor slab with masonry walls and gable ended trussed roof to match the house.  Often people opt for something not in keeping with the house style or for financial reasons choose one of the cheap brands of kitset type garages. It’s important to keep in mind that your home is your single biggest investment and it is worth doing a decent job of your improvements.  A solid well constructed garage is a valuable asset and for this reason I would opt for a solid timber frame or masonry construction installed by a reputable builder. Remember, you can do some research on our reputable registered builders right here on Logajob

What’s it going to cost?
What can you expect to pay for a new double garage? The generally accepted average size for a double garage is 6m x 6m with a 2.4m wall height. The cost of this will vary depending on the construction type you choose and could range from N$15,000 to N$45,000. At the lower end of this price range will be your kitset type garage such as those provided by Versatile Homes. At the upper end would be the significantly more robust and appealing timber framed or masonry option.
How can I save money?
When we renovate we all want to minimise our expenditure. A garage offers plenty of opportunity to do this. Being more utilitarian in nature there are parts of the project that the not too experienced DIY enthusiast can tackle. It always makes sense to use a qualified builder for the more tricky tasks and in fact these days the majority of building work must be undertaken by a licensed building practioner (LBP) - we have a list of tried and tested builders (with feedback and ratings) right here on  Logajob.  Below are a few jobs you could do that would still save you money:
  • Clear the site and haul the waste to the dump.
  • Once the slab is cast waterproof the sides especially the below ground portions this also applies to the walls if they are earth retaining.
  • Backfill around the slab and against the walls if they are retaining. This also doubles as a great workout.
  • Painting, everyone enjoys a little painting just be sure to get the right paint for the job.
  • If you are lining your garage with jib or plywood then this is something you could take your time with after all the main work has been completed.
If cashflow is still a problem see if you builder would not mind just doing the floor slab and then standing off until you have money for the walls and roof. The floor slab is often the messiest part of the construction and once its complete you will at least have a tidy parking space for your vehicles.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Exactly HOW does Logajob work?

How does Logajob work?

Logajob is an online platform that brings together the tradesperson and the homeowner to a more transparent place. More and more services are going on-line and acquiring quotes has, in the past, been a rather laborious process. You need to decide which tradesperson you’re going to ring. Great if you’ve already had a word of mouth referral but not so great if you’re new in town and don’t know where to start. The Yellow pages can be a daunting place – a list of numbers and ads but no real references. I always have this quandary – do I go for the biggest ad as they must be doing okay because they can spend more on advertising or, are they going to cost this into my quote and am I going to end up paying for their advertising in the long run? So, where to from here?

I also find the whole process of meeting tradespeople on site a bit tedious, yes I know they have to meet with you and measure up the site etc. but as a lot of their business will be awarded due to ‘personality’, they like to have friendly chat and  once I’ve had a good long chit chat I find time is running away with me. I simply don’t have time to meet with 4 people. In addition, they say they’ll come at 10.00am, I rearrange my very important coffee date for 11.00am and by 10.45am still no sign of said Plumber, electrician, builder or landscaper!  When I finally have time to call the tradesperson (they seldom call you) back to reschedule, it’s usually 11.03pm and somehow I don’t think they’d welcome a call at this hour. So…………….

Logajob is the answer to MOST of these issues, not all of them but most of them. At 11.05pm when I’m about to load the dishwasher and realise it’s not working, then and there I can log a job on Logajob because sure as nuts I’ll forget the following day and weeks and weeks of manual dish washing is enough to make anyone cranky. So, I log a job at any time of the day – the ease of 24/7 online.  The tradespeople then contact ME! No ringing around, they ring YOU to find out what they can do for YOU (sounds too good to be true doesn’t it)  The tradesperson also finds this quite efficient because they can contact you first thing in the morning while they’re doing office admin, before they’re out on the tools – they also don’t like to receive calls while they’re on the tools. Too often, if they can’t answer then and there, they miss the work. They can email you or contact you at a mutually convenient time.

Admittedly Logajob doesn’t take the site visit process out of the equation in many instances, but you do know that each tradesperson is going to have to provide you with their best price first up or else they miss out – their personality might win you on the day but their profile page and price are going to be the real deciding factor. Tradesmen, this is why it’s so important to get your homeowner to award the job to you via the website – this is the only way they can close out the job and leave feedback on you. Feedback is essential as this becomes your online personality – homeowners use this online personality to make those decisions you simply can’t make by looking in the Yellow Pages.

Logajob will save you time and frustration and very importantly save you money! But, don’t take our word for it – simply read the testimonials placed by others. Give it a try, it’s simple, you log a job, receive your quotes, make your decision on who to use. Job done, leave feedback – assist your fellow homeowners by promoting those who work to a high standard, and eliminating those who give the industry a bad name. Happy Logging! Here's our 'funny' for the month

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A somewhat simplistic view at the comparison between ipods and home offices.

As I've mentioned before in my posts, I definately feel that getting out and exersising clears my brain and I'm able to think. It may of course have absaloutly nothing to do with excersise and everything to do with the fact that there's no room or time to think at home between the constant bickering of Mr 4 and Mr 6, the dogs barking, the chickens clucking, husband reading the paper (this of course makes no noise however does infuriate me intensely, there's a time and place and it's not at the breakfast table 20mins before the school rush!!!) So, I'm sure you will agree, the road is a better place to think than the circus called home.
  Earlier on this week, I was doing my usual plod around the neighbourhood and was approaching about 5 intermediate school 'kids'/teenagers waiting in an orderly line at the bus stop to catch the bus, I presume (what else do you do at a bus stop?). I plodded past them with a cheery, "Good morning!!!" Now, I wasn't expecting them to engage in full conversation but a simple Good morning back is what we were taught is simple manners! Not one of them returned my cheery greeting. At the risk of sounding old fashioned, this just 'felt' rude and incorrect to me. We were brought up to greet people FIRST but if they manage to beat you to it, it's natural to return the greeting, stranger or not.

It got me thinking. Is it because of the 'stranger danger' element of the modern world - I'm hardly threatening though, I'm a middle aged plodder in their eyes for heavens sake.(just to clarify, I'm not actually middle aged but that's probably how they saw me) Have parents forgotten to teach kids the basic manners of greeting, is it not that important anymore because we don't have to say "hello", we can rather text "hi x". But then I thought, you know, maybe they didn't even hear my cheery greeting? Perhaps they were all listening to their own version of the latest hip artist who, apart from Lady Gaga I wouldn't even hesitate to guess who and what the 'insound' is now. I guess it was a blessing for me that they weren't all huddled around engaged in conversation having a good chuckle as I ran past saying to each other "man, why does she even bother?" I thought it was sad that they all stood next to each other but were totally separate from each other. This seemed sad in so many ways, ones world has become so readily available through the various means of technology that we don't choose to actually talk to each other to feel included, we are engaged and being entertained through the ipod or through the mobile phone.

In a way, aspiring to work from home is no different to standing next to someone in the bus line as opposed to WITH someone. More and more people are seeking the convenience of working from home. We too are separating ourselves from the social element of meeting in the work place and engaging with colleagues. Networking functions - many nights I know there's a networking function on in town but if I don't make it, it's not the end of the world, I can network on facebook and twitter.
I was a bit old fashioned as I was quick to critisize our virtual world when I saw the young teenagers choose their ipods over actual conversation but when I looked at the bigger picture, we all do it and can't escape it. Times are changing and in business we would fail if we didn't embrace those changes. The difference however is that I still feel uncomfortable not returning a cheery greeting, the youth of today seem to be uncomfortable returning a greeting, cheery or otherwise!

Monday, 9 April 2012

All Blacks vs Bokke - growing up Kiwi

This blog doesn't necessarily have much to do with business but rather how New Zealand has given me the wings to give a start-up business a go.  We have been living in New Zealand for close on 5 years now. We arrived at the start of the World Cup 2007, I was extremely homesick when I saw the South African Springboks, our 'Bokke' lining up belting out the national anthem, a proud, spirited side representing a proud spirited nation. New to NZ, I knew enough about the All Blacks to know that every kiwi worshipped them and that's about all I knew. The national anthem had no recognition for me yet, the players were not recognisable to me and I didn't know enough about the Kiwi nation then to know what the proud team was representing as a country. I remember feeling "how will I ever be able to support anyone other than South Africa, I'm South African regardless of where I'm living!!" It was a worry for me, I'd always been so patriotic towards my side and I wanted to feel that way about my new side but the emotions just weren't there.
  Fast forward to 2011 World Cup and it was a different story entirely. I now know the National Anthem (not the maori version but I do try), I can name most of the line-up on the field and I now, 5 years later, am proud to feel more Kiwi. I'm not by any means less of a South African but I'm very much more of a Kiwi. 2011 World Cup opening ceremony was such a spectacular moment and I felt proud to be a New Zealander and along with 4 million people, I chose to 'back Black'.
My kids are kiwi, they know Richie McCaw and Piri Weepu above Francois Pienaar and the legendary Brian Habanna, they recognise the All Blacks flag and silver fern before they do the Green and Gold. This realisation would have made me feel sad 5 years back but now, 5 years on, I'm grateful that we've embraced it and our family does feel so settled and so at home here. Because we are so far away from our family we didn't spend Christmas Day with anyone other than myself, husband and our kids so as I was training for the Half Ironman, my present was a two hour training slot. Feeling a little homesick I decided to get out and about on the walkway where I'd see loads of people and as always, bump into friends as one does so often here in New Plymouth on the walkway. If I left home because I was lonely, the run was a very lonely move...........

.........there was no-one to be seen, my social run route was deserted!. Everyone was indoors eating and laughing and celebrating and caring and sharing with their families. I ran past houses with marquees bustling with activity and bursting with laughter, I ran past lines of cars parked down the streets as families gathered together on this one day called Christmas. Young daughters helping grandmothers up the steps, young grandchildren squealing at uncles and grandparents, cousins running around elated together. My loneliness filled with a deep contentment, this is New Zealand! Families want to return HOME. and Home is one of the few beautiful, safe, down-to-earth, naturally breathtaking places that still exist. Why wouldn't you want to come home for Christmas and better still, home to settle among your extended family. New Zealand is unique in this way and that is one of the reasons we immigrated. I want my children to have a choice, I want them to grow up with us around them in their lives. I want to be just down the road when they start their own families, New Zealand offers that opportunity and most Kiwi's have no idea how lucky they are that this doesn't have to become a choice.

Immigration is such a massive step and you always worry that you'll never truly belong but after 5 years we now qualify for kiwi citizenship and I feel ready to be a kiwi. Apart from feeling more allegiance to the All Blacks, my boys have had such a natural upbringing in the true sense of the word. My 3 year old says things like 'New Zealand is cool as' and my 5 year old says he never wants to live anywhere else but New Zealand. I know they're words from 'babes' but to hear these things means they're happy and that was the main priority behind a step as bold and big as leaving the country you love and the people you love and the spirit you love. I miss so many things about beautiful South Africa but thank you New Zealand for making it so easy to feel a part of you! So, in closing, at least I always say, if I back both the Bokke and/or the AB's - i've always got a good chance of coming out tops!!! I couldn't think of two better nations to sit on the fence for......."Hamba Gahle" "Kaketeya"

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Theory vs Reality: A comparison between training and a business start-up

Happy New Year to all, may 2012 bring you enough to feel content abouth. 2011 has been a very challenging and exciting year for me and I have run comparisons between my two biggest projects which I took on in 2011. The first one was to train for a half ironman trialthlon event and the second one was to get my business, Logajob, up and running (in no particular order). Training for a half ironman I knew would be tough purely due to the amount of hours it requires, the event is a 2km swim, a 90km cycle and a 21.1km run. I personally am unable to do these distances back to back with no training so I knew I'd have to train for this to make the event comfortable. I read up a little on what is expected, I read up a little on what nutrition is best, I read up a little on how to prevent injuries etc. Well, from the beginning of my training period, all the best theory in the world wasn't able to prevent the fact that I,
1) Dislocated a shoulder
2) Sprained an ankle
3) Depleted my body of electrolytes and was unable to train for 5 days
4) Picked up a virus and painful joints
5) Had a puncture on a rural road and when I tried to fix it my pump was broken!
6) Tore ligaments in the ankle I had previously sprained and
8) Organised baby sitters and at the last minute Mr 5 punctures his head and a trip to A&E is needed
7) Had my car keys stolen from the beach during an ocean name but a few.

These were all setbacks I certainly didn't plan however, only once they actually happened to me was I able to work out how to tackle the problem and find a workable solution. I wasn't prepared until I needed to be prepared and found actual ways other than theoretical solutions, to work around my setbacks. I think what it has shown me is that the same can be said for business and a start-up business. There is so much literature out there on what to do and what not to do and how to create a successful business. These articles are helpful and give us inspiration but I'm finding as I'm going along with the growth of Logajob that a lot of things are learned experiences and no matter how much we plan and pre empt and read up on things, a start-up business will throw you many curves and challenges along the way no matter how 'prepared' you are. Just like with the training, only then will you truly come up with a way to solve it. The way I see it, don't be scared to make those mistakes, as long as you learn from them they are there to make you and your business grow. My theory article tells me that the growth phase is one of the most exciting and dynamic, I hope my true life business experiences depict this in 2012. My training programme tells me that with all the training done, the event should go smoothly, once again I hope the theory and practical match up for me this weekend at the half ironman event. Challenges and setbacks are life's learning curves, may you deal with them effectively in 2012.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Men and their 'garage caves'

I 'cheated' this week, logged a job on #LOGAJOB and paid someone to come and do a quick clean for two hours because I'm just pressed for time and quite frankly, presented with the option of housework, office work or fetching and carrying the kids, I'd far rather do any other chore before housework. I returned to a home smelling of Janola and looking lovely and even though the little piles everywhere were now 'neat' jumbled piles, my day felt less chaotic because it looked organised (I knew better but still.......I digress). This clarified something for me. On a recent 'public holiday', I used the time to go for a lovely long run around the suburbs. I was so surprised to see how many garage doors were open and how many men were organising and sorting and cleaning and just happily spending time in their garages and all looking so content. What is the lure to the garage??
  It's purely that feeling that I had when I returned to the house, it's a place where they can feel 'organised'. Everything's in it's little place in a little box, next to a little bottle that is screwed tightly shut. Unlike upstairs where chaos and kids and squashed boxes and open bottles with lost lids resume. I now understand that feeling of contentment they must have in their garages, I only wish they'd find this compulsive tidying habit in and around the rest of the house but somehow kids clothes, dirty dishes and grocery unpacking don't have the same pull as screws and nuts and tape measures. I do kind of understand it a bit better now but perhaps if you feel the need to retidy it AGAIN the next public holiday, why stop at the garage, do the whole house so after a lovely day on the beach, the kids and I can come home to organisation for 10 minutes before the chaos of the week begins again.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Market Resarch should be country specific

My husband and I both like to excersise so with small kids in the house it's a bit of a juggling act and we have to 'book' our slots and there's a 'use it or lose it' policy in our house. So this morning when I was about to embark on my bike ride, the sky was not exactly cloudless but it wasn't heavy either. Perfect, I have recently acquired a 'shower proof' jacket, that will do the trick. An hour in and of course the shower starts - I guess the only way to test how shower proof your jacket is to go through a shower - the answer to that question for me? "not very". It's not a cheap jacket either so I spent the rest of the ride infuriated by the misleading marketing of the item and if nothing else, it gave me something to think about and in turn write about.

Market reasearch is a fundamental part of starting a business, in the good old days before everything went global, your local market was just that, your local market and the sample of people you researched were indicative of where the product/service/brand was going to be. Nowadays, one tests shower proof jackets in a country where clearly their idea of shower and our idea of shower are two completely different things. My shower proof jacket would have worked in a country where a shower is a mere drizzle, in New Zealand, a shower is anything from strong to torrential. In the country the jacket was 'researched' it must have been a brief WARM shower and then the strong warm trade wind following to help dry up any bit of moisture along with the bright yellow sunshine soaking it all up again. Now, on my ride when the rain iteself feels like it's barely a few deg above freezing level, the wind which prevails from somewhere in the arctic coupled with wet clothes and NO sunshine, Waterproof jacket became a new brand called an "ICE MAKER" - I was wet cold freezing and unimpressed.
Logajob would not work in some countries but it works in New Zealand as there is a high % of internet users, very advanced users, the Tradesman themselves are the guys both on the tools and on the phones and there is still an uncanny sense of 'community feel' in New Zealand as well as a high level of trust compared to many other larger countries with large populations. I'm a small company and I have gone through the effort of at least thinking about tailor making my service to best suit the requirements of the county's users. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the makers of my so-called Waterproof jacket but it's made me realise that where possible, for weather gear buy NZ made because only they understand how showerproof a garment has to be to be truly shower proof under the so called 'showers' of NZ skies. There is no warm wind or sun to help so the product has to be quality from the outset. Mass marketing and globalisation are to blame for the flu I'm about to get -