Whatever it is, they will fix it

Saturday September 26 2015

Natalie Bitature (L) and Sonia Rees of Tateru

Natalie Bitature (L) and Sonia Rees of Tateru Properties receive an award for Best Large scale Agency by Lamudi Properties. Courtesy Photo 

By Jonathan Adengo

There are different situations in life that call for swift services. It could be a flat tyre on the road or a broken plumbing system. These are situations that call for a good fundi (service man) to get your work done. With the age of the Internet, some people can just google a “Do it yourself” guide and try to sort out whatever it is they need to fix in the house, from the electrical cooker system to changing bulbs, or at the very least working on your compound. Nonetheless, it always seems easier to scout the neighbourhood for casual labour.

Alice Achieng, a home developer in Bweyogerere Bukasa, Wakiso District, for instance, hired some boys in her neighbourhood to lay pavers in her compound. Unfortunately, the result was not perfect. She had to seek more help, albeit, professional. Realising that experiences like Achieng’s were bound to happen to just about anyone, Nataliey Bitature and Arnold Kawesa sought out a solution. Their backgrounds in property management and construction respectively gave them the foundation they needed to start Handymen Uganda last year.

“I noticed there was a gap in the market with the need for managed servicemen. There is a big problem of unreliable and unprofessional workers coming to sites late and not doing work up to a good standard,” says Kawesa. Speaking with pride about their company, his business partner, Bitature, reveals that their backbone has been “an extensive database of servicemen and technical supervisors who keep Handymen Uganda running as an independent maintenance and servicing company.”

What they do
Handymen Uganda has a pool of professionals under one roof that handle different tasks such as plumbing, painting, electrical work, carpentry, landscaping, metal works and paving. Kawesa, who is the company’s chief executive officer, particularly responsible for strategy and operations, summarises their services as to “maintain, renovate and construct real estate developments and we operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
“We aim to remove the stress of property maintenance from our clients by providing competent servicemen and supervisors to the site location in a speedy and capable way,” explains Bitature, the Handymen Uganda’s chief business development officer.

Although uncomfortable to reveal their financial details, according to Kawesa, the company has developed a solid reputation through independent projects, offering qualified, well priced handymen services under one roof to attend to their clients better. He says the company has grown quickly over the short period of time and moved from individual fix-it jobs and single issue clients to minor construction jobs, home renovations and long-term full portfolio clients.
Their secret, reveals Kawesa, also a former site manager at JK Construction Limited, is to align their strategy to better suit the current climate in Kampala.

“People are used to calling their local fundi, however unreliable because better options were never available, until now,” he says. No doubt, the qualifications both partners bring to the table have contributed to their progress. Kawesa has a degree in International Business and a Master’s Degree in Construction Management from Limkokwing University in Malaysia. He has worked with FITIDIS Construction at the Tullow Oil Bulisa, Hoima site.
Bitature on the other hand, is the founder and owner of Tateru Properties and has worked as an executive assistant at Simba Group and as a business development associate in Chapter 10; a renewable bio-gas energy project in Gulu District with an out-growers scheme for 3,000 local farmers. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Education from Keele University in the UK.

Access to a wide network of service men that they carefully vet and test is key in this business. “It took us a while to get the right servicemen whose quality of work we trusted and who we could count on to consistently maintain professional standards in the field,” Bitature describes some of the challenges they face. “Any handymen service provider wishes to be affordable and accessible to many. Our quotations are based on the assessment of the serviceman and Handymen Uganda field supervisors, who determine the size of the job and its required time and materials,” explains Kawesa.
The duo hope to grow in the service industry and revolutionise the way maintenance is done in Uganda.

What they say

“When I contacted Handymen Uganda, everything was completed on time and within budget,”
Elvis Isiko, Managing Director Wina Classic.

“The handymen Uganda are always on time and give precise feedback on what the problem is and how to rectify the same,”
Kaiwan, Tamarai Restaurant Manager