This week, we’re delighted to welcome Alexandra Willingale to the Extra Help family. As of 1st September, Alexandra is the new owner of our successful Extra Help franchise in Milton Keynes, covering the MK1-MK17 and MK19 postcode areas.
Extra Help Milton Keynes, one of our first franchises, was founded in 2010. Since then, it has had various owners, the most recent being Michaela Nowik, who bought the franchise in 2018. Since then, Michaela worked tirelessly to build a profitable, award-winning franchise that has become one of Extra Help’s top performers, with around 100 clients and a team of 20 home-helpers.
However, when Michaela reached the end of her five-year agreement with Extra Help this year, she made the decision to sell the franchise, leaving some very big shoes to fill! The most obvious person to fill those shoes was Alexandra. As well as being Michaela’s long-time friend, Alexandra had been working for her for over two years, helping with admin and staff recruitment.
Alexandra says: “I’m really lucky to have worked for Michaela and am, therefore, already familiar with how the franchise works. I already understand and identify with Extra Help’s ethos, so it made total sense to take this next step.”
Born and raised in Belgium, Alexandra now lives in a village on the outskirts of Milton Keynes with her husband, two children and two golden retrievers. Alexandra’s professional background includes working in 5-star hotels, where she gained valuable customer services and housekeeping experience. More recently, she ran four local women’s networking groups and also works with families with children newly affected by Type 1 Diabetes, a cause close to her heart as her own daughter has the condition. She is also an NLP Practitioner.
In addition to working for Extra Help, Alexandra was also a client of Extra Help Milton Keynes for three years, so understands the business from both an internal and client’s perspective.
She says: “I’m incredibly fortunate to have been involved with this business as both a worker and a client, so I’ve seen it from both sides. My father, who passed away last year, lived with us for over three years. During that time, we used Extra Help Milton Keynes to provide him with companionship; take him out to local places like the garden centre; or just someone to have a cup of tea with, which worked really well for him.”
Alexandra’s father had always longed to write his autobiography, so she asked Michaela to find someone to help him. They needed a special kind of helper who would be able to write notes as her father spoke, and also challenge him intellectually.
“Michaela found us the most wonderful lady who he loved spending time with and really looked forward to seeing,” says Alexandra, “That was when I realised what a positive difference Extra Help can make to people’s lives.”
For the past couple of months, Alexandra and Michaela have been working together to ensure a seamless transition of the business. Alexandra says she is immensely grateful to Michaela for providing her with such a comprehensive handover. She says Michaela has been extremely supportive, and has equipped her with all the information and knowledge she needs to ensure minimal disruption to clients.
Traditionally, Extra Help Milton Keynes has mainly focused on the cleaning side of the business, rather than home-help for the elderly. As Alexandra’s mother is in the late stages of Dementia, Alexandra understands the value Extra Help can provide to the elderly. She regards this as a huge opportunity and believes that, by buying this particular franchise, she will truly enjoy the best of both worlds.
She says: “The domestic cleaning side of the business is extremely well established, so I can continue to nurture and grow it, but the home-help for the elderly side is relatively untouched and is a huge market! I almost feel like I’ve bought two separate businesses…”
She continues: “I’m so excited and really looking forward to meeting my fellow franchisees, at our upcoming Franchisee Conference, to learn how they developed the home-help side of their own franchises.”
Alexandra and her team at Extra Help Milton Keynes can help with many tasks in and around the home, including:
- Transport to/from appointments and social events
- Meal preparation
- Gardening and household maintenance
- Domestic cleaning, including end of tenancy, spring and deep cleans
- Laundry / ironing
- Shopping services
- Help and support for busy parents, e.g. school runs and helping out after school and during holidays.
If Alexandra’s story has inspired you and you’d like to find out more about becoming an Extra Help franchisee, please call 01752 905790 to find out if your area is available. You can also visit our website for more information.