In the July of 1984 Deborah Seib started The Master’s Helping Hands in response to the growing need in the Fresno-Clovis area for an honest and caring housecleaning service. Initially customers were the elderly and disabled – those most in need of help and most vulnerable to abuse. Starting with a few friends, relatives, and church members, the number of customers grew as word spread. Soon working people and families in need of help began calling. Debbie’s goal was simple – to serve the Lord by doing the best house and window cleaning she could for each customer.
Jim and Suzanne Bishop were busy teachers in the Fresno area with a growing family when Suzanne was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. As the disease progressed, Suzanne found she needed help with housecleaning tasks. Following leads from family and friends, they hired a series of cleaning individuals and teams only to be disappointed and frustrated with the results.
Each worker cleaned a different way. Items would disappear. Cigarette burns marred their vinyl floor and aggravated their son’s asthma. Obvious details were left undone. Cleaning dates were unpredictable. Jim and Suzanne returned to doing the housecleaning themselves.
Then they heard about The Master’s Helping Hands. Debbie and her cleaning partner were an answer to prayer. They really cared and wanted to help. However, the cost of help became a burden when Suzanne no longer could teach. Debbie also needed help with all the “paperwork” that goes with a business.
Since Suzanne’s college degrees (BS and MBA) were in business and her mind was not disabled, she offered to do the accounting and other record keeping functions in exchange for Debbie’s cleaning. The arrangement worked perfectly until Debbie’s husband was transferred to Modesto. Driving back and forth to Fresno was too tedious for Debbie.
Debbie asked Jim and Suzanne if they would like the business. She felt the Lord wanted her to give the business to them to help with mounting medical bills. Suzanne, who was concerned about all the work involved, was reluctant to take on the business. But Jim saw the business as a way to provide Suzanne with a “hobby” to keep her mind occupied. Besides they didn’t want to again go through the nightmare of finding other housecleaning help. So Jim bought the company.
October 1, 1986
On October 1, 1986, Jim took over ownership of The Master’s Helping Hands – 20 customers and two employees operating out of the corner of a garage. The name remained the same as a reflection of Jim and Suzanne’s Christian beliefs and a reminder of the company’s double purpose to serve both customers and employees of all faiths. They wanted to provide an honest and reliable housecleaning service to customers and a fair and nurturing environment for employees.
The business continued to grow and incorporated in May of 1987. With growth came the need to organize and develop systems. Job descriptions and hiring standards were established. Using her experience as a teacher, Suzanne devised a structured training program to standardize the housecleaning. The purchase of vehicles helped improve dependability. Buying washing machines assured that each rag was free of residue. Eventually a custom computer program provided individual customer worksheets and streamlined scheduling.
The company soon outgrew the garage and the business moved into its first office/warehouse facility in Fresno. In 1998, the Master’s Helping Hands, Inc. found its present home for its 20 employees, three washers, three dryers, and eight vehicles – an office/warehouse at the southeast corner of Shields and Sunnyside Avenues. The locally grown company serves a regular customer base in the Fresno-Clovis area in excess of 500 accounts.