The Touching Hearts at Home Story

CEO and founder Renae Peterson built our successful company on compassion and service


The Touching Hearts at Home story begins with our CEO and founder, Renae Peterson, who — in her early twenties — entered the corporate world with a degree in education. After just one year of working in the human resources department for IDS Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Renae decided to pursue a business of her own. Having grown up in an entrepreneurial family and being influenced by her brother, Dallen Peterson (the founder of the Merry Maids franchise), Renae’s true passion was to create a business.

Renae Peterson’s early start in franchising

At the age of 25, Renae opened a Merry Maids franchise. The first one was a great success, which led to the purchase of a second. Renae ran both businesses for nine years, becoming one of the company’s top revenue earners.  Eventually, she sold the businesses.

A few years later, ServiceMaster purchased Merry Maids. Soon after, Renae’s brother, Dale Peterson, founded ServiceMaster Caring Companions, a home care franchise. Renae then began working with ServiceMaster Caring Companions, first as a consultant. ServiceMaster eventually determined their best business model was to focus within their specialty, the cleaning industry. At this time, Renae took the opportunity to become an independent owner of Caring Companions, which was one of the first senior home care companies in the nation.

Renae’s senior home care company becomes a success in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market

Renae describes herself as being “groomed” for her position today as CEO and founder of Touching Hearts at Home. Even as a Merry Maids franchisee, she realized there was a great need for a company like Touching Hearts. “When I was running my Merry Maids business, our maids would go to clean an older client’s home but would be there a long time,” Renae remembers. “Maids would come back and say, ‘Renae, I’m sorry I took so long, but they just wanted to sit down and talk with me.’ So early in my career, I saw that the elderly needed more than just a housecleaning.”

This idea of keeping seniors in their homes put Renae at the forefront of a new industry — non-medical in-home senior care — as she blazed a trail in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, area with her Caring Companions business. At that time, most people automatically thought their loved ones would go to a nursing home when living independently became difficult. In the beginning, Renae’s Caring Companions clients were reluctant to accept in-home care for their loved ones. “I had to actually convince some people that their family member could stay in the home,” Renae says. “They were so accustomed to thinking that a nursing home was the only option. We knew that with just a little bit of assistance, the senior loved one could continue living independently. I never met a senior who didn’t want to remain in their home.”

It wasn’t long before Renae’s peers started to take notice of her success. “It was a wonderful business — both financially lucrative and personally fulfilling,” Renae says. “We made a difference in so many people’s lives, helped seniors remain independent and stay in their homes. I had people coming to me on a regular basis, saying, ‘Renae, you’re so successful. What are you doing?’ My success with Caring Companions came from what I teach our Touching Hearts franchisees today. I was committed to helping others and serving the elderly.”

Touching Hearts at Home franchise is born


When other local business owners asked for help, Renae mentored them. “I had some people who had been in Merry Maids ask me about franchising my senior care business,” Renae says. “I was very satisfied with my business, but I wanted the next challenge. So, seeing the need and the opportunity, I realized that franchising was the perfect next step. I had trained franchise owners, believe in franchise owners and believe in the franchising concept. In January of 2007, Touching Hearts at Home was licensed to sell franchises.”

Today, Touching Hearts at Home is a thriving franchise company in a rapidly growing industry. We are interested in partnering with entrepreneurs across the country who are interested in building businesses built on compassion and service that change people’s lives. We offer low startup costs with a potential for high profits and have large, exclusive territories open throughout the nation. With a rapidly growing senior population, now is the ideal time to open a Touching Hearts at Home franchise.

“Now is a great time to invest in a non-medical home care business,” Renae says, as Touching Hearts at Home is poised for rapid nationwide expansion during the next year. “Baby boomers are aging and the demand is there. It’s not difficult finding clients because everyone wants to stay in their home, and often all they need is a little extra help. Touching Hearts at Home meets that need perfectly.”

We’d love to talk with you about opening your own Touching Hearts at Home franchise. Complete the form below to begin a discussion with us.

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