SEAVIEW — Karen Halverson holds a degree and years of experience from the corporate world. But it wasn’t until the 48-year-old Seaview resident launched her own business that she realized that biggest reward was waiting for her to pursue a passion that began at age 9.
Detailing cars was a common thread through Halverson’s life, but it wasn’t always considered a viable career path.
“I did this in the 90s, but I was pressured by a lot of people to go to school because that was thing to do back then, to go and get a degree, so I caved and I did. I got an associate’s degree and graduated with honors, and then the recession hit and I wound up working in insurance,” Halverson said. While she enjoyed working with the clients, she knew that working in the corporate world wasn’t where she wanted to be.
“I just burned out on it and I wanted to help people again,” she said. In September 2016, Halverson officially started her mobile car washing business, Miracle Auto Detailing. Eighteen months into her new career, she has embraced the change.
“I love this because when you leave a job people are happy,” she said. “You can just watch their self-esteem go up.”
The freedom and variety of the work keeps it interesting and rewarding.
“You get to know people and you work somewhere different every day,” Halverson said. “This is the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life, hands down.”
Halverson has been hand-washing cars since 1979, when she got her start at age nine cleaning cars for the family car business.
“We would get $2 or $3 a car,” she said. “When I got into my 20s, I saw that there was a need here, so I started doing it.”
Some customers have been calling on Karen to clean their cars for more than 20 years.
“We come to you,” is Karen’s motto, and she offers free travel to Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Chinook, Ilwaco and the entire Long Beach Peninsula from Seaview to Oysterville. Dirty cars, trucks and vans are all acceptable with four packages ranging from the comprehensive ‘Platinum’ package, starting at $279, to the ‘Mini’ package starting at $49.99. The ‘Gold’ package, starting at $179, is the most popular Halverson said. For more information and package details, visit miraclecardetailings.com
Quality waxes, sealants and polishes can be the difference between a vehicle that’s properly protected from the corrosive coastal environment and one that is vulnerable. There are distinct differences between washing and detailing a car, according to Halverson, often coming down to the knowledge, thoroughness and quality of products.
“I don’t want to put anything on anyone’s vehicle that’s not going to last,” she said. “I spend more money, but in the long run I feel I give people a better service.”
Halverson has invested in tools and products that allow her to clean cars without using water.
“Even if you don’t have a hose, I can come and fully wash your vehicle,” she said.
“The one thing I don’t do is shampoo carpet. In our coastal climate, they don’t dry out adequately and can cause mold and mildew. I’ve found ways to clean carpets without saturating them with water.”
Halverson is licensed and insured, but is aware others may be skirting costs by not offering the same assurance to customers.
“It’s more than slapping a sign on your window,” Halverson said. “Auto detailing is so much more than just washing a car.”