Reposted from: https://www.pressreader.com/uk/911-porsche-world/20191205/281586652478867
911 & Porshe World Magazine
SPECIALIST: LA DISMANTLER
LA Dismantler: Today the 'man in charge' is a woman. Meet Sarah Dakarman who's carrying on the good work of her late husband, Todd, in the world of Porsche dismantling for parts
A change of circumstances, but business as usual at LA Dismantler, Sarah Dakarman is about six feet tall, sans heels. Her sunny disposition matches her long curling naturally blonde tresses. She's highly educated, a
mother of four, and a former PTA president at her kids' schools. Ms. Dakarman is thoughtful and well spoken. Her life is filled with the daily triumphs, tribulations and challenges facing many career women. And she loves cars.And her 'day job' is the ownership and operation of an all Porsche recycling/wrecking/breaker's yard. Bet you didn't see that one coming! Then suspend your disbelief.
When Sarah and her late husband Todd launched LA Dismantler (LAD) nearly 30 years ago, she never dreamed she'd end up owning and running the business alone. When Todd passed away unexpectedly in May of 2017, that's exactly the life and business challenge she faced. LAD began as an out-growth of a Honda/acura dismantling business they already ran. Todd owned and drove Porsches, and when he needed parts for his own car, he did what he knew: purchased a wrecked 911 for the parts he needed, then sold off what he didn't, not only re-couping his investment, but earning a modest profit. So they began dabbling in the recycling of Porsches. Sarah recalls that the demand for that business began to grow organically and exponentially, until at one point they elected to get out of the
Honda/acura side of things and cast a new business strictly dedicated to Porsche sports cars.
LA Dismantler's main and public location sits on busy Glenoaks Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley area of Southern California packed with acres and miles of wrecking yards. LAD'S compact but efficiently packed and stacked facility can handle a maximum of about 300 cars and their associated parts. It's a fascinating sight to walk down the aisles of the yard between cryptesque racks of wrecked Porsches, most of them dusty, dirty and sun baked. But don't worry about damage to those expensive, along with powertrains, instrumentation, engine management computers and entertainment systems.
A 991 GT3 on the ramp is not your average breaker and should yield some serious parts for some lucky folk. Right: Sarah Dakarman has carried on the business that she and her late husband, Todd, started nearly 30 years ago Sarah somewhat wistfully comments that "many people have no idea how much is involved when a life and business partner passes away." She freely admits that early on there were a few, thankfully rare moments when she considered just chucking the whole thing and doing something else. But she
helped birth LA Dismantler, she enjoys the Porsche community, and knew the business, so she decided to retool the company and herself to make it all work in this new singular environment. Some of the changes and evolutions she's wrought since early 2017 are things she'd thought of and even planned on, as the company's previous Vice President and
Others were foisted on her out of immediate necessity. For example, most of the company's social media presence was more personal accounts and profiles, in her or her husband's name, so she set about rebranding everything putting the company's face most forward. "And I just needed to 'get out there,' meaning to actively attend Porsche and business events to tacitly demonstrate that LA Dismantler was around and very much open for business, and that her hand was firmly on the tiller. Nearly everyone in the Porsche parts and accessories business. She admits to a few times when she considered chucking the whole thing
Fire damaged, but only at the rear. Exhaust systems have plenty of life left in them. Good thing about the LA climate is that nothing
goes rotten knows Sarah, and she knows them. She's friends or at least friendly - with many of them. She's also somewhat expanded the company's inventory bandwidth. Previously, LAD didn't buy anything much older than a Carrera 3.2 whereas now 911s from the balance of the '80s and even back into the 'os are fair, and desirable, game.
Most (although not all) of the inventory comes from insurance totals. Sarah also seeks out Cayman and
Boxster models. She gets calls and demand for Panamera and Cayenne inventory as well and admits that she "looks at the 'four-door' Porsches with one eye open and one eye closed." She believes that a business opportunity exists with these models, and
wants to meet the needs of these customers, but is currently restricted by the size of her facility, 911s from the balance of the '80s and back to the 'pos are fair game and its somewhat tightly packed confines - adding that "LA area real estate is very expensive and I have to be careful about the investment in more property, and more staff to handle additional lines. As it is, my current forklift won't carry those bigger cars, so the investment into these spaces would be considerable." She further recognizes that there is demand
and opportunity, in filling the parts needs of 914, 924 and 356 owners, and keeps her mind open to all of these options as the business evolves, including what impact the hybrid and pure electric Porsche LAD currently employs about 15 staff, a mix of men
and women, and the staff count can range up to 20 depending upon need and demand. Another of the first things she did after assuming the sole role at the helm was to retool the employee base a bit, admitting that there were a few folks there simply not
destined to work out on a long term basis. And that other skills were needed. So a few faces went, and some new ones arrived. Another major item on her "to do' list is the development of a robust parts inventory management system. "We generally know
what we have on hand, and most people know where to find stuff, but it's not detailed or precise. The old inventory system lived largely in Todd's brain, and obviously we don't have that access any more. And just sending staff out into the yard to hunt for
things isn't efficient in any way. So this is a big upcoming project."
We asked Sarah if she feels respected by her clients, vendors, and the Porsche community. She says that in most part she does, and that people generally treat her appropriately. She recalls times in the past when people she spoke to on the phone assumed she
was the company receptionist or Todd's secretary, and it galled her a bit when someone didn't believe her about something, but once talking with her somewhat Type A husband their tone would change completely as if all of a sudden they were being told missing the notion: "That's their problem - and if they want to internalise it that way, it's not my fault." Sarah's late husband was once nicknamed
"'Da car man" and she now laughs at assuming the mantle of 'Da car woman." Although she doesn't pound the @Metoo table, she's confidently proud of the fact that the world is realising "that women can own and run nearly any type of business, and can be
as entrepreneurial as anyone." She actively supports a variety of women-inbusiness initiatives and educational engagements and even though LA Dismantler is her business and livelihood, it's all done with one underpinning mission: "Our goal is to keep Porsches on the road." Which, of course, is neither exclusively a man nor woman thing. She now laughs at assuming the mantle of "Da car woman"