There can be many reasons as to why you would want to start a gas station business. After all, it is a $250 billion a year industry and despite the drive to go toward energy-efficient outlets, according to NACSonline.com, starting a gas station is still a solid investment since:
- 85% of Americans drive to work
- Average household buys 729 gallons of gas each year
- Average American uses 22.27 barrels of oil in one year
Therefore, if you are looking to build a gas station from scratch or considering buying a gas station, here are five key points to keep in mind:
Though popular belief would have you think you can get away from “the man” and build a gas station on a randomly secluded road to find a peace of mind, the reality is that in order to keep a business in business, you must look at several factors:
- Traffic: Review the amount of traffic flowing around the area you want to place your gas station or c-store. Can you spot the area from a main road? Are there enough potential customers passing by?
- Accessibility: Is the area easily accessible? The recommendation is to find a corner location with at least 250 feet of frontage and 1/3 mile in any direction of easy access. You are aiming for many entry points as possible.
- Environment: If you are buying an already established gas station, it is important to look at the environmental history of the area. You want to avoid purchasing a contaminated property that will require remediation of activities that will only impede customer traffic.
- Residential Areas: If near a residential area, it might be best to also consider offering kerosene depot.
Safety is an important factor that involves two facets. Ensuring your equipment and site are safe to use will keep you and your customers safe from the law and fines.
- Exterior Safety: Not only must you ensure to comply with state and local regulations, your equipment must be safe to approach, safe to retract gas, and safe to pay for the services and products. The gas industry is heavily regulated. Therefore, if you happen to look for a gas station for sale, look for shatter-proof glass windows, electronic door systems, and security systems.
- Payment Security: Customers do not want to go to c-stores where the potential of fraud is high. Research points to c-stores who have not upgraded to EMV, see fraud increase for their store. Investing in a secure point of sale (POS) system that accepts EMV chip cards will save you from being liable and losing money. As EMV becomes common, security-minded customers will migrate to your store for safe transactions versus another c-store that does not have the proper equipment installed. To learn more about EMV, click here.
What your store will look like plays a large factor in having a customer choose your store amongst the crowd of c-stores that also provide the same amenities and prices as you do. Any customer would choose a cleaner and modern store over an old and dirty version. Therefore, when designing and placing signage for your building, dispensers and signage, it is important to think about how you will portray your business to attract customers. Offering new technology is also a convenient eye-catcher to those that are prone to pay on their phones, buy Apple products, are just are technology savy. To learn about image branding, feel free to check out Gilbarco’s graphic services.
Fuel, Energy, & Water Storage
While you are thinking about the plot of land you want to build on, consider space. You need to know how many people you can provide fuel to on the forecourt. On top of which, how many of these fuel dispensers would your staffing be able to monitor at one time? Will you even offer diesel fuel? Lastly, where will you store the fuel tanks? If you plan on operating 27/7, it might be good to analyze how many cooling units and storage you will need so you can identify an energy-saving design without sacrificing efficiency. All of these elements involves space, planning, and collaboration with partners to ensure that your gas station is a profitable establishment.
According to US Business for Sale, though as gas station business may cost from $200,000 to a million, it is a lucrative business to consider. Despite what you may think, it is not the gas that brings in the real revenue but instead the goods and services inside the store. Considering only 35% of customers go inside a store, it would be in your best interest to start your business in a way that will set you up for the future. Investing in technology that can bring customers inside the store or purchasing more items from the same transaction can be a wise decision. To learn more about upselling, click here.