How to Open a Gas Station From Scratch
With the way that people in the United States love to drive, one sure bet is that the gas industry isn't going anywhere. The reason you see gas stations everywhere you go is that Americans consume 390 million gallons of the stuff every day! And you thought electric cars were taking over.
Being that traditional cars aren't going anywhere anytime soon, going into the gas station business is a great way to build wealth. One of the keys to being successful in commerce is to offer a service that is and always will be n demand. Gas stations and convenience stores will always have a guaranteed market as long as gasoline and snacks don't go out of style. Continue reading to learn how to build your own gas station from scratch and build a business that will last a lifetime.
Choose a Business Structure
When you decide to open a gas station, that is only the first of many choices that you'll have to make before selling a single gallon of gas. Because gasoline is highly volatile and flammable, it's strictly regulated. Almost every decision you make about the business structure of the gas station will have an impact on what licenses you will have to get to operate your business legitimately.
No matter what kind of business you plan to open, you have to get your business registered and also get a business license. Don't be confused–those two things are different. Registering your company is getting the state to acknowledge that your business exists–even if only in spirit.
Once your business is registered, it's time to find a location to build your gas station and then go about getting the necessary permits. Finding a place for your gas station is more of a public safety concern than it is a market concern. In theory, you can put a gas station anywhere people drive. Still, there are regulations that dictate how close gas stations can be to other businesses, residential areas, and government buildings.
After you've found a location for your gas station, you need to get the necessary permits for building it and installing gas pumps. If you plan to sell prepared food and alcohol in addition to snacks and soft drinks, you will have to get additional permits for those as well.
The building process will be the most exciting phase of getting your gas station started except for making your first sale. There will probably be days where you'll show up to witness small, triumphant moments like the Clark forklifts taking the gas pumps off the delivery truck.
Choosing your business model is the most critical step that you will take before opening your business because it affects the building process and necessary permits. Once you've chosen a business structure and built your gas station, you're almost ready to open your own business.
In the previous section, you read about how the type of products and services you choose to offer at your gas station effect what licenses you will need. While this is true, all businesses have to be licensed by their state before they can open for business.
The easiest way to open your own gas station is to form an LLC–that's what the vast majority of new business owners do. Choosing an LLC as your type of business means that your business will not pay federal taxes. Instead, the government will tax your personal income. Being an LLC rather than an INC also protects you from liability.
In addition, if you plan to serve prepared food, you're going to have to satisfy the Department of Health as well. They will inspect everything from the temperature of your commercial walk-in cooler to the water pressure of the faucets in the restrooms. Once you've gotten all of the necessary permits from the state, you're ready to open the lines to your gas pumps.
Market Your Gas Station and Grow Your Customer Base
If you want your convenience store to be as successful as it possibly can be, then you're going to have to do some marketing. People tend not to patronize businesses that they don't know exist.
The most simple and effective thing you can do to create an instant influx of customers is to throw a grand opening event to alert the area to your arrival. Offer customer loyalty programs to win loyal customers as soon as possible. You need to figure out a way to separate your gas station for the others in the area and then flaunt that uniqueness.