How to Buy a Gas Station
Even with the rising cost of gasoline, gas stations are still money makers. Society is accustomed to driving where they want and need to go, and to do that, they need gasoline - no matter how much it costs. Buying a gas station is a little different than buying any other type of business, but learning how to buy a gas station isn't hard.
The first step is to find gas stations for sale in the area you wish to operate in. You can use a business broker to find gas stations for sale (link), and you can also check with local realtors. Click here (link) to view our gas station for sale listings (link). There are several places online where you can look for gas stations for sale in your area. As with any business, you will want to tour the property, view financial statements, find out why the gas station is for sale, and ask other pertinent questions.
You should look for a gas station that offers additional services, such as a convenience store or car wash, and evaluate these additional services to be certain that the revenues and profit margins are in line with the industry standards.
Once you have settled on the gas station that you wish to buy, you will need to check into the franchising aspect of the business. You will be selling and advertising certain brands of gasoline. These are not your brands, and thus, are subject to a franchise agreement with the oil company, as well as related franchising fees. This is also known as "brand name affiliation." Note that you are not required to sell the brand of gasoline that is currently being sold at the gas station you wish to buy. You can change over to another brand. The current owner and/or the business broker should be able to provide you with assistance in this area.
Do not just assume that the oil company that you choose will approve you. Set up a meeting with the oil company representative to make sure that you meet their qualifications - and that they meet yours. If you plan to stick with the current oil company, make sure that the contract is transferable to you. Make a successful transfer of the contract a condition of the sale.
Check other licenses and permits. If the gas station sells alcohol, cigarettes, or lottery tickets, you will need permits to continue selling these items. Contact the controlling agencies in your state to make sure that you will qualify for the permits, and find out how much they cost.
Check out the competition. As with any other business, the less competition you have, the better off your business will be. Also look around the general area of your location to see if potential competition can be built. If there is competition in the area, determine how you can compete and set your business apart from theirs. Location is extremely important. Make sure that you are in a high traffic area if possible. Also check with your local planning commission to find out if any road construction is planned, and if any building permits have been issued in your area.
Once you have all the pertinent details about the gas station, and the gas station franchise, you are ready to write your business plan. It is advised that you employ a professional business plan writer for this, as this document will be quite important when you start looking for financing. You should look for a professional who has written successful gas station business plans in the past. With the location chosen, and your killer business plan in hand, you are ready to approach lenders for financing.
Gasoline is a commodity that there will always be a great demand for, no matter how bad the economy gets. However, the business does not run itself, and it is advised that the owner participate in the day to day operations of the gas station. This prevents employees, customers, and vendors from stealing from you. If enough of your merchandise walks out the door, you won't be in the gas station business for long. If there are not security systems or protocols in place, you will want to remedy once you complete the purchase of the gas station.