Do you want to start a truck stop business and you want to know the cost? If YES, here is an estimated cost breakdown to build and open a truck stop. Originally, truck stops were intended to be refueling stations, but the truck stop business model has expanded in this age to include parking, restaurants, showers, convenience retail and other services for over-the-road drivers.

Highly entrepreneurial by nature, truck stop owners and truck stop chain executives are constantly looking for new ways to expand their services and capture a larger share of the marketplace. Many highways offer few service alternatives, so as far as there is a road running alongside your truck stop, your business will benefit from the relatively steady demand.

The tricky part is that highway construction or re-routing can strike a devastating blow to your business. It is advisable you perform a thorough research before you invest a dime to make sure the state has no plans to construct a highway that will route traffic away from your facility. Likewise, you will need to secure your market position by determining that no other truck stops exist (or are planning to exist) in close proximity to your location.

Estimated Cost Breakdown for Building a Truck Stop

Aside the cost of land, which will primarily depend on the location and visibility, there are other factors that come into play when considering the cost of building a truck stop. For instance, when you picture a truck stop, do you think about a single canopy, or an all – amenities travel centre?

Truck stops can range dramatically in size and services offered, and this will dictate the cost of building the truck stop. Here’s the lowdown on some of the standard truck stop essentials as well as potential costs:

1. Convenience store with Fuel Station: $600,000  –  $1,000,000

Fuel may be what brings customers to your location, but your convenience store is where you stand to make money. Unlike fuel sales, which are more restricted in pricing flexibility, the goods sold in a convenience store generally have a much higher profit margin. Running a convenience store also brings some noteworthy challenges.

Operating a convenience store means managing convenience store staff, and given that working in a convenience store is usually a minimum wage job, employee turnover is exceptionally high. A burden is often placed on store owners to step in to cover missed shifts and the time between employees.

Theft and robbery can be huge issues for convenience stores as well; convenience store crime is, in fact, so common that there are countless articles, seminars, and online resources written about its prevalence as well as deterrence tips.

2. Restaurant: $420,000  –  $940,000

Just like convenience stores, restaurants–if run well–are also where truck stops can stand to make a significant amount of money. A good truck stop restaurant can draw truckers to a location more than any other amenity, and the potential for profit is large.

However, theft and robbery are usually way less of an issue with truck stop restaurants than convenience stores, but there are also far more factors involved in getting a restaurant up and running, from licenses and certifications to keeping a kitchen staffed and minimizing food waste. In addition, just like convenience stores, one popular option is to open a franchise.

3. Mechanic/Service Station: $115,000  –  $320,000

Most truck stops have an on-site service station, and this can bring many customers to the truck stop, whether they are offering light maintenance services, preventative services, or a full – blown mechanic. All in all, there’s a high profit margin for these services.

However, unlike the above amenities, service stations generally will not experience the same volume due to both customer availability and restrictions with just how much work one service station can perform in a day. Unlike restaurants and convenience stores, service stations necessitate degree, certified, and/or experienced technicians, and these can be harder to find in more remote areas.

4. Weigh Station: $74,000  –  $152,000

Weigh stations are a necessity for truckers, and many truck stops now have this station. Depending on the location of the truck stop and local laws, truckers may be forced to wait until a weight permit is approved, given a ticket, and/or required to offload the additional freight before they can leave a truck stop.

Being able to weigh in before stopping and leaving is therefore hugely popular with truckers, and companies can install and manage scales at their truck stops, with the truck stop owners taking either rent or a percentage of the sales.

5. Parking Station: $800,000  –  $1,400,000

Parking at truck stops has historically been free, but over the past decade, more and more truck stops have been charging fees for truckers to park by the hour or overnight. After all, simply having the asphalt available for truckers to park on involves tens of thousands of dollars for permitting, environmental and drainage costs, and paving (and repaving, and repaving again).

Safe pedestrian walkways, including easy access for wheelchairs, need to be separate from the traffic – flow areas. Landscaping that offers shade and visual relief while maintaining good sight lines is beneficial. In areas where it snows, good parking lot planning also demands setting aside holding areas where snowploughs can pile snow without blocking parking spaces or the flow of traffic.

Parking space design involves many considerations. All too often the only consideration for the design is developing a sufficient parking area to meet the required number of vehicles based on adjacent occupancy. Local regulations will dictate many of the planning and design decisions made by the planner or designer.

6. Marketing Plan, adverts & Promotion: $45,000  –  $74,000

A truck stop marketing plan is more or less the blueprint for determining the products and services the stop offer, the type of competition it will face, and the consumer segment it plans to target. A well detailed marketing plan must include details on how to best reach the target customers through advertising and various promotions. Truck stop business plans can range from several pages long to comprehensive, manual – like volumes.

From the detailed insight above, the cost of building a well fitted truck stop in the United States will be around $2,000,000 to $4,500,000.


In this business, the best bet as a truck stop owner is to be flexible and remain adaptable to change. Trying to run a truck stop the way it used to be done, with free amenities for truckers and greater flexibility for fuel pricing is no longer the reality today. Howbeit, a truck stop owner may want to explore the different options that are available to them, and try out some of the technology that may be the future.

Whether that means installing more vending machines and doing away with the convenience store, bringing food trucks to the location instead of operating a restaurant, or installing Amazon lockers or even self – cleaning bathrooms, being willing to adapt and try new things will be key for staying afloat as the industry changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Makes A Great Truck Stop?

Free showers available in a clean and private area with fuel purchase and a well-maintained laundry room. A restaurant that is open 24/7 and looks like it has passed its food safety and sanitation inspections.

  1. What Is A Truck Stop Shower?

A truck stop shower is akin to those you would find in a hotel room or inn. They are relatively high quality, amazingly clean, and professionally maintained.

  1. What Is Inside A Truck Stop Shower?

When entering a truck stop shower, you will see two sections; one is the bathroom section and the other, is a shower section. The bathroom section will usually have a sink, toilet, blow dryer, mirror, fan, stole, hooks, and occasionally small mints to enjoy after your shower.

  1. Do You Need Financing For Starting A Truck Stop Business?

Yes! You will need financing to start a trucking stop business. The initial start-up will cost about $2.75 million, which will be used to purchase land, develop it, and construct a 6,000 square foot travel center, complete with gas/diesel islands, scales, and a restaurant.

  1. How Much Are Truck Stop Showers?

The cost of truck stop showers is usually range from $12 to $15, depending on the place you go to.

  1. Can Truck Stop Showers Be Used By Anyone?

Yes! Unless otherwise specified by the truck stop, showering facilities are open to the public for anyone to use.

7. How Could Your Business Benefit From The Support Of A Respected Nationwide Brand?
  • Branding assures consistency
  • Branding gives you credibility
  • Branding leads to customer loyalty
  • Branding helps you stand out in a saturated market
  • With a clear brand, you can charge what you are worth
  • Branding leads to returning customers and referrals
  1. Where Are The Empty Shelves?

Empty shelves can be found in the following;

  • Pilot. Flying J
  • Love’s Travel Stops
  • Clear-water Travel Plaza
  • Travel-Centers of America
  • Independently Owned Truck Stops
Joy Nwokoro
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