Do you want to start a gas station and you want to know the cost breakdown? If YES, here are 15 factors that determine the cost of building a gas station. It is important to point out that there are several factors that can determine the actual cost of launching this type of business.

The truth is that some of the factors may not apply to you, because the business model and the kind of business a person wants to build would also affect the overall cost of the business. These factors are unique to each individual and this article may not cover such. Having said that, here are some of the factors that will influence the cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America;

Estimated Cost Breakdown to Start a Gas Station from Scratch in 2021

These are the key expenses you are expected to make when starting a medium scale but standard gas station company business in the United States of America;

  1. The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  2. Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits (Health department license and business license) and permits (Fire department permit, Air and water pollution control permit, and Sign permit et al) as well as accounting services (CRM software, Payroll software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $15,300.
  3. Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the gas station in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  4. The cost for hiring business consultant (including writing business plan) – $2,500.
  5. The cost for insurance (general liability, theft, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,400.
  6. The cost for leasing a standard facility in a good and centralized location along a major road or expressway – $250,000
  7. The cost for remodeling the gas station facility and construction of underground gasoline tanks/reservoirs – $400,000.
  8. Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500), phone and utility (gas, sewer, water and electric) deposits ($6,500).
  9. The operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $60,000
  10. The cost for start-up inventory (supply of nonautomotive fuel, automotive fuels (e.g. diesel fuel and gasoline), cooking gas, and automotive-related goods) and for fuel dispensing machines and equipment (automobile repair tools, vulcanizing tools, and wheel alignment tools) – $550,000
  11. The cost for the purchase of gasoline tanker – $45,000
  12. The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  13. The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Telephone, printing machines, computers, tables and chairs et al) – $14,000.
  14. The cost for building and hosting a website – $600
  15. The cost for opening party – $8,000
  16. Miscellaneous: $10,000

You will need an estimate of two million, five hundred thousand dollars ($2.5 million) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard gas station company in the United States of America. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and a business with more than one outlet in key locations within same city.

Starting a small scale but standard gas station company business that can only retail automotive fuels (e.g. diesel fuel and gasoline), retailing cooking gas, and selling automotive-related goods et al in just one location in the United States of America will cost about four hundred and fifty thousand dollars to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation.

When it comes to starting a standard and large scale gas station with several outlets in key cities in the United States of America, a gas station with the intention of selling franchise and also offering complimentary services, then you should look towards budgeting well over seven million, five hundred thousand dollars ($7.5 million).

15 Factors That Determine the Cost of Building a Gas Station

1. The Type of Gas Station

A major factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America is the type of gas station the owner plans to open. Gas stations offer one of three types of service to their customers: full service, minimum service or self-service.

A full – service gas station has attendants that operate the pumps, often wipes the windshield, and sometimes checks the vehicle’s oil level and tire pressure, then collects payment and perhaps a small tip, a minimum service gas station has attendants that operate the pumps. This is often required due to laws in some cities that prohibit customers from operating the pumps themselves.

In self – service gas stations, the customer performs all required service. Instructions informing the customer of filling procedures and cautions are clearly displayed on each pump. Customers are expected to go to the store or a booth to give payment to an employee of the station.

Lastly, we have the unmanned gas stations that make use of card – lock (or pay-at-the-pump) system, these gas stations are completely unmanned. It is fact that these different types of gas stations have different start-up and construction cost.

2. The Choice of Location

Another major factor that will determine the cost of opening a gas station in the United States is the location. In business, location is key part of what determines the success of the business. There are business consultants who are specialized in helping people choose an ideal location for their business; a location that will guarantee them to profitability.

Renting or leasing a facility in a location that is off the city center or off a major road will be less expensive when compared to renting or leasing a facility in a highbrow area; a location along a major road with high vehicular and human traffic.

3. The Required Licenses and Permits

In the United States of America, you cannot open a gas station without first applying for the mandatory license and permits. You would need operational license, building license, zonal permits, motor fuels retail outlet license, fire certificate and commercial vehicle operator’s registration for gasoline tankers amongst others. These license ad permits cost money and it will influence the overall cost of opening your gas station.

Please note that there may be several inspections you must pass before you can be issued your licenses and permits, and this will also cost you money. In order to get the overall cost of licensing and permits associated with opening a new gas station in the United States, we will advise that you reach out to your city government. You also need to consider state and federal requirements.

4. The Type of Facility

The type of facility for your gas station is also a major factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station business in the United States of America. As regards the facility, you have the option of renting, leasing or constructing your own gas station facility from the scratch.

With renting and leasing, you might just have to spend extra to modify the facility to fit into the picture of what you have in mind, the number of pumps, reservoirs and tanks and additional facilities you want to attach to your gas station, such as a convenience store. Let us assume that you want to construct your gas station from the scratch.

It means that you will buy the land or a property, bring up your design and of course equip the gas station to fit into the ideal picture you have in mind. You will agree that you are going to spend way more when compared to people that rent or lease a facility.

5. Your Products and Service Offerings

Another key factor that will determine the cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America are the products and service offerings of the gas station. The fact that there are different types of gas stations means that these gas stations are designed to offer different types of services. The services offered by a full – service gas station are different from the services offered by self – service gas stations.

A full – service gas station has attendants that operate the pumps, often wipes the windshield, and sometimes checks the vehicle’s oil level and tire pressure, then collects payment and perhaps a small tip and a minimum service gas station has attendants that operate the pumps.

6. The Number of Gas Dispenser or Pumps Available in the Gas Station

Another very important factor that determines the cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America is the number of gas dispensers or gasoline pumps available in the gas station. The budget for opening a 15-pump gas station will be far above the budget for opening a 5-pump station.

Aside from the cost of purchasing and installing these pumps, it will also cost you more to position employees to man these pumps and the more the number of gasoline pumps you have, the more the money you are expected to spend.

7. The Cost of Hiring and Paying a Business Consultant and Attorney

If you want to get your business started on the right foundation, it will be a wise decision to hire the services of a competent business consultant and perhaps an attorney. A business consultant will help with drafting a workable business plan document for the gas station, a marketing plan and strategy, comprehensive SWOT analysis for the business, and other advisory or things that will help you with opening the business.

So also, an attorney will help you with registering the business, drafting contract documents and offering you all the legal expertise that will help you start the business on the right foundation. These services will cost you money and it will indeed influence the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America.

8. The Cost for Branding, Promotion and Marketing of the Gas Station

The cost for branding, promoting and marketing the gas station are yet key factors that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America. Trust me, if you need massive results as it relates to winning a fair share of the available market in your city, then you must be willing to pay for effective branding, promotion and marketing.

It is not cheap to come by an expert in branding, promotion and marketing that will help you compete with brands that are already determining the market direction in your city. So, if you add the cost of paying a branding and marketing expert, it will sure increase the cost of opening your gas station.

9. The Cost for Furnishing and Equipping the Gas Station

Another factor that will determine the cost of opening a gas station is the cost of furnishing and equipping the gas station. You will quite agree that aside from the basic facilities such as gasoline pumps, you can also add up a convenience store.

You will need to budget for items like – a fridge, deep freezer, microwave oven, storage hardware (bins, rack, shelves, food case), counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.), (Flat Screen TVs, sound system, DVD players, Satellite dish and decoder, furniture (table, stools and sofas), telephones, filing cabinets), store equipment (cash register, security, CCTV, ventilation, signage), and security and fire alarms and prevention gadgets amongst others. All these will cost money and it will influence the overall cost of opening your gas station.

10. The Cost for Insurance

The cost for paying for insurance policy cover is yet another important factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America. In the United States, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from.

Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

11. The Cost for Registering the Business

The cost of registering the gas station is yet another cost that will influence the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America. Although the cost of registering a business an obtaining all the needed documents is affordable, it will no doubt add to the overall cost of opening your gas station.

12. Source of Your Supplies

Another major factor that will determine the cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America is the source of your supplies. A gas station which is also called a petrol station, filling station, fueling station, or service station is a business facility which retails gasoline (petrol), diesel and lubricants and other supplies if they run a convenience store.

So, as expected, it will cost more to transport these supplies from a farther distance and that will indeed influence the overall cost of running the gas station – the cost is expected to be more if you don’t have your own gasoline tanker.

13. Cost of Recruiting and Training Your Staff

The fact that you are opening your gas station as a new business means that you are expected to recruit and train your staff to conform to the kind of gas station you want to operate. The training will help you sell the corporate culture of your organization to the new employees. As expected, it will cost you money to hire expect trainers that will help you train and bring your new hires up to speed.

  • Staff/Manpower

When it comes to starting a standard gas station company business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals;

14. The Cost for the Purchase and Customizing of Uniforms, Shoes and Protective Gear for Your Employees

Another factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States is purchasing and customizing of uniforms, shoes, caps, protective gears amongst others. Pump attendants, other workers and security personnel all have different uniform and they are expected to put on these uniforms when on duty. All these uniforms will cost you money which is why it must be part of your budget if you are looking towards opening a gas station.

15. The Cost of Grand Opening of the Gas Station

No gas station opens its door for business without first organizing opening party to officially launch the business. This means that the cost of the grand opening of the gas station is part of the factors that will determine the overall cost of opening the business.

You can choose to do a soft opening if you operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party. The bottom line is that it is a cost that must be part of your budget and this cost will influence the overall cost of opening the gas station.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Gas Station Franchise

In the United States of America, the Average Cost of Purchasing a Gas Station Franchise is: Annual costs $250,000 to operate and you need around $160,000 annually to buy and stock products. Examples of 3 Well – Known Gas Station Franchising Companies in the United States of America are;

Can a Gas Station be Bootstrapped on a Lean Budget from Home?

If you a looking for a small scale business that you can successfully bootstrap on lean budget right from your home, then you should not consider starting a gas station business. Because of the nature in terms of product, size and cost of the machines and equipment involved in starting and operating a gas station company, it is obvious that it cannot be bootstrapped on a lean budget from home.

As a matter of fact, the gasoline and other products that are sold in gas station can be highly volatile hence you will not get permit from the required authority to build a gas station within your residential apartment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Gas Station

  1. How much does it cost to start a shell gas station?

If you want to start a shell gas station business, then you should be looking towards buying their franchise. So, if you want to by the franchise of Shell Gas Station, you will spend;

  • Liquid capital required: $700,000
  • Investment: $2,500,000 – $6,600,000
  • Franchise fee: $30,000
  1. What can you sell at a gas station?

A gas station is a business facility that retails gasoline (petrol), diesel, cooking gas and lubricants for motor vehicles. Gas stations offer one of three types of service to their customers: full service, minimum service or self-service. Gas stations can also sell automotive-related goods, groceries, water and soft drinks et al.

  1. How much does it cost to build a gas station property in the United States of America?

There is no fixed price on how much an investor is expected to spend if they want to build a gas station property in the United States. This is because there are factors that can influence the overall cost of building a gas station property. However, if you are looking towards building a gas station property in the United States, you should look towards spending a minimum of $120,000. Please note that the amount includes the cost of purchasing a land.

  1. What skills do you need to work at a gas station?

The key skills you need to successfully work in a gas station are, customer services skills, listing skills, communication skills, accounting skills, ability to pay attention to details, ability to work in a team and the ability to stand for a long period of time.

  1. How much money would it take to open a gas station?

Opening a gas station is a capital-intensive project and on the average in the United States, it will cost you a minimum of $250,000 to open a small gas station.

  1. How can you get a loan to buy a gas station?

There are several banks and loan granting institutions that give out loans to entrepreneurs to start their businesses and this include those who are interested in starting a gas station. All you need to access this loan is to draw up a workable business plan, alongside the required documents and then approach the bank or loan granting institution.

  1. What are some insider tips for jump starting a gas station?

In order to jump start a gas station, you would have to first revamp the facility, create a buzz, sustain the buzz and then offer freebies to attract customers. The freebies could be free tire gage, free windscreen cleaning or car wash amongst others.

  1. How much does a gas station cost in the United States?

In the United States, the cost of gas stations can be about $300,000 or even higher depending on the location of the gas station and the size of the facility.

  1. Why do retail gas stations need to be EMV compliant?

EMV compliance simply means that you have upgraded your POS to include an EMV chip reader. Although EMV chips are not required by law, but rather by industry standards. The U.S. government stepped in and forced the credit card industry to adopt EMV technology, which is aimed at preventing fraudulent use of credit cards in transactions where the card is present at a merchant’s terminal.

  1. How much does a gas station make per day?

On the average, a gas station in the United States can make between $4,500 to $14,500 in a day all things being equal.

  1. What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful gas station?

If you are looking towards building a successful gas station, then you must have skill sets such as; bargaining skills, good managerial skills, good leadership skills, networking skills, interpersonal skills, financial management skills and ability to attract talents.

  1. What is the best way to raise money to open a gas station?

These are the best ways to raise money to open a gas station;

  • From personal savings and sell of stocks
  • From soft loans from family members and friends
  • Loans from your bank or loan granting institutions.
  1. What happens during a typical day at a gas station?

During a typical day at a gas station, the workers resume in the morning, the supervisor ensures that the environment is cleaned and ready to welcome customers, the gasoline, diesel and every other stuff they sell in the gas station is measured.

The readings at various pumps are taken before the workers are allowed to mount the pumps. After every shift, the readings at the pumps are taken again, the book is balanced and then the workers for the next shift take over, and on and on it goes.

  1. Is it profitable to own a gas station?

Interestingly, owning a gas station is one of the most profitable business ventures especially if the gas station is well positioned in a high traffic road or a community with a high density of automobiles.

  1. How can you make your gas station more profitable?

You can make your gas station more profitable by going beyond just selling gasoline and diesel to offering automotive services (e.g., repairs, car washes and general parts), selling nonautomotive fuel, selling automotive-related goods, providing automotive-repair services, providing wheel alignment, wheel balancing and vulcanizing services and of course retailing of groceries, water and soft drinks et al.

  1. What is the typical profit margin for a gas station?

Stores sell an average of 4,000 gallons per day, so retailers typically make about $100 per day selling gas (net profit available to pay other costs not previously referenced such as maintenance and insurance). Margins can vary wildly throughout the year.

  1. Do gas stations make money selling gas?

Sure, gas stations make money selling gas.

  1. What do gas stations make the most money on?

Gas stations make the most money on automotive fuel (gasoline and diesel).

  1. What is the EMV compliance deadline for fuel retailers and convenience stores?

The deadline for gas stations in the United States to upgrade their pumps to accept EMV was recently extended to April 2021, allowing more time to comply with the new EMV standard to pay at the pump.

  1. How much profit does a gas station make from a gallon of gas?

For gas stations in the United States, the average profit margin for a gallon of gas is roughly 2.5 percent.

  1. How much do gas station workers get paid?

The average salary for a gas station attendant is $11.47 per hour and between $19,000 to $30,500 annually in the United States.

  1. What is the best gas station franchise?

Here are the best gas station franchise businesses in the USA;

  • 7-Eleven. Founded in 1927. Franchising since 1964. Franchise units: 61,086. Initial investment, from $37,550.
  • Circle K. Founded in 1951. Franchising since 1995. Franchise units: 1,886.
  1. Can owning a chevron gas station franchise be profitable?

Sure, owning a Chevron gas station franchise is a profitable business venture due to the fact that Chevron is a household name not just in the United States but across the world.

  1. How much does a gas station owner make a year?

The money a gas station owner makes a year varies depending on a number of factors but a successful gas station owner can make anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 and above annually. But it’s going to take a lot of work. Gas stations that do more than sell gasoline and diesel tend to make more money.

  1. One of the most important things you need to do in order to have a profitable gas station?

Leveraging on economies of scale is one of the most important things you need to do in order to have a profitable gas station.

  1. How much profit does a gas station make in a normal city?

A gas station makes an average of $5,300 in a normal city.

  1. Is it dangerous to work at a gas station?

It is not dangerous to work in a gas station, but uttermost caution should be taken when working in a gas station because gasoline is highly inflammable.

  1. How much do gas station cashiers make per hour?

Gas station cashiers make between $9 to $11 per hour in the United States.

  1. How much do gas station owners make a month?

A gas station owner makes between $124,000 and $142,000 per month, according to figures from the same time period. A gas station owner’s annual earnings before taxes might be above six figures if he operates a high-volume store in a prime location.

  1. Why is gas so cheap at Costco?

Customers who go into Costco’s parking lot to fill up on the cheap gas are also likely to go inside the store to spend more money, which also allows Costco to price their gas at less than the competition. To purchase their gas, you have to be a member, and membership sales make up about 75 percent of the chain’s profit.

  1. Is California really banning gas cars?

Yes, on Sept. 23, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that after 2035, sales of gas-powered vehicles would be banned in California, a state where more than 50% of greenhouse emissions are generated by transportation. This ban includes gas-electric hybrid vehicles and, more generally, any vehicle with tailpipe emissions.

  1. Is it illegal to hoard gasoline?

Yes, it is illegal to hoard gasoline.

In Conclusion,

These are some of the factors that will determine the overall cost of opening a gas station in the United States of America. Please note that there are other factors not listed above that will sure influence the overall cost of opening your gas station which is why we will advise that you work with a result driven business consultant in your city to give you the needed guide.

Ajaero Tony Martins