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How to Start a Truck Stop Business in 2023

Truck Stop Business

A truck stop business, also known as a truck plaza or travel center, is a commercial establishment that caters primarily to long-haul truck drivers and other travelers on major highways and interstates. These businesses provide a wide range of services and amenities to meet the needs of truck drivers and other motorists on long journeys.

Truck stops often have amenities that specifically cater to truck drivers, such as driver lounges with comfortable seating, TV screens, and vending machines. They may also offer fitness facilities, laundry facilities, ATMs, and trucker-friendly services like trucker lounges or gaming areas.

Truck stops serve as important rest areas and service hubs for long-haul truck drivers, providing them with a range of essential services and facilities to make their journeys more comfortable and efficient.

Steps on How to Start a Truck Stop Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting thorough market research is crucial when starting a truck stop business to understand the market demand, competition, and target customers. You would need to determine the specific target market for your truck stop. This can include long-haul truck drivers, other motorists, or a combination of both. Identify their demographics, preferences, and needs.

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Next, you are expected to analyze the demand for truck stops in the target area. Consider factors such as traffic volume, proximity to major highways, and the presence of industries that heavily rely on trucking. Look for indicators like the number of trucks passing through the area or the availability of parking facilities.

If needed, consult with industry experts, business consultants, or professionals in the trucking and hospitality sectors. They can provide valuable insights and guidance based on their experience and knowledge of the market.

Finally, gather and analyze all the data collected during your market research process. Identify key trends, opportunities, and challenges that may affect your truck stop business. Use this information to refine your business plan and make informed decisions.

a. Who is the Target Market for Truck Stop Business?
  • Truck Drivers
  • Commercial Fleets
  • Other Motorists
  • Local Businesses
  • Tourist and Leisure Travelers.
b. Is Truck Stop Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, a truck stop business is quite profitable, but it is important to note that the success and profitability of a truck stop business relies on thorough planning, diligent market research, effective marketing strategies, and providing excellent customer service.

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c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no niche ideas when it comes to the truck stop business.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • Pilot Flying J
  • Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
  • TA TravelCenters of America
  • Petro Stopping Centers
  • TravelCenters of America (TA/Petro)
  • Sapp Bros. Travel Centers
  • Iowa 80 Truckstop
  • Roady’s Truck Stops
  • Jubitz Travel Center
  • Rip Griffin Travel Centers
  • WilcoHess (now operating as Circle K)
  • Bosselman Travel Center
  • Speedway Truck Stops
  • Minit Mart (operated by EG Group)
  • Kwik Trip
  • Sheetz
  • Pilot Travel Centers
  • Buc-ee’s
  • Casey’s General Stores.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Truck Stop Businesses?

Yes, there are county and state regulations and zoning laws that govern the establishment and operation of truck stop businesses in the United States. The specific regulations and zoning laws can vary from state to state and even within counties and municipalities.

Truck stops are typically regulated under commercial or industrial zoning categories. Local zoning ordinances may specify the permissible land use, setbacks, building height restrictions, parking requirements, and other factors that determine the location and operation of a truck stop.

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Truck stops that provide food services must adhere to health and safety regulations to ensure proper food handling, storage, and sanitation. Inspections by health departments may be required to obtain and maintain food service permits.

Truck stops that offer fueling services must comply with transportation regulations related to the storage and dispensing of fuel. Compliance with regulations set by entities such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be necessary.

Truck stop facilities must adhere to building codes and regulations to ensure safe and structurally sound structures. These codes typically cover aspects such as fire safety, accessibility, electrical systems, plumbing, and ventilation.

f. Is There a Franchise for Truck Stop Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for truck stop businesses because truck stop businesses are not typically operated as franchises.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Truck Stop Business?
  • Business plan
  • Legal structure
  • Licenses and permits
  • A standard facility in a suitable location
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Employees
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Funding
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable. Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a truck stop business are;

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Creative Truck Stop Business Name ideas
  • The Place® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Dallas Zone® Truck Stop, LLC
  • Tee Junction® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Park n Sleep® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Fairway Park™ Truck Stop, LLC
  • Stop Over® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Orlando Park® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Steve Caine® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Above Bar© Truck Stop, LLC
  • The Stop® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Power Point® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Smart Park® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Logan Park™ Truck Stop, LLC
  • Ken Gerald® Truck Stop, LLC
  • Park Now® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Joe Ethan® Truck Stop, Inc.
  • Chris Cross® Truck Stop, LL
  • Pinpoint Drives™ Truck Stop, Inc.
  • The Arena® Truck Stop, LLC
  • Karis Park® Truck Stop, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Truck Stop Business?

The best type of business structure for a truck stop business depends on several factors, including the size of the business, the number of owners, and the level of personal liability exposure the owners are willing to accept. However, we usually recommend a limited liability company (LLC) for truck stop business.

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An LLC is a popular choice for startup businesses because it offers personal liability protection for the owners while allowing them to be taxed as a pass-through entity. This means that the profits and losses of the business are passed through to the owners’ personal tax returns, avoiding double taxation.

Ultimately, the best business structure for a truck stop business will depend on factors such as the ownership structure, the club’s goals and objectives, and the type of services and activities offered.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Truck Stop Business?
  • Business License
  • Building permit
  • Fire safety license and permit
  • Healthcare-related permits
  • Fuel Permits
  • Music and Entertainment Licenses
  • Alcohol and Food Service Permits
  • Environmental permit
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits.
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d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Truck Stop Business?

You don’t need any certification to open a truck stop business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Truck Stop Business?
  • Business plan
  • Business License
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • State-specific licenses and permits
  • Building permit
  • Fire safety license and permit
  • Healthcare-related permits
  • Fuel Permits
  • Alcohol and Food Service Permits
  • Music and Entertainment Licenses
  • Environmental permit
  • Zonal permit
  • Insurance policies
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

A truck stop business may need a trademark and/or copyright, but typically not a patent. A truck stop business may want to trademark its name or logo to prevent others from using the same or similar names or logos and to establish brand recognition and goodwill.

A truck stop business may want to copyright original materials such as training manuals, brochures, newsletters, or other written or artistic works it creates, to prevent others from using or reproducing them without permission. Truck-stop businesses typically do not create new or unique inventions or discoveries that would require patent protection.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Truck Stop Business?

When starting a truck stop business, the startup costs could range from as low as $2 million to over $10 million. This is so because the cost of securing a facility, equipment, furnishing, and startup inventory for a high-end truck stop business is on the high side.

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b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Truck Stop Business
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $7,800.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – $2,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $3,500.
  • Insurance – $8,800.
  • Rent/Lease – $750,000
  • Other start-up expenses include commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($1,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $120,000
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $6,350
  • Equipment, Furniture, and Supplies – $550,000
  • Website: $1,200
  • Opening party: $5,000
  • Miscellaneous: $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Truck Stop Business?
  • The size of the truck stop business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the truck stop business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the truck stop business – facility
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms, shoes, and caps for your employees
  • The cost for the grand opening of the truck stop business.
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d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Yes, you will need to build or lease a facility for your truck stop business. The cost of building a facility will depend on several factors, such as the size of the facility, location, and the types of amenities and services you plan to offer. But on average, you should budget between $2 million to over $10 million.

Please note that if you plan to build a new facility, the cost will likely be higher than if you lease or renovate an existing facility.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Truck Stop Business?
  • Payroll and employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and workers’ compensation insurance
  • Fuel Procurement
  • Facility maintenance such as landscaping, cleaning, and repairs.
  • Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and sewer
  • Property taxes
  • Insurance such as liability insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance
  • Costs associated with purchasing and restocking inventory for convenience stores, including snacks, beverages, groceries, personal care items, automotive supplies, and other merchandise
  • Marketing and advertising such as brochures, website development, and social media advertising
  • Professional fees such as accounting, legal, and consulting services
  • Membership administration such as membership databases, billing, and collections.
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f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Executive Officer – $65,000 per year
  • Facility Manager – $48,000 per year
  • Administrative Assistants – $34,000 per year
  • Receptionist – $32,000 per year
  • Cleaners – $30,000 per year
  • Security Guards – $28,000 per year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Truck Stop Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Logan Park® Truck Stop, Inc. is a proposed truck stop business located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our truck stop will cater to the needs of long-haul truck drivers and other travelers on major highways in the region. With a prime location near Interstate 94 and State Route 23, Logan Park® Truck Stop aims to provide a comprehensive range of services and amenities to ensure a comfortable and convenient experience for our customers.

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The demand for truck stop services in Ann Arbor and its surrounding areas is significant due to the city’s location as a major transportation hub. Interstate 94 and State Route 23 experience high truck traffic, making it an ideal location for a truck stop business.

Additionally, Ann Arbor’s diverse economy and thriving tourism industry further contribute to the potential customer base. Logan Park® Truck Stop aims to differentiate itself by offering exceptional customer service, maintaining high cleanliness standards, and providing a wide range of amenities in a modern and welcoming environment.

Our strategic location, coupled with our commitment to meeting the needs of truck drivers and travelers, positions us favorably against competitors in the region.

b. Products and Service

Our truck stop will offer a variety of essential services, including fuel stations, parking facilities, restrooms, showers, dining options, convenience stores, and additional amenities tailored to the needs of truck drivers and travelers. We recognize the importance of providing quality services and ensuring customer satisfaction, and we are committed to creating a welcoming environment that meets the unique requirements of our target market.

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c. Mission Statement

At Logan Park® Truck Stop, Inc., our mission is to provide a superior truck stop experience by offering exceptional services, amenities, and customer care. We strive to create a welcoming environment where truck drivers and travelers can rest, refuel, and recharge while delivering convenience, comfort, and value.

Vision Statement

Our vision at Logan Park® Truck Stop, Inc. is to be the premier truck stop destination in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a trusted name in the industry. We envision a thriving and modern truck stop that sets new standards for customer satisfaction, convenience, and innovation.

Through continuous improvement and a commitment to excellence, we aim to be the preferred choice for truck drivers and travelers seeking a reliable and enjoyable journey.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a truck stop business are to provide a wide range of services and amenities to meet the needs of truck drivers and other motorists on long journeys.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Facility Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Receptionist
  • Cleaners
  • Security Guards
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Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Situated near Interstate 94 and State Route 23, providing easy access to major highways and high truck traffic areas.
  • Offering a wide range of services including fuel stations, parking facilities, restrooms, showers, dining options, and convenience stores, catering to the diverse needs of truck drivers and travelers.
  • Focusing on exceptional customer service, cleanliness, and meeting the unique needs of truck drivers and travelers to create a positive and memorable experience.
  • Building a strong brand identity through consistent service quality, professionalism, and attention to detail.
  • Collaborating with fuel suppliers, food service providers, and other relevant businesses to enhance offerings and provide customers with high-quality products and services.
  • Being a new truck stop in the area, establishing brand recognition and attracting customers may initially pose a challenge.
  • Facing competition from existing truck stops and travel centers in the region, requiring effective differentiation strategies and capturing market share.
  • Requiring substantial investment for land acquisition, facility construction, equipment procurement, and initial operating expenses.
  • Taking advantage of the growing trucking industry and the increasing need for truck stops as a result of rising transportation demands.
  • Capitalizing on Ann Arbor’s diverse economy, including the presence of industrial zones, distribution centers, and businesses that rely on trucking services.
  • Attracting tourists and leisure travelers by offering convenient services, rest areas, and amenities to enhance their travel experience.
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  • Vulnerability to economic downturns that could potentially impact trucking industry activity and customer spending patterns.
  • Changes in regulations related to trucking, fuel, health, and safety, or environmental requirements that may impact operations and increase compliance costs.
  • Fluctuations in fuel prices can affect profit margins and customer behavior.
  • The possibility of new truck stops or travel centers entering the market intensifies regional competition.
b. How Does the Truck Stop Business Make Money?

Truck-stop businesses generate revenue through various streams. Here are some common ways that truck stop businesses make money:

  • Fuel Sales
  • Parking Fees
  • Convenience Store Sales
  • Additional Services: showers (for which a fee is charged), laundry facilities, maintenance and repair services, truck wash facilities, Wi-Fi access, business center services (faxing, printing, etc.), and more
  • Advertising and Partnerships
  • Vending Machines and Gaming Areas.
c. Payment Options
  • Credit or Debit Card
  • Cash
  • Electronic Payment Systems such as PayPal or Venmo
  • Checks
  • Bank Transfers.
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Utilize online advertising platforms such as Google Ads, social media ads (Facebook, Instagram), and display advertising to reach your target audience.
  • Maintain an active presence on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Regularly post engaging content, including photos, videos, promotions, and updates about upcoming events or attractions.
  • Encourage customers to share their experiences and use relevant hashtags to expand your reach.
  • Collaborate with local influencers or bloggers who have a significant following among your target audience.
  • Build an email list of customers and potential customers who have shown interest in your truck stop.
  • Encourage your existing customers to refer their friends and family to your truck stop.
  • Forge partnerships with complementary businesses in your area, such as warehouse operators, shipping and logistics companies, and fleet operators.
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Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for Your Product/Service?

Parking Fees: The parking fees can range from $10 to $30 or more per night, depending on the location and facilities provided.

Shower Fees: These fees typically range from $10 to $15 per shower, although some truck stops may offer free showers with the purchase of a minimum amount of fuel.

Fuel Prices: The price of fuel at truck stops can vary based on market conditions, location, and other factors.

Dining Expenses: The cost of dining at truck stop restaurants or fast-food chains can vary depending on the menu and location. Prices for meals, snacks, and beverages are generally comparable to other dining establishments in the area.

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Convenience Store Items: The prices of items sold in convenience stores at truck stops, such as groceries, snacks, beverages, personal care items, and automotive supplies, are typically similar to those found in other convenience stores.

b. How Much Profit Do Truck Stop Business Owners Make a Year?

The profit that truck stop business owners can make in a year can vary significantly depending on several factors such as the size of the business, its location, the number of clients, the pricing strategy, and the expenses involved in running the business.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the truck stop business
  • The service and product offerings of the truck stop business
  • The location of the truck stop business is covering
  • The management style of the truck stop business
  • The business approach of the truck stop business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the truck stop business.
  • The number of years the truck stop business is in business
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d. What is the Profit Margin of a Truck Stop Business Product/Service?

On average, the profit margin for truck stop business products ranges from 10% to 30%, depending on the location, and service offerings.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a truck stop business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States.

  • First Fiscal Year (FY1): $950,000
  • Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $1.5 million
  • Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $2.8 million
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Truck Stop Business?
  • The demography of the location as it relates to the number of trucks that passes through the location.
  • The demand for the services offered by truck stop businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents in and around the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of truck stops in and around the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking, and security et al
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b. What State and City is Best to Open a Truck Stop Business?
  • Los Angeles, California
  • New York City, New York
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Francisco, California
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Miami, Florida.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Truck Stop Business?
  • Fuel Dispensers
  • Parking Facilities
  • Restroom Facilities
  • Dining Facilities (commercial-grade kitchen equipment, food preparation stations, refrigeration units, ovens, grills, and seating areas for customers).
  • Convenience Store Shelving and Displays
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
  • Signage (outdoor signs, direction signs, and pricing boards for fuel).
  • Security Systems (surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and lighting, to ensure the safety of customers and their vehicles).
  • Maintenance and Repair Equipment (landscaping equipment, cleaning supplies, and basic repair tools).
  • Office equipment such as computers, printers, copiers, and communication systems.
  1. Hire Employees

If you are looking to start a truck stop business, then you should make plans to hire employees because a truck stop business cannot be run by an individual. It requires a team to effectively run a truck stop business because of how big the facility is.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

Organizing an opening party for a new truck stop business can be a good way to introduce your business to the community and create awareness for your services.

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If you want to go ahead to organize a proper launch for your truck stop business, then you must make sure to invite potential clients (truck drivers, food truck operators, travelers et al), key stakeholders, and other members of the community who may be interested in your services.

a. What Makes a Truck Stop Business Successful?
  • Being consistently reliable
  • Excellent customer service
  • Excellent facilities, services, and amenities
  • Emphasis on safety
  • Efficient operations
  • Compliance with regulations
  • Hiring skilled and knowledgeable employees and providing ongoing training that will ensure you deliver high-quality services.
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Truck Stop Business?
  • The truck stop business opens its doors for the day, usually early in the morning, ensuring that all necessary facilities, such as fuel stations, parking areas, restrooms, dining facilities, and convenience stores, are ready for customers.
  • Staff members oversee the parking facilities, guiding customers to available parking spaces and managing the flow of incoming and outgoing vehicles.
  • The convenience store opens, offering a range of products to customers. Staff members restock shelves, assist customers with their purchases, handle transactions at the point of sale, and maintain the cleanliness and organization of the store.
  • Staff members provide assistance and support to customers throughout the day. This includes answering questions, providing directions, addressing customer concerns or complaints, and ensuring a positive customer experience.
  • Administrative staff members handle various tasks such as managing inventory, accounting and bookkeeping, scheduling shifts, responding to emails or phone inquiries, and coordinating with suppliers and vendors.
  • Towards the end of the day, the truck stop business prepares for closure. This involves cleaning and tidying up the premises, conducting cash reconciliations, ensuring security measures are in place, and making sure all facilities are ready for the next day’s operations.
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c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Truck Stop Business?
  • Facility management skills
  • Business Management Skills
  • Financial Management Skills
  • Knowledge of the Trucking and Transportation Industry
  • Strategic Planning and Decision-Making Abilities
  • Marketing and Customer Service Skills
  • Understanding of Regulatory Compliance
  • Property Development and Construction Experience
  • Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Operational Management Skills
  • Problem-Solving and Adaptability Abilities.

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 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.