Are you interested in doing business in the oil and gas industry? Do you need a sample cooking gas retail business plan template? Then below is an in-depth guide on how to start a cooking gas retailing business. Cooking gas (natural gas) is a clear, odorless gas that is used for cooking as a cheaper alternative to electric energy.
It is also a clean alternative to coal-based electricity and kerosene-fueled cooking. This explains why it is now the most preferred cooking fuel by homes and businesses. The huge and booming demand for cooking gas in virtually all urban settlements worldwide has created lucrative opportunities for smart entrepreneurs. If you have been looking to start a business of your own, a cooking gas retail business might just be the best option for you.
The cooking gas retail business involves buying huge quantities of cooking gas, storing it in tanks, and selling it to individuals that use it for domestic cooking as well as industries that require large quantities for fueling purposes. In this post, we will be looking at the steps involved in starting a cooking gas retailing business.
But before we get into that, you need to bear in mind or be reminded that cooking gas could be very dangerous if not properly handled. So, think twice before taking a plunge. Now, here are the steps involved in setting up a cooking gas retail business:
Starting a Cooking Gas Retail Company – Sample Business Plan Template
1. Learn everything you can about this business
- How is cooking gas measured?
- Where do you buy from?
- What are the common challenges cooking gas retailers face?
- How do you identify quality gas?
- How do you handle your gas cylinders?
- How do you refill a customer’s gas cylinder?
- What are the various types of cooking gas that exists and which is the best?
- What are the factors that affect the market price of cooking gas?
The questions above are important and you definitely need to answer them before investing a dime in the cooking gas retail business. This is why investing time to learn the intricacies of the cooking gas retail business is very important.
Knowledge is one of the keys to success in any business. You definitely cannot plunge into an unknown business terrain and hope to find success within the shortest period of time. So I advice you invest time to get the basic insider knowledge about this business. If possible, it is best you seek tutelage from someone established in this business.
2. Write a business plan
No matter how lucrative a business idea or opportunity might seem, writing a business plan is very important, as it reveals many important details that you may not have paid attention to. Writing a business plan will give you some insight into the feasibility of the business in your locale, the required start-up capital, the costs of running the business, the market and competition, and other very important factors.
3. Find an ideal location
After the necessary homework, you need to find an appropriate piece of property for your business. Because of the hazardous nature of cooking gas, most federal and state governments have laid-down regulations concerning the site of a cooking gas retailing business. So it is very important that you find out the rules that apply in your state or country regarding property to be used for cooking gas retailing. A good idea is to consult an attorney.
Another factor you will need to bear in mind when choosing a location is your market. It is important that you locate your business close to where there are many potential customers. For instance, locating such business as cooking gas retailing in a rural area is a bad idea.
However, some good places to site your cooking gas retail store are residential areas (majorly dominated by the middle class), high institutions (students now prefer cooking with gas than kerosene because gas is odorless, smoke-free, cooks faster and last longer), entertainment centers such as hotels, restaurants and fast food outlets.
4. Install the needed facilities
Hire professionals to help you install the tanks, electronics, and other equipment and facilities that you will need to conduct your business safely. (Remember, cooking gas could be dangerous)! After installation, it is important that you check all equipment and facilities and ensure that they have been well-fixed. You must also ensure that there are no leakages or loose fittings.
5. Make arrangements for transportation
If you would have to transport or distribute cooking gas to customers in fairly distant places, then you will need to get a truck or van that is capable of safely hauling cooking gas. But if you cannot afford to buy one, you can lease one each time you need it, pending when you would be able to procure yours.
Whether you have your truck or you would be getting one on lease, you must ensure that its conditions meet the requirements for vehicles hauling hazardous materials such as cooking gas.
6. Handle the legal aspect
You will need to have a standard service contract drafted by your attorney. If required, send a copy of this contract to your state’s regulatory agency and await the agency’s approval. After your contract has been approved, send the approval letter with your financial statement to the utility company you would be doing business with. Most utility companies require a bank statement to prove the credibility and financial strength of your business.
7. Insure your business
Sh*t happens in business, but when it comes to a cooking gas retail business; this sh*t could cost you your life or property, and even earn you a lawsuit. Mind you that you are dealing with a hazardous substance, an inflammable product; so please get an insurance cover, especially for fire accidents.
8. Start operations and marketing
With everything in place, you can launch your business. To attract customers, you can adopt aggressive marketing strategies and offer attractive discounts. Promise customers rewards for referring new customers, and you would attract many customers within a short period.
Additional tips for running a cooking gas retail business
a. Always handle cooking gas and all equipment with caution. Cooking gas is a hazardous gas that could cause a fire outbreak if not well handled. Never allow smokers and open flame in and around your business location.
b. Always respond promptly to any correspondence from your state or country’s regulatory agency, as faltering in this regard may attract huge fines or cost you your license.
c. Always keep in touch with your attorney to ensure that you remain compliant with current laws.
d. Always stay in touch with your suppliers, they will notify you of current trends and price changes. Remember that the price of gas fluctuates with respect to the price of other household cooking commodities such as kerosene and coal.
4 Challenges of Starting a Cooking Gas Retail Business
1. You will be dealing with an inflammable product
Gas is a highly inflammable product and just one little mistake can result to an explosion; and a corresponding loss of lives and properties. So it is important you maintain a high safety standard in your premises and refill your customers gas tanks in open places. You should also place fire extinguishers strategically throughout your store and be sure to get insurance cover.
2. You are exposed to health hazards
In the course of refilling your gas tanks and those of the customers, you are bound to inhale at least a minimal dose of gas. This will not affect your health in anyway but when you inhale these small doses of gas over a long period of time, your health and life becomes endangered. A good way to protect yourself and your body is to buy gas masks and put them on when refilling the tanks.
3. The price of gas changes constantly
The price of gas rises and falls constantly, so you should always be on guard for this sudden price changes. The best way to tackle this challenge is to be well informed of industry developments.
4. Your sales is highly dependent on the economic situation of your region
If your business is sited in a region where the standard of living is poor and the inhabitants use more of firewood and kerosene stove, then your business is already a failure from the start. So try to site your business in a positive economic area with working class residents. You can also target restaurants, fast food outlets, etc; as these ones need a steady supply of gas.