Before you buy a gas station, learn what it takes and how to find financing.
How can I finance the purchase of a gas station?
Buying a gas station can be costly. If you need help financing your purchase, you’ll need to apply for a business loan. You can find business loans from a variety of lender types — including online, bank and alternative lenders. It’s worth shopping around to find the lender and loan that meet your needs.
To qualify for a loan, you’ll need to provide business account balance sheets and profit statements for the gas station to demonstrate its current financial position. The lender will also consider your own personal finances and any previous industry experience you have before approving or denying your loan.
Business loans to consider when buying a gas station
How much will a gas station cost?
Every gas station comes with unique set of expenses and assets, and costs can vary depending on the size and location of the business. You can choose to rent the land its on or buy it outright, which impacts the final cost. Business-specific factors, like electronic doors and security systems, will also impact how much you’ll pay. Gas stations could cost over $1 million to purchase.
Have the business professionally evaluated before you buy, and make sure your assessment include the following:
- Previous years’ financial statements
- Physical assets like machinery, buildings, equipment and stock
- Registration papers and permits
- Property lease, if applicable
- Market conditions, including competition in the local area
- Sales reports and forecasts
- Business plan for future growth
- Employee skills, experience and pay rates
- Supplier details and arrangements
While you may consider trying to calculate the value of a business yourself, this is a task that’s usually best left to an expert. An accountant or business advisor or can help you analyze both your own finances and the value of any business you’re considering buying. They can also examine market trends to help you work out a fair value for the gas station.
What are the ongoing costs of ownership?
Running a business takes time and money, and this can be an investment for years to come. You’ll not only have to factor in the changing price of gas, but also the cost of running an attached convenience store. Most of your money will be made inside the store, not at the pump. Success comes from good retail management: regular shifts, hours and inventory.
Large, clean stores attract customers, but so do low prices at the pump. In fact, many experts on the industry state that low market prices will have a positive impact on your profit margin, which is often around 2%.
Your basic costs will largely depend on the following points:
- Employee wages
- Refilling the tanks
- Ordering store items
- Store maintenance
Generally speaking, gas station monthly operating costs range between $10,000 and $20,000.
What else should I consider when buying a gas station?
Gas stations require a lot of hands-on work to function successfully. You should keep these points in mind when assessing whether or not you want to buy a station and run your business.
- Choosing a franchise. Many of the big-name companies offer franchise options for independent owners. While the franchisor covers you if any laws change or your tanks break, you’ll be limited to its gas selection and may face steep increases in rent and competition from other franchisees.
- Going independent. If you don’t want to join with a major brand, consider buying an independent gas station. While this means you don’t have to answer to a major conglomerate, it also means you don’t get the support with marketing and running your business that you could expect from a major brand.
- Your experience. Lenders want to know your business will be successful, and that means demonstrating you know how to run a gas station — or at least know how to manage retail. It will be much harder to find financing if you don’t have past experience, and the lender will likely review your funding arrangement yearly.
- Location, location, location. The location of a gas station and the traffic that passes by are crucial to its financial success. A gas station located on a main road or off an interstate will likely have more business than one out in the country.
- The competition. While location is critical, gas stations in prime locations will usually have plenty of direct competition nearby. This can have a huge impact on profitability and is another factor lenders consider when assessing your application.
- Financial position. You’ll need to take a close look at the financial position of the gas station to determine whether it represents a viable purchase and can continue providing a profit. Have a third-party inspector come in to evaluate the business and the physical condition of the store, fixtures and pumps.
Although gas stations tend to have thin profit margins, they are a fairly stable business with predictable revenue. If you find a good deal and have the capital to invest, a gas station can be a great way to own your own business and run an intimate store with plenty of potential customers. Compare your business loan options before deciding on a lender to make sure you find the best fit.