If you want to start a new gas station business, the first thing you will need is a comprehensive gas station business plan. A business plan will give you clarity on what you will need for your business, and the operational requirements. A business plan is also an important tool for acquiring financing from lenders or investors. This post outlines the important sections with a brief summary of the key points to capture when writing a gas station business plan.
Overview of a Business Plan
A well written business plan should include the following sections:
- An executive summary
- Business industry and overview
- Marketing strategy and analysis
- Risks and significant opportunities
- Location and assets
- Management and human resource
- Financial plan and budget
Your executive summary should outline how your gas station will provide fuel for motorists and at the same time stand out from competitors. It should be short and precise and appealing enough to capture the attention of your audience. The executive summary motivates the reader to read the entire plan. Its therefore, important to highlight the key points for each so that the reader can grasp briefly what you intended to put across. Among the important points to articulate are your gas station business objectives, fuel business industry environment, the fuel products and services, location, target market, competitive advantage (unique selling point) and the specific gap you will be filling.
This section introduces your gas station business by briefly describing the company profile, mission, vision, core values, organizational structure, and the strategic objectives. The profile gives a brief history of the business, the fuel products and services you will be offering, the location of the gas station and your projected growth. The vision should include your long-term and short-term goals and how you will achieve them. Also, include the organizational structure, your daily workflow, and other operational activities that will make your business achieve your desired goals.
Business industry and overview
In this section, you talk about industry trends and the external factors that affect the gas station business, both positively and negatively. Also, state the major players in the gas station with convenience stores business both nationally and your direct local competitors that influence your business. The major players in Canada you may mention include Suncor (Petro-Canada), Imperial Oil Limited (Esso), Shell, 7-Eleven, Superstore (Mobil), Co-op etc. Locally you can mention businesses at most five to ten kilometers from your desired location. Additionally, describe the products and services your gas station will offer, including the grades of gas and types of oil for instance regular gasoline, midgrade gasoline, premium gasoline, diesel fuel, automotive services etc.
To increase customer base, you may want to include other complementary products and services such as a convenience store that sells snacks, chips, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco and lottery products, groceries, souvenirs, mechanical repair service, and automotive service such as car wash. Finally, mention the government and industry policies and regulations, permit requirements i.e. health, safety and environment. Other than regulations, you can talk about your initiative of innovation and investment in the environment to show your interest in protecting communities, people and the environment as a whole.
Market strategy and analysis
A marketing strategy describes your overall game plan for reaching prospective. Talk about the marketing strategies you will use to introduce your gas station to the market and how you plan to attract and retain customers. One thing to note is that marketing in the gas station industry is highly dependent on your supplier’s brand name. Most customers are loyal to specific brands. You therefore have to choose your supplier diligently and brand your station to reflect your supplier’s brand image and standard of service. This way you will benefit from increased business due their larger marketing efforts and customer loyalty programs, such as rewards programs with grocery stores.
Also, discuss in detail your specific target market and list down your direct competitors and write down a summary of their product/service offering, pricing strategy, target market, strengths, and weaknesses. Mention how you plan to differentiate your gas station from your competitors i.e., by offering in demand convenience goods, automotive repairs, after sale services (e.g. wind screen cleaning), your supplier’s brand image, etc. Your unique selling point may focus on your choice of location which can be an area with high traffic with no other existing gas station.
In your SWOT analysis, explain how you will maximize on your strengths and take advantage of the business opportunities. Also, indicate how you will minimize your weaknesses and threats. These points can touch on your target market, the location of the gas station, the fuel options, and industry trends. Some of the strengths as a result of industry trends you can mention include low capital requirements, low imports, high revenue per employee and low product/ service concentration. Weaknesses on the other hand may include high competition and high customer class concentration. You may also want to mention the opportunities presented by the industry such as high revenue growth and high per capita disposable income. Threats majorly facing the industry that you will want to address on your mitigation strategies include the world oil price, which is expected to decrease, heavy regulation of the industry, low demand of fuel due to the pandemic, etc.
Location and assets
Mention where you plan to set up your gas station and indicate why you selected that area. If you have any future growth plans list down the locations, you plan to open other gas stations. State your equipment and fuel procurement plans indicating where you plan to buy or lease your gas station and convenience store and oil depot solution which are necessary for the operation of the business.
Management and human resources
This section identifies the personnel responsible for the running and management of the business. Here you talk about the founders, team leader or manager of your business, the entire employee workforce, their roles and employee benefits. Also discuss their profiles pointing out how suitable they are for the running of the business.
Insurance for a Gas Station Business
From leaky fuel tanks to burglaries, running a gas station can be a risky endeavor. Insurance will secure the business in the event of the unanticipated circumstances. You therefore should state the insurance packages you will be having.
Financial plan and budget
This is the most important section of your business plan to your audience. The investor or lender will want to know how your business is going to perform financially. Prepare financial projections for the next five years to determine the start-up costs of leasing or buying a gas station and making the pumps operational. Your financial documents should show the cost of required licenses, insurance, payroll, interest expense for servicing the loan or return to the investor, utilities and environmental services. Calculate the revenues you anticipate from the sale of fuel, automotive products and concessions in your revenue projections
In summary, a gas station business plan document is a requirement in the business planning process. It enables you to realize your vision and achieve your goals. A well crafted, comprehensive and appealing plan for your gas station will enable you to capture all aspects of your business in an enticing manner. You can get in touch with us at Vaisus Consulting to help you prepare an exhaustive, funding-ready gas station business plan that is customized to meet your needs. To speak with one of our consultants, schedule an appointment with us.