Location is vital for various reasons, including consumer accessibility and convenience.
“Location can also be main difference between a successful investment and a failed business venture. The value of convenience stores and gas stations, like many other real estate properties, is determined by the location of your station,” said Elie Y. Katz, President and CEO of National Retail Solutions (NRS). Value is critical to help you determine whether this is the right site for you. If it is desirable, it will attract many more customers and be easier to sell in the future, resulting in a higher return on investment.”
Checklist for Choosing a Location
The first step should be the accessibility of the location. Is your spot easily accessible to customers?
“You want a location that stands out when people drive by and has accessibility,” Katz said. “This means your site should be on the road or directly connected to main roads, such as a highway or intersection, and not somewhere hidden.”
However, if you find construction near your site, it can make it difficult for consumers to fill up their tanks at your site. The local government may block off the nearby roads if a large construction project occurs near your establishment. This would be detrimental to a gas station that relies on people driving by for business.
“Additionally, construction projects may affect your permits and permission to use a specific area,” Katz said. “Thus when choosing a site, you will want to find out if there is existing construction nearby or if future projects are happening near where your business would be. It is also best to research what areas have the most foot traffic and what other stores are nearby.”
If you have competition nearby, you should think about relocating or figuring out how to get ahead of them. Large chain stores may be more challenging to compete with because many customers recognize them. However, providing more services than your rivals can increase foot traffic in the long run.
For example, if other gas stations do not offer car washes, deals, or loyalty programs, be the first to do so.
“Customers will want to visit your business because it provides the best value for their money. When advertising your discounts and loyalty programs, ensure you have big signs near the highway or road or in the convenience store so that customers are more likely to spend money at your business than anyone else’s,” Katz said. “Customers like the idea of saving money, and if you advertise that you have discounts, loyalty programs, and lower prices, your business will become more popular.”
Now, you know what to look for in a location and how to set yourself up. You may need to familiarize yourself with the state and federal laws. Your state may have specific areas and environmental regulations regarding gas stations.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the primary regulator of oil and gas companies, but other organizations oversee specific aspects of the industry,” Katz said. “Research the laws and regulations to learn more about your state’s and federal laws because some are different for each state, such as the colder and hotter weathered states.”
All of these factors are helpful to think about when choosing the best site for convenience stores and gas stations.