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Keys to Site Selection

Choosing the right site can be a challenge. Whether you're acquiring an existing fuel station or building a new one, these questions will help you determine the potential success of each site. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get started.

What is the level of competition around the new site?

When you're choosing a site, we know it can be tough to interpret competition. Of course, your instinct might tell you to avoid investing in an area that has existing competition. But did you know in many cases, competition can be a great sign of potential success?

What is the level of competition around the new site?

When you're choosing a site, we know it can be tough to interpret competition. Of course, your instinct might tell you to avoid investing in an area that has existing competition. But did you know in many cases, competition can be a great sign of potential success?

You'll want to avoid investing in an area that is already noticeably over-saturated with gas stations. A popular high-density area may have a large number of stations, so consider carefully how you will offer more value than the competition. If you have to win business over multiple competitors, you may be positioning yourself for a challenging future.

The natural growth of cities presents an opportunity. Look at parts of the city where natural growth will increase the fuel volume of an area. Understand what new players will be arriving in that same area by looking at zoning and city planning documents that are accessible to the public.

Also look closely at nearby big-box retailers offering significant fuel discounts. Understand the discount gap between the local stations and the big-box retailers offering gas. Examine the nearby grocery stores and wholesale clubs without a gas offering and evaluate if you think there is a chance they may expand into fuel. You will also want to research whether or not those grocery stores offer fuel at other locations

However, don't be afraid of competition. In some cases, trying to build in a location with zero opposition can be more frightening than high competition. Healthy competition indicates that there is demand in the area. With that said, even if there is low competition but rapid growth, it could result in higher sales volumes.

Also, consider investing in site modeling. There are a number of reputable companies that will, for a fee, create a digital model of the site you are planning to build at the specified location. They can predict gasoline volume, convenience store sales and the potential for alternate profit centers.

Lastly, invest in a good architect who specializes in gas stations and who is familiar with the city and state ordinances. Ask for and check references.

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Is it accessible to a high-traffic roadway (interstate or highway)?

Location is among the top two considerations of gas station consumers when choosing a fuel station.* Consumers will even pay more to avoid turning into an area that makes entering or exiting difficult. Make sure you have a presence along a key street or highway that will bring you a steady stream of new consumers. And take into consideration how the traffic flows during different times of day. The site itself must not only be easily accessible, but also positioned on the side of the street that gets the heavy flow of traffic. If you're not on the path, you'll be asking a lot from your consumers.

*Source: NACS, 2014 Consumer Fuels Report

Are there any future construction plans/projects that would impact your site accessibility?

Check construction records and plans within the area. If a major road or interstate will be closed or moved, your steady stream of consumers may be reduced to a trickle. That lag in business can be difficult to make up for.

What are the state/federal environmental laws for a gas station, and what is the history behind this site?

Understand the laws and regulations you will need to observe as a site owner. Most importantly, check the history of the existing gas tanks for documentation on leaks and/or environmental issues. You don't want to clean up a mess someone else is leaving behind.