Business Overview

Gas station businesses attract customers by selling gasoline, which most people need for their vehicle. Gasoline is just one of the many products that gas stations may sell to travelers, though. Many stations also offer foods, drinks and convenience store items. According to IBISWorld, the gas station industry brings in $89 billion annually through selling products like these.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who has an acumen for business and enjoys interacting with people may be well-suited for running a gas station business. Understanding how to operate a business will help ensure that a gas station is run efficiently, and it helps to be a people person because gas stations often serve hundreds of customers in a single day.

What happens during a typical day at a gas station?

On a day-to-day basis, a gas station business owner or their employees will need to:

  • Accept shipments
  • Restock inventory
  • Prepare pre-made food and drinks (if offered)
  • Ring up sales for customers
  • Clean the gas station (e.g. empty trashes and clean the restrooms)

When not working on these tasks, business owners must also schedule and manage employees, place orders for products and pay bills.

What is the target market?

A gas station business’ ideal customer is either a family that’s traveling or a long-haul truck driver. Traveling families won’t purchase a lot of fuel, but they’ll frequently get snacks or beverages for everyone in the family. Long-haul truck drivers will also frequently purchase some food or a beverage, and they’ll also often spend hundreds of dollars filling up their truck’s tank.

While these are ideal customers, gas station business owners aren’t picky about whom they serve. Anyone who comes into a gas station is a likely customer and will probably spend at least a few dollars on an item.

How does a gas station make money?

A gas station business makes money by selling products to drivers and passengers. Stations are named for their primary product: gasoline. This is just one of many products that gas stations sell though. Most gas stations also offer:

  • Pre-made food (e.g. pizza and hot dogs)
  • Beverages (e.g. such as coffees, teas and sodas)
  • Snacks (e.g. ice cream, candy and chips)
  • Grocery staples (e.g. milk, bread and eggs)
  • Basic automotive supplies (e.g. windshield washer fluid and tire pressure gauges)
  • Beer and wine (if permitted by law)
  • Tobacco products and lottery tickets

What is the growth potential for a gas station?

A gas station business owner may operate a single gas station, or they may have several in a region. Owners who have one station can operate as an independent business or a franchise, while those who have multiple stations in a region often elect to get franchises. Pronto Food Mart in Austin, Texas is an example of an independent station. Chevron is one gas company that has franchises available around the country.