Funding your Filling Station Business
GET A PERSONALISED QUOTE
- Commercial Mortgages from 2% above base rate
- Lease deposit loans
- Secured Loans - £250,000 or more from 2% above base rate
- Fit out and refurbishment funding
- 'Jigsaw' funding designed around your needs
- Unsecured loans up to £25,000 from 4.9%
- HP up to 60 months from 6%
- Equipment Lease - with no capital costs
- Cashflow support
- Merchant Cash Advances
- Working Capital Loans
- Tax Loans
Electric cars are becoming mainstream, but filling stations selling petrol, diesel and LPG, will be vital for motorists for many years yet.
Selling fuel is the main reason for the existence of the filling station, and can mean a predictable revenue. The margin on fuel may only be around 5p per litre, but a large motorway site with around 2.5 million litres per year will generate about £100k, even before the huge range of added value items are considered.
However, the main income is not the fuel itself: the real profits come from many other revenue streams, supported by a steady stream of fuel customers.
Coffee and snacks are obvious impulse purchases, but it is becoming increasingly common for filling stations to also work as convenience stores. Selling groceries and alcohol can be important money spinners, especially if delivery logistics can be provided by an established retailer. Other business opportunities, such as car sales, can also be lucrative. There is plenty of scope for your own business initiatives to build your income.
A filling station in a good location can generate income 24 hours a day. Obviously, there are peak times, but a location near a busy motorway junction and enough space to offer HGV access can expect a constant round of customers.
Filling stations can be either franchise or independent businesses, and costs can vary widely according to location and size. The cost of buying a business or franchise, buying in stock and dealing with costs of staff can be high.
Along with purchase costs, independent stations may also be required to put up a large deposit or even pay upfront for delivery of fuel.
Fortunately, there are many forms of business finance which could help, from Commercial Mortgages which might help buy the business and premises to a variety of lending and factoring solutions which could help deal with stock and staff needs.
To understand how to get the funding you need, it helps to look at the costs you are likely to face:
- Buying a business
- Staff costs
- Fund your operation
- Dealing with tax
What to look out for
If you are thinking of buying an existing business, you will want to look closely at the accounts, as well as considering the potential of the site.
There are a host of regulations to understand and stick to. The condition of pumps and fuel storage tanks are both important considerations – if they are not in good condition, the local trading standards may insist on replacement. You should also consider security. Businesses with shatterproof windows, security systems and security cameras may provide peace of mind, and electronic door systems for 24-hour stations are worth considering.
Armed with the funding you need, it may be possible for you to negotiate the price - and secure a profitable base for your own business plans for less.
Obviously, all motorists must buy fuel but competition is huge, with many supermarkets discounting on fuel as a loss leader in their out of town sites. Just as choosing the right location is essential to capture passing trade, it is also vital to avoid being undercut.
Running a petrol station is certainly not a 9-5 job – in fact, the busiest hours for your business are when commuters are travelling to and from work, although drivers can be on the road at any time of the day or night. Most petrol stations are open seven days a week and involve early starts – often from 5 am and staying open to midnight, while the very largest are open 24 hours.
Having staff for coverage at all times is essential. Staff costs need to be factored into any financial planning. Funding may be available to deal with the operational costs of taking on staff until your business is profitable.
The retail business is becoming increasingly sophisticated. You need electronic POS, attractive lighting and refrigerated displays. You may also need forecourt equipment, such as new pumps.
Asset Finance - both HP and leasing - can be the most cost-effective way to provide the equipment you need, allowing you to spread the costs over time, and letting your business equipment pay for itself in increased sales and efficiency.
Many petrol stations are franchised operations. As the franchise owner, you will be responsible for the retail business, trading in the shop and selling goods on your own account. You will also be responsible for employing, training, managing and motivating your own staff. You should be running a high turnover business, operating 365 days a year, and open long hours – quite possibly 24 hours a day.
You’ll still be your own boss, with every opportunity to make the decisions that will help you make the most of your business, but you will have the support of a major brand. Training is likely to be provided by the fuel company, and should cover everything from back office procedures and computer management to merchandising and customer service.
Most companies will look for energy and enthusiasm before granting a franchise – a positive attitude and an entrepreneurial approach are essential.
Costs are substantially less than are required to buy an independent filling station business. Most franchises will expect an initial investment of between £10,000 and £20,000 capital, dependent upon the size and turnover of the service station shop. Buying in stock and the costs of trading, including staff will, of course, be your responsibility.
Special arrangements may be available to fund franchises.
Funding your operation
Your retail business will require stock, which could require external funding for your first weeks and months of operation, while you guide your business into profit.
As an independent, you may also need to pay for fuel upfront, or to arrange a bond to fill your tanks.
Working Capital Finance could help, from loans which might help buy into the business to a variety of lending and factoring solutions to help deal with stock and staff needs. Another alternative may be Merchant Cash Advances, which provide funding as an advance on your card takings.
Your filling station business may face large quarterly VAT or annual tax demands. These can cause problems with cash flow and mean major costs that need to be paid without delay.
Tax Loans help you to spread the cost of your tax demands into affordable regular monthly payments. They can also help you avoid issues with HMRC, with the potential penalties and reputational damage that may entail.
Helping your filling station business deal with financial challenges
Any business can run into financial difficulties. A sudden downturn from increased competition from a nearby supermarket, or from major roadworks can trigger problems for your business.
Without the right financial precautions in place, you could find that the problem escalates rapidly.
At Rangewell, we know the solutions which can help your business deal with this kind of challenge.
Even if you have a current financial problem you have a damaged credit history or CCjs, we know the lenders which can help.
REAL EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE CAN DO
Find the most competitive loan to buy a filling station
Help find finance to refurbish an established retail area
Source the most cost-effective commercial loan to buy stock
Help arrange ‘jigsaw’ funding for a takeover of an established business
Set up emergency cashflow finance to support an operator when roadworks meant a downturn
Why Rangewell for your financial needs?
At Rangewell, our team is made up of finance experts with backgrounds in various sectors. We understand the challenges retailers and filling station operators face. So when you call us, you can talk to someone who knows the questions you have - and the answers to them.
Whether you have a straightforward finance need, or require a complicated ‘Jigsaw’ funding plan made up of a combination of products, we can work with you to find the answers that are right for you and your plans for the future of your filling station business.
We know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates for all types of finance. Simply call us to get our expertise working for you.
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Helping you build your profits
Versatile fundingAt Rangewell we can help you find the most appropriate finance for any funding need your business faces.
Work with experts who understand your sectorAt Rangewell, our team includes experts in the retail sector who know the financial solutions.
Providing solutions for equipmentWhether you need retail displays or new pumps.
Reducing riskSome funding can present a risk to your business - we can find those that minimise risk.
The scale of funding you needThe more business you do, the greater your funding needs may be. We can find funding to grow with you.
Affordable cashflow solutionsA cashflow support facility may be costly. We can help ensure they are manageable.
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