According to industry statistics, there are over 150,000 gas stations in the United States. As cities continue to grow and domestic travel increases, the demand for gas stations will inevitably increase. Gas station owners can pull in anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 and upwards. And although gas stations are a relatively safe business, they require a significant upfront investment(Source).
We researched the key components of a gas station and concluded that the average cost to build a 3,200 square-foot building is $2,448,400. This figure also includes exterior features, such as the parking lot, fuel tanks, pumps, and signage. Furthermore, the cost of our calculation consists of an acre of commercial land.
|Fiberglass Fuel Tank||$190,000|
Want to learn more about the cost of building a gas station? We’ll look at every part of constructing a gas station and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
- Parking Lot
- Outdoor Lights
- Fiberglass Fuel Tank
- Fuel Pumps
- Store Equipment
- Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the size of the gas station, you’ll need approximately one acre of land. The lot size gives you sufficient space for a parking lot, building, gas pumps, and a small back loading dock. An acre of land can go from $100,000 to $5 million (high-traffic inner-city commercial land costs the highest).
However, you can reasonably estimate that a one-acre property in a prime location will cost at least $800,000. Nonetheless, you can adjust that size accordingly based on where you live and the size of your gas station.
Most city ordinances require you to have one parking spot per 250 square feet of the building. The average gas station in the United States measures roughly 3,200 square feet. Thus, you would need 13 parking spots (3,200 divided by 250). The average cost to pave a parking space plus the additional driving space is roughly $2,200.
If you have 13 parking spaces, you would have to pay a minimum of $28,600 to construct the parking lot. You must also add another $2,000 to the cost to make your parking lot handicap accessible, bringing the total cost to $30,600. We recommend checking your city code to determine how many parking lot spaces you need based on the square footage of your gas station.
You’ll need at least two 20 ft. light poles to illuminate your gas station’s parking lot. A single-pole can hold up to four light fixtures. The initial cost to purchase and install the light poles should include the LED lightbulbs. A 20 ft. light pole cost roughly $3,500, and you’ll need to pay another $1,200 to install it. If you light your gas station parking lot with two light poles, you should budget $9,400.
Fiberglass Fuel Tank
One would argue that the most expensive part of setting up a gas station is constructing the fuel system. The standard gas station has two underground fuel tanks that hold 12,000 gallons of gas each. These fuel tanks will set you back $28,000 each, or $56,000 for both.
The entire system, including installation costs, runs about $190,000. Aboveground fiberglass fuel tank systems are much more affordable, but they’re not commonplace in the gas station industry. You should also ensure that you work with an experienced contractor as replacing a fuel tank is extremely expensive if there’s a leak or other maintenance issue.
Fuel pumps are another expensive albeit inevitable part of building a gas station. Since most gas stations have between six to twelve pumps, we’ll use eight to demonstrate the potential cost.
The average fuel pump costs $20,000 to install, depending on its features (i.e., multiple fuels and touchscreen technology). You will also need to pay a professional about $2,500 to install each pump.
Thus, you will pay $160,000 for the pumps and $20,000 for the installation costs ($180,000 in total). The fuel system, including the fuel pumps and fiberglass fuel tanks, costs roughly $400,000. Depending on the size of your gas station, the total cost of fuel pumps could range from $135,000 (six pumps) to $270,000 (twelve pumps).
When constructing a gas station, you’ll need two signs – one that attaches to the building and the exterior sign that sits on the property’s parking lot alongside the road. Lighted signage costs approximately $10,000, depending on how many letters your business name has.
On the other hand, an exterior sign with gasoline prices and your company’s logo will cost $18,000. Therefore, you should budget $28,000 for signage. For every additional sign you add, increase this amount by $10,000.
The average gas station has sturdier construction compared to a house or apartment. Most contractors construct gas stations with steel frames and concrete.
The cost of a gas station, including steel-frame construction, concrete foundation and siding, and interior fixtures, is approximately $350 per square foot. Given that the average gas station measures 3,200 square feet, the total cost of constructing the building is $1.1 million.
To determine the cost of a gas station, you’ll need to include store equipment. Although the price of equipment varies based on the size of your gas station, we’ll provide cost estimates based on an average square footage of 3,200.
Note: Equipment doesn’t include inventory but rather large ticket items such as a soda foundation, walk-in cooler, and merchandise shelves.
You can’t open a gas station without a soda fountain, but prepare yourself to spend a decent amount of money. Nowadays, most stores have a soda fountain with at least twenty different dispensers – each with a different soda pop flavor.
The going rate for a twenty-head fountain machine is $11,000, and it costs another $2,000 to install the device. All said and done; you should budget $13,000 for a soda fountain.
Commercial Coffee Machines
Gas stations are a cost-friendly alternative to Starbucks or Caribou Coffee. And today, your customers will expect you to have more than just a single coffee put. Commercial coffee machines generally let customers select their brew by using a touchscreen. The device can host various types of coffee beans. If you follow the status quo and get a ground coffee machine, expect to pay $3,500 per machine.
Most gas stations have two machines, enabling customers to choose their favorite blend. To appease customers who don’t like rich coffee, many businesses stock their stores with a commercial cappuccino machine, costing $1,650. Suppose you buy two ground coffee machines and a cappuccino machine. In that case, we recommend budgeting $8,650 to make your coffee-loving customers happy.
When you open a gas station, you’ll need to store beverages and grocery items in one walk-in cooler. A state-of-the-art 10-door walk-in cooler with Russell Refrigeration will cost you a minimum of $33,000. Furthermore, installing a walk-in cooler of that size costs $7,000, bringing the total refrigeration costs to $40,000.
Shelves are a must-have when it comes to putting your merchandise on display. Many manufacturers dub these furnishing shop shelving and displays. Based on our research of various types of displays, including freestanding and universal display fixtures, we estimate the total cost of shelves to be $15,000.
In addition, you’ll need to pay at least $3,000 for a professional contractor to install the shelves for you. All in all, expect to spend $18,000 to put your products on display in your gas station.
You’ll need a buildout at the front of the store to put your point of sale (POS) systems and display other items available for purchase. If you have a contractor build the point-of-sale desk with solid wood, you should budget at least $20,000.
At this price, you’ll likely be able to fit two or three cash registers, a few display racks, and even a built-in case to put lottery games on display. We’ve excluded the cost of cash registers, security systems, and other commercial electronics as they’re not permanent fixtures and can significantly vary depending on the store’s size and needs.
The everyday gas station typically doesn’t have an expansive selection of frozen products. Thus, you don’t need a walk-in or ten-door freezer to open up shop. At a minimum, you’ll want to furnish your gas station with a two-door glass door freezer. These freezers cost $4,700, and most manufacturers won’t charge you extra to install them.
Many convenience stores also boast chest freezers – the perfect place to put small ice cream treats. These freezers go for about $900, and most gas stations put them at the front of the store near the checkout. If you were to purchase a two-door freezer and a chest freezer for novelty ice cream, your total expense would add up to $5,600.
When constructing bathrooms, you have a few options – a multi-person male and female bathroom or a single-person female and male bathroom. Alternativity, you could build a single unisex bathroom. Most new gas stations have separate male and female bathrooms that can accommodate two people.
We’ll start with the men’s restroom first. The standard men’s restroom should have at least one urinal, one toilet, a stall for the toilet, and at least one sink.
The cost of the essentials for a men’s restroom is $2,150. A urinal costs roughly $400, a commercial toilet costs $350, and a single-unit stall costs $900 on average. You can also expect to pay at least $500 for a commercial-grade restroom sink and faucet.
The cost of a woman’s restroom is relatively similar to that of a men’s. You’ll need two toilets, two stalls, and one sink for a women’s restroom. Therefore, you will need to budget $3,000 for a lady’s bathroom. If you choose to build two bathrooms (the current industry standard), the total cost will be $5,150.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to learn more about the cost of building a gas station? Here’s a look at some of the most frequently asked questions:
How Long Does It Take To Build a Gas Station?
A handful of variables can impact how long it takes to construct a gas station – the availability of labor, materials, and weather. For instance, if you live in the Midwest, you’ll need to halt construction in winter.
Conservatively speaking, the total time it takes to construct a gas station from the ground up ranges from six months to one year.
Is It Cheaper to Buy an Existing Gas Station?
It’s not always cheaper to buy an existing gas station. An existing gas station with strong sales will cost more than building a new store.
Not only that, but you may have to pay an additional $50,000 to $100,000 for the inventory. On the other hand, you can get a poor-performing store at a reasonable discount. Existing gas stations typically range from $100,000 to $2.5 million.
Do You Need a Permit to Build a Gas Station?
Yes, you need various permits to build and operate a gas station. As an example, you’ll need a construction permit before you can even lay the foundation for the building.
When you start running the gas station, you must obtain a license that enables you to sell alcohol and tobacco.
How Much Land Do You Need to Build a Gas Station?
At a minimum, you need at least one acre of land to build a gas station. However, depending on the number of pumps and building size, you may need an additional acre.
What Type of Material Do You Need to Build a Gas Station?
Gas stations don’t typically have the same materials as residential buildings, such as apartments and homes. The standard gas station has durable materials like concrete, certain metals, and asphalt.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gas Station?
Based on our estimates, the average cost to build a gas station is approximately $2.4 million. However, the exact cost can vary depending on your location and the price of the land.
If you’re interested in starting a gas station, you can expect to pay around $2,448,400 for a standard 3,200 square foot building. This price includes the land, fuel tanks, pumps, exterior signage, and various types of equipment to get your gas station up and running.
The price could be significantly less if you lease the land, which we estimated at $800,000 in our calculation. There’s no doubt that gas stations are a profitable and stable business, but you shouldn’t overlook the potentially steep upfront investment.