You can always open a gas station on your own, but opening a recognizable franchise is one way to ensure a certain level of success. A gas station franchise costs a bit more than some other businesses you can launch from the ground up, but it also has the opportunity for a major return. Marathon happens to make it pretty easy to transform any regular gas station into a Marathon gas station franchise.

So, how much does a Marathon gas franchise cost, and how do you get started? Find a great location, find your funding and link up with Forbes's best employer of 2016.

Consider Buying an Existing Gas Franchise

Buying an existing Marathon gas station franchise might actually be a better route than starting from scratch. If you buy a business that’s already been in business, you know what kind of sales to expect. As a result, there’s a lot less financial risk.

Let’s be clear: This isn’t cheap. An existing gas station franchise costs anywhere from $250,000 to upward of $2 million depending on the amount of consumer traffic. There’s not really a way to get around this because you’ll need to purchase or rent a gas station before you can brand it as a Marathon gas station anyway. Purchasing an already-existing Marathon gas station franchise if one is available in your area just eliminates an extra step.

Find a Location for Your Marathon Gas Station Franchise

Before you decide to brand as a Marathon franchise, you’ll need to pick a location for your gas station. You can look on Marathon’s website to see where the company already operates. You don’t want to open a gas station in an area with too much competition, so do some market research and scope out areas that may be missing gas stations or don’t have the Marathon brand.

To Rent or to Buy?

It’s no secret that a gas station franchise costs a lot of cash. A Marathon gas franchise cost is dependent on a couple things: Do you have a large convenience store? Will you also add a car wash? What products are you offering? The largest factor driving cost is whether you’re paying rent or a mortgage.

Before you open a Marathon gas station franchise, you need to decide whether you’re going to rent or buy the property. Buying is good for the long term because you stand to make more money, and you’re investing in your business rather than simply paying rent that won’t return an asset.

Unfortunately, this requires a much greater upfront down payment. Can you afford the down payment on a million-dollar gas station location? Most of us cannot. Renting a gas station is a great option for those without as much liquid cash.

Contact Marathon’s Customer Relations

Once you’ve found a location, the next step is to contact Marathon’s customer relations department. This department helps secure your Marathon petroleum supply, figure out the hidden costs and brand your gas station to the company's standards. Inquire to find out the next steps because you want all your ducks in a row before signing a lease.

Get the Financing

This is the tough part. Most franchise owners need funding, and there's a lot that goes into a gas station franchise’s cost, including the initial franchise fee, a training fee, advertising fees and the deposit on the gas. Plus, there’s insurance, rent and/or down payments and the fact that the convenience store won’t stock itself.

You can search for an angel investor. Perhaps you have some friends in high places. In most cases, though, you’ll probably be getting a business or personal loan from a bank. Approach them with a solid business plan so they can see your path to profitability. Marathon needs to know the funding exists before they approve your franchise.

Fill out Marathon’s Application

Marathon will want to know all about your assets and spending habits to make sure your gas station is a good fit. They want to make sure you have the experience to run a Marathon gas station franchise up to their standards. Fill out their application, and show your knowledge.

Handle the Paperwork and the Staffing

Just like any other business, you’ll need to get a business license from your local clerk’s office. At this time, you’ll also need to register your company with the IRS and purchase the required insurance. For a gas station, this ranges from general liability insurance to flood insurance (if you own the building) to workers' compensation (if you have employees).

After you have the paperwork side handled, order your stock and hire any staff you might need. You’re almost there!

Take Advantage of Marathon's Training Before Opening Shop

One thing built into a Marathon gas franchise cost is the business management help you'll receive. This company cares about its contractors and employees. There's a reason Forbes rated them America's best employer in 2016.

Marathon's training can teach you how to market and manage your new store. Remember: Marathon has been at this for a while, and they know what they’re doing. Let them help you. It’s one of the major benefits of being a franchise vs. an independent store.