If you have somewhere to be, there’s a good chance you’ll need gas to get there. A BP franchise is the sort of thing that doesn’t go out of style. Yes, the price of the oil drum varies, but people will always need gas as long as they’re driving nonelectric cars.
Opening a BP franchise can be a rewarding business, but it does require a huge investment up front. Although it is helpful to go with a franchise, it is not a guarantee of success. You still need to be as prepared as possible for the challenge of running your own business.
Why Open a BP Franchise?
To franchise or not to franchise is a classic question. Sure, you can open your own gas station, but BP is a trusted name. The company somehow managed to bounce back from the nightmare PR they received following an accident nearly a decade ago (you might have seen the movie "Deepwater Horizon"), and they have completely revamped their image into something Americans trust.
As a BP franchisee, you’ll have the full support of BP's marketing campaigns (meaning you can save on marketing your own business), access to the product line and a personal relationship with their local representative, who will help you create opportunities.
Find a Location
Before you even get together the money to launch a BP franchise, you need to know if BP even operates where you live. The company operates in 70 countries worldwide but doesn’t actually hit every state. If you’re in Nevada, Arizona, Montana or North Dakota, you might be totally out of luck. Check BP’s website to figure out if opening a franchise near you is even possible.
BP also requires franchise owners to own their own site or be in the process of buying the site before applying to open a franchise. In other words, you have to know your location before you make the jump, and you can't lease it. You have to buy.
Raise the Cash for Your BP Franchise
Opening a franchise isn’t cheap. If you don’t have a huge savings, you’re going to need investors or a business loan. It can cost $2.5 million to upward of $6.6 million to open a gas station franchise like BP, though that includes salaries of staff for the first three months, buying land and the cost of all the equipment. Constructing a facility with underground gas tanks and reservoirs can cost more than $400,000 alone.
It’s estimated that you’ll need around $700,000 in liquid capital plus a $30,000 franchise fee to open a BP franchise. The investment you make long term will likely be in the millions.
Find a Lawyer Who Specializes in Franchise Law
Franchises are heavily regulated in America. This is why you’ll need a great lawyer, and you’ll need to file the proper paperwork. These laws range from the federal franchise rules to state registration and disclosure laws.
The former is monitored by the Federal Trade Commission and governs the sale of franchises throughout the United States. The latter is dependent on location. States like Alabama and Alaska don’t require you to register your franchise, whereas Texas charges $25 for registration, and Rhode Island charges $600. If the state you’re in doesn’t have its own franchise laws, you automatically default to the federal laws.
In most cases, the law requires you to file a franchise disclosure document. In the states that do not require this, you may have to fill out a business opportunity exemption notice instead.
Get the Proper Training
BP is unique in that it offers training to new franchisees. This is actually required, but even if it wasn’t, it would be worth your while to attend. BP already has a track record of proven success, and new business owners can learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t.
Purchase Your Products and Hire Your Staff
You can’t have a BP franchise without gasoline. You might also choose to offer BP’s lubricant range and Castrol range. Whatever you choose, it’s time to stock your business and prepare for opening.
Once you have your location ready to go, you need to hire your staff. Your employees should be kind, personable and responsible because good customer service is the best marketing tool a company can have. Once your staff is hired, it’s go time. Open your doors for business.
- Although it is helpful to go with a franchise, it is not a guarantee of success. You still need to be as prepared as possible for the challenge of running your own business.
Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.