According to a published ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) report, there were 252 million passenger cars licensed for road use in 2017.
That’s a lot of vehicles that need refuelling!
From daily commutes, to spontaneous weekend adventures, to commercial courier services, petrol stations provide a vital service for our towns and cities across the country – as well as all over the world.
But how can petrol station operators maximise their business to improve efficiency and help increase profits each month?
How to Improve Petrol Station Efficiency
Running a petrol station involves overseeing a lot of moving parts. This means there is often a lot of opportunities for processes and systems to become inefficient or unprofitable. This includes any extra services on forecourts that help to increase fuel sales such as convenience stores and snackbars, as well as car wash services. The tips below outline 3 core areas that are worth looking into to help get a petrol station delivering high return on investments and scalable profitability.
Talented staff and a highly engaged workforce can’t be ignored when looking at how any business operates. Putting people in the wrong roles, or simply hiring the wrong sorts of people, is a recipe for disaster when it comes to trying to scale and grow a business.
A big part of the reputation and image of a petrol station will come from people’s experience with the employees. Quality customer service isn’t just a buzzword, it is necessity for businesses to grow.
Ensuring everything is done so every customer has a positive experience with employees is crucial.
Having a defined onboarding process to welcome new starters can be helpful so they can hit the ground running. This is also the time where any required training should be provided so employees can develop their skills and knowledge specific to a business and its customers.
Taking the time to ensure staff are knowledgeable about the machines and what the customers want, will help improve the customer experience. Employees should be able to deal with any type of customer issue, problem or complaint. They should feel confident in the process they need to follow and never feel like they don’t know what to do.
Encouraging a culture of transparency and openness from both employees and managers can also improve internal processes and efficiencies. This can also improve employee retention rate and contribute to a happy and productive workforce. Businesses with a high employee retention rate can save large amounts of time, money and effort by not needing to frequently recruit and replace lost talent.
There is a lot of technology that petrol stations can leverage to improve their processes and efficiency. The big benefits of using technology is that it can often save time and/or money. It can also help improve the customer experience, a key ingredient to long-term success.
When using any kind of technology in a petrol station, making the most of all the possible data and information available can make all the difference. Operators should get into the habit of collecting data and analysing reports from customer interactions and internal processes on a frequent basis to ensure they are constantly improving and adapting with what the market wants.
For example, simply knowing when the petrol station is likely to be busy and adapting employee shifts to reflect the demand, can ensure procedures run smoothly (and similarly, employees are never stood around doing nothing due to too many on shift during quieter periods).
Monitoring equipment can also mean petrol stations are never caught out by assets breaking and significantly impacting services. If a petrol station offers car wash services as a logical upsell, understanding how the car wash equipment is performing helps mitigate against downtime and lost profit.
Digital menu signs and entrance/exist management signs in the forecourt can also be a small investment that makes a big difference. This can reduce confusion or long queuing within the petrol station as well as helping improve the overall customer experience within the petrol station.
Technology such as self-service machines and kiosks can also reduce the need for staff to process orders and manage the forecourt. This helps scale operations and allows petrol stations to service customers without needing to necessarily employ more staff.
- Marketing and Sales
Marketing, sales and promotional activities can be a winning combination to increase petrol station profitability. The expression “build it and they will come” doesn’t always work, and most businesses need to put themselves out there and make sure potential customers hear and see their offers, products and services.
Things like loyalty cards, discounts, special offers, and bulk buys, can all help bring in new customers or encourage repeat purchases from existing customers. Similarly, being active on social media as well as promoting the business locally can ensure your petrol station stays at the top of potential customer’s minds.
There is also plenty of opportunity for petrol stations to implement upsells within their business. This can be a great way to increase the average order amount for each customer. Over the year, this can add up to a substantial amount. Including car wash services can be a great additional service to offer, which is something existing customers are likely to be interested in.
Creating different types of revenue channels is also a great way for petrol stations to become more sustainable. Car wash clubs goes beyond a promotional activity and can help create recurring monthly revenue through a subscription model for a business. This can ensure the business is generating revenue even during quiet weeks. Similarly, fleet and commercial offers can also help create predictable monthly income.
Learn More with PSD Codax
PSD Codax produces the world’s leading car wash access technology. Our code access system reduces shrinkage and loss for forecourt operators while giving customers quick, easy and reliable access to carwash and valet services.
To learn more about our services and how they can help you get the most out of car wash businesses, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Similarly, discover all our products tailored to the petrol station business model here.