Starting an independent filling station
South Africa petrol stations fall into two categories, independent and franchise operations, both of which are funded in the same way.
Independently owned garages still play a big roll in the South African economy.
According to South African Petroleum Retailers Association (SAPRA), who represents all the stakeholders in the petroleum industry, before a new filling station can be opened, three sets of approvals, authorisations and licenses are needed.
- Land use rights for purposes of a filling station;
- An environmental authorisation; and
- Site and retail licenses.
In terms of the Petroleum Products Act, 1977 (PPA) as amended in 2006, and which is administered by the national Department of Energy, one cannot apply for a site and/or retail license before you have both land use rights and an environmental authorisation.
Existing filling stations are in a particularly strong position because of the PPA which controls the energy authorities to ensure that the number of filling stations is appropriate to local sales volumes and does not exceed the optimal number for an area.
Petro companies (Engen, Sasol, etc) offer franchises which include intensive training programmes and stipulations for franchisees. Sasol, for example, will mentor and promote franchisees on a monthly basis and assist the franchisee throughout the process. and visit each month and provide support and guidance.
“It isn’t difficult to get a franchise as long as you have funding. A Sasol filling station franchise costs in the region of R1 million”, says Able Mokoena, Franchise Consultant for Sasol.
“If you have your own site, then Sasol will undertake an inspection of the site before proceeding. Licences are required which are included within the franchise agreement”.
Franchise concept comprise of separate business units
Often, depending on the franchise company, the concept could comprise of separate business units such as the forecourt, a convenience store, a bakery, car wash or a quick-service restaurant. These can be added under certain conditions.
Each business unit has to adhere to individual standards for methods of operation, service levels, management, profitability and continuous training of staff. Most importantly, each unit is regarded as an individual profit centre, and may not be run at a loss and be offset by the other units.
After extensive market research, the franchisor determines which business units are suitable for the particular site and grants a licence to a single franchisee to operate the entire outlet.
Before you sign an franchise agreement understand clearly what franchise royalty fees, penalty clauses, support, training, and requirements you are responsible for or will receive.
The Franchise offers a certain name brand of petrol related products, which are subject to the rules and regulations of the franchisor.
Make sure that all licenses, agreements, and permissions are in place. These should also be a pre-condition in the purchase offer. Find out where the competition is located, what services they offer.
A business plan is a must
Create a working business plan. Make sure you include a provision on monitoring cash flow. Also, include marketing techniques to promote the filling station. Without one, you won’t be able to apply for funding.
There are many different ways to cook an egg and the same applies to raising funds to start a petrol station, or for that matter, any new business. If traditional options such as banks and private funders don’t work, consider the possibility of collaboration with a group of investors. Visit the following links for guidance:
- Overcoming financial hurdles
- No capital, no collateral, no problem
- Where to get the money
The petrol retail price is regulated by government, and changed every month on the first Wednesday of the month. The calculation of the new price is done by Central Energy Fund (CEF) on behalf of the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME).
The petrol pump price is composed of a number of international and domestic elements. The international element, or Basic Fuel price (BFP), is based on what it would cost a South African importer to buy petrol from an international refinery and to transport the product onto South African shores.
Then a number of other elements are added to reach the final price such as Fuel tax, Customs & Excise levy, Slate levy, Retail margin and the Road Accident fund.
If you are thinking of starting a filling station you should read Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs by Moky Makura, (2008) published in paperback by Penguin Books. It tells the story of T K Mmusi, a man armed with little knowledge or experience, who started a Total petrol station in Botwana.
Its success provided the capital to start Pula Carriers, a logistics company with a fleet of 20 tankers, each one fitted with state-of-the-art technology. Today, Pula Carriers is a major distributor of fuel in Botswana.
How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?
An all in one guide to starting a transport and logistics business.
Thinking about starting a transport business?
Forecasts indicate that the demand for freight transport will grow in South Africa by between 200% and 250% over the 15 to 20 years.
Some corridors, (high volume transport routes that connect major centres), such as the corridors between Gauteng and Cape Town (which amount to 50% of all corridor transport) will increase even faster.
The scope in the transport and logistics industry is varied – from a one-man show using a small truck to transport goods and offer services, to a fleet of transport vehicles which travel the length and breadth of South Africa’s roads.
Road transportation includes commuter transport from taxis to bus transportation.
It can be a tough industry and there are many threats facing transport businesses but if you get it right, you can build a successful business.
What is covered in this guide:
- How to start your transport and logistics business
- How to get funding for your transport business
- What are the costs involved
- Finding customers and getting transport contracts
- Getting onto suppliers lists
- Buying trucks and employing drivers
- What are the regulations and risks
- Where to find guidance to start your business.
Ready to get going? Click the arrow button to learn how to start your own transport business.
How To Start A Farming Business
Keep these nine points in mind when launching your new farming business.
How Do I Start A Security Company In South Africa?
There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both.
To start a security service company in South Africa you must register with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (SIRA). There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both. It is estimated that the private security industry in South Africa employs over 400 000 individuals.
If you’re looking at starting a security guard company in South Africa, the following guide will be able to assist you in the deciding if it’s the right decision for you.
You need a lot of capital
Starting a security business requires a good deal of capital outlay and it’s highly recommended that one should have a background in this field.
Decide what kind of company you want to start
There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both. Each sector falls under its own regulatory body.
What about area competition?
Greg Margolis is the CEO of NYPD Security, a niche security company that has operated for the last five years in the leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
“To run your own security service company I think that you have to be well rounded in terms of not just being a good business person, but you also have to be a people person, a marketing person and know a good deal about the business.
“There’s tough competition, but I love what I do and wouldn’t sell my business even if I was offered triple what its worth. I am passionate about what I do”, says Margolis.
Starting a Security Services Business
To start a security service company in South Africa you must register with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). This includes paying a registration fee of R2 280 and writing an exam. Once you have passed the exam, proved that you do not have a criminal record, SIRA will conduct an inspection to establish whether or not your business meets the infrastructure requirements. A further fee of R1 710 is charged for the assessment. Each year the business is re-accessed which costs a further R500 plus the annual renewal fee or R520.
The following documentation is required for registration:
- An authenticated copy of the CM1, CM2, CM27, CM29, CM31 and CM 46 (apply at Registrar of Companies or Attorneys), if the applicant is a company;
- An authenticated copy of the Partnership Agreement if the applicant is a partnership;
- An authenticated copy of the trust deed and the letter of authorisation to the trustees from the Master of the High Court if the applicant is a business trust
- The Suretyship form (SIRA 4) to be signed by the natural person who has taken full responsibility of the security business
- Every director, member, partner (as the case may be) applying for registration as a security business must have successfully completed, at a training establishment accredited in terms of law, at least, the training courses Grade E to B
- An authenticated copy of the Tax Clearance Certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
- An authenticated copy of the VAT Registration Number from SARS.
- An authenticated copy of the PAYE number from SARS
- An authenticated copy of the COID number (Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases) from the Department of Labour
- Sufficient information in writing to enable the Authority to ascertain that the applicant security business meets the requirements with regard to the infrastructure and capacity necessary to render a security service;
This include, inter alia, the following:
- Submit a business plan to the Authority including the location and activities
- A resolution by the applicant security business stating that it will be able to operate for the next year
- The applicant proves that it has an administrative office that is accessible to the inspectors of the SIRA
- The applicant must have equipment which is necessary for the management and administration of the security business, e.g. fixed telephone, fax machine, a hard copy or electronic filing system for the orderly keeping of all records and documentation
- Show that the affairs of the applicant security business are managed and controlled by appropriately experienced, trained and skilled persons
- The applicant security business has at its disposal a sufficient number of registered and appropriately trained and skilled security officers for the rendering of a security service for which it has contracted or is likely to contract
- The security officers must be properly controlled and supervised
- The applicant security officer has at its disposal sufficient and adequately skilled administrative staff members for the administration of the affairs of the applicant
- The business must have has all the necessary equipment, including vehicles, uniforms, clothing and equipment that must be issued to its security officers
- The applicant security business is in lawful possession of the firearms and other weapons that are necessary offer security services in respect of which it has contracted.
Related: Get going with a One Page Business Plan
The most important thing you can do to start and operate your own business is to develop a good business plan.
It’s invaluable because the business plan forces you to come to terms with your business. Selling the business concept seems to the problem, said Margolis. These are his five tips that will help to get the business going.
“The security industry in South Africa is very competitive. You have to get out there and you have to keep knocking on doors, there isn’t an easy solution”, explains Margolis.
1. Look at your business plan and decide if you have a competitive advantage. If not, work out how you can make the market understand the unique value your small business has to offer.
2. It is important to make yourself known. It isn’t difficult or expensive to increase awareness about the business. Attend ratepayer meetings, spend time at the local police stations, and attend meetings the police have with residents and businesses in the area. This way people get to know you and respect you and half the battle is won. Networking is the way to go.
3. It’s my experience that bigger companies are reluctant to give security contracts to a company that is a one-man show. Make sure that you have a structure in place. Clients need to know if something happens to you, the business will not fall apart, and the services they have paid for and you have agreed to supply, will not cease. Clients need to understand that besides experience, that you are credible and that all the checks and balances are in place. This must be one of the key selling points.
4. Consider taking on a partner. Choose a partner who has the attributes that you lack. The ideal partner would be one with strong links and contacts in the community that you want to work with. Let your partner control the selling side while you handle areas you’re strong in, such as expertise and service delivery. The other option is to employ sales staff.
5. Stay abreast of new trends in the field, and update your skills. This is something that I strongly believe in. You have to be well rounded in terms of not just being a good businessperson, but you also have to be a people person, a marketing and sales manager and know a good deal about the neighbourhoods you work.
Are you new to starting a business? Read 15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a Business
What are the requirements to start a security product supplier business?
If you are starting a security company that sells electronic alarm systems and other security products it’s wise to become a member of SAIDSA in order to provide your business with the credibility it needs to be taken seriously by the public and security service providers.
The objective of SAIDSA is to upgrade the quality and standards of electronic security and to protect the public from unscrupulous, “fly-by-night” operators. When a security system is purchased, an ongoing relationship is entered into between the purchaser and the security service company concerned.
The security service product supplier must have the infrastructure and the required expertise to support the relationship continuously.
Security Sector Regulatory Bodies
The security industry has established a number of bodies to regulate itself. Membership in these bodies is voluntary. They include:
- Security Association of South Africa (SASA), whose membership is open to companies offering any type of security service
- South African National Security Employers Association (SANSEA), an employers association for companies in the security industry.
- Electronic Security Distributors Association (ESDA), an association of importers and distributors of electronic security equipment
- South African Intruder Detection Services Association (SAIDSA), an association of companies providing alarm monitoring and armed response services
- Safety & Security Sector Education & Training Authority (SASSETA)
- Vehicle Security Association of South Africa (VESA)
Ready to get going? Here’s 10 Steps to Start Your Business For Free (Almost)
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