Owning Your Own Fuel Station in South Africa

Thinking of owning your own fuel station in South Africa?  Starting a fuel station from scratch is not for the faint hearted but with the right help it is possible. There are many things to take into consideration when opening a fuel station even if the process seem a little daunting it is still a magnificent venture which contributes to the development of South Africa. With the help of GASPET, the process of owning a fuel station can become a reality. The dedicated and highly knowledgeable team at GASPET can help reach business goals by taking you through every step in the process.

Although owning a fuel station previously is not a requirement, there are basic principles which you as an owner need to be aware of before embarking on the process.

GASPET will also be willing to assist new clients that are new in the industry  with the contents and reconciliations that needs to be in place and completed, such as software management, as there are various points of sale systems in the industry, and these systems can be very dependent on a client’s specific needs and most importantly help to manage stock. A few systems that can be considered are Smart Fuel, Stowe and Winbranch.

It is important to note that the possible time duration of this entire process from start to finish can take up to 3-5 years.

Documentation and Licenses

Understanding of the different licenses and key terms below:

  • A retail licence is issued to entity who will trade in petroleum products at a licensed site, and sell these products to an end-consumer.
  • A site licence  is issued to an entity which holds land for the purpose of retailing petroleum products.  The site means premises on land zoned and approved by a competent authority for the retailing of prescribed petroleum products. It important to note that you will be unable to be issued a site license if the property is not zoned correctly.
  • Traffic count refers to a process where an Engineer is appointed to ‘count’ the relevant vehicles passing the site for a set timeframe – usually 7 continuous days.  The count is also split between Heavier and Light vehicles which assists in the determination of the type of products which could be sold on the proposed site.
  • The Department of Environmental Affairs will issue an Environmental Authorisation to any person who would like to start the process of owning a fuel station by submitted the correct and relevant documents and reports of which an Environmental Consultant compiles.  
  • There are 3 different methods to get environmental authorisations and it is dependent on factors such as the overall combined storage capacity on the site.
  • Only an Environmental Consultant could compile these types of reports and submit at the relevant Environmental Affairs for the granting of Authorisation.
  • Zoned property refers to whether the premise is zoned correctly for the specified and intended purposes, which in this case would be filling station/public garage. (The correct zoning needs to be in place in order to sell petroleum products to the public).

Take Note: You cannot apply for a site licence without submitting an application for a corresponding retail licence. Site licence is connected to the specific premise, and the retail license is linked to the site license.

Consider Your Options

There are various methods but before selecting an option that suits you best – it is vital to have a property, either in mind or secured.  Marguerite Nel, Owner and founder of Petro Consult, explains some of the options in detail:


Conduct a Feasibility Study (also known as High Risk Analysis OR Economic Viability Report) which includes various aspects and desktop studies to determine whether the property would be economically viable.

The benefits of the Feasibility Study include:

-Approximate costs of the relevant Authorisations and which to conduct

-Determine the feasibility of property or development

-Risks involved

-Who to contact

-To equip future owners with the knowledge of the market and industry


To start with the process of Applying for the relevant Licenses permitting you to opening your own fuel station. You will need various documents and authorisations which includes the following:

1) Zoning Certificate permitting the correct land use

2) Environmental Authorisation

3) Traffic count

4) Entrance and Exit approval (from relevant authorities, either SANRAL or Roads Agency Limpopo or whichever other is applicable)

There are many other, of which a Consultant would be able to assist with as well.

In Short do 3 things:

  1. Secure the land
  2. Obtain the  Top 4documents and approvals
  3. Contact a Consultant to assist with the Site and Retail License applications

What should the size of my potential property be to open a fuel station?

4,000 squares is the ideal property size, but a smaller property could work if proper planning and drawings are applied. The size of the development will also be determined by the projected potential volumes.

This all-inclusive summary is developed to assist any potential fuel station owner, making those first steps a little easier. Please feel free to contact us at GASPET anytime, and we will be more than happy to assist along the way.

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