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HOT TOPIC The Gas Pump thread

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BusinessNoob

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I'd say this is a long shot of an additional idea but. Lets say you partner with a specific gas company or companies. You create a simple app that allows the end user to activate siri hands-free and before you get to the gas station you can simply say

"Hey siri… reserve me a pump before I get there, and order me a sandwich, a snickers and a 12oz redbull" And siri will be like "Ok I reserved you a pump at ARCO in said location. I also placed a custom order for A sandwich, a snickers bar, and a 12oz redbull do you want to confirm or change?
"confirm"

(in the background siri sends a request ticket to the nearest ARCO for a black corolla license plate 123abcd and a text of what the special request is for them to them fullfill)
You pull up to said gas station and an assistant already has your food and you confirm correct items and pay via apple pay and is now filling up your gas.

then the assistant pulls out a gun on you at 3 am and says get out the car this is GTA and you've been bamboozled.
???
profit.
And then the Driver, who is packing heat himself, blows the "assistants" head off. Then calmly picks up his food and pumps his own gas and leaves.
 

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BusinessNoob

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Ok so I think I have solved the problem of how the store would profit. There would be 2 options in the app when you place your "order". Option A: Quick gas and go. Option B: Full Service clean windows, air up tires, check fluids etc. Since this will take a few minutes, the driver will be free to shop inside while service is rendered.
 

Royce2

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Ok so I think I have solved the problem of how the store would profit. There would be 2 options in the app when you place your "order". Option A: Quick gas and go. Option B: Full Service clean windows, air up tires, check fluids etc. Since this will take a few minutes, the driver will be free to shop inside while service is rendered.
This is turning into a good idea however,
When you are asking for that extensive amount of service. There is a small level of training needed to make sure they don't pour windshield fluid into the wrong place and so on. You will be surprised how many people never seen whats under the hood, let alone be able to open it.

Like @mjdemarco said in unscripted; you will never know what the market needs until you start and work at it. The market ultimately decides whether your idea is a good one or not. People will think this idea will flop but you never know until you get it going!
 

EvanOkanagan

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Most gas stations where I live there is a "lock" position on the gas lever, and we also have "tap" technology with our credit cards.

So I walk out of my car, tap my credit card (no swiping or pin number needed), choose the gas I'm going to use and then start the pump with the "locked" feature. While my gas is pumping I can go back and sit in my car or just lollygag around the vehicle if I want. It's very effortless.
 

SquatchMan

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Ok so I think I have solved the problem of how the store would profit. There would be 2 options in the app when you place your "order". Option A: Quick gas and go. Option B: Full Service clean windows, air up tires, check fluids etc. Since this will take a few minutes, the driver will be free to shop inside while service is rendered.
I don't know man it still seems a little out there. Couldn't see myself reserving a pump NOR do I think a station would get the ROI on having a service station at the pump.

@MidwestLandlord would be the guy to ask about gas station stuff.
 

Royce2

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Most gas stations where I live there is a "lock" position on the gas lever, and we also have "tap" technology with our credit cards.

So I walk out of my car, tap my credit card (no swiping or pin number needed), choose the gas I'm going to use and then start the pump with the "locked" feature. While my gas is pumping I can go back and sit in my car or just lollygag around the vehicle if I want. It's very effortless.
That is a very amazing system indeed. However, that means you are not the market businessnoob is selling for. There are people out there that wish to save that few extra seconds of lollygagging or there is me, the formula 1 racer that wants to get in and out as quick as possible. That also means that the gas pumps might even increase the pressure and make the car fill up faster if the assistance people were to exist.. another couple seconds saved! It adds up! But of course. It turns into the two different type of people, would you rather use the air dryer to dry your hands or the traditional towel method? Which is faster, more convenient, or effective? Differs for everyone. I should do a poll and case study on this actually lol.
 
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BusinessNoob

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You know... this is looking like its gonna be very challenging. I think I'll give it up now before I waste my time pursuing this cockamamie idea...

That's about as far as most "wantreprenuers" get before moving on to the next idea, opportunity etc.

Instead of finding solutions to each "problem" they come too, they quit. If your ever going to be a fastlaner, you have to understand that solving problems and overcoming difficulties is just part of the journey. So I ask you... Are YOU ready to drive the FASTLANE???
 

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We have a place here in Texas called Buc-ee's. The one about 20 miles from where I live has 100 gas pumps! Most people have never been to a Buc-ee's because we only have them here in Texas. Inside the gas station is 68,000 square feet of pure joy for a kid (of all ages)! Candy, drinks, beef jerky, fudge, sandwiches, all kinds of stuff and they have a section for crafts of all types. And the bathrooms are 2nd to none. No touch, 33 urinals, I don't even know how many sit down stalls, probably 15+.... this place is incredible! So, a place like this probably couldn't benefit from having attendants but I think most all others could. For those living outside the states, our normal QT style gas stations have probably 20 gas pumps and about 7000 square feet of sales space, including a hot food made fresh station inside the store. There is a good reason a lot of @sses are fat in America!
I LOVE Buccees! It is an event.

There is one between just about all the major cities in Texas, and some outliers!

Not only does the Madisonville location have about 100 pumps, as you have said, you pretty much have to wait for one.

Keep in mind folks, my gated neighborhood is probably more populous than Madisonville. Buccees draws interstate traffic like crazy.
 

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The only times I'd like a full service attendant is when it is under 30 degrees outside!

Back in the day where there was full service and self service, how many of you would go into the self service to save money? I think most people would rather pay $1/gallon and pump themselves vs. $1.30/gallon for full service. On a full tank the difference would be about $5 which was alot when gas was $1/gallon.
 

Royce2

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I LOVE Buccees!
I lived northern Houston for 3 months and loved it. However, all my family is up in Washington state so we moved back. Buccees is seriously insane, everyone that drives by the sign on the freeway you notice everyone in their car with their heads turned.
 

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minivanman

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The only times I'd like a full service attendant is when it is under 30 degrees outside!

Back in the day where there was full service and self service, how many of you would go into the self service to save money? I think most people would rather pay $1/gallon and pump themselves vs. $1.30/gallon for full service. On a full tank the difference would be about $5 which was alot when gas was $1/gallon.
We live in the lazy @ss generation, I don't think what happened years ago with paying $1 for no attendant vs $1.30 with an attendant has anything to do with 2019 and beyond. It's kind of like telling someone in 1974 to buy a bottle of water for $1 vs getting it for free from the faucet, you would have sold 0 bottles of water back then.
 

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I'm sure there are both people out there who would rather tip a buck or 2 than have to pump the gas themselves (myself included at times) and I'm sure there are people who would be happy to pump gas for tips, however I think you'd struggle to get gas stations on board with this. Purely because they wouldn't have control over the people who turn up to pump the gas. Even though the people pumping gas are independent, they still in a way represent the gas station because they are performing a service there. It would be an extremely hard sell.
 

Chapas

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I have not read the whole thread, and I am honestly not sure if the idea would work in the US, but I know that there must be a market for it. Lived in Moscow for the past couple of years. They are using it there. In fact the gas stations where people help pump gas for you is WAY more busy than the other gas stations. Not sure if it is because people are lazy or they just do not want to do it themselves, but the market is definately there. Not sure about your business model though, and not sure if the employees in Moscow are on a salary or not. Just noticed that everyone leaves tips. We usually left around the equivalent of 1-2 dollars in tips, and if every car is doing the same, these employees are basically earning quite a bit more than the average salary in Russia.
 

Real Deal Denver

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The only times I'd like a full service attendant is when it is under 30 degrees outside!

Back in the day where there was full service and self service, how many of you would go into the self service to save money? I think most people would rather pay $1/gallon and pump themselves vs. $1.30/gallon for full service. On a full tank the difference would be about $5 which was alot when gas was $1/gallon.
I used to be that way too @biophase.

Let me tell you what I do now. My wife and I go to the movies a lot. When we go, it's the bucket of popcorn, two large drinks, Peanut M&Ms, and an ice cream sandwich for her. Sometimes a bratwurst if the smell gets to me too much. I figure I'm spending $30 more than I should. I'm getting ripped off. Worked over. I'm a sucker.

But you know what? I might be worth it. My wife is SURELY worth it! I can't tell you how happy my wife is to have a husband that splurges. Little things like that add up. Of course, her being happy, makes ME very happy.

I don't know why I turned out this way. I sure didn't used to be this way. I think it could have been a funeral of a close friend. I realized that our time is here today, and quite LITERALLY gone tomorrow. I have had so many things I could have done in the past, but scrimped out. No more. One project my wife undertook was to take down all the family pictures on a wall and devote that wall for only vacation pictures. Wow - what a difference. That is an inspiration that I see every day. It also reminds me of what I SHOULD be spending more of my time and money on.

New page in life. I grew up pinching pennies. I saved and tried to get ahead. I did without. Done with that plan - been there, got a T-Shirt. Now, I do things a lot differently. And by the way - many times when I get gas, I also get what I WANT to eat or drink - not what is cheapest. Life is so much more fun now!

One more thing you can do that will really make you feel great. When I get dollars change, I put them in my console next to my car seat. Many times I'm sitting at a stop light and there is a guy with a cardboard sign asking for money. I have those dollars in there just for that. I take out a couple and give them to him. I guarantee you that there is NOTHING that will make you feel better for a couple of bucks than that!

Splurge!
 

Chapas

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There will always be a market for convenience if its introduced properly amirite? It has to be a convenience to both the consumer and business.
I agree with you on that one. Imagine the market for convenience in 10-20 years. People are getting more and more lazy. Kids now are staying inside playing video games 14 hours a day. Everyone is so busy with their phones. Think the market will just keep growing. I have been one of the lazy ones myself. 5 minutes to walk to the shop. Hell no, I just order take away. Basically almost every service is around nowadays. Think I could even get a pet alpaca delivered to my door within a couple of hours if I really wanted to pay for it.
 

Royce2

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Think I could even get a pet alpaca delivered to my door within a couple of hours if I really wanted to pay for it.
I will source you an alpaca and fly it first class myself. Just to say I did that. Nobody would believe me except you, and maybe this forum.
 

rollerskates

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Women, Elderly, bad weather, lazy people, gas smell, germaphobes,.... Just because you wouldn't use the service doesn't mean others wouldn't.
Disabled people, too. I can see both sides. I don't really like pumping gas, and I'd probably pay more for full service, but I can also see why people would think it's something they wouldn't want to pay for and don't see the point of. Business opportunity? Maybe.

I LOVE Buccees! It is an event.
OH YES!!!!!!!!!
 

minivanman

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That's a perfect name but I just don't see it working.

I do think gas stations could make more profit if they had a runner to get things for people waiting to get their gas pumped by an attendant. First, they need to have an attendant. There is a whole other business gas station owners are missing. 10 years ago Walmart thought it was crazy for people to not come in to the store to buy things.... now they are pushing that very thing. They thought they would lose money from impulse buys.
 
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BusinessNoob

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OK, here are the potential roadblocks I'm currently dealing with.

1. How/When does the customer place their "order" on the app?
- doing so while driving is not an option.
- doing so while sitting at the pump is too slow.

2. How to prevent the station owners and/or gas companies from "cutting me out of the equation" by making an app of their own.
- I'm baffled as to why they don't hire attendants/runners who get paid like a waiter/waitress (2.13/hour + tips).
 

minivanman

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Those are just 2 of the reasons we say it won't work. lol

We are saying they SHOULD have attendants but we are saying your app has less than a slim to none chance of working. lol They need to hire them in-house.

And kind of on that same line and to show how lazy people are these days, there is a company called Propane Taxi that brings people out propane. They have now teamed up with Home Depot. It is available at my local Home Depot and is being tested to see if it will work nation wide. I guess they are trying to see just how lazy people actually are.
 

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approach three different gas station owners and see if they bite on the idea. then run it for them.
if it is a go just having attendants, start an attendant staffing company to then fund the app
 

Royce2

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OK, here are the potential roadblocks I'm currently dealing with.

1. How/When does the customer place their "order" on the app?
- doing so while driving is not an option.
- doing so while sitting at the pump is too slow.

2. How to prevent the station owners and/or gas companies from "cutting me out of the equation" by making an app of their own.
- I'm baffled as to why they don't hire attendants/runners who get paid like a waiter/waitress (2.13/hour + tips).
Response to roadblock 1. They can have very easy preselected options/combos to choose from while on car mode. Integrate Siri in the equation which will send a text message to the pump server which they can read and fulfill.
Response to roadblock 2. They will not cut you out of the equation because most of the time they are independent franchise owners. No way in hell will they fork out money to make an app of their own to then have to manage and service every time. Even then you can simply work as the software service between the major companies and set them up and charge them maintenance fees or something like that.
 

MidwestLandlord

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So this person with the app is not an employee, nor are they in an independent contractor, and they are on private property handling dangerous expensive product around the general public? Sounds like every lawyer's and every department of labor auditors dream honestly.

1) General liability insurance does not cover full service without an additional rider

2) Workman's comp does not cover full service without an additional rider

3) Environmental mediation and mitigation insurance does not cover full service without an additional rider

4) Product insurance does not cover full service without an additional rider

5) Soda company contracts dictate a certain amount of advertising and a certain amount of impulse sales opportunities in order to get the kickbacks as outlined in the contracts. This is a huge part of most c-store companies bottom lines, and delivery to the car would violate these contracts (or not allow them to begin with)

6) Tobacco companies give discounts for volume, and give steep discounts for volume sold of new products, to entice the retailer to make purchasing new tobacco products easy. Tobacco companies hands are tied when it comes to marketing, so this impulse purchasing is a huge need for them, and they make that need reflect in the retailers bottom line.

7) Delivering tobacco products to the car would be a violation of age restricted product rules/laws*

8) I suspect that delivering alcohol to the car would be a violation of liquor license rules/laws...but regardless it would be a violation of "we card" rules same as tobacco (this means no vice products could be delivered which is a huge part of c-store sales)

9) Impulse items in general are a big part of c-stores' marketing strategies

10) I suspect that a full service attendant that is on the payroll at the "tipped employee" rate would not fly with most state level labor law enforcement departments

11) It is a violation of PCI-DSS (payment card industry data security standards) for an employee to handle the customer's card (yes, lot's of businesses still do this, yes they are in violation, yes they are risking their entire business and millions of dollars in a fraud lawsuit)

12) Most people don't carry cash to tip with, and credit card processors don't consider c-stores a "tipped" industry and do not allow cash withdrawals of that type (it would be considered a cash withdrawal as there is not product being sold and no standard service fee being applied)

The only way this would work IMO, is for it to be a contracted service that the retailer can hire. However, you cut out inside sales with full service (even with store item delivery) AND the average margin on gasoline is around 5 cents a gallon (which makes hiring a service to focus on gas sales foolish)

I agree that there is a pain point there, people don't like pumping gas, but I don't see a solution to that pain point with this idea.

*the US government has this weird line of thinking where they don't really consider the forecourt (gas pump area) part of the business "establishment". So in order to properly inform the public that "we card" as required by law, it requires the customer to physically enter the actual building, or make contact at a window. Otherwise the customer is not properly informed that they are buying an age restricted product and the retailer is in violation. Meaning...you couldn't warn them solely at the pump.
 

MidwestLandlord

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I personally would love the convenience of having someone pump my gas. I used to have my teenagers do it for me but they're all grown up now, lol. However, I would prefer a full-service station vs homeless or anyone not directly employed by the gas station doing it.

Gas stations make money from sales from their store. Not so much from gas. If the driver doesn't have to get out of the car will they be less likely to go into the store to purchase anything? I honestly don't think gas stations would go for this but who knows. Not to mention, how would you get paid if the driver is tipping in cash. That brings up another thing. How many people are still carrying cash?
This ^^^

I think the actual solution to this pain point is to cut out the c-store entirely.

Gasoline delivery. An app where you punch in the location of your car (parking lot at work for instance), the app already contains your license plate number and automatic payment after your initial setup, and then they fill your car for you.

The problems with that are access to the gas tank (internal releases), gasoline margins, and government restrictions.

However, if the tech exists to let Amazon into your home for deliveries, the tech certainly exists to let someone securely into your car...it just has to be implemented. Government restrictions are a pain, but doable with current metering and transportation laws.

The biggest issue is margin. How much more per gallon would people pay?
 

minivanman

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So, as long as they got a rider for those things, the small c-stores like the one down the road from me could do this and win over some customers. See, they get all their products from a place over in Dallas. They don't have them delivered. They have no contracts with anyone for anything inside of the store except smokes and alcohol. Sure they couldn't bring out alcohol or smokes, that's reasonable so while they are getting their gas pumped, they go in and buy what they want. Time saved. The pumper has no reason to touch anyone's credit card, they hand the machine to the customer through the window and the customer does the work just as they do at any other credit card machine. I trade at a small gas station, I'm going to speak with him about it when we get back from Miami.

Ask Walmart how that marketing strategy worked for them, as you see, they too have now changed from those impulse buys.

But I do have a question MidwestLandlord.... if this will not work at all (not the app, the app is just silly), how are the gas stations still in business in the states that require an attendant to pump the gas?
 
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MidwestLandlord

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Most gas stations where I live there is a "lock" position on the gas lever, and we also have "tap" technology with our credit cards.

So I walk out of my car, tap my credit card (no swiping or pin number needed), choose the gas I'm going to use and then start the pump with the "locked" feature. While my gas is pumping I can go back and sit in my car or just lollygag around the vehicle if I want. It's very effortless.
This is actually another issue.

It is technically illegal to get back in your car at fill-up (everybody does it, I know)

BUT according to federal laws (EPA) the legal registered driver of the vehicle is responsible for every drop of gasoline that comes out of the end of the nozzle (any gas coming out before the end of the nozzle is the retailer's responsibility), and your liability insurance on your vehicle should cover any spills or fires or whatever.

Hence the extra riders on insurance coverage I mentioned above. When a driver goes to a full service station they are hiring that retailer to pump the fuel and transferring their legal responsibility from themselves onto the retailer.

In the case of this app, who has that responsibility?
 

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