Operating c-stores is a complex and fast-paced business. How do I know? Recently, I had the privilege of attending the National Leadership Conference for a leading retailer of gasoline and convenience merchandise.
My participation gave me a broader understanding of the c-store business model and the need to maximize site safety while minimizing site disruption. This goal can help reduce c-store operating costs which, for many, have risen between 8-10% each year.
How to Reduce Operating Costs:
As it concerns asphalt and concrete maintenance, four things need to happen in order to reduce your operating costs:
- C-store facility managers need to implement a proactive approach to parking lot maintenance.
- Your paving vendor must be speedy.
- Your paving vendor must be creative.
- Your paving vendor must be flexible.
The first part of the equation is tough if you manage a large portfolio of c-stores and don’t know the condition of your pavement assets. In that case, it’s critical to partner with a vendor that can help you perform routine assessments in order to identify immediate needs—such as slip and fall liabilities—and prioritize future repairs. The data collected can help you plan and budget 2 to 3 years out, while also reducing last-minute emergency repairs and unplanned expenses.
The second part of operating a safe and successful c-store chain hinges on timing. It’s got to be convenient for customers to get in, fuel up, and get out. Any disruption to fuel delivery or pump downtime has a big impact on the bottom line. That’s why it’s important to partner with a paving contractor that has resources to quickly process requests, gather additional information such as job site pictures, and turnaround quotes fast.
The right materials and application process are vital, too. Work with a paving partner that can offer alternative solutions requiring less time to apply and cure. For example, in canopy and drop-zone areas where full-depth repairs are difficult, a patching compound can be used. There is no heavy compaction equipment required and the repair can be re-opened to traffic within a few hours. And, as an alternative to traditional striping, glue-down thermoplastic markings are easy-to-apply and long lasting.
Finally, your paving contractor should be able to schedule work for a cluster of job sites, saving time and lowering the cost of materials and labor as well as perform work during off-peak hours to minimize disruption to business operations.
If you own or manage c-stores and would like to know more about how your parking lots can drive down operating costs, please contact us.