Esso Petrol Franchise in the UK: Could it fuel your ambition?

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esso petrol station franchise

Originally posted on 20/11/2018. Updated on 15/06/2019.

Esso is the trading name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. The company began as Standard Oil of New Jersey, following the collapse of Standard Oil. In 1934, the brand name Esso was chosen because it was the phonetic pronunciation of the 'S' and 'O' in Standard Oil. Around the world, the most popular brand names of ExxonMobil are Esso and Mobil.

The History of Esso In The UK

Esso can be traced back to 1888 in the UK. The brand was originally known as the Anglo-American Oil Company, which opened its head office in London 130 years ago. When the US supreme court ordered the closure of Standard Oil in 1911, one of the 33 spin-off companies, Standard Oil of New Jersey, acquired the Anglo-American Oil Company.

Over the years, Esso has secured its presence as the UKs leading petrol provider. Not only was Esso the first petrol station to sell unleaded petrol, but it also secured its place at the forefront of the industry by making ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel, which is now available nationwide.

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A key part of Essos history is its announcement of its partnership with Tesco in August 1988. The retail giants worked together to open chains of Tesco Express stores located within Esso forecourts. There are now around 180 outlets up and down the country, providing more than 4,000 jobs. All in all, Esso serves roughly 800,000 customers every day through its retail network of more than 1,100 Esso-branded service stations.

But can you invest in an Esso petrol station franchise in the UK?

Esso Petrol Station Franchise UK

Unfortunately, there arent currently any opportunities to invest in an Esso petrol station franchise in the UK, as Esso has chosen to adopt a branded wholesale model.

Esso decided to overhaul its retail business and concentrate on supplying high-quality fuels to business partners. It launched a programme to transfer its operations at 400 sites to independent specialists while maintaining its brand presence, which was completed in 2015. Essos new business model gave buyers a rare opportunity to acquire established sites with a strong retail foothold in the local area. It was good for business too, as it combined Essos experience producing and promoting high-quality fuels with the increasingly sophisticated retail knowledge of independent petrol station operators, such as Rontec.


As one of the leaders in the UK forecourt sector, Rontec can get you as close to owning an Esso petrol station franchise as you can get. As an ambitious independent fuel retailer, Rontec offers prospective franchisees the chance to own and operate an Esso-branded forecourt and shop. Rontec operates more than 240 forecourts in England and Wales and is looking for business-minded investors who have experience running either a convenience store or forecourt.

To be a successful Rontec franchisee, youll need to be hard-working with an eye for detail. From a financial perspective, youll be required to invest in your franchise, and be able to pay a franchise fee and buy your sites stock. The investment level is dependent on the potential turnover of your chosen store, but costs can range from £30,000 to £60,000.

In return for your investment, youll receive training to ensure that you have all the necessary know-how to make your petrol station a success. Once youre up and running, youll continue to receive support from your Area Manager, who will visit you every week to answer any questions that you have.

Other Petrol Station Franchise Opportunities

Esso isnt the only major petrol retailer in the market. There are plenty of opportunities to run a business with other famous petrol brands. Lets take a look at two of the best.


BP offers a similar franchising opportunity to Esso. By becoming a BP franchisee, you could open a convenience store on a BP forecourt.

BP is a globally recognised brand that was first introduced to the UK in 2000. Today, it has over 300 locations and a further 200 in the US. It is currently focused on continuing this growth. To aid its expansion, BP is looking for prospective franchisees with a passion for quality and service. So, if you have sales experience, financial acumen, a can-do attitude and a desire to succeed, this could be the franchise for you.

Of course, such a well-renowned brand doesnt come cheap. The total investment for this franchise is £2,000,000, and franchisees must be able to demonstrate access to liquid capital of around £800,000. However, BP franchises have enormous potential, thanks to ever-present consumer demand.


While Shell doesnt overtly operate a franchise model, it does advertise a Self-Employed Retailer scheme. This is a multiple investment opportunity that enables you to run a cluster of around six Shell service stations. While you will be expected to invest in the sites in the long term, Shell provides the service stations and fuel. The company will also train you and provide ongoing support to ensure that you are able to run the business effectively.

The way it works is that you will receive a commission on all sales from fuel, car washes and the shop, but youre expected to pay regular royalties to Shell too. By taking advantage of this scheme, you could be earning between £65,000 and £80,000 per year. Of course, your exact income would depend upon the number of stores you run, their locations and their profitability.

In terms of the products you sell, Shell selects the core product range in your stores, but gives you the freedom to supplement them with local ranges and choose your own prices as long as they dont exceed a specific maximum limit. You will be responsible for hiring and managing your staff and setting a positive example for your workforce. You will need to work closely with Shell, as an open and honest partnership is vital for effective business management. Shell is there to support you, should you encounter any issues. On the other hand, if you successfully develop your cluster of sites and exceed profit forecasts, you will be able to enjoy a higher income and perhaps even invest in more Shell service stations.

Shell is determined that their Self-Employed Retailers succeed in business, so not only do they provide an on-site training programme at a Shell garage forecourt, but also a work experience placement, during which new recruits are supervised by a Shell representative. Theoretically, this equips them with the skills to run the business but, in reality, there are a number of key attributes that applicants must be sure they possess before they even think of applying to become a Self-Employed Retailer.

Firstly, many Shell service stations are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so applicants must be prepared to work unsociable hours and be flexible if the need arises. Also, due to the nature of the job, applicants must be comfortable speaking to and working with different types of people. Not only will the job involve leading a team, but also communicating with the public and being the face of the business, so it is crucial that Self-Employed Retailers can put on a friendly face and be ready to cooperate, should issues crop up.

Shell operates more than 43,000 outlets and serves around 25 million customers across the world every year. If you would like to be a part of this thriving business, head to the Shell website now. If you are selected to join the company, it should take three to six months to plan your business and complete the training programme, so, if you put your mind to it, you could be up and running in no time.

The Future of the Petrol Station

According to a report by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), petrol forecourts are experiencing growth in a range of different ways. Sales revenues are increasing and more jobs are being created. In fact, in 2017, forecourt retailers generated over £4 billion in sales, demonstrating their importance to both the UK economy and the communities that they serve.

Gone are the days when petrol stations were merely places to fill up your car and buy a newspaper. The growth in the convenience food sector has enabled drivers to more shopping on the go, which has given petrol retailers the chance to create a new kind of forecourt. Consumers are living increasingly busy lives and now demand more from their local petrol stations. As a result, petrol service stations that offer convenience food can boost their revenue, as consumers can nip in and quickly buy a snack or something for dinner before they pay for their petrol. Therefore, partnering with a petrol retailer could be a great way to run your own business and generate a healthy income.

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