Fuel is where FBO’s make their money. Back when I was looking to do an FBO (about 6 months ago) wholesale 100LL was around $1.18 per gallon. Add fuel excise tax and it was up around $1.50 per gallon wholesale. Could reasonably sell it then at $3.00 per gallon. It costs 75 cents a gallon to put in the plane at 500,000 gallons per year. Hence the reason you get about a 50 cents per gallojn break on self serve.
Also, most jet A is sold to fractionals that are very savvy in buying fuel. They are getting a deal but the FBO’s suffer.
All told, I think our profit margin was going to be around 12 to 14% before taxes, interest, and depreciation. More of a lifestyle business but it can be profitable.
If you are interested in the business, email me and I will put you in touch with someone whom you should consult with before doing anything. I can also send you a copy of our business plan. The general rule of thumb is to never own an FBO at an airport you would not fly to your self. In other words, make sure it is a decent place to go in the first place.
BTW, we lost the deal in a bidding war with another company. They out spent us on infrastructure (at least they agreed to, the money hasn’t been spent yet) by $1 million. Foolish expenditure in my opinion as the ROI will be very small if it is even a postive number with that much capital outlay.
Hope this helps,