• Service Station Lawyer Sydney – Specialist Law Firm

    ‘Service Station Lawyer’ doesn’t appear in the media very often. It’s a specialist area of law and one that requires a subject matter expert lawyer.

    So, whether you are considering purchasing a service station or assessing the viability of a franchise, Harbourside Legal Commercial Lawyers have all the expertise you need to get the right advice. In short, speak with an experienced service station lawyer first, to help you make the right business decisions.

    Our firm’s Principal, Abraham Ishkhanian, knows the service station business inside out. His family has owned, operated and managed service stations for over 45 years. In addition, Abraham personally managed several service stations for 15 years which included major companies such as Caltex, Ampol, Mobil and United.

    Consequently, this unique industry experience enables Harbourside Legal Commercial to assist clients or all sizes; many of whom are major owners and Operators of some of Sydney’s largest service stations. Furthermore, these customers know and rely on the experience and expert legal knowledge that Abraham shares and is renowned for in the industry.

    Buying or Selling a Service Station

    Therefore, if you are interested in selling, buying or operating a service station you need to ensure you get thorough advice from an experienced service station lawyer. Above all, it is a complex and specialised area of law. and apart from the usual issues of buying or selling a business, consideration must be given to strict environmental legislation and compliance.

    For example, detailed contracts need to be drawn up that are industry-specific and that properly cater and protect your interests as well as meet your compliance obligations. Secondly, proper searches and reports must be obtained to ensure that you are not buying into the Vendors negligence or other site issues. Furthermore, a purchase, no matter how straightforward, will often involve entering several complex agreements which bind the parties in many ways often with 3 or 4 separate parties.

    To clarify, when selling or purchasing a Franchise some of the documents required are;

    • Sale of Business Contract;
    • Franchise Agreement;
    • Lease Agreement;
    • Licence Agreement;
    • Equipment Leases;
    • Employment Contracts;
    • Contractor Agreements
    • Disclosure Documents;
    • Purchase of Franchise Systems; and
    • The Oil Code.

    Leasing and Franchising a Service Station

    The right to occupy a service station site can come about through many complex and often confusing agreements. For instance, most are operated under a franchise system where the operator enters a franchise agreement with an occupation agreement. These are separate documents but work together at the same time. Consequently, these documents are often considerably long and hard to read for the untrained eye.

    You need to receive the right advice from an experienced service station lawyer before entering into any agreements. Most importantly, make sure you are aware of the legal consequences and obligations you are being asked to accept.

    So, before signing any document or agreement, always speak with an expert service station lawyer.

    Environmental and Compliance Obligations

    Importantly, service station Operators need to be aware of their obligations. In other words, Operators need to be aware of the strict compliance with the laws and regulations. Similarly, Operators should be aware of the penalties for pollution breaches are astronomically high and can measure hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is not an area of law that all lawyers are aware of. Only an experienced service station lawyer can help you navigate through the complex legal framework.

    The EPA is now getting tough on rogue Operators, as well as carrying out random inspections on sites throughout NSW. For example, inspections are being made in conjunction with water, air and land pollution, offensive noise, hazardous materials and waste.

    Furthermore, Vapour Recovery Systems (VR1 & VR2) are now compulsory in all service stations in New South Wales and some other states. Large fines and site closures are just some of the consequences of non-compliance, even if no environmental damage has been caused.

    Independent Operators and Supply Agreements

    It could be said that Independent Operators are more exposed; they simply don’t have the same protection as those who operate under a franchised network. Consequently, the obligations of independent Operator are much greater and therefore greater risk is borne by them.

    Independent operators must ensure that the sites are compliant with all regulations particularly environmental laws. Local councils have recently become more strict with independent Operators, given that they are not likely to comply with the regulations of the industry. Therefore, there is a greater perceived risk to consumer welfare and the general public.

    Supply Agreements

    Independent and Freehold operators can enter into Supply Agreements with oil companies for the supply of fuel and other branded products. Importantly, supply agreements are not just fuel related but can also incorporate further items often overlooked by operators such as;

    • Petrol Bowsers
    • Signage
    • Corporate branding
    • Authority to accept corporate cards for payment; and
    • Access to buying groups for discounted stock

    Mechanical Workshops and Car Washes

    Although the number of Automotive workshops is declining, there is still a demand for automotive repairs and even more so of mechanics wanting to lease workshops to establish their own business. However, there are many issues to consider with these setups, often including:

    • Leases
    • Licence agreements
    • Contractor agreements
    • Sub-contractor agreements
    • Employment agreements
    • Faulty workmanship claims; and
    • Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)

    These are in addition to environmental regulations such as waste oil storage and disposal.

    In conclusion, service station law is complex, detailed and extremely challenging at times. Therefore, ensure you engage the right service station lawyer and contact Harbourside Legal Commercial today.

    Use our enquiry form or call a Service Station Lawyer on 02 9955 6692

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