Coin Box Security
Coin box break ins are on the rise and there have been an alarming amount of coin box thefts occurring with the Speed Queen, Huebsch and other front load machines.
Vandals are prying out the entire coin box and damaging the machine. This has found to be a problem on many models of the Greenwald and ESD boxes. With these boxes in particular we have found that the locking arms do not extend far enough to prevent vandals from prying. Now that vandals believe they can remove the entire coin box, break ins are on the rise. Monarch’s Jewel and Guardian boxes have extended lock arms that prevent the boxes from being pried. It was brought to our attention that these same vandals attempted this on several different boxes and they were unable to remove the Monarch boxes. As the criminal syndicate increases it’s attempt to produce higher profit margins, we must focus our attention on preventing theft and stay on top of new tactics. The photos attached show several Speed Queen machines after the boxes have been removed. We would like to thank Travis Reed for providing us with this information.
We at Monarch strive to stay ahead of the curve, if you or anyone you know has any information that may be helpful, feel free to call us or email us with information. We will share this info with others in the industry to help make our industry safe.
Help us be proactive not reactive!
Converting to Token
PROS & CONS OF TOKEN USE
In an attempt to address the abuse of coin changers, vandalized coin boxes, and the outright destruction of their equipment, a number of operators have considered tokens. There is some merit to this, but there are also a number of obstacles. Let us consider the various stumbling blocks to implementation of a change, and see just what you might be getting yourself into.
First, lets take care of a common question. NO! You cannot purchase tokens the same size as a quarter. No reputable mint will provide such an item. It is not legal to produce a token that is within .030″ of the size of a quarter. A quarter is nominally .954″. So the next token size up is .984, and the smallest one close to the size is .900″. It is possible to make a coin chute that will accept both .984 and the quarter, but this means any trash of a diameter in between those sizes will also pass through the mechanism. So a secure conversion will entail replacing the coin mechanism.
The next hurdle is to select which token you wish to use. There are several variables to consider here. If there is a mix of equipment, some using push/pull mechanisms, and some using drop mechanism or Quartermaster Mechanisms, you are restricted to round tokens. In round tokens, the following sizes are generally available: .800″, .880″, .900″, .984″, 1″, and 1.125″. There are a few oddball sizes out there, but they are usually proprietary, that is, dedicated to one specific user. Before you consider doing this yourself, be aware that there are substantial tooling costs to be paid up front, and a minimum order of 10,000 pieces from most mints. And the coin acceptors to take them may not be available.
Before you make your selection you should first examine the acceptors on your equipment. Some drop mechanisms can be adjusted to accept the new token. Others must be replaced. Not all manufacturers make acceptors for all sizes of tokens. Some manufacturers no longer exist. This will impose some limitations on your choice. And the same make or style of acceptor is not used in all machines. You will find such names as AirPax, Greenwald, Set-O-Matic, Hanke, Mueller, Keltner, SlugBuster, and others. Each with its own mounting dimensions, and they are generally not interchangeable. This is the point where many lose confidence in changing to tokens, but it must be done if the conversion is to take place.
In selecting a round token one should also consider what is being used nearby. If an arcade or establishment such as a Chuck-e Cheese is nearby, then you will want to make certain that you are not using the same size tokens. If your token has a nominal value higher than theirs, you will find their tokens in your machines. If their price per token is higher, you will be constantly replacing the tokens which wind up in their machines. This increases your cost, and doesn’t make you any friends there.
Top load machines are not quite so difficult. All three manufacturers of coin slide offer mechanisms to accept the round tokens, and the chutes from any one of them easily replace any one of the others. These all have essentially the same mounting style and use the same operating extension. In addition, there are some tokens that eliminate the complications of round tokens.
Some of these tokens are plastic tokens, which break into useless pieces when put through the mechanism. However, these breakable tokens cannot be vended from a change maker.
There are also tokens available that rely on unique shapes to avoid the acceptance of bogus tokens. (See inserts) These work in lay down chutes only, so are of no use to those with a combination of drop and push/pull style mechanisms. For small laundromats that do not offer larger machines these may be an option. However, you must also take into consideration that the value of the token is fixed. The dryers and washers must vend at the same price, or a multiple of that price. For example, The token vends at 50. The washer will take two tokens; a dryer may take only one. But it would not be possible to have the washer take tokens to a value of $1.00 and the dryer at a value of 75. That would involve a totally different token, one for washer, one for dryer.
In addition, there is currently only one source of a change maker to vend the odd shaped tokens, American Changer Corporation in Fort Lauderdale. Their units have a unique dispensing device that allows the unusual shapes to be passed and counted. Other change makers cannot accept the odd shapes as they jam in the dispensing process. They can be converted to round tokens, but this will involve changing the throat plate made for the specific size to be used. Consult the distributor/manufacturer of your make of machine for this.
Now for the up side!
After all of this, it would seem tokens are not a very good choice. This is not necessarily true.
Tokens can be an ideal solution for many problems, but there are attendant costs and headaches involved in setting up a system compatible with your equipment and needs. Once the hard part is over, you have created a system which offers additional security, as each machine will contain only tokens good in your facility.
You also gain added security as you need only fortify one point – the changer. Your rates become flexible. In effect, your patrons are entering a new country, where you set the rate of exchange. You can change pricing by adjusting the changer to vend according to how you wish the pricing to go. This will not prevent phony bills from being fed to your changers, but the forger will receive only a hand full of brass.
Tokens will also allow you to create promotional or pre-selling programs. For instance you may offer a token for a wash through a local store, one token with each box of soap for example. The tokens MUST be used in a facility which accepts the token. It has no value elsewhere.
Refunds are much simpler. If they receive a token, then it must also be used in your store. The scam artist hates this aspect.
You may offer those on a fixed monthly income an opportunity to purchase tokens at a discount each month. If the tokens are used, it is well and good. You have provided a service, gained a customer, and leveled out your usage for the month. If the tokens never get used, then you reap the profit of the price difference between what you paid for the token, and the price you received for it, without any wear and tear on your facility.
Tokens are ideal for many apartment complexes. The mix of equipment is generally top load washers and side-by-side dryers, both using push/pull mechanisms. Most laundry rooms are unsupervised, so vandalism and break-ins can be a problem. By having tenants buy the tokens from a property manager, all cash is eliminated from the machines. This will also restrict the usage to those who actually live in the apartments, and keeps un-authorized outsiders from using the machines.
In passing, it is also important to point out that the need to change to tokens might be minimized if the problem is addressed at the changer. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. Bill Validators for the changers can run as little as $120.00 to as much as $450.00. The least expensive ones offer the least security. Better units offer high sampling and greater resolution to detect bogus bills. Consult your Distributor, and plan on spending money to make and save money by selecting the highest quality validator you can find to fit your machine.
As with any other project, you will have to weigh the cost and aggravation of changing to tokens against the potential benefit. It is not the solution for everyone, but can be of immense value in the proper setting.
Fun Facts About Monarch Meters
Over the years, Monarch has furnished coin acceptors, timers and meters for the more common applications: washers & dryers, showers, lights, heaters, etc., but we have had buyers apply them on some really bizarre devices as well.
In one remarkable case, an entrepreneur in Israel took the laundromat soap vending machine and adapted it to use on busses and in parks. On Busses that traveled far across roads in barren areas, the machines vended boxed juices that required no refrigeration.
For the parks, he worked out a deal with a pet food supplier. They supplied a vending size package, which contained a few pet treats. The box was printed with a coupon to be used for the purchase of full sized boxes. These were placed in parks where people would bring their pets to frolic.
He also owned laundromats. These were situated in the first floor of apartment buildings, serving that building and many surrounding ones. Most of the residents were single men and women. So he put in machines to vend soaps and fabric softeners. But he also had a column in the machines devoted to a special package that was marked “The Good Night Kit” which contained several packets of specialty coffees, a couple of candles with matches, and 3 condoms. A good night indeed!
Our coin acceptors have been used on machines to dispense diapers, filtered water, diskettes & CD’s, trading cards and stickers, miniature candy bars and other snacks, and wide range of small articles.
Breast Pumps – Yes, I know, you say “WHAT?!” But the company that purchased them placed their product in corporate nurseries. When Mom returns to work, she can express milk for her child and have it available for the baby while she works. Many companies were shy about having something labeled “Breast Pump” on their equipment manifest, so this enterprising fellow put token meters on the devices to control usage.
Nets on Tennis court – In this case, the meter did not control lights, it controlled a small winch that would tighten the net up and when time expired the net would just fall down to the ground.
Electric Trains – Put in your coin or token in the meter on these elaborate train displays and the engine pulls out of the station and makes several circuits and then stops at the station when the time expires.
Climbing walls ( & other exercise equipment) – This manufacturer made a “Wall” that was a broad belt mounted vertically. It had the climbing holds scattered on the belt which moved down as the climber went up. The climber never actually got more than a few feet above the mat. A token was used in the meter so that when time ran out the belt would stop. This one had a key over-ride to by pass the timer as desired.
Peep Show Windows – This was first done many years ago. Put the coins or tokens in & a shutter on the window opened, revealing the delights to the viewer. Now it controls the window itself, which is a glass that responds to an electric current. When power is on, the window is clear, when the power shuts off, the window goes dark.
To Vend Grain – Like a bulk ice machine but dryer. The farmer puts a token in the meter and the hopper dispenses its contents into the farmer’s wagon.
Fire wood vendor – Put your quarters in the slide, and it vends a small bundle of firewood for your campsite.
Old Player Pianos – Which brings Monarch full circle, one of our first coin operated products in 1903, was an acceptor/timer for use on Nickelodeons and Player Pianos. See a picture of one below!
Did you know Monarch’s products have been in the movies and on TV?
The Universal Coin Operated Restroom Lock has been used in an episode of “Nash Bridges”.
It was also featured in a car commercial. The marvels of traveling across country!
Our coin chute was in a recent CSI/NYC. It was impaled in someone’s head!! (They had to modify it to make it fit the plot line. Under normal circumstances, this could not happen)
Production companies have purchased timer units to be kept in stock that would be used in various applications. They have been “hooked up” (meaning it looks like it is functional but it isn’t) to games, fortune tellers and other devices. A meter will appear in the upcoming “Reservation Road” attached to an animated clown.
The Cost of Doing Business
(Again, this was written for the coin laundry industry – It appears in the Editorial section on coinwash.com. But it still applies to every other business)
We have all seen the prices of fuel jumping about daily. This is out there where we all see it and live with it as we go about town, and very much uppermost in our awareness. But did you know that you are paying, or soon will be paying much more for other items. How much did you last washer or dryer cost you? When you go for new ones, count on substantial increases. How much do parts cost you? And how much have they gone up recently? Count on seeing the prices go up even more. It is easy to say it is greed. But the actual fact is the cost of materials has skyrocketed way past what gasoline has done.
The manufacturers are just like you. They are in business to make a buck. But consider, how much of an investment have you made in your facility to support your operation? Now consider what kind of investment had to be made to build a major fabrication and assembly building, staffed with machinists, assembly people, and design staff to support it? Most of these are higher priced specialized trades requiring years of experience that also command high salaries. Along with high salaries come the attendant costs of Workers Comp, health insurance, paid non-productive time (Vacations, Holiday pay, and so forth), Payroll taxes, etc. I once worked with the Human Resources department at a manufacturer to determine the full cost of an employee. At that time (20 years ago!) a department manager made $35,000 a year. However, when all of the other factors were considered, that managers total cost to the company was over $52,000 per year.
Now, manufacturers have recently seen other costs escalate as well. Costs which you may not see directly, but they do have a major impact on you and the future of your operation. The global demand for raw materials has put amazing intense pressure on the finite resources that are available. There is only so much copper, iron, nickel, chromium, and other materials that can be mined in any one year. And of course, fuel, and other oil based products have seen similar market demand.
Brass or any other alloy with copper in it has gone up four times what is was in December of 2005! In eighteen months, raw brass strip has gone from less than $1.35 pound to over $4.32 and is rising at about 10 cents per pound per week. In production there are always what are called clips which is the material left when you stamp out a part. We now get twice as much per pound for our clips as we paid for brass 18 months ago. Die cast components have almost tripled. And that, with the cost of brass has caused the cost of locks such as used in service door locks and coin boxes to triple. We do not use a lot of stainless steel, but you know your machine makers do. That material has tripled in the same time frame. Plain old cold rolled steel had more than doubled. And so one with just about any other material you wish to name.
All of this means that machines that cost you $800 two years ago now go for about $1100 or more. And most of this is in the materials. The same goes for parts. Motors are mostly copper wiring. So quadruple that cost. A $100 motor will now run closer to $350 or more. Switches, wiring, plumbing supplies, all have seen increases. And this has caused a cascade effect into other materials. When copper plumbing components go up, it creates a demand for alternatives, such as PVC or PEX, and these are petroleum based products, subject to crude oil pricing and now have extra demand made on them. So guess what, they go way up too!
What does this have to do with you? It means that any monies you budget for capital improvements and maintenance must be increased to cover the added costs. Where does this money come from? From all the quarters that go into your machines. And you already are stretched pretty thin. So all you can do is bump your vend prices along with the change in times. ( I will pause now for the usual screams to the effect that you CAN’T raise prices!!) But you must if you wish to survive. Do some basic math. If you now do 100 turns at $1.00, and change prices to $1.25, and do only 80 turns. You WIN! The gross revenue will be the same. The wear and tear on your machines and the usage of utilities will be 20% less, so your bottom line actually increases. And if the turns do not drop, then you have added funds for the capital/maintenance accounts.
If you raise your prices and it allows you stay in business, while the fellow down the street does not raise his prices, and goes broke when he cannot afford to keep the machines in shape, any losses will come back. And maybe more! I know that this is traumatic step. One that is hard on you, hard on your customers. But look around you. What do you see when you go the grocery? What do you see when you gas your car up? What do you see when you set down to pay your water, gas, and electric bills? And even more importantly, what do you see when you shop for new machines or replacement parts.
Brace yourself. It isn’t even close to being over!! So get yourself prepared to cover your future needs now!
Water Is Precious.
The one essential to life at all levels is water. Worldwide, 90% of all drinking water is from ground water. In the US, more than 50% of the population relies on ground water for its potable water. Water is used for drinking & cooking, for irrigation, for industrial and commercial processes, for washing, for making toilets flush, and many other applications.
The preservation and the protection of the water table are essential issues. It is much more economical and practical in the long run to prevent contamination than it would be to try and remove contaminants from the water after it is polluted. The demand on this valuable resource is depleting the water levels in some aquifers dramatically. Indiscriminate waste of water accelerates the depletion.
It takes a lot of people and equipment to make certain that when you turn the tap, something useful comes out of it. Most of us no longer go to the well to draw water as we did a hundred years ago. We expect it to be piped to our homes, ready to use, and completely safe. This involves a large complex system of pumps, treatment plants with labs to assure quality, and a distribution network that reaches every corner of every community. And the waste water requires even more in the way of a collection network, treatment plants with more labs to check the effluent, and complex regulations as to what can be discharged where, and how, and under what circumstances.
SAVING WATER SAVES YOU MONEY!
WATER CONSERVATION IS IN YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST!
Metering water usage is no longer a matter of just generating revenue. Controls for showers, or other water uses will help to limit how much is used, and how often it is used. Those who were ever in the military recognize the saying, Get in. Get done. Get out as applicable. Aside from the conservation of the amount of water used, it also reduces the amount that is put down the drain. Metering is only one step. But that is what it will take to make an impact, a lot of little steps that will add up to major water savings. No single thing is creating the demand, so each step that can reduce water usage is an important one. You might use our products (Click here for information on our shower meters) or a product from elsewhere. The point is, DO SOMETHING!
The need to conserve water is no longer an issue for the ecological extremist, but one with which everyone must be concerned. Hurricane Katrina has demonstrated how fragile our cities are. And the outlying areas of the Gulf coast also suffered severe damage to their infrastructure as well. Now many areas of the country are facing severe water shortage because of drought. These catastrophic disasters, combined with the extra demand created by a rapidly growing population in the Sunbelt and other areas, have stretched resources to the breaking point. There are some areas that have banned watering lawns, washing cars, or even offering a glass of water at a restaurant. Water conservation is a serious issue for most of us, and the need is growing rapidly everywhere.
For example, the State of Florida, in the ten years from 1990 to 2000 increased population by 25%. This is a state where almost all of the water is drawn from ground water. The added demand of the population growth is putting a severe strain on their water sources. And the growth continues, with Florida adding half a million people each year. Such growth cannot be sustained and the quality of life will suffer unless water management policies and practices reflect the need to conserve and protect the water sources. And this starts with the end users recognizing that water is valuable, and each individual must be aware of how precious it is.
Other states, which are already straining for water, such as Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Texas, and Oregon, are seeing 3% to 4% annual growth in population. Figures for growth and water usage could be cited for state after state. The point remains, where will the water come from to support and sustain this growth?
UPDATE – in the news 10-02-07: The State of Georgia is declared to be in a state of emergency. Wells that have produced for over 100 years are dry. Lakes’ water levels are dropping at a foot or more each day, severe restrictions on water usage. The same effects are being felt in Tennessee. Folks – This is SERIOUS!
Today we stand on the pinnacle of a precarious pyramid of technology. Some are barely aware how delicate and tenuous our situation may be. Others have no awareness at all, living as if there were no concerns, as if things will always be as they have been. They take for granted that when they flip the switch, the light will always come on. When they turn the tap, the water will flow. When they turn up the heat, the furnace will kick on. Any disruption to these services is considered a personal assault on their world and someone had better do something about it and do it NOW! But they do not wish to know how it all works. Or what it takes to make it all work. Just so it works.
Historians and archeologist have found the remains of civilizations all over the world that ceased to exist when all the local resources were exhausted, or when changing weather patterns caused drought. We have gone from a world population of three billion people to more than six billion people in less than fifty years. The amount of all resources on the planet is the same. Except that we now demand twice as much from those resources. Or even more, as the population today demands more of everything than ever before.
We are regaled with tales of the glories of Rome, the city that ruled the known world for nearly a thousand years. The city that led armies of conquest all over the Mediterranean world and left its stamp on the modern world in language, civics, architecture, and many other areas of life. But without the aqueducts, none of this could have happened. The water carried into the city on these magnificent structures made life in the city of Rome possible. Without that water, the city dried up – literally! When the aqueducts were destroyed, it went from more than a million inhabitants to less than fifty thousand in only a few years. It took another thousand years for civilization to once again implement public water works.
If we continue to ignore the issue of water conservation, we too can dry up and blow away. Remember, If you are not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem! Our quality of life has left us spoiled. We have developed certain expectations. We have had a century of unparalleled progress in services. The nation has been wired. The cities have made major investments in water systems. But they are constantly looking to find more resources to satisfy the demand of the citizens, reaching further and at greater expense to find the water our people need. But to continue and to maintain our quality of life requires that everyone do what they can to minimize usage and reduce waste. What have you done to help the situation?
For a better idea of how serious the problem is, try typing into your search engine ‘how to conserve water’ and examine a few of the over two million pages that pop up!
This page is dedicated to showing the viewer the many different aspects and applications of our products. Some may pertain to you. Others may not.
So be sure to scroll down to see ALL of the topics!! Your input will also be valuable. IF you have further insights or comments, we would love to hear from you.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE – WHERE TO FIND MORE PROFITS
Everyone is looking for a little extra profit. Where can we get a few extra dollars? Will it justify the cost, and give a decent return for the space? You have a captive audience. Can they be parted from a few more coins while they are there?
This is oriented toward laundromats, but other businesses can also find added profit from some of these suggestions.
Some choices are obvious. There are vending machines for soaps, bleaches, fabric softeners, hangers, and laundry bags. These machines have been used for other products. See “Fun Facts” at the bottom of this page. NOTE – Campgrounds and other facilities with transient patrons may also benefit from these!
They are an excellent tie to your business, a source of satisfaction for your customers, and added profits for you. Monarch offers many sizes: from simple two column machines up to eight columns, with bag vending options and stands available for most models. See our selection of machines at Soap Vendors
Monarch also offers a line of coin operated timers that have been used to control a wide variety of items. Look further down and you will see some of the more bizarre applications. But some of the more general applications would be:
Lighting on recreational courts.
Control the cost of lighting tennis,basketball, or other venues
Infrared heaters on driving ranges, ice rinks, etc.
Control operating costs of providing the heat!
Cooling Misters, for Parks, Zoos, Golf course, etc.
Furnish a brief cooling mist for patrons!
Control usage and time!
Pumps for dispensing water for farmers and ranchers.
Vend water in bulk by coin or token!
Bulk or bucket, control usage! For hotels, motels, etc.
Provide a soothing break, for salons, laundromats, Malls, and Others!
Television and radios.
Pay as you go! For laundromats, bus/rail/airport, etc.
Shower for Campgrounds and other venues.
Control water usage, minimize waste, improve customer satisfaction!
Not just a pay shower. Use Tokens to control who uses your facility and how long they are in there!
Model train displays.
Provide an amusing diversion and generate reveue!
For Marinas, ATV Parks, Campground, RV Storage, etc.
Again, control who uses the facility for how long.
Vacuums at Car Washes.
An idea to generate more revenue!
Pigeon Throwers, As used by Target Shotguns
A way to control usage and who uses the range.
And many other electrical devices
Call us with YOUR idea!
See our Meters at Aqua-miser for general information on all of our timers and accessories to them.
There are video games, & vending machines for snacks, & drinks. But there are some considerations. Yes, they may generate some extra money. But you have to look at several factors. Video games are popular, & an excellent way for customers to kill time while the washers churn. But they can also be a problem. If the game is not popular, no one plays it, it gathers dust, & takes up space that might be more profitably used another way. If it is too popular, you draw players who are not customers, creating an undesirable gathering; one which might scare away customers. This will depend on your area, and your customer base.
Vending machines for snacks and drinks are another option. Heat is a consideration. Most yummies MELT!! This may affect what you chose to stock. You might consider salty snacks, like chips and crackers instead. Gum ball machines are small, and product sells for 25 cents but only costs 2-3 cents, but you’d better fasten them down!! Machines for canned drinks may be a good choice. Vendors for drinks will not place machines if the volume is low. Plus, you are constrained to the brands they market. You might purchase a machine from Sam’s, or larger machines, new or used. But consider the operating cost versus the revenue.
There are some old fashioned machines that offer novelties that are appropriate for some locations. An example is the “Love Machine”, which is an old device that takes a quarter, and shows a rating for the patron. The beauty of this is there is NO product to replace!! Check these out at Coin Crafters.
Another novelty machine is the old fashioned penny press. The customer puts the penny in one slot, and quarters in another and the machine will press the penny into a souvenir with your logo or other message on it. Again, YOU do not supply the product!! These can be hand cranked, or electrical. You can see these at Penny Press US
It isn’t for everyone, but some facilities have offered pay phones, phone cards, and long distance services. Some have added mail boxes/shipping services.
You also have to examine local licensing regulations. There may be State, or County or local municipal requirements that each machine have a tax stamp. And revenues for these may be taxable, even those where the revenues from your laundry are exempt, a potential bookkeeping nightmare. So check out this before buying machines.
Other items for a profit center might be Internet access by means of a coin operated kiosk, and also consider Wi-Fi service. It may be a significant draw if customers can use their laptop while doing their laundry.
The gist of the whole thing is this: There are added sources of revenue. There are various and assorted things that can be offered. And there are controls for many applications that were not originally designed to be coin operated. And there can be issues when taking on some of these options. Laundromat locations are scattered all over the country. What works in one area, will be a big flop in another.
YOU know YOUR customers, so you must consider all the variables before you buy into a possible profit center. But we hope this has at least given you some points to ponder.