This week, TJIC points out that the New York Times is starting to sniff around another business model in the book, that of fountain coin harvesting. They are starting to see the market:
In all these babbling places, the story is the same: Coins pile up, Mr.
Mendez removes them and people's fascination with tossing pocket change
into water continues, unexplained"¦
But miss the real business model (from the book):
the basis of this market research and his quirky insight, Preston Marsh founded
3Coins, Inc, and began an intensive six month research and development
program. He hired engineers from several
hot tub and spa companies that had developed the modular spa, a design where
all the necessary pumps and plumbing were integrated with the tub into a single
portable unit. His designers worked long
weeks coming up with three modular fountain designs, driving down the estimated
manufacturing cost to just $350 per unit.
Preston Marsh took these fountain designs to mall owners, architects, building
managers, landscapers and anyone who designed or owned public spaces. In every case, the deal was the same: Preston Marsh would give the client one or
more free fountains to adorn their public spaces, and would even provide the
labor to clean and treat the fountains once a week. In return, Preston Marsh literally "kept the
change". Preston Marsh paid local
entrepreneurs 25% of the change drop to clean the fountains and empty and
deposit the change. The rest was pure
resulting economics were startling. For
each installation, Preston Marsh had up-front investments of about $750,
including the $350 tub plus delivery and installation. In return, Preston Marsh gained about $50 a
week in revenue, or $37.50 after the servicing agent took his 25%. Over a year, the fountain would produce
$1,950 in revenue, with virtually no expenses or overhead.
five years, 3Coins had nearly 10,000 fountains in place, generating almost $20
million in annual revenue, over half of which was profit. And Preston Marsh owned 100% of the company.
You can still buy BMOC at Amazon, which has had a bit of a sales resurgence of late after a couple of press mentions. Servers are standing by.