My store has a mix of machines spanning 25+ years. Since most were purchased used, I have a collection of some 15 keys for 45 machines. Various brands and styles of coin boxes and locks.
I have purchased three used machines this week and need a key for the coin boxes. So I contacted Monarch in Kentucky since they made the boxes. They are 4in by 7in so not a common size. The seller lost his lease and is selling his used machines from a storage facility. He had one key for the entire store, so no extra keys for buyers like me.
I explained the situation by email to Monarch, and was told they would not sell me a key, even with the code from the box, because I did not buy the locks/boxes new.
The guy I got the machines from did not buy the boxes new either.
IE, according to Monarch, if you are not the original owner of the coin box, no sale. Needless to say, I was fired up when I read that email. I thought you could get replacement keys as long as you were a store owner and you had the code. I bought some new locks from Monarch back in 2007 to repair some broken boxes, so I have/had an account with them.
My question is this, since I have several different brands of keys, and none of them were purchased by me, is it going to be impossible to get duplicate keys made for the coin boxes ?? Or is this just a Monarch thing ??
I would hate to think I will have to change some 35 locks just because I am not the original owner of the machines.
Some are ESD boxes with various types of locks, some boxes are Monarch, and some are Greenwald. None use Medco locks. Some of the keys have codes, some don't. They are all the standard 6 inch style boxes for dryers and washers and all have the code inside the box. I could understand if the key blanks are obsolete, but as far as I know, all of these are still available.
I don't know, maybe it's just me, but the first thing I have done on all three stores was immediately change ALL the locks out with new.
That way you are guaranteed you don't have a silent partner you don't know about.
Who knows how many keys have gotten out over the years and who has them?
Plus, I don't like carrying thirty different keys like I was handed with the last store I bought.
I have one key that fits every machine in the store.
When I bought my store there was a mix of about five different keys. I hated this at first, but realized it was actually not a bad thing. Someone had a key or you lost a key you only ended up with a 1/5th partner not a full partner Also if you lost a key and wanted to be safe you only had to re-key 1/5th of your store. There are pluses and minuses each way.
I know with some Medco stuff I had for a small fee they exchanged the old cores for new cores and gave me as many keys as I wanted.
I have one key for all washers' coin boxes and another for dryers'. For some reason, the dryer keys wore out really fast. I threw away two dryer keys last year. There are still 44 left. If I am still in this business 22 years later and still use coin system, I will have to order more keys.
Win them on price, lose them on price.
Win them on quality, lose them on quality.
Greenwald and ESD label their boxes with the actual key code, while Monarch seems to put their own number on the boxes.
If you have the code for Greenwald or ESD you can get a copy made as long as the blank is still available. Monarch keeps the key codes "in-house" instead of putting them in the boxes. So if you loose your key to a Monarch box and you did not buy the box from Monarch, you are out of luck getting a new key.
In researching the issue, I have found the boxes I have with Greenwald locks and Sentinel keys have been discontinued. So even with the code I can no longer get a new key for these locks. The Sentinel II models are still available.
I have ordered 10 new locks keyed alike and 10 used boxes keyed alike from Ebay suppliers.
That should eliminate most of the orphan boxes in the store and cut the number of different keys down to 5 or 6 for 45 machines. I have some spare locks I can use to replace the 3 Monarch locks.
Four years ago I learned a valuable lesson mentioned in the replies to this post - right after buying my second store I was robbed by a guy who had a ring of keys. He got lucky and opened most of the boxes in the store with one of his keys. All of the dryers were keyed alike and all of the washers were keyed the same, so there were two keys for the store. After that I replaced the bigger machines with different locks, so if someone gets lucky again they won't hit the jackpot.
There is no way I would have the entire store keyed alike.
As for the comment of re-keying when you buy a store, it is a good idea but not cost effective with locks costing $15 or more each plus labor. A good CCTV system will catch a former employee using their key to access your boxes.
I would recommend re-keying the bill changers and other locks including the front doors when the store changes owners.
Before getting into the laundry business, I owned a pay phone business. I had about 250 pay phones, all keyed alike.
I used U-Change locks made by Baton Security products. The locks came with a set of 12 operating keys, and one master key. The master key could be used to select one of the 12 operating keys that would operate the lock, while the other 11 operating keys were disabled. The idea was that if I ever lost the operating key that I actually used, I could very quickly, and without having to buy any locks or keys, re-key all of the phones to a different one of the operating keys.
I also had the option of separating the route into as many as 12 groups of keyed-alike phones which were keyed differently from other groups. This was helpful for a few locations where coin collection was outsourced.
I don't know if Baton offers coin boxes and locks for laundry equipment. Pay phone locks were a minor part of their business.
Dave Levenson, NJ
The Happy Launderer -- If you can't take the heat, stay out from behind my dryers!
I should clarify a previous statement - - the key lock that the thief was lucky with was a standard issue tubular lock, not the higher security flat or odd shaped keys.
All of the dryers used one key and all of the washers used another, and all were Greenwald boxes. As most of you know, tubular locks can be picked and keys found that are "close enough" to open them. Also, his batch of keys had the notch filed down that forces you to put the key in one way.