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Changing a standard public restroom to a pay toilet is as easy as installing a lock. Companies such as Monarch Coin & Security offer universal coin locks that can be installed on standard restroom doors. The locks are $295 each, which includes 50 tokens for token-operated models. The company sells additional tokens for $22 per hundred tokens. Monarch advises potential lock-purchasers to measure the thickness of the restroom door and note whether the closed door is flush with the jamb of the restroom or individual stall so they can choose the right lock for their pay toilet.
Own a restaurant or other business that experiences peak traffic at certain times? Want the security of pay toilets but want to avoid causing customers extra hassle during the dinner rush? Some types of pay toilets, such as models from Nik-o-lok, can be deactivated during busy times. In addition, coin- or token-operated pay toilets come with separate keys that allow authorized employees or emergency personnel to access the toilet at any time.
Installing pay toilets as the public toilets in a business can reduce crime in several ways. Public restrooms with open access in commercial settings such as service stations, shopping areas, and restaurants are often subjected to vandalism in the form of stolen supplies, marked walls, and damaged fixtures. Customers expect clean, safe facilities, and pay toilets can help businesses keep their public toilets safer and cleaner.
One of the most obvious tips about pay toilets is the added revenue. But installing pay toilets as a form of public toilet in a business such as a restaurant or retail store generates added revenue and promotes good customer relations if business owners choose the style that takes both tokens and quarters. Companies such as Nik-o-loc offer models that take either quarters or tokens. The two options allow business owners to make tokens available for paying customers, who will appreciate the added security of a pay toilet, and businesses also will enjoy added revenue from non-customers who must pay a quarter.
Pay toilets may require less maintenance because they are less likely to be vandalized. When it's time to clean the pay toilet, cleaning crews access most coin-operated pay toilets by using a separate access key. The keyhole is part of the door handle. The money and/or tokens are collected by unlocking a different part of the handle with an additional key, so the cleaning crew need not be responsible for, or have access to, coin/token collection unless it is part of their job.
An additional, optional feature for pay toilets (as well as for other public toilets) is a window that says "in use" once the customer has deposited the coin or token, opened the door, and entered the pay toilet.
When the customer exits, the door re-latches, and the window display flips to "vacant." It is ready for the next customer to insert a coin or token. As long as the door closes completely, it won't open again until the next customer inserts a coin or token.
If you are considering an automatic pay toilet as a public restroom option, take note: Some types of freestanding automatic pay toilets have timers as an added security feature. These models set time limits for how long the door will stay closed per payment for use. Some models from companies such as Exeloo East will sound a buzzer when the time is up. Time options vary, but this type of pay toilet usually allows customers at least 8 minutes.
Pay toilets are much more common in Europe and other countries than in the U.S., and they tend to require exact change. A travel savvy toilet tip: Upon arriving in a new city or country, buy a postcard or some small item so you have change in the local currency on hand for pay toilets when you need one.
For businesses or local officials considering pay toilets as a type of public restrooms, there are several types of payment options, including:
Despite their benefits, the automatic self-cleaning pay toilets that are becoming more common as freestanding public restrooms in the U.S. can be abused. For example, drug dealers may take advantage of the privacy that these pay toilets accord. A standard public restroom has a steady flow of traffic, including police officers, who often deter criminal activity. That doesn't mean these pay toilets aren't usually safe and practical, but it is wise to be aware of potential problems as well.