While the book is fictional, it does contain a number of interesting business ideas, including my favorite outlandish business opporunity of all time: fountain coin harvesting.
On 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.
Next, 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 profit.
The 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.
After 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.
Photo by xrrr.