Package Management: 3.3 Million Reasons You Need a Better Solution

November 30, 2020


Rent Manager

Package Management

Consumers everywhere are waking up on this crisp Cyber Monday morning to internet browsers loaded with the best online deals and eager pointer fingers hovering over the “purchase” button. 2019’s Cyber Monday sales totaled a record-breaking $9.8 billion, rising 19% over 2018’s $7.9 billion haul. Consumers’ wariness of spending hours wandering retail stores during the surging pandemic, coupled with the inherent convenience of online shopping, is estimated to increase that number to $10 billion in sales this year. As the purchases begin to pile up, so will the packages in your lobby. Solidifying a comprehensive package solution for your property has become more important than ever.

This type of experience and convenience is rapidly expanding to every area of daily life. In 2018, online sales grew by 15%, with 1.79 billion people worldwide making online purchases. Thanks to the rise of Amazon and other e-commerce giants, consumers can now order practically anything from a phone or computer and have it shipped directly to them. From mattresses to meal kits, the simplicity of online shopping has created an expectation of frictionless experiences.

To deal with this increase in shipments, FedEx recently announced that it would soon begin delivering packages seven days a week. For property managers—especially those in the multifamily space—online shopping has created a new hurdle:

It costs a property manager 10 minutes of productivity every time they handle a package delivery, which can add up to $3.3 million a year in potential revenue lost.

Wall Street Journal

How do you handle all of these packages? As recently as two years ago, each of your residents might have received one package a week. Now, those numbers are closer to one package a day. From delivery logistics to your staff’s bandwidth to recycling all that packaging, an influx in deliveries causes many challenges for property management companies.

Delivery and storage

Depending on the size of your property and your method for managing packages, the first challenge is receiving and securely storing deliveries. Is your staff handling packages in the office? If you’re managing a large multifamily property, the volume of deliveries will require a significant amount of storage space. What happens when residents are on vacation or traveling for work? Those packages may be with you for a longer period than you originally expected. The rise in home meal-kit delivery also poses a challenge: is your storage area temperature controlled to accommodate these types of parcels? The last thing you want is spoiled food in your office because your tenants haven’t retrieved their packages.

Additionally, if your staff is holding deliveries at the office, residents are likely required to pick up their packages during office hours. Remember the expectation of convenient and frictionless experiences we talked about earlier? If this is your method for package management, residents may end up frustrated.

Access and safety

Maybe you don’t handle packages yourself—perhaps you don’t have the space available to store deliveries, so you opt to have carriers deliver shipments directly to the unit. This can eliminate some challenges—such as time, storage, and convenience—but there are other hurdles to consider.

The first issue is access control. How do you give delivery drivers access to your building(s)? If your property limits public access, this is a primary concern. Then, you must consider security issues. Not only are you allowing delivery personnel to admittance your building(s), but by leaving packages at residents’ doors, you’re also allowing valuable items to be left in the open. There’s a lot to consider when implementing this method of package handling.

Time is money

As noted earlier, the biggest challenge facing community staff when dealing with package deliveries is the time involved. The process of accepting shipments, notifying residents, and storing or delivering those packages to the units is more costly than you may think. After all, time is money. According to the Wall Street Journal, it costs a property manager 10 minutes of productivity every time they handle a package delivery. For Camden Property Trust—featured in the WSJ article—this added up to an estimated $3.3 million a year in revenue lost. Every delivery you receive is taking you and your staff away from the other items on your to-do lists, costing you time and money.

Package waste

Regardless of your current package handling process, another issue that can arise from a large volume of deliveries is recycling. How can you make sure all the cardboard and waste is disposed of properly? Do you offer door-side trash services? Are residents responsible for disposing of their own trash and recycling? Do you have on-site recycling with enough space to deal with the increased volume of packaging? All of these details should be considered when evaluating your approach to package management.

With challenges come opportunities

As technology continues to move forward and consumers become increasingly more accustomed to self-service experiences, the opportunities for developers and property managers to provide above-and-beyond service also increases, especially in the area of apartment amenities. Today’s residents don’t want just any flashy new amenity—they want services that will improve their way of life.

In 2019, delivery management is an expectation, not an added bonus. A secure package management solution that works is a must for your residents and your staff—and technology can help provide the experience today’s renters have come to expect. According to a panel assembled by the National Apartment Association, “30-60% of residents indicated that package management effectiveness has a positive impact on their decision to renew.”

If you have available space on-site, consider implementing a secure package room or locker system for your residents. This saves your staff a significant amount of time handling deliveries and can also be turned into a revenue opportunity. On top of the potential for increasing rent for this added service, package management also improves resident satisfaction and retention.

If you don’t have room for to dedicate to a secure, on-site storage location, your options are to hold shipments in your office until they are retrieved or have them delivered to the door. Either way, the key to your package management model will be efficient communication with your residents.

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