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Automating apartment package management at multifamily communities

If your multifamily community was overwhelmed with apartment packages over the holidays, consider automating the process with package management apps or package lockers.

Just like the rest of 2020, the holiday shopping season was one for the books. With so many people hesitant to shop in-person for Christmas gifts, online sales reached an all-time high. Thanks to the historic numbers of shipments, it created a big ol’ mess for anyone processing or receiving a package.

At your communities, the flood of apartment packages probably buried (perhaps literally) your on-site teams. Even shipping pros, like USPS and FedEx, were overwhelmed by how many packages were shipped. In fact, roughly 1 million packages were stuck in transit on Christmas Day.

While Christmas is the peak time for apartment packages, they’re still coming strong the rest of the year. The pandemic has forever changed our buying preferences. More people shop online than ever before, and that doesn’t seem like it will change once normal life resumes. Since online shopping isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, finding an easier and more convenient way to handle apartment packages is essential.


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Why you should automate apartment package acceptance

Receiving packages at an apartment community might not sound like a big deal. But there are several pain points that on-site teams face when apartment packages arrive.


The volume of apartment packages keeps growing.

The average consumer gets 45 packages delivered per year. But, if you are an Amazon Prime member, that number bumps up to 51 packages per year.

Using that estimate, think of how that packages arrive to each of your communities.
For large, high-rise communities, NMHC reports 20% receive more than 400 packages a week!

What’s even more astonishing is that both of these delivery estimates are from 2019 – pre-pandemic times. It’s highly likely in 2020 and 2021 that communities are receiving many more packages on a daily/weekly basis than these estimates.

There’s not enough space to store apartment packages.

Some of the communities in your portfolio were probably built when e-commerce didn’t exist. Or when its impact was still minimal. Even buildings constructed in the past three years couldn’t anticipate the explosion of online ordering thanks to lockdown orders.

Unfortunately, that means when the daily tsunami of apartment packages arrives, your team is struggling to find a place to put them. And if packages from the day before (or beyond) are still unclaimed, then your spaces are bursting at the seams.

Oh, and then there are all those oversized packages that show up. Rugs. Treadmills. Mattresses. These are things that clog an already-full office.

Managing apartment packages is time-consuming for your on-site teams.

According to a panel of apartment professionals at the 2016 NAA Education Conference, it takes on-site teams five to six minutes to process a single package. That is roughly one hour for every 10 packages. If we use the estimate from earlier about how many packages your community receives, it’s possible that your associates are spending up to 4 hours a day on package management!

With package management requiring so much time, it’s easy for bigger priorities – like leasing, and resident satisfaction – to get neglected.

How managing apartment packages can be easier

Clearly, there are a lot of obstacles that make multifamily package management a nightmare. If your on-site teams are still using manual processes to manage apartment packages, then it’s time to upgrade to an automated solution. There are a few solutions that will make the process more efficient and convenient.

Package lockers automate the logistics and provide safe storage.

Package lockers are a hot commodity at multifamily communities. Not only do they relieve on-site teams from package management, they keep deliveries safe for residents. Plus, residents can claim their packages at their convenience.

How apartment package lockers work

  • Shipping carriers bring packages to the lockers and scan each one in
  • Carriers place each package directly in a locker
  • A notification is automatically sent to the resident with an access code

Of course, one of the biggest pain points of managing packages is the time aspect. Since apartment package lockers automate the entire process, on-site teams will get to focus on bigger priorities. Residents also appreciate that their packages remain secure, but still easily accessible when they are ready to pick them up.

Package management apps automate check-in and notifications.

Some communities are unable to find space for package lockers. If lockers aren’t feasible, a great alternative is using an app to automate check-in and notification. Some community engagement apps offer package management features, which lets you automate the most time-consuming parts of package deliveries. It also gives residents instant notifications when a package is ready to pick up.

How community apps work to manage packages

  • Carriers deliver packages to the community office
  • On-site teams use the scan in feature on their app to read package labels
  • The scanner triggers a push notification to the resident
  • Residents retrieve packages from the community office

While apps don’t relieve community managers of every task associated with package management, the process is considerably easier. It’s a very cost-effective way to improve apartment package logistics.

More apartment package management strategies

For more insights on managing apartment packages, check out our guide. Get your free copy of Unpacking Multifamily Package Management Solutions.

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