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How Property Managers Can Avoid the Pitfalls of Parcels

By Sandra Zimmerman

How Property Managers Can Avoid the Pitfalls of ParcelslsYou may have heard the surprising news last week, that a major player in property management is no longer accepting the delivery of any packages for residents of their properties. This new policy is considered by many to be an extreme reaction to a very serious problem that countless property management companies are currently facing — how to manage an ever increasing influx of packages arriving for their residents.

This often overwhelming problem is the result of a perfect parcel storm created by an increase in apartment and condo living, along with a steady increase in the number of people making purchases online. In 2013 191.1 million US citizens shopped online, with that that figure projected to surpass 200 million in 2015. (Source: Statista.com)

However, while residents are enjoying the convenience of shopping online, property managers and their profits are being crushed under the avalanche of incoming packages, which they must record as they arrive, find a place to store these packages and then track down their intended recipients. Depending on the number of packages received by a property, this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year. And for larger property management companies, this can translate to millions across their entire portfolio.

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While in this period of high demand for rentals with comparatively low supply, some property managers may think that they can easily get away with refusing to accept parcel deliveries for their tenants. However, this solution greatly contradicts the on-trend competitive strategy of providing superior customer experiences. And as markets always experience cycles of prosperity vs. depression, there will inevitably come a time where denying residents such a basic and in-demand service will come back to haunt those property management companies.

So let’s discuss solutions that everyone can live with. One of the numerous operational benefits that on site Community Management Portals provide to property managers and front desk staff, is the ability to quickly record the details for incoming packages, and have the system automatically notify tenants of their package arrival and pick-up location. This eliminates the need for residents to inquire about the arrival of their package, as well as the effort of staff to track residents down for delivery — and packages are far less likely to be misplaced.

The time and effort savings made possible with a web Portal can be augmented by one or more of the following solutions that many property management companies have been experimenting with:

• electronic lockers where packages are stored, with access codes given to their recipients
• allowing tenant access to a package delivery room that is monitored through security cameras
• authorized access to resident units, to deliver packages directly
• setting reasonable restrictions on number of packages, as well as their weight and dimensions

If managing parcels is taking up too much of your staff’s time, carefully consider the pros and cons of the various solutions available to you. Remember that in property management as with any other industry, change is inevitable. It’s the way we respond to that change that determines our ongoing success.
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Tagged Productivity, Blog, News, Technology, Property Management, Customer Service

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