Handling the Last 72 Hours of Apt Package Delivery
Closed for the holidays? Apartment communities are prepared for the last rush of resident package deliveries.
The popularity of online shopping this holiday season has led to an unprecedented number of packages to be delivered to apartment communities this month. Properties are taking pre-emptive steps this week to serve their residents, leading up to Dec. 25.
With Dec. 24 falling on a Sunday, and with the largest carriers (UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service) having announced last week their potential challenges to meeting retailers’ “promised” delivery dates, the situation for communities has become one of reminding residents about office hours and their late-arrival options such as bringing them to the doorstep or gaining approval to set them inside the apartment.
Based on informal inquiries by NAA, most apartment communities will stay open a bit later on Saturday Dec. 23 and many will open for part of Dec. 24.
Others are working with carriers, encouraging them to drop packages on Dec. 24 at the apartment—not the leasing office.
“We start informing residents of the holiday office hours schedule as early as Dec. 1,” Denise Alexander, Community Manager, Decron Properties, West Hollywood, Calif., says. “Around Dec. 20, we post our community’s office hours throughout the community so there are no surprises when residents come looking for their packages. For packages received Dec. 20 through Dec. 24, we contact the resident and offer to place them in their apartment.”
On a recent Facebook discussion, Megan Rhines Felten Property Manager, Mandel Group, Milwaukee, writes, “Our office is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we sweet-talked our delivery drivers into setting the packages at each resident’s door. The delivery people do not know this yet, but they’re getting a Starbucks gift card and some home-baked treats as a thank you from us.”
Melissa Jensen writes, “We are staying open late on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. My staff comes in on Dec. 24 and calls everyone who has a package. If those residents can’t make it to our office, we offer to deliver it to their home.”
Joy Arsham Anzalone writes, “We are open until all packages are delivered on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, and we stay open for a half-day on Dec. 24; or we put all packages in their suites if given permission. Our person on-call will handle any late deliveries.”
Christin Creech Tenpenny: “We are closed on Sunday and Monday, but our teams know to deliver any late-arriving packages inside the apartments if residents are not home. We also have night attendants in our leasing centers until 10 p.m. and residents have until 10 p.m. Dec. 23 to grab packages. All third-party delivery services know to take packages to residents’ doors on Sunday.”
Mary Gwyn, CPM, Apartment Dynamics: “We’ve sent notices to all our communities reminding them of our hours. We send text alerts when we receive a package, and remind them that we can put the package inside their doors. If the package is marked perishable, we’ll also call if they don’t respond by text.”
Some rely on package storage lockers, most of which allow for 24-7 availability. Comparing package delivery volume during the week of Thanksgiving 2017 to the week after, package locker solution provider Luxer One reported an 83 percent increase. Luxer One presently serves 1,200 communities nationwide. During the month of November this year, Luxer One saw a 44 percent increase in package delivery at its communities, compared to the same ones in November 2016.
“We started concentrating on residents who are not signed up for our package locker solution, explaining to them how it is a benefit for them,” Alexander says. “We also discuss size limitations of the lockers and discuss alternative options for delivering the larger packages, such as sending it to a different location, having the pick-up done at the hub or offer to put it inside the apartment during the holiday.”
"Most of our clients have not adjusted their office hours for the holiday season,” Lori Torres, CEO, Parcel Pending, says. “Because our lockers are available to residents 24/7, property managers are not too concerned about residents not having access to our lockers in order to retrieve a special holiday package.”
Some communities avoid taking a direct role in the package delivery because of frustration with carriers’ behavior. One shares, “We haven’t accepted UPS or USPS packages for years due to the fact that they fail to place notices on the residents’ doors letting them know the package is in the office.
“We have a sign-in book for the package delivery people and UPS and USPS wouldn’t sign-in the packages and instead would dump them and walk out.
“We do accept FedEx because they sign-in the packages and require onsite staff to sign for delivery. FedEx has an online tracking system so that residents can track their packages [to the point of delivery].”