How to Handle Holiday Package Rush

NAA’s Industry Insider has a timely article about how property managers should handle those last 72 hours of package deliveries before Christmas:

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…

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.”…

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.”



A front page story in the 10/21/15 issue of the Wall Street Journal highlights the increasing challenge that property managers face in handling package deliveries for their residents:

The biggest landlords in the U.S. are being crushed under a mountain of packages, leading one large apartment operator to stop accepting deliveries and others to experiment with ways to minimize the clutter.

The moves are at the center of two colliding trends: an increase in apartment living and a surge in online shopping. The result is a rising tide of packages with no good place to go…

Camden Property Trust, the 14th-largest U.S. apartment operator by number of units, stopped accepting parcels at all of its 169 properties nationwide this year. Executives said the Houston-based landlord, which has roughly 59,000 units in 10 states and the District of Columbia, had received almost a million packages in 2014, and the rate was increasing by 50% a year.

Each package results in about 10 minutes of lost productivity, Camden executives estimated. At a rate of $20 an hour for employee wages, that amounts to about $3.3 million a year, they said.

“Ultimately, this was going to eat our lunch,” said Keith Oden,president of Camden. He refers to the situation as “package-gate.”

Camden’s approach to the issue of package handling is probably the most extreme, but others are sure to follow if they don’t experience too much of a backlash.

We’d love to hear from our members about this issue. Are you dealing with an increasing number of package deliveries and, if so, how is it impacting your operation? How do you handle package deliveries on your properties?