Work-at-Home Businesses Require Package Efficiency

The rise of the Internet has impacted the globe in many ways. One of the biggest changes from the digital age is the fact people don’t have to leave their homes anymore… for anything, really. People can have a work-at-home business.  They can shop from home. They can get groceries delivered straight to their front door. It’s easier than ever before to place orders online with the click of a button.

But it doesn’t stop there.

An increasing number of millennial and Gen-Xers are operating businesses out of their homes; representing companies such as LuLaRoe, Matilda Jane, Thirty-One and Etsy.

Many are enamored by the ease of running a home-based business. However, apartment renters, who make up a large portion of the millennial/Gen X demographic, can find it to be quite challenging because of the abundance incoming and outgoing shipments. These businesses require frequent, if not constant, deliveries that are shipped and received at home. Lost or delayed shipments can result in an immediate negative impact to their business success.

Apartment communities can assist here. Any community equipped with a 24-hour package locker system and a package room for larger shipments can dramatically help residents successfully run their home businesses. Depending on the industry supply contents can vary. However, in nearly every case, timely shipments are the lifeblood of the business.

Here is a look at some of the most common products shipped to these types of home-based, digitally run businesses:

  • Clothing
  • Home Decor
  • Skin Care/Cosmetics
  • Craft, Textiles & Other Homemade Goods

As work-at-home business continues to expand, so will their presence at apartment communities. Shipments will be amplified for these residents, and having an effective package management system in place can be the difference between losing and retaining them. With the sizable increase of work-at-home businesses, having a package solution onsite can serve as a marketing tool on its own. Prospects are already excited when they see package locker systems at a community they are touring. Having this amenity could be an even bigger draw to someone who is interested in or has already established an at home-based business.

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Disrupting the Norm: Multifamily Executive Exclusive with Georgianna W. Oliver

We are proud to share this article on how our founder, Georgianna W. Oliver, continues to disrupt the norm with her entrepreneurial expertise and enhance the practices within the multifamily industry.

Expert Tips on How to Disrupt Multifamily – For the Better

Package Concierge Creator Georgianna Oliver shares her experience and knowledge from having owned several start-ups

by: Jennifer Castenson

Some people are born to disrupt things. Like self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” Georgianna Oliver.

Oliver has introduced several innovations to the multifamily housing industry in the past decade, including Package Concierge, one of the earliest automated package-locker systems for apartment properties. She also created AptBudget, a Web-based budgeting solution, and EverGreen Solutions, a technology-focused consultancy that helped owner–operators manage major technology implementations or moves from one property management system to another. (The latter two products have since been acquired by RealPage.)

What’s behind Oliver’s seemingly magical creativity? Read the full article here.

 

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Technology Implementations Today, Avoid Budget Busters in 2018

Overwhelmed leasing team members were creatively dealing with package management by stacking packages to clear out enough space to get to their desks and start the day.

Sound familiar?

It’s a plight many in the multifamily industry have become privy to. There has been a spike in online ordering but a lack of space to store the overabundance of packages. Currently, Americans spend more than $300 billion annually on online retailers. Community managers, leasing agents and team members burn several hours a week organizing these packages. That organization is just so they’ll have some idea where to look when residents come to pick them up.

To end the madness, communities are adopting package management technologies as a brisk, effective solution. However, communities shouldn’t wait until panic-mode sets in to make the call. Rather than grasping at contingency funds, planning ahead by adding a line item into the 2018 budget to implement a technology that best suits community needs will be a true life saver.

There are five options available to create more efficient package management. When evaluating which is the most appropriate solution for your community, keep in mind factors like your community size, accessibility, possible locations and even your renter demographic.

  1. Package Logging Software: Through this service, residents receive text and email reminders that a package has arrived. This eliminates the steps in which residents call to check if a package has arrived, or a community team member calls the resident to notify them that it’s in. This is a solid option for smaller and midsize communities. It is cost-effective and allows for near-immediate implementation. However, some of the existing hurdles will remain. This solution still requires some staff involvement and doesn’t allow for round-the-clock package retrieval.
  2. Software-Driven Package Rooms: This service remains cost-effective, further reduces staff involvement and allows residents round-the-clock access to retrieve their packages. Residents receive a text and email with a one-time code and their signature is required for entry into the package room. However, privacy and security isn’t as thorough with the packages on shelves rather than in lockers.
  3. Smart Package Room Systems: This is a more technologically savvy version of the software-driven package room and features similar benefits.  Camera footage of those retrieving packages is available to assist with accountability. Licensing fees might also be a little higher. While it offers a high level of security, it still isn’t quite as secure as a package locker system.  Technology innovations are moving towards greater security.
  4. Digital Package Locker Systems: The most convenient solution. It has the highest level of security, greatest privacy and the least amount of staff involvement. It also serves as a 24/7 amenity. This solution is also a future-proof solution, with the capability to incorporate any technological updates into the existing framework. While this solution has the highest upfront capital expenditure, the ROI in staff time saved and resident satisfaction can cover the cost within the first year.
  5. The Full Package Package Management Solution: eCommerce trends are shifting. Residents are ordering more, bigger items and looking to ship items to their friends or family and want an easy way to return items. A key solution is combining the convenience and security of locker systems with the flexibility and size of smart rooms. With lockers installations that can be customized to fit any aesthetic or configured in a variety of ways, this comprehensive solution is primed to meet any future package management needs a community may have. Consider a new comprehensive package center for your residents with secure, easy-to-use lockers next to a smart room with a commercial grade freezer for all possible shipments that need refrigeration, custom shelving units to fit packages of any size or even tables equipped with packaging materials for every carrier. With this solution, the options are truly limitless.

Online package ordering is increasing nearly 10% each year and the trend, if anything, is increasing. If your community team can handle the influx, that’s fantastic. If not, we recommend budgeting now and planning ahead for one of the above solutions.

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Hurricane Preparedness: Stock up on Supplies, Know Safe Spots

One hurricane already has landed on U.S. soil. Another is about to do so. And a third could be on the way if Hurricane Juan builds momentum. Hurricane preparedness is the utmost importance now.

It’s a small measure of relief that technology allows near-precise timeliness of when and where these devastating acts of nature will make impact. Technology can also help you best prepare for disaster.

In the case of Hurricane Irma, residents in Florida, the Gulf Coast and the eastern seaboard had more than a week’s warning for the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.

While that doesn’t soften the potential impact for apartment residents and operators, it gives them more sufficient time to prepare. As many go to local shops and stores to get supplies the result is often bar shelves. However, a few-day window exists to utilize online shopping. Apartment communities could see a gigantic rush of supplies ranging from non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and other survival-type goods.

This is also the time for property managers to have a firm emergency plan intact. It is vital to have procedures in place to notify residents and team members. This isn’t the time to ignore evacuation orders or the advice of first responders.

But no matter how direct, widespread or valuable the advice, some will choose to wait out the storm. In fairness, south Florida apartment developments are better prepared for a hurricane after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Construction standards have increased, windows are designed to withstand high impact and most new developments can absorb winds of up to 175 mph. But that doesn’t mean newer apartment communities can be perceived as an impenetrable fortress when hurricanes approach.

For those who plan to stay – or end up caught in an apartment community during a hurricane – here are a few survival tips:

Remain in the stairwell of your building

This is generally the safest place you can be, as it is the sturdiest part of any high-rise. The cooling tower atop the building also is built to withstand exceedingly heavy winds, particularly in newer buildings. The drawback with both these options is that you’ll be difficult to reach in the aftermath of the emergency.

Keep windows closed and balconies clear

These precautions might seem apparent enough. But the slightest gap in an open window can allow the storm to enter and could create a suction effect. Some might be tempted to open windows because the loss of power means the loss of air conditioning, which can create brutal inside temperatures.

Stay clear of low lying areas and windows

Although many believe the threat of danger elevates the higher you go, the most devastating impact typically occurs at ground level. That’s largely because ground-level items often stay close to the ground when they are uprooted and tossed through the air. And even though many new apartment communities feature glass that can withstand significant impact, stay as far away as possible despite the inclination to watch what’s happening outside.

Elevator situation

If you safely wait out the storm and live on a higher floor, be mindful of the elevator situation. Shifting in a building typically equates to elevator problems, and they could be inoperable for the foreseeable future. So if you live on the 25th floor, be ready for an abundance of stair climbing each time you come and go.

Here’s hoping that hurricane season passes quickly and with as little damage as possible. For those in the path, stay vigilant, stay prepared and stay safe.

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