I-85 Bridge Collapse Could Impact Package Delivery Scene in Atlanta

After our initial shock when we saw the unprecedented traffic jam and bridge collapse on Atlanta’s major thoroughfare Interstate 85, the first thing we thought was: How is that going to affect package delivery?

When you’re in this business, those are the connections you make.

Atlanta features notoriously heavy traffic to begin with – the fourth-worst in the nation, according to INRIX – and the bizarre I-85 incident clearly won’t help. The bridge collapse on March 30 reportedly was due to a homeless man starting an accidental fire beneath an overpass. If that wasn’t enough to compound things, a portion of Interstate 20 buckled on April 17 due to an underground gas leak, which sent a biker airborne.

We’re not here to criticize traffic situations in particular towns, and we’re eager to see the vibrant city for the Atlanta Apartment Association’s 2017 Trade Show. But this spurred thoughts as to how much package delivery could increase in Atlanta, considering two of its major vessels have endured significant setbacks. Will the city’s residents be less eager to commute to brick-and-mortar stores when they can simply order items online? Will lunch-break shopping trips decline as residents are foregoing the traffic challenges and opting to work from home?

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, freight traffic traveling through the city is now being directed to I-285 to bypass the city until the projected June 15 reopening of the bridge on I-85. As more vehicles use the alternate route, times will slow for commuters and logistics firms alike. Toby Jorgensen, a senior analyst at CBRE research told the newspaper: “The hardest part is the last-mile consumer and business delivery.”

It will be compelling to see how consumers, businesses and apartment communities adapt to the newfound challenges.

In the tech-savvy city, perhaps drone delivery will start to become a larger part of things as well. Drones have the capability to bypass heavily congested freeways and drop off packages at an apartment community much more efficiently. Residents will have their shipments in their package lockers right on schedule. In the future, this might even advance a step further. Imagine living on the 18th floor of a swanky urban high-rise and having your package drone-delivered to your balcony.

Perhaps we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, but these are the things we think about when we’re heading to a new city for a conference.  We’re excited for Atlanta and the opportunity to learn more about how different regions utilize package management. We’re just hoping we don’t have to spend too much time on the freeways.

P.S. We will be back in Atlanta for the National Apartment Association Education Conference and Expo starting on June 21st – wonder how the package situation will be different then? Either way, be sure to stop by and see us!

Meet Tim and Alexis on Wednesday, April 26th 2017!

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Top 10 Hidden Holidays You Need To Prepare For

We all know about how the winter holidays always lead to a profound uptick in the number of packages your residents are receiving. But as ecommerce continues to rise exponentially, there are so many other times throughout the year when package delivery may surge at your properties. Check out our list of “Top 10 Hidden Holidays” you need to be prepared for:

You can find anything you need on the world wide web for the hidden holidays.

  1. Super Bowl Sunday. Once your team is out, you frantically buy gear for your de facto team of choice (let’s just say my son now owns a Falcons sweatshirt). Besides, how else are you going to get all football themes napkins, bowls, plates, etc. the Super Bowl Party?!
  1. 100th Day of School. Yes, this is a thing and not something we made up. It’s mostly celebrated by younger students sometime in February, as schools have fun with the number 100. Many Pinterest-loving mothers are known to order craft items at this time, which can lead to a sneaky increase of packages in some circles.
  1. Valentine’s Day. That oversized Vermont Teddy Bear isn’t going to drive itself to your significant other’s home. And neither is that sparkling necklace or whatever else you’ve ordered to make sure you’re not the goat on the international day of love.
  1. Memorial Day. Everyone wants to get away for Memorial Day. But it’s even better to leave town with that new tent, new fishing supplies, new tarps and other camping accessories. Late May always leads to a package boom.
  1. Independence Day. Yes, it’s illegal to ship fireworks by mail, so we’re not even going to go that route. But it’s also the heart of barbecue season and summer house parties, which leads to an uptick in online ordering of wide-ranging supplies.
  1. Amazon Prime Day. The monster online retailer held its first holiday exclusively for its own “Prime” members in July 2015, predictably resulting in an online ordering frenzy. 2016’s Prime Day, which Amazon touted as “one-day-only global shopping event,” was even bigger. The retail giant has vowed to bring back Prime Day this year although an official date has not been announced. So what can we expect from this year’s Prime Day?! If it’s anything like last year when we saw more than a 30% increase in packages two days after Amazon Prime Day, it will be one of the biggest package delivery days EVER!
  1. Back to School. Mid- to late-August means back-to-school time. This can create a sizable package rush, particularly for student housing communities. College students are continuing to seek alternative methods to purchase textbooks, such as sites like Chegg and eCampus, rather than buying them for full price on campus.
  1. Labor Day. While Memorial Day unofficially signifies the beginning of summer, Labor Day serves as its end-of-summer counterpart. That means one last chance to escape the grind. It also means heavy discounts on outdoor merchandise as retailers look to make a push before camping season ends.
  1. Pre-Halloween. While it’s a given that packages will arrive in droves during the Christmas season, this holiday can creep up on you. Some even call it a pseudo-holiday because no one ever gets the day off for Halloween, but expect a full package room as people continually opt to purchase their costumes online.
  1. Home Events. As families convene, host homes don’t want to disappoint. While orders of kitchen and culinary supplies increase, families also commonly spruce up their homes to make a favorable impression on their visitors.

Visit our website here to help you manage these holidays to come.

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Package Concierge® Signs Acquisition Agreement with Gibraltar Industries

Package Concierge®, the multifamily industry’s preeminent supplier and innovator of electronic package management solutions, today announced it has entered into an acquisition agreement with Gibraltar Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: ROCK), a leading manufacturer of commercial building products. Gibraltar will acquire Package Concierge for $20 million in the all-cash transaction.

Package Concierge® Signs Acquisition Agreement with Gibraltar Industries

Package Concierge® Signs Acquisition Agreement with Gibraltar Industries

Package Concierge’s manufacturing partner, Florence Corporation, a subsidiary of Gibraltar Industries, produces the only premium quality, U.S.-made package locker systems. Gibraltar’s acquisition solidifies Package Concierge’s exclusive partnership with Florence and ensures multifamily access to the innovative, American-made technology.
“The online shopping trend continues to grow exponentially, increasing the need for multifamily communities to deliver a seamless resident experience while streamlining their own operations,” said Georgianna W. Oliver, chief executive officer of Package Concierge. “By combining Gibraltar’s unmatched expertise in postal delivery products with our commitment to innovation and in-depth knowledge of the multifamily industry, our clients deliver the best package experience possible to their residents while increasing the efficiency of their leasing offices. We are thrilled to join the Gibraltar family of businesses and excited to bring new products and solutions to the apartment industry.”
Day-to-day operations will remain unchanged, and Package Concierge will continue its modernization of technologies and package management solutions. To better address the impact eCommerce growth is having on the multifamily industry, the firm will launch Package Concierge Express® and a Package Concierge Package Room in 2017.
“Package Concierge is the clear market leader in the multifamily segment and through the acquisition of Package Concierge, we plan to accelerate Gibraltar’s presence in the overall fast-growing Package Delivery Locker market,” said Gibraltar Chief Executive Officer Frank Heard. “Package Concierge’s proprietary software/hardware solution and deep understanding of the multifamily market, coupled with our current ExpressLocker™ product, provide Gibraltar with a distinct competitive advantage. We welcome the Package Concierge team to Gibraltar and look forward to working together to capitalize on many exciting opportunities in this market.”
To learn about Package Concierge’s package management solutions, please visit http://www.packageconcierge.com.

 

About Package Concierge®
Package Concierge® is the leading provider of package management solutions to the multifamily industry. The company created the first innovative digital locker technology that addresses the escalating challenges of package management in the multifamily and student housing markets. Founded in 2012, the company’s installations across the United States include some of the largest real estate management companies: Alliance Residential, Avalon Bay Communities, Berkshire Property Advisors, The Bozzuto Group, Equity, Greystar, The JBG Companies, Pinnacle and Winn Residential. Its founders are technologists, entrepreneurs and property management professionals from the multifamily apartment industry. Contact Package Concierge at info@packageconcierge.com for more information.

About Gibraltar
Gibraltar Industries is a leading manufacturer and distributor of building products for industrial, infrastructure, residential, and renewable energy and conservation markets. With a four-pillar strategy focused on operational improvement, product innovation, acquisitions and portfolio management, Gibraltar’s mission is to drive best-in-class performance. Gibraltar serves customers primarily throughout North America, and to a lesser extent Asia. Comprehensive information about Gibraltar can be found on its website at http://www.gibraltar1.com.

Safe Harbor Statement
Information contained in this news release, other than historical information, contains forward-looking statements and is subject to a number of risk factors, uncertainties, and assumptions. Risk factors that could affect these statements include, but are not limited to, the following: the availability of raw materials and the effects of changing raw material prices on the Company’s results of operations; energy prices and usage; changing demand for the Company’s products and services; changes in the liquidity of the capital and credit markets; risks associated with the integration and performance of acquisitions; and changes in interest and tax rates. In addition, such forward-looking statements could also be affected by general industry and market conditions, as well as general economic and political conditions. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable law or regulation.

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Flawlessly Deliver the Gift of Love

Has this ever happened to you?

You spent hours researching and planning the perfect gift for your special someone. You went so far to make your purchase with a prepaid gift card online so they wouldn’t see what your ordered on the bank account. You had it all planned – nothing could ruin it. Or so you thought.

Valentine's Day packages

The package arrived but you weren’t home when it arrived so your special someone picked it up. They mindlessly open it and that perfect gift you spent so much time trying to surprise them with is staring them directly in the face.

All of that planning ruined with a misstep in the package delivery process. It is probably safe to say a lot people can relate to some part of this shipping mishap, and that’s unfortunate.

What is fortunate though, there is a solution for apartment dwellers: a package locker system.

Package Concierge® offers a robust and innovative interface for our locker installations providing every resident a unique, individual access code. That’s right, each person, not a code for the apartment home, ensuring there is no longer a potential the wrong person will pick up the package.

This practice in individuality will certainly come in handy this Valentine’s season when residents are really hoping to surprise their special someone with something they will love. In the last 3 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of packages delivered the week before and the week of Valentine’s Day – some communities are receiving 50 percent more packages in these two weeks and seeing their package volume return to normal the week after.

How heartbreaking would it be if any of these packages were discovered before they were given? Show your residents some love and contact Package Concierge® today to set up an installation!

Still looking for that perfect gift? Check out these 5 online sites still offering 2-day shipping:

  1. Amazon.com – This is a no brainer if you are an Amazon Prime member. With access to hundred of thousands of gifts, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. And if you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to make sure your package arrives in time.
  2. Walmart.com – Now this may not evoke the spirit of Valentine’s Day but the major retailer has recently announced free 2-day shipping for any purchase more than $35. If your loved one is looking for something like a FitBit Charge, new camping gear or even the uber popular InstaPot, this might be a new go-to shopping site for you.
  3. Sharperimage.com – For those who enjoy a tech-savvy treat, Sharper Image has unique high-end gifts such as a light and massage therapy hair brush or heated indoor-outdoor slippers. Use promo code VDAY99 to get free 2-day shipping for orders over $99 till February 10th!
  4. MichaelKors.com – Speaking of high-end, this top designer ensures that amazing purse, luxurious wallet or killer pair of sunglasses will arrive on time if ordered by February 9th. Just be sure to use the code VDay for free 2-day shipping.
  5. Apple.com – For the tech lover in your life, order any Apple product by 5pm today to receive free 2-day shipping. Apple Watch for all!
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5 Million Mark: A Measure of Skyrocketing Ecommerce Industry

In some ways, 5 million represents the perfect storm.

While package delivery continues to increase exponentially in the ecommerce market, Package Concierge® has tirelessly aimed to keep a steady pace by installing innovative package lockers in as many locales as possible.

In Spring 2016, we surpassed the 2-million mark in package transactions. At the time, it signified a hefty achievement. But as consumers continue to gravitate to online shopping and nationwide demand for package solutions rises accordingly, we’ve experienced more than a 200-percent spike in package lockers installations.

With that, the number of package transactions has quickly ascended to 5 million.

5 million

To be clear, the 5 million figure isn’t something we’re thumping our chest about. In our eyes, the number more represents the thriving ecommerce industry and the suddenness of it. This hasn’t been a gradual rise – it has been meteoric. There is a reason why businesses are closing brick-and-mortar stores but continue to thrive overall. It’s because their merchandise is being ordered through a few clicks online, and consumers are utilizing package delivery at ultra-historic rates.

Ecommerce Increase Means More Deliveries

Internet sales accounted for a mere 3 percent of consumer expenditure as a whole in 2006. That number rose to 15.5 in 2016 according to Business 2 Community, and the U.S. is at the forefront of this global movement. Ecommerce is a $220 billion market in the U.S. and has grown at annual rate of 17 percent over the past decade.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that is it offering free two-day shipping.

The trend within the trend is that consumers are not only shopping online, but increasingly doing so through mobile devices. Experts predict that mobile transactions (those conducted through smartphones and tablets) will account for 26 percent of retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. by the end of 2017.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that it is offering free two-day shipping.

What to expect?

Packages are being delivered at such a fervent pace that Amazon is unveiling its own delivery service. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that ecommerce growth played a key role in 3.2-percent profit growth for the United Parcel Service. Naturally, Amazon’s decision to utilize its own deliverers could put a dent in overall numbers for UPS, FedEx and USPS. But no matter the method in which they are shipped, the packages will continue to arrive.

Looking to the Future

Along with the demand, residents are expecting to receive their packages in a convenient, hassle-free manner. That’s why we believe it is important to parallel the growth of ecommerce with solutions that fit.

Perhaps in six months or a year, we’ll view our 5 million package transaction as obsolete, as antiquated as the dial-up modem. But for now, the figure holds some clout when looking at ecommerce as a whole.

5 million.

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Amazon’s Forthcoming Addition of 100,000 Employees Underscores Package Boom

Warehouse worker taking package in the shelf in a large warehouse in a large warehouse

Warehouse workers search for their packages in an unorganized package room.

It is no secret that the trend is there. Package delivery is increasing on a daily basis, as millennials prefer the convenience of shopping from their phone.

Even older generations are beginning to resist shopping in stores, opting for the alternative of making a few clicks and waiting a few days for the package to arrive at their doorsteps. That’s why, despite strong industry-wide sales, prominent retailers such as Macy’s and Sears are closing many of their brick-and-mortar stores.

This trend is not a momentary blip. In fact, a recent proclamation by tech giant Amazon indicates package delivery will continue to steamroll in this direction for the foreseeable future. Amazon, widely known as the king of package delivery, has indicated that it will create 100,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2018, according to a recent article by USA Today.

Apartment operators should prepare accordingly, as this is not a knee-jerk move by Amazon. First Data reports that ecommerce’s share of retail sales in the holiday season was 21.3 percent, a hefty increase from the 15.4 percent of 2015. Expect the numbers to rise again in 2017, as the Internet now represents six percent of the total U.S. economy. And it’s not only going to grow during the holiday season. Package delivery is steadily increasing year around, with significant upticks around back to school, Halloween and even Mother’s Day.

If your apartment communities have not yet adopted a solution to combat the influx of packages – such as a smart room, package lockers or a package management team – now is the time. While many apartment owners/operators were ahead of the curve and enjoyed a much smoother 2016 holiday season, still a large number of the industry saw overflowing packages, leaving overburdened members of the leasing team with the cumbersome task of sorting through them.

In September, Amazon announced intentions to deliver its own packages, eschewing traditional delivery services UPS, FedEx and USPS by building its own delivery service. Now comes news of Amazon’s hefty six-figure addition of employees, with many of the positions slated for four soon-to-come fulfillment centers.

The additions of fulfillment centers in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas have clear objective in mind: Get packages out more quickly. Amazon went from 56,200 employees in 2011 to 306,800 last year. Now 100,000 more are on the way to keep up with the country’s propensity to shop online.

The packages are coming at a historic rate and, as indicated by the actions of one of the nation’s premier tech giants, the breakneck pace will continue. Make sure you’re proactive rather than reactive, or you might end up beneath the pile.

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Budget for Amenities!

budget

A Budget Including Amenities Can Help You See and Save Green!

It’s that time of the year again: the preparation of next year’s budget for your community. Your budget is likely to cover a lot of different areas; from marketing and sales to staffing and screening. While these are necessary for the property to keep functioning, make sure to make room for amenities. Amenities can increase occupancy and drive increased revenues. It can also be used in your marketing efforts to generate leads. When budgeting for amenities, there are a few things you need to consider. If you follow these three steps, you’ll be good as gold!

Survey

The best amenity is a wanted amenity. A good way to gauge interest in a potential amenity before purchasing is to survey your community. What do they want? What amenity adds convenience for them? What’s going to make them want to renew their lease? You may think your community desperately needs a guinea pig playroom, but you better check first. An amenity collecting dust is a waste of money and isn’t generating ANY revenue.

ROI

Stemming off of the first point, when you figure out what amenity or amenities your community wants, it’s important to consider the ROI. You don’t want to commit to an amenity with a short lifecycle. You’re looking for an investment with long-term results. This can be challenging, especially when trends can come and go. Doing your due diligence through research will be vital to making sure your addition isn’t a dud. Find industry resources that can provide the data you’re looking for. Numbers don’t lie and they can be a great guide for keeping up with trends in multifamily!

Scout

Ok. You’ve listened to the community and you’re devastated about their lack of concern for the guinea pig playroom. You’ve also taken their suggestions and done some research on your own. Still hesitant about pulling the trigger on a certain amenity? Find a community that has what you’re looking for and go see it! For example, if you’ve been researching package lockers, find a community with a system. When you get there, ask to see the system, but also ask their opinion. Have the lockers made residents happier? Have they seen an ROI yet or expecting to? How do they work? Don’t hesitate to ask questions from an unbiased party before going into a sales process.

No one likes to budget. It’s time-consuming and can be difficult to stick to if problems should arise. But a proper budget can drive additional and recurring revenue if there’s room for an amenity. Then it’s just a matter of researching and selecting the amenity that will have the highest impact on ROI. Finally, go see it in action somewhere! An amenity can be just what your community needs to grow and thrive. Choose wisely and budget appropriately!

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FHA To Save the Day!

FHA

FHA Helps Save Money

In case you missed it, the FHA has cut insurance premiums for certain multifamily mortgages. The changes took effect on April 1, 2016 and place an emphasis on energy efficiency. The change also impacts affordable and mixed-income communities with reductions for housing affordability. FHA expects the reductions to spur the rehabilitation or production of 12,000 additional apartment units every year and reduce rent and utility costs for residents. It also displays major support from the government for multifamily to get green. So what are the qualifications and details exactly? Could your project be up for a rate reduction? Here are the main details you need to know, provided by housingonline.com‘s magazine, Tax Credit Advisor:

  • FHA is lowering its multifamily insurance premiums to 25 basis points a year for energy-efficient properties. That’s a reduction of 20 or 25 basis points for many existing properties, with even larger savings for new construction deals. These properties must commit to meet an industry-recognized green building standard. Owners must also keep their buildings in the top 25% of multifamily buildings nationwide for energy performance, as determined using the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager 100-point score.
  • FHA is also lowering its annual multifamily insurance premiums to 25 basis points for “broadly affordable” housing. That includes properties where at least 90% of the units are covered by a Section 8 contract or the affordability requirements of the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.
  • FHA is lowering its annual multifamily insurance rates to 35 basis points for properties that mix affordable housing with market-rate housing. That’s a reduction of 10 to 35 basis points from current rates. That includes properties that have set aside units based on affordability under programs including LIHTC, Section 8, inclusionary zoning, or other local affordability programs.

Win/Win For All!

Take note that insurance premiums won’t change for properties not meeting any of the criteria. For those that do qualify, the annual savings are substantial and owners and managers should look to see if they can take advantage of this powerful new incentive. The FHA has taken steps to help everyone in multifamily. Property owners can save money and renters have greater access to affordable rents and healthy units.  Plus, going green and competitive pricing are great ways to market your community. With this initiative, everybody wins!

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Package Management Is the New Expectation

Package Management

Package Management More Than an Amenity – It’s Expected

According to a recent National Multi-Housing Council study on renter preferences, package management ranks second in importance after fitness centers and before WiFi, shared Barry Hume, president of Package Concierge.

Hume moderated the Package Management, From Courtesy to Competitive Necessity: Why It Matters session at the 2016 National Apartment Association Education Conference and Exposition in San Francisco.

“NMHC has done study after study on the topic and package management comes up as one of the most important amenities to residents every time,” Hume says. “There’s going to be a point in the not too distant future that it will become the most important amenity.”

The panel shared that Amazon Prime now offers free memberships to college students while its general membership has more than doubled in the last two years. The service now boasts 64 million paid memberships. Further ramping up the package delivery game, the e-commerce juggernaut has launched same day delivery in 27 regions across the country.

“Residents are ordering packages, and their expectation is that the packages will be delivered to their homes,” Hume says. “Residents also believe it is our problem to deal with the packages, not theirs. As an industry, we need to figure out how tackle the problem.”

Package Management No Longer Optional

Fellow panelists Dean Holmes, COO, Madison Apartments and Craig Meddin, COO, The Postal Solutions Companies echoed Hume’s sentiments in that now is the time for apartment owners and operators to shift their view of package management from one of a resident courtesy to being a competitive necessity.

“A proactive and well-evolved package management policy can be a competitive differentiator,” Holmes says. “Most of us are choosing to find solutions to manage packages for our residents.”

But why should an apartment community justify the shift from courtesy to competitive necessity? The answer, according to the panel, is two-fold. First, it improves resident satisfaction and, second, the return on investment can be profound.

It was shared that although the direct impact of package management varies, 30-60 percent of residents indicated that package management solutions/effectiveness have a positive impact on their decision to renew.

“A planned package management solution is definitely impactful,” Hume says. “There’s a real business case for having something in place that will affect the resident.”

If resident satisfaction isn’t enough of a reason to make package management a must-have amenity, the numbers are intriguing.

It is estimated that the time it takes on-site personnel to deal with a single package is five to six minutes, according to the panel. That is roughly one hour for every 10 packages. Data shows that a 250-unit property averages 30 package deliveries per day, which equates to three hours of package management. When processed manually, the average cost to accept and deliver a package is $2.08 per package.

“Package management is an expectation now, an expectation that most of our residents and prospects take for granted,” Holmes says. “It’s not an optional amenity anymore.”

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Package Concierge and MTEC 2016

MTEC: Shape Your Future

MTEC Not all conferences are created equal. They come in many different shapes and sizes while staying true to a central idea. Package Concierge tries to attend as many as possible and we’re excited for our next one: The Multifamily Technology and Entrepreneurship Conference (MTEC for short). This exciting event has a lot to offer to those working on a new product or company idea in multifamily.

Held at the InterContinental San Francisco, MTEC is not a technology show despite the name. The conference’s main focus is education and networking for the industry’s entrepreneurs. If you’re a startup in multifamily, this conference is where you need to be. This isn’t just a social hangout; attendees are CEOs and private equity investors alike. On the conference’s website, MTEC states, “Conference speakers and advisors include some of the most successful multifamily entrepreneurs of the last decade.” Anyone has a great chance at making the right connections through MTEC.

The broad range of the conference is also another reason why MTEC is so exciting. From lead generation to energy management solutions, you’re going to learn something new. Panel discussions will be running throughout both days and led by the best of our industry. Our founder and CEO, Georgianna Oliver, will be participating in a panel about the Internet of Things (IoT) and multifamily. New business opportunities are popping up for the industry since connectivity is everything. Others joining the discussion are Felicite Moorman, CEO of StratISDavid Taylor, Senior Vice President and Chief of Operations of WaterSignal; and Ron Reed, SVP, Utility Management of RealPage, Inc. serves as moderator.

MTEC 2016 promises to deliver a networking and educational event to remember. Full of insights and opportunities, everyone in attendance will take away something. Whether it’s a few connections or new ideas, it’s a win either way. Interested in attending? See below for details and we hope to see you in San Francisco.

Register here

MTEC 2016

June 14 & 15

12:00pm – 12:00pm

InterContinental San Francisco

888 Howard Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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