A courier truck pulls up in front of a condo building. The driver unloads dozens of packages and drops them off at the front desk as quickly as possible. While concierge takes the parcels to the mailroom, another courier truck arrives. The packages are left unattended, but only for a few minutes. Unfortunately, it only takes a few seconds for someone to swipe a package that doesn’t belong to them.
In another scenario, a package may arrive, and sit in storage for days because the recipient didn’t know it had arrived. Only after calling the company from which the item was ordered did they find out the delivery had been completed a while ago.
Even though we can order almost anything from almost anywhere in the world, preventing parcels from getting lost or stolen is still a real challenge. Condo dwellers, who are shopping online more frequently, are frustrated by this issue. Meanwhile, condo associations are trying to find ways to ensure recipients get their packages in a timely manner.
While no solution is perfect, condos and residents can work together to try to minimize instances where packages are lost or stolen.
Tips for condo associations
1. Require all residents to sign parcel waivers. A parcel waiver is a simple form that authorizes the concierge team to accept packages, envelopes, and other items on behalf of the resident who completes the form. The resident must include their personal information, including their contact information, so that concierge can notify them when a delivery arrives.
Parcel waivers are beneficial for numerous reasons. They create a system that usually prevents delivery personnel from dropping off boxes when the front desk is unattended. Concierge must be there to receive all authorized packages, and send any unauthorized items back with the delivery person. Yes, this may be a slight inconvenience to the courier, but it saves a lot of time and stress for companies, condos and residents in the long run. Condos may even put instructions out for delivery personnel to encourage them to give packages directly to a staff member.
The waiver also makes it clear that neither the condo association nor the staff of the condo will be held responsible for lost or damaged goods.
Finally, it ensures the building has the right contact information for residents. It is up to residents to inform the condo of changes to their phone number or email address, but it doesn’t hurt to include a reminder of this policy at the bottom of the waiver.
2. Use package management software. Package management software helps streamline the process for concierge so that it is a less chaotic, less time-consuming experience. Using a system like Condo Control’s package management solution, staff only need a smartphone to scan and log parcels.
Instead of using paper records or documenting parcels on an Excel spreadsheet, concierge can use the software to quickly catalogue unique information about each package. This way, every team member can identify parcels, even if they didn’t put them away.
Multiple items can be scanned all at once, and the process doesn’t take much time because the Condo Control app automatically recognizes recipients’ personal information. The package is paired with the correct recipient’s unit file, and the resident is automatically sent a notification once their package has been logged into the system.
The software encourages residents to collect their items sooner so that boxes aren’t sitting in the mailroom any longer than they need to.
3. Make sure storage/mailrooms are secure. This is something that every condo can do to ensure packages don’t end up in the wrong hands. Locks or access control readers need to work properly. Traditional locks should be changed periodically as a best practice. Keys should be held by concierge or locked away in a drawer or safe.
Tips to share with condo residents
1. Use the courier’s tracking system. Almost every company will attach a tracking number to deliveries. Major couriers even make it possible to get tracking alerts and delivery notifications through their mobile app, text, or email, if you sign up for a free account. Encourage residents to take advantage of these services so that they have an idea of when their items will be dropped off.
2. Ship to a designated pickup point nearby. If the item being delivered is very valuable, residents may want to redirect the parcel to a nearby pickup centre. Amazon, for example, will drop off deliveries at a “Pickup Point” near you, but there are limitations. These stores will ensure every item is accounted for.
This solution can be particularly useful if packages are usually left in front of owners’ doors, or if the building does not have full-time concierge staff.
Amazon also has lockers, which are secure and convenient. There is no additional cost to use these lockers.
3. Request that packages have signature confirmation upon delivery. For high-value items, adding signature confirmation provides assurance that your parcel has been delivered to the intended destination. While this might not be an option for every order, residents should make it a requirement if they do have the option. Here’s where those parcel waiver forms come in handy. Concierge can sign for the item, and get it to a safe storage space as soon as it’s received.
4. Have packages delivered to offices. This won’t be the best option right now since many people are working from home, but once COVID-19 vaccinations have been distributed, more employees will be returning to offices. Couriers can leave packages with someone at the front desk, or swing by your work station and hand-deliver the item. There will be no question about where your package went.
Online shopping has become essential to condo residents, and purchases are only expected to increase as more businesses take their products online. Some associations may have already adjusted to this new reality and can confidently accommodate all of the boxes that are dropped off every day. Others are working hard to find the right solutions that will work with their available resources.
In addition to a mounting number of deliveries, theft is another issue that condos have had to confront. Some communities lose packages more often than others, and these buildings may want to consider installing CCTV cameras or hiring full-time concierge if financial resources are available. Parcel lockers have also proven to keep items safe and organized. Associations can create delivery protocols for residents that may help tackle this issue. While no system is perfect, communities generally have better experiences when management, concierge and residents work together to ensure packages are delivered to the correct recipients.