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The Apartment Building Mailroom: How to Design Yours for the Modern Tenant

With a combination of increased consumer demand, labor shortages, material scarcity, and choked ports of passage, this holiday shipping season is going to be a wild ride. As a property manager, now is the time to prepare your apartment mailroom to meet the needs of both your current and prospective residents.

Package Delivery is Getting Slower & More Expensive

Mail delivery is about to get worse for your apartment residents; both more expensive and slower.

In an unprecedented move, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is levying a domestic surcharge for all packages sent from October through Christmas. With it, comes a 30% increase in delivery times. In other words, a package that might have taken two days to arrive last year, might take five days this year.

FedEx, in a similar move, announced a seasonal surcharge starting November 1, 2021. Additionally, the Memphis-based shipping behemoth announced a new schedule of “drop dead” dates to ensure packages are shipped in time to be received by Christmas. For ground service, both the USPS and FedEx are adhering to a December 15 deadline.

The implications of slower and more expensive mail and package delivery methods coupled with supply chain disruptions have fueled panic buying among consumers/residents. They are ordering early and often, kicking off the earliest holiday shopping season on record. The onslaught of package deliveries has officially started.

Tenant Expectations About Package Safety, Storage, & Delivery

It’s important to remember that the temporary changes during lockdowns have translated into permanent shopping preferences. McKinsey & Company reports a 15-30% growth in eCommerce shopping across a range of industries1. That translates to a significant increase in package deliveries. According to C+R Research, the average consumer receives 45 packages per year; that number jumps to 51 packages per year if they’re an Amazon Prime customer1.

With that in mind, it’s understandable that residents prefer to rent somewhere that offers 24/7 secure access to their deliveries – such as communities with package lockers. According to the National Apartment Association, 31% of residents say they would pay more to live in a community that made getting packages easier, with many saying they would pay between $5 and $10 extra per month for the added service1.

Demand, too, is rising for refrigerated lockers, thanks to same day delivery. Researchers in November 2020 estimated that 38.7 million shoppers placed at least one online grocery order for delivery or pickup during the preceding 30 days, up 3.6% from 37.5 million in August4.

Smart Lockers as Smart Planning from the Beginning

Building apartment mailrooms with mail and package lockers from the get-go is a relatively inexpensive way of increasing rental income, crafting a better resident experience, creating premium apartment building units, and attracting better residents. 

Parcel Pending’s team works side-by-side with architects and development teams to plan for the most efficient use of mailroom space. The company offers several innovative pricing strategies including a subscription model that can help investors or multifamily property owners avoid upfront capital expenses.

Installing Smart Lockers in a Completed Apartment Building

Of course, installing smart lockers in the design stage of a building is easiest, but many communities implement them to modernize an existing mailroom. Installing parcel lockers can also remove the need to hire additional mailroom staff members. 

For instance, Trellis Fifth Avenue, an urban condominium property in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, had an astonishing 33% of residents reporting stolen packages. As an older building, parcels were stored in the lobby at an unattended security desk – which unfortunately created easy access for building bandits. After working with Parcel Pending to customize a layout to fit space requirements and resident needs, the lockers generated jaw-dropping results: a 100% decrease in package theft!

Smart lockers were also introduced at Parcels at Concourse in Memphis, Tennessee to fix a different problem – package overload. The apartment complex, located inside a multi-use project called Crosstown Concourse, typically received an average of 75-100 packages per day and more than 100 per day during the holiday season. Property staff was devoting over 18 hours per week to package management –  essentially becoming a de-facto mail center for the community. Today, with the lockers, package retrieval is a secure, self-service process available 24/7. The apartment complex shaved off the labor time while also boosting the resident experience, which can ultimately lead to increased resident retention.

“Selling” the Parcel Pending App at Lease Sign Up

As both Trellis Fifth Avenue and Parcels at Concourse demonstrate, package lockers deliver a faster and more secure package retrieval system – making them one of the best apartment amenities to offer. However, the best results with Parcel Pending locker systems occur when a resident is registered and aware of how easy package pick-up can be with the lockers and our free mobile app.

For example, residents can use our mobile app or package management software for contact-free package pick-up. In this case, a resident can scan a barcode in the delivery notification or push a button in the mobile app to access their package without using the locker kiosk touchscreen.

Additionally, residents can also change their account settings or use the “Vacation Mode” feature to ensure their deliveries are secure in a locker while they’re out of town (e.g., visiting family during the holidays). 

The 2021 holiday season is a perfect storm of labor and material shortages plus supply chain issues, which translates into a potentially overwhelming package problem. 

To discover how smart lockers can ease your workload while helping lift lease renewals by as much as 40%, contact a Parcel Pending representative today.


  1. Torkington, Simon. World Economic Forum. The pandemic has changed consumer behaviour forever – and online shopping looks set to stay. (2021, July 7).
  2. C+R Research. (2020). 2019 Package Theft Statistics Report [Report]. Retrieved from:
  3. National Apartment Association. Irresistible Amenities: Here’s What Renters Want. (n.d).
  4. Digital Commerce 360. Coronavirus adds $105 billion to US ecommerce in 2020. (2021, June 16).