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Preventing package pile-ups: Thanks to e-commerce explosion, it’s not just the doorman’s job, anymore


With the steady rise in e-commerce, building owners and managers have found themselves providing a new amenity purely out of necessity — and that would be controlling the tide of cardboard box-encased products that make their way to their properties each day. While at one time this was a relatively simple matter relegated to a doorman or another single employee, in recent years, handling an influx of packages has become a much bigger undertaking.

According to one Manhattan-based concierge, landlords of larger properties with no receiving process in place tend to end up with cluttered lobbies or common areas as packages are left to pile up. This, notes Michele Tabak, director of marketing for Custom Care concierge, is a turnoff to residents and would-be residents. Additionally, while the presence of doormen or other employees in luxury properties is a good deterrent to theft, in other multifamily dwellings, packages left out in open areas are a tempting treat to prowlers if they can make their way into the building.

“We’ve seen buildings where parcels are strewn haphazardly near the mailboxes or some other lobby location,” said Tabak. “This doesn’t inspire confidence, nor does it impart a proper impression of the quality of the residence.”

In response to this new normal, Tabak has made organized package receiving and delivery service at the buildings she represents a priority as it’s simply something people in new, luxury developments expect as a routine service. And with some Manhattan highrises taking in over 100 parcels a day, their oversight has become a bigger job than even the most attentive doormen can handle.

Tabak advises that every building have a designated package area (that isn’t the lobby).

Along with insisting on better training for her clients’ building employees, she also encourages co-op boards and condo associations to get on board so packages get logged as soon as they’re brought in. Then they get taken to the recipient’s door or a dedicated area for packages — and not left in the lobby.

And if landlords think this isn’t a problem in their buildings, just wait until two years from now, Tabak warned. This is because the projected e-commerce volume for the U.S. in 2023 is $735 billion, a 61 percent increase from what it is today.

“In the last five to eight years, it has exploded, mostly because of Amazon,” Tabak said. “And even if the economy stagnates, I think the volume is going to go up. it’s been a big challenge for residential buildings. So there’s definitely a growing need for these services.”

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