By Jon Hammond, Head of Real Estate Parcel Locker Solutions (UK & Ireland), Quadient
The Build to Rent sector is clearly getting something right. Satisfaction has increased in many areas, according to HomeViews’ 2022 Build to Rent report, which assesses residents’ reviews of brands and buildings. Design ratings for Build to Rent were the highest ever in this year’s report, while the value rating saw the most significant increase.
Impressively, over 85% of reviewers in 2022 gave their facilities a 4 or 5 out of 5. Homing in more specifically, 13% of reviews mentioned how useful parcel and delivery solutions are. As the report said: “residents often referenced past problems with parcel deliveries and said that having the service made their lives easier.”
In a world where the volume of online deliveries has increased enormously, these solutions have become a real brand differentiator for Build to Rent operators. They also save significant time and resources for property managers, allowing them to focus their efforts on what they do best: giving residents high quality of life.
HomeViews’ report shows that a higher rating for facilities correlates strongly with overall higher star ratings for a Build to Rent scheme. When an operator gets facilities right, their overall brand will benefit. It will bring new residents through the doors and decrease resident turnover.
Parcel delivery solutions such as parcel lockers provide a visible, simple solution that all residents will use. While facilities such as a gym or lounge are popular, not all residents will use them and certainly not every day. Parcel delivery solutions, however, will affect the life of every resident seeking to securely receive an order. Parcel deliveries increased by almost 50% in 2020-21 compared to the previous year to reach 4.2 billion, boosted by the pandemic – that’s about 78 parcels per adult, each year. Even pre-pandemic, parcel volumes were rising as e-tail increasingly dominated purchasing habits, and no one is expecting growth to stop.
Using a parcel locker, residents can access their delivery 24/7. The courier delivers the package directly into a locker and the resident then receives a notification and a unique code to access the parcel, at their convenience. Compared to other potential options – waiting to collect their delivery from a property manager or finding their parcel on the floor in an unmanned hallway – this is effective and instant.
Of course, to attract tenants a building must be well-designed, both visually and functionally. On a functional level, parcel lockers ensure residents receive parcels on the first delivery attempt and gives them peace of mind their parcel is secure. On a visual level, parcel lockers can be wrapped to feature an image or design the developer chooses. They can be branded to fit with all interior or exterior designs, no matter where they are placed, whether in a manned or unmanned building.
Build to Rent building The Keel in Liverpool, professionally let and managed by Allsop, has found that providing visible parcel lockers improved its brand in the eyes of potential residents. The property’s assistant general manager, Joe Cooper, said: “The lockers are definitely a value-add when people come to view the apartments. Prospective residents are generally aware of lockers, and how they work, so when they find out we have them onsite, they’re really pleased.”
While ensuring residents’ satisfaction is high on the priority list of property managers, doing so takes work behind the scenes. In the case of parcel deliveries, if a property manager’s time is taken up accepting deliveries, looking after parcels and getting them to the right place, customer service in other areas could suffer.
It takes on average four minutes to log, store, inform and distribute a parcel manually. In a 100-unit building, if a resident receives a parcel on average every four days, this equates to about 2.25 working hours each day for someone to process. If a building has 400 units, that equates to an entire working day – every day – for one member of staff to just administer parcel deliveries.
And it is rarely simply managed. When a resident receives a notification from a delivery company that their parcel has been delivered, they may then head to reception – where the management team must search through piles of parcels to find it. Or worse, it may have been left in an unmanned lobby area and lost or stolen. The good news story that a parcel has arrived can quickly become a bad news story.
An operations team that regains time and money lost to parcel administration can focus on all other aspects of creating a highly rated Build to Rent brand. As the Build to Rent sector continues to expand, it is this brand differentiation that will attract residents among a growing array of options.