Metro, Business

Misery In The Mailroom: ‘Package Concierge’ Seeks To Change Delivery System

Retrieving packages can often seem like an inconvenient task, especially if one is not able to pick them up during specific mail center hours or is forced to travel across a college campus during treacherous weather conditions.

Local startup Package Concierge Inc. is working to solve these problems. The company sells modern steel locker systems to property managers where carriers such as UPS and USPS can seamlessly deliver tenants’ packages and ensure that they are secure for pickup.

CEO Georgianna Oliver sees plenty of opportunity for her systems not only in urban apartment complexes, but also in university residence halls. Oliver has plenty of experience in the housing technology industry and was formerly an executive consultant with RealPage, Inc., a property management software corporation. “Since I was in my 20s, I started working in property management and ran a property management company for about 5,000 apartments,” she said.

Package Concierge sells five different types of systems to property owners and universities depending on the size of their real estate ranging from $18,000 to $30,000 per locker system. In addition to the secure locker modules, the system includes a kiosk in which carriers scan the barcode on the package. Next, a locker door will open where the carrier will put the package in the locker and close the secure door. This software portion of the locker system is subscription-based and paid by the property owner. “On average, a 200 unit apartment receives over 40 packages a day, and this system is a massive time saver for property owners,” Oliver said.

At any given moment in the United States, about 30 percent of apartment complexes are under rehab—during that process owners are more likely to want to buy an amenity or an asset to add to the property, Oliver said. This is beneficial to Package Concierge because according to the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), the package delivery room is the second most important amenity to tenants, just behind the fitness center.

Following delivery, residents will receive a text message notification that their package has arrived. Residents then go to the kiosk, scan their keycard, and enter their PIN number to access their secure packages 24/7. Tenants do not pay for this amenity, however, and property managers cover the cost in order to save time to focus on furthering their property and tenants’ experience. Complex owners can also implement fees to generate additional revenue to offset the locker system’s operating costs.

Package Concierge has installed its systems at UConn, Yale, and the University of Miami. Oliver sees a shift in how universities are operating their package services. “There are twenty universities that are using package lockers now—but many that utilize Amazon’s locker system have them in student unions,” Oliver said. Rutgers University has established its own outdoor package system for students, and Smith College has another digital locker company running its package and mail services.

Oliver hopes that her systems will grow to be accepted by more universities across the United States which will allow schools to cut delivery room costs and eliminate the “waiting game” and runaround to receive their packages. “It’s literally seven or eight steps manually to retrieve your package, and zero steps to use our system—you can just scan your student ID and the locker will pop open,” Oliver said. Security is also not a concern, as management and universities have the ability to override the systems to inspect packages that they deem to be suspicious.

In addition to this, online spending is set to grow at a rate of 9.5 percent annually from 2014 to 2018 leading to an increase in package delivery, which means that the market for the company’s systems will continue to grow, specifically in urban areas. “It’s a bigger problem in urban centers, for people who live in suburban areas it’s not as big of a problem because carriers will go directly to their door,” Oliver said.

Package Concierge offers a variety of colors, sizes, and styles of lockers ensuring that its systems incorporate to the complex’s decor. Currently, the company’s largest locker can fit packages up to the size of a queen size comforter, and has plans for new oversized lockers in its next manufacturing cycle.

Oliver also believes that Package Concierge will allow carriers to cut costs in their delivery methods. Carriers now will be able to drop their packages off at a central location and ensure that they are securely delivered to the resident without fear that they will be lost or stolen. The startup aims to make its systems as easy as possible to use for not only residents, but also carriers. Currently, Package Concierge has over 600 carriers using its systems.

“My goal with the software is to make sure it is as fast as possible,” Oliver said. “If a delivery carrier has to push one extra button I will push back on the software side. The carriers are all very on board and are kind of piloting similar types of systems themselves and they want their delivery carriers to get very used to it.”

There are currently six properties in the Boston area that are using the company’s system with another four in the Theatre District scheduled for installation. According to Package Concierge’s most recent SEC filing, they have raised $1.3 million in funding from investors. In addition, the company has received interest from its own manufacturer to invest and has already been approached for acquisition.

“We are in no hurry, because we’re still building,” Oliver said. “We’re currently in 15 states and are starting to grow.”

Featured Image Courtesy Of Package Concierge

March 12, 2015