The Surprising Cost of Receiving Packages

December 2018

The convenience of ordering items online and, days later, having them appear at your door is now commonplace. Many condo dwellers have the added benefit of these items arriving and accepted at a secure location by the building concierge. A notification arrives when packages are available for pick-up. You make a short trip to the desk and have your package two minutes later.

The cost of this convenience, rarely considered by residents who generally think only of the minute or two spent retrieving a package, is of great concern to condo directors.

A high-rise building of 400 units can receive 50+ packages on a typical day, up from less than 10 packages a day a few years ago, tripling in December. Each day the concierge accepts packages in five to ten separate deliveries. After each delivery it can take about two minutes to log, label and store each package so it is readily accessible when you arrive to retrieve it. A notification is provided, electronically or in your mailbox, when your package is available for pickup. When you arrive to retrieve the package, it can take another couple of minutes for the concierge to locate and retrieve it.

Package delivery is fraught with problems. Some carrier tracking systems show packages as being delivered prior to delivery. Some may have been delivered to an incorrect location in the building or a wrong address, and others may get lost in transit. All of this consumes concierge time at a cost to the condo corporation.

On average each package can require five or more minutes of time by the concierge which amounts to three or more hours per day for a single individual. Actual time is longer when concurrently dealing with delivery problems, visitors, calls and other duties. This time is not spent on important duties which may include monitoring security cameras, providing building access to visitors, attending to duties elsewhere in the building and doing a physical walk-through of the building or parking area.

Package acceptance and handling, at an estimated cost of $20,000 to $50,000 per year, is a high and increasing cost to condo communities.