Moving to zero/reduced onsite leasing staff?

January 16, 2023

In today’s tight labor market, it can be very challenging for apartment owners/student housing, developers, and managers to find and retain qualified leasing professionals. The people that are really good at leasing are in great demand and as such, can command greater and greater compensation for their efforts. In addition, the cost of the labor to set up and run a leasing office six-to-seven days a week is a big expense.

So, the multifamily or student housing industry is looking to adopt a zero onsite leasing staff model and move to a more technology-driven/mobile device, self-serve tour process that greatly reduces cost and adds convenience for the prospective resident. While this process is still in its early stages, some of the largest and most progressive owners in the U.S. are announcing their move to this new way of leasing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to the multifamily industry (and many other industries as well) exactly how efficient some of the before-now antiquated workflows such as leasing can actually be using modern technology. The owners that adopt these new ways of doing business actually believe their prospective residents will actually prefer a self-guided/automated leasing experience with offsite leasing staff available to assist them as needed. It seems today many prospective residents do not actually find another human being (salesperson) directly involved in the leasing experience in-person a necessity. This automated experience has worked quite well for other industries like car shopping, grocery shopping, etc. Why not apartments/student housing?

As such, the owner must then think about what other tasks the leasing staff actually did during the day other than just leasing and make sure that these tasks are also automated and maintained in order to continue to satisfy residents and keep them happy. One such task the leasing staff always find themselves doing is managing packages and delivery drivers. This is true if the community does not have a package management system and it is also true if the community has purchased package lockers as these lockers overflow based on package size, shape, weight, and volume. Also, package lockers do not handle the delivery drivers and many times have less than adequate resident support leaving this task to leasing staff.

HelloPackage is designed to get the leasing staff out of package management AND delivery driver management. It is a complete solution that has full support including everything needed to manage the onsite package room. This support is very efficient/low-cost as it is delivered in three ways: (1) onsite to keep the package room in great condition; (2) telepresence where HelloPackage staff appear on an in-room screen that is staffed remotely to manage/train delivery drivers; (3) a sophisticated/integrated chatbot available to handle resident requests immediately without any human intervention. In addition to these support systems, HelloPackage comes standard with 24/7 resident telephone/email customer support and can also be augmented with ‘concierge service’ onsite in the afternoons to delight residents by providing a personalized experience.

The HelloPackage product is an onsite, modern, software-driven, purpose-built solution that includes all the resident support services that your residents need/expect. Virtually all residents get packages. Online shopping continues to grow rapidly. It is likely that getting packages is your resident’s #1 amenity and so you cannot afford to not have the best solution available to meet this growing need. This is especially true if you decide to move to a more efficient leasing staff model.

Some owners are looking at using an offsite solution for managing packages. On the surface, this seems like an ideal solution, but in reality, the online resident reviews on the offsite model are quite negative. Amazon went from getting packages to customers in two days to then one day and then now to getting packages to their customers in five hours! Your residents want SPEED and CONVENIENCE – making your residents wait an extra day to get their packages is bad business and will frustrate them. Plus, using high-priced labor, warehouses, vans, and fuel to solve the package problem will likely result in much higher costs for the owner in the future as all of these inputs are in short supply and thus prone to cost increases (inflation).

If you lack onsite space for a package room, talk with us and we can show you how to make this happen in your property.

Modern technology combined with very efficient labor is the right way to solve the complex problems in the last 100 yards of the supply chain (this is where apartment/student housing communities live…the last 100 yards of the supply chain). Why not delight your residents while you are moving to a lower-cost/zero-leasing staff model? This is a win for the owner and the resident.

BTW – HelloPackage also manages residents’ package returns right onsite. Fully one-third of all e-Commerce packages are returned. Many people who live in an apartment/student housing community don’t have a car, so doing returns can be very difficult. Now, this can be done right in the community with ease.

For more information and to see a demo of HelloPackage, please email or call 404-382-5805 or 866-931-5567