Parcel management in residential buildings can be a pain for staff. It feels like every five minutes, concierges and receptionists need to stop what they’re doing to handle a delivery or help a resident find their package.
To an extent, it’s part of the job. A friendly face and a helpful attitude from staff to residents and couriers can really boost a building’s reputation. But there’s a limit.
If you’re overwhelmed with deliveries, you should look for a way to lighten the load. For many building operators, that means looking at additional services such as parcel lockers or parcel rooms.
But in the age old debate of package locker vs package room, which is the better option? Well, that depends on the needs of you and the end user. We take a look at both sides of the argument.
To start, let’s take a closer look at what package lockers and rooms actually are.
What is a Package Locker?
A package locker is parcel drop-off, storage and pick-up solution used in:
- Residential buildings
- Office buildings
Instead of leaving deliveries with a receptionist or concierge, the courier deposits parcels in a locker where they’re kept until the respective owners come to collect them.
What You Should Know About Package Lockers Before Installing Them
Some residential building operators have installed parcel lockers in their lobbies, and they do take a small amount of pressure off the shoulders of staff. But as a convenient solution for package deliveries, they’re not great in the long-run.
First impressions count for a lot. Imagine you have a new potential resident coming to view the building, and all they can see in the reception area is wall-to-wall lockers. They don’t do a lot for the interior design of your lobby, especially if they’re branded up in the locker company’s colours or logos. For a potential resident, it can be off-putting to see what should be a nice and inviting reception area look more like a gym’s locker room.
So, why are reception areas overrun when parcel lockers are installed? A lot of it comes down to size. If a locker is being used to store a package, the locker itself needs to be bigger than the item going in. This leads to a lot of wasted space.
Let’s say a large locker is all that’s available for a courier delivering a book. They have to use it, even if the parcel takes up less than a tenth of the room available.
And then what happens when another courier comes to deliver a games console just minutes later? Even though it’s a bigger, more valuable item, it has to be left with reception until residents start to empty the lockers being used.
Then, you’re back at square one with staff having to handle parcels and with the need to find a second storage space for any excess deliveries.
Parcel lockers do have their uses, but not in a residential setting. They’re much more suited to retail spaces. When you’re discussing package locker vs package room pros and cons, the amount of space they inefficiently take up and the need for staff to manage the overflow means parcel lockers should be avoided.
What is a Package Room?
A package room has the same concept of a package locker. Parcel rooms are convenient places for couriers to store deliveries for tenants in residential buildings.
But the key difference? While parcel lockers are installed in reception areas and take up valuable space, package rooms make use of existing space and don’t cause any additional headaches for staff, residents or couriers.
What are the Key Advantages of Parcel Rooms?
One of the biggest advantages of a parcel room is the effective use of space, and not just in terms of all the physical room residential package lockers take up.
Earlier, we ran through an example of what happens when there’s only one locker available and it’s used for a small, low value item. A package room doesn’t have that issue.
Dedicated rooms for deliveries use shelving units instead of lockers. This means items can be packed in tightly saving a great deal of space for when the next delivery comes in.
Parcel rooms also provide plenty of security for packages. One-time-use codes restrict access to the room, and a full electronic parcel logging system makes it easy to track who has entered the room and at what time. The use of 24/7 CCTV monitoring ensures packages are always being kept under a watchful eye.
But the biggest reason to install a package room; that’s got to be time. Inefficient package management solutions in large residential buildings cost your staff several hours each and every week. This is time that can be used for more constructive purposes such as:
- Organising resident events
- Arranging building tours for new potential residents
- Admin duties
Every time a courier comes to the front desk with deliveries, the staff member on hand has to log in each item, safely store them away and notify residents that their package has arrived.
Then, the resident comes to collect their item, and once again the receptionist has to stop what they’re doing to find the parcel and check it out to the owner.
Package rooms don’t have that issue. The courier simply leaves items in a safe and secure space. Residents are then automatically sent a push notification and a one-time-use code to pick up their parcel. And all the while, the receptionists and concierges can carry out their own duties without interruption.
Package Locker Vs. Package Room: Which is Better?
The debate of package locker vs. package room is a simple one; if you have retail space, go with a package locker. If you’re in residential, choose a parcel room. Let’s recap why. In residential buildings, lockers:
- Take up too much space
- Ruin a welcoming lobby
- Don’t use the space available effectively
- Still need input from your staff
- Will require a second storage space for overfill
And on the other hand, a package room solution:
- Saves your staff time
- Creates a convenient drop-off and pick-up method for couriers and residents
- Uses existing space effectively
- Keeps parcels safe
- Reduces your staff’s liability in the event packages are damaged or missing
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