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Student Housing is Going to the Apes

Ape 5The war that occurs between man and ape in the “Planet of the Apes” movies is less about monkeys and more about a reflection on our society as a whole. The ways that our class structure is often divided, as well as the stereotypes that come along with each group, is one of the focal point within the entire Planet of the Apes mythology. One of the great places to examine this is by looking at the impact of these observations within the scope of student housing. Let’s take a look at the comparison of the different groups of students we interact with on a daily basis; it is these groups that drive us bananas on a daily basis.

Student Housing Gorillas

Ape 2These are the brutes that live at our communities. Strong willed and even stronger tempered, their decision-making is often a reaction to the situation, rather than examining the problem. They come into your office, beating their chest and make a lot of noise about what it is that is troubling them. Usually, the presentation they provide is a drastic overreaction to the situation and it seems like they are just letting off steam, rather than looking for a solution. Don’t let them distract you with their gruff complaints. Rather, calmly reply to their needs and just know that all they really wanted was to be heard.

Student Housing Orangutans

Ape 3This philosophical bunch are “know-it-alls”. And, in many cases, they want to tell you all about how much they know. However, they can sometimes be overbearing in their quests to discover and share knowledge. You will hear from them on a near daily basis. “Has the mail arrived yet? Is my package in the office?” “Can I have a potbelly pig in my apartment (Yes, this one really did happen recently!)?” The endless questions can eat signficiant time out of your day. To combat this, find ways to communicate to them that appeal to their inquisitive nature. One great tool for resident is the interactive package notification system – PackageLog.

Student Housing Chimps

Ape 1These stoic residents are often singularly focused on getting their way. One day, they may even make great politicians for their innate ability to overanalyze and nit-pick even the most mundane detail.  They want to get their way and will go to endless means to make sure that what they want is achieved. The great lengths they go to will amaze anyone and often include the involvement of friends, family, or others. Choose your answers to these situations carefully for they will remember what you said forever, and the wrong answer could come back to haunt you one day.

Student Housing Baboons

ape 4Even though they are not a part of the “Planet of the Apes “storyline, this group still bears mentioning. You see them every day, traveling in packs around the community. What one of does, the rest of the group is sure to repeat.  When they come into your office, they seem to swarm the place looking for an advantage by numbers. To deal with this group, find the leader. Once the leader has been dealt with, the others will fall into line. It is often a case of ‘Monkey see; Monkey do!”

Retake Your Society

You are the rulers of your student housing community. Are you going to just sit there and let all of these groups distract you, defeat you, or drive you crazy? No! There are plenty of tools available to you to combat these groups and to keep them from making a monkey out of you.  If your community is stuck with the task of sorting and distributing the mail, you can get help form the mail managers at US Postal Solutions. This professionally-trained team can help you free up your time and efforts and let you go back to dealing with the challenges brought to you your students. If student mail and packages are driving you bananas, click here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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Student Mail: It’s a Dirty Job

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel

Mail is a dirty, dirty job. Sure it is not as dirty as a many other professions; but, nonetheless, it is a dirty job. So much so, we often wonder why Mike Rowe never got around to it during his time as the host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel. One of the dirtiest places that can engage with mail is at a campus mailroom or student housing facility. To discover just how dirty of a job it is, ask your team members that have to handle all of the sorting and mail distribution.

dirty 2Student Mail is Heavy

Students get a lot of mail. In fact, it is mind-boggling how much mail they really get. The average student housing community gets up to 2,500 letters a day and 40 packages. All of this adds up to hundreds of pounds of mail that you have to manipulate for the students that you serve. It can be back-breaking work, thanks to the U.S. Post Office’s desire to have you as a single-point delivery site. Add in the bins, the carts, dealing with the mailboxes and sorting tables and you have the recipe for a huge weight and an enormous burden that you have to manage.

Dirty 3Sorting Mail is Hot and Messy

A small room, inside of a large room, inside of a big building. The mail center is cramped and uncomfortable. Stacks of mail and packages that require sorting into tiny boxes can take hours to distribute. In many places, the air conditioner is broken in the summer and the heater is out during the winter. The stagnant smell of dusty envelopes and boxes fills your lungs and can be smelled long after you have left for the day. The task is long, hot, and dirty. Your time can be better spent.

dirty 4Student Mail Takes a Long Time

Imagine the time is takes to sort it all. The bins full of envelopes that the mailman just dropped off and left on the ground like discarded socks. The stacks of boxes that FedEx and UPS just left stacked up in your office. These mountains of post and parcel eat into your busy day. It often takes having a staff member (or more than one) devoting their entire day to staying caught up. But also, there is the liability you have to concern yourself with. And what if that staff person is out sick or misses a day for some other unforeseen reason? Shouldn’t your staff be managing that community and not the mail?

A Clean Solution

The solution is simple: “Get someone else to do it.” US Postal Solutions takes away your stress over mail and packages so that you can get back to what you do best – leasing apartments. Our staff of professionally-trained mail managers is committed to the successful delivery of the mail for your students. You no longer have to deal with the time, effort, or liability that comes with handling student mail. Learn more about how we can help by clicking here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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The Wild West of University Housing

Dorm 1Howdy partner. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that they all drove off for the summer migration. Hundreds, even thousands of them, left out in a perpetual stream, destined for places far from here. Now, a great quiet has come and, like a lone tumbleweed in a silent desert, you sit and wait for the winds of change to blow once again.

Soon they will return. Just a few at first but then the massive stampede will arrive, filling your dorms and your residence halls. The students are coming and with their arrival comes new challenges and new needs that must be met. The only question left is…will you be ready?

dorm 2The Mail Storm

Just like the needs of your student residents are endless, so is the mail that they receive.  Piles of it arrive every day, waiting to be sorted and distributed. Credit card offers, holiday cards from home, and endless amounts of junk mail stack higher and higher as your residence hall team tries to mix the task of mail management with the other duties at hand. Students continue to stop by the office, asking if their mail has arrived yet. There has to be a better solution.

Dorm 3The Package Predicament

Next to the mountains of mail sits a lone package; and then another, and another. Soon the walls of the package storage room can hardly contain the growing hoard of boxes. Care packages from home, orders from Amazon, and text books (oh the endless tons of texts books) begin to drive you nuts. Even though students beg to know about the status their packages, they fail to pick them up. There has to be a better solution.

There’s a New Sherriff in Town

The time has come to stop the madness. Your time is worth more. Why are you spending hours upon hour sorting mail for students? Leave it to the experts who have been professionally trained on how to handle the mail. You will no longer have to deal with the time, the effort, or the liability. US Postal Solutions can help you get back to the important tasks at your residence halls.

Solving the package problem is a cinch too. PackageLog allows you to text and email your student residents that their packages have arrived. This cumbersome job that once took up to six minutes per package now only takes seconds. Students come quicker to pick up their boxes, and you get your space back. It’s a win-win scenario! The best past is that it all works on any device connected to the internet. So grab you smartphone or tablet, and put PackageLog to work at your dorm.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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Better Resident Communication For Your Residence Life Communities

Saturday, June 28th the ACUHO-I conference will bring together the best and the brightest in the on-campus housing industry. Numerous impactful topics will be discussed, including occupancy, crisis management, and technology.  Included in many of these discussions is the ability to communicate effectively to resident, which begs the question: How do our student residents want to receive information from us?

FlyerWritten Notices and Flyers

In today’s modern technology-driven world, flyers have taken a back seat. In days gone by, our communities used to be able to place a flyer on the door of an apartment to get attention. But now, flyers are just discarded in the same fashion as garbage. In addition, many delivery services may be sticking package notices to doors. And, as the weather causes the notes to fall, they join the growing pile of abject paper littering the breezeways and mail centers of our communities. There must be a better way.

EmailEmail

Hardly anyone writes a letter anymore. In a world where information became instantly accessible, email quickly became the king of communication. However, with the rise of other digital formats, such as SMS and Social Media, email is losing its luster. Still, for most people over 30 years old, email remains a primary form for communication. And because of necessity, many millennials and Gen Z still utilize email extensively. But with the non-stop saturation of today’s information flow, the younger generation craves quicker ways to digest the items they find relevant. While email helps with this, apartment communities and residence halls need something quicker and more captivating when communicating to their residents.

TextSMS / Text Messaging

Text is the communication format that rules the day. While reading this, you probably have even gotten at least one text sent to you. It is estimated that millennials get up to 30 text messages per day. With a 99 percent read rate, it is a necessity that you take advantage of text technology to better engage the residents of your residence hall. They can’t help but read whatever message it is that you text to them.

PackageLog Has a Solution

PackageLog is a great tool to help you master communicating to your residents/students.  One of the benefits is that residents want to be notified when their packages from their parents and friends – or online shopping – have arrived. The PackageLog system allows you to email and text them when these packages are delivered to your residence hall office(s). In addition, now that you have their emails and cell phone numbers in the system, we have built in a tool so you can text and email them with any message you would like them to receive. You can send messages to individuals or to everyone at the community. Notably, since all the messages show from your community, and it is in a format that relates to them, your message is more likely to be read, absorbed, and reacted to. Try this tool for a free trial by clicking here.

If you are attending ACUHO-I stop by the Postal Solutions booth (14050) and learn how our team can also help you with student mail and package management.

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Student Housing Is Just Like a Small City

The dust slowly settles. A sense of calm has taken over your off-campus student housing community. Summer has arrived and the busy metropolis you have managed over the past few semesters sleeps and awaits the return of the students. Your busy teams are fixing, repairing, and polishing every nook as you count the days until the end of summer. Soon – before you even know it – the students will be here and your team members will jump back into their high pace roles. They may be managers, leasing agents, maintenance staff, and residents, but to you…they all are more like the members of a small city.

Group of university students sitting on stepsThe Townspeople – As the migration back into the community begins, the students arrive just like travelers moving into their new towns for work and life. Soon, they will be busily scurrying about between classes, parties, and jobs. They all have the same needs as the resident of a city would: quality places to live and play. Some may be needier than others, while some you may rarely see. But they are there, and it is up to you and your teams to ensure their happiness while living in your student metropolis.

The Mayor – The manager of a student housing community is in many ways like a mayor. You oversee many of the same challenges: traffic, waste management, city funds, building safety, etc. In the end, it is up to you to make sure the community succeeds, just like it is up to a mayor to make their city succeed. The teams and the residents turn to you when there is a need.

City 2The Sheriff – The assistant manager is often the one tasked with duties closely resembling a sheriff.  They keep order at the community. When a problem arises, it is the assistant manager that goes and secures the solution. From noise complaints to resident identification to other daily issues, they work with the manager and the other teams to insure not only the happiness, but the safety of the residents as well.

The Firefighters – How many fires does your team have to put out each day at your community? From personal issue of residents to complaints about the community to needs and concerns; there seems to be a never ending flood of residents wanting something. And they usually want it yesterday. Everything is an emergency. The leasing staff is on the front line of putting out these fires and making sure that your city of students does not go down in flames.

city 5Parks and Recreation – Your activities director, your leasing teams, and your maintenance staff work hand-in-hand to fulfill the duties of the Department of Parks and Recreation.  They make sure the gyms are working, pools are ready for use, and all resident amenities are in working order. Plus, they put on resident events to keep those who live there happy.

City Maintenance – It is the maintenance team that keeps the community in working order. Whether it is buildings that need repair, lights that need replacing, or anything else that needs fixing, you community would quickly fall apart without your maintenance teams.

City 4The Mailman – Is many cases, it is a team member or members who are sorting and distributing the mail that arrives at your student housing company. Other communities hire the services of a mail manager that has been professionally trained to take care of these duties. In either case, someone has to deliver the mail and it is no small undertaking. The question is, do you want to your staff to repeatedly spend an incredible amount of time sorting and distributing packages, and worse yet to constantly be answering phone calls about this topic? Or do you hire a professional service, like Postal Solution, to help with the time, effort, and liability and to allow your team to get back to taking care of the residents’ needs.

Package Delivery Team – When packages arrive from parents, boxes appear from Amazon, those deliveries begin to pile up in your package room/closet/desk. What do you do? Some student housing sites have teams to deal with the barrage of items arriving from UPS, FedEx, and the US Postal Service. Sure, your leasing teams can write the names into the binder and stick them on the shelf. But there has to be a better way. PackageLog reduces the time spent on packages by 80% and allows you to leverage those packages for resident retention.

When all these teams work in unison, your student city is a place of wonder and happiness. But when one piece is missing or does not operate effectively, the city as a whole suffers. It is important that you take a look at each part of your team this summer and ensure that they are helping your community be efficient and helping the students who move there feel at home. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your student housing city, click here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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Go Green in Your Student Community Mailroom

Over 200,000 tons… that is the amount of recycling that the United State Postal Service had in 2009 alone. When you figure the amount of letters, cards, and other paper items traveling through the US Mail stream each day, you realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just look around at your student housing community. By the end of the day, the amount of paper that is just lying around on tables and floor is staggering. Much of this comes from opened envelopes, discarded junk mail, and undesired magazines. Use the following tips to help take back your mail centers and rooms.

Junk Mail 1Mail Room Recycling

Recycling has become an embedded part of our culture. For most people, they do it without really thinking about it. They see the green or blue bins and instantly know what to do. Place plenty of  these recycle stations throughout your mail center for residents. Put them outside as well. Make sure that your team is regularly checking them and clearing them out (even when only partially full). Don’t forget that before you leave for the evening  verify your recycle bins are clear so they are not overflowing when you return the next morning. There are services that will pick up the paper from you or consider a separate outdoor bulk-recycling container (for a nominal fee).

Help Your Resident End Junk Mail

Junk Mail 2bCBS News recently reported that Americans receive nearly 90 billion pieces of advertising mail every year.  Advertising mail accounts for 59% of all mail Americans receive. But only half of that mail is ever read, according to the USPS. This equates to about 15 pounds of paper per resident, every month.  This daunting amount of unsolicited mail is the number one source of your mail center mess. Try setting up a Q&A, or even a short workshop, for residents to learn how to “opt out” directly to these companies. If that does not work, sites like catalogchoice.org and dmachoice.org can help your residents manage the advertising mail burden by making it simple to “opt out” using their third party systems.

Junk Mail 3Hire Third Party Mail Managers

The best way to help solve the problem is to stop wasting time on mail and packages internally. Sorting and distributing mail takes too much time away from your staff already; let them get back to leasing and managing your communities. Professional mail management services like Postal Solutions can help you ease the burden of handling, sorting, and distributing mail. There will be less mess littering your breezeways when mail is delivered into the correct mailboxes. No more doubling-up because your staff assistant was out sick, hungover or “had emergency homework.” Let Postal Solutions help you keep your community looking professional and your mail center organized. Choosing a third party mail management provider saves you precious staffing hours and allows your teams to focus on their most important job – leasing and renewing.

So stop the mail madness and save your “green” by outsourcing mailroom services. For more tips or to learn more about how US Postal Solutions can help your community – click here.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

 

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Student Housing in the Cross Hairs of the Post Office

by: Scott A. Pope, USPS Postmaster – Retired
Director of Operations, The Postal Solutions Companies

Cross Hairs 2

As the semester winds to a close and student housing communities across the nation settle in for the long hot summer, minds are usually anywhere but at your apartments community’s mailbox. Thoughts of prepping for the mass return of students are quickly brushed away with images of swimming pools and relaxing in the sun. Mail delivery is rarely a consideration and why should it be, it’s never been before. But don’t ignore the possibilities of a change, because the Post Office is focusing on student housing. They are looking and thinking of new ways that can save money, even if that means you are about to be stuck with new time challenges and expenses like you’ve never experienced. I should know, I am a retired USPS Postmaster and am going to share with you what is likely coming your way.

Traditional apartment communities have it easy. Because of the existing standards defining transient housing, they get full services from the Post Office (as in a Carrier actually puts mail in mailboxes and all those other services you normally expect). However, student housing is an entirely different story: these residents turn over frequently, with an average renewal rate of just 35% (and many more moves on-site throughout the year). Because of this, the USPS has designated that student housing apartments are receive a single-point delivery. In fact, many communities are currently not receiving any deliveries at all and are being forced to have their students / residents seek on-campus mail or find private PO Boxes elsewhere.

But who can blame the Post Office? It is very expensive to handle mail (in some cases in the tens of thousands of dollars per delivery route stop). If they can shift the burden of this expense on the apartment community, think of how much money could be saved in time, pay, benefits, and vehicle expenses. In addition, the USPS is now transitioning to online services to complete a change of address. The Post Office is losing money, struggling with time, and working to lessen liability concerns. Mail for student housing is just another piece of the puzzle.

Cross Hairs 3So what is an apartment community to do? Sure, certain sites are grandfathered and will continue to receive full-service delivery. In other cases, there may have been a lack of training for identifying single-point delivery locally by the USPS. But those (decisions or lack of findings) will eventually flip as well.

Are you going to pay on-site employees tens-of-thousands per year to handle the mail for your residence hall or student housing community? What kind of training are they going to receive? What are your liability concerns? But there are many other factors to consider too; crowded package rooms, ongoing pickups, shortage of space, time spent by everyone site (desk agent to community manager), and what happens if anyone is sick. The task can not only be overwhelming (six-days-per-week), but do it wrong, and you face fine, imprisonment or both.

A better option may be to hire a third party mail management services company like The Postal Solutions Companies. With 15-years experience in more effective ways of how save you time & money in the long term (office environment, on-campus, or student housing community). Also, the full service component offered becomes a fixed line item on a community’s budget; limiting liability concerns, employee expenses, inbound package tracking, and drastically reducing hassles. The US Postal Solutions also offers clients their proprietary online package logging software PackageLog complimentary.

As time goes on, the Post Office will begin to explore the removal of the grandfathered mail delivery services; it’s a fact. The USPS will continue to be more aggressive to lessen their financial burdens related to student housing. Make sure you are prepared, because your apartment community is already in the cross hairs of the Postal Service.

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Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail delivery management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging software / package tracking software. For more information regarding The Postal Solutions Companies, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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US Postal Solutions proudly welcomes our newest client Hub at Oxford

US Postal Solutions, Inc. – Student Housing Mail Delivery & Package Management Software – welcomes our newest client Hub at Oxford, beginning August 23, 2013. We are proud to announce additional student housing mail delivery management, and package management & asset / inventory management software services for Core Campus. The Hub at Oxford is a 582-bed off-campus student housing apartment community located near the Ole Miss in Oxford, MS.

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US Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The US Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management services, inventory / asset tracking software, and package logging / package management software. For more information regarding US Postal Solutions, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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US Postal Solutions is proud to welcome our newest client 2400 Neuces (Austin, TX)

US Postal Solutions, Inc. – Student Housing Mail Delivery & Package Management Software – welcomes our newest client 2400 Neuces, beginning August 13, 2013. We are proud to announce additional student housing mail delivery management and package management software services for EdR. 2400 Neuces is a 655-bed off-campus student housing apartment community located near the University of Texas in Austin, TX.

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US Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The US Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging / package management software. For more information regarding US Postal Solutions, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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US Postal Solutions proudly welcomes our newest client The Cadence

US Postal Solutions, Inc. – Student Housing Mail Delivery & Package Management Software – welcomes our newest client The Cadence, beginning August 21, 2013. We are proud to announce student housing mail delivery management and package management software services for The Capstone Companies. The Cadence is a 456-bed off-campus student housing apartment community located near the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

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US Postal Solutions is the nation’s leader in the student housing mail management industry, for both on/off-campus mail management services. The US Postal Solutions Companies offers mail delivery management servicesinventory / asset tracking software, and package logging / package management software. For more information regarding US Postal Solutions, please call us today at (866) 378-8157 or visit us online at www.uspostalsolutions.com.

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