The Real.Est List
Virtual Doorman: Service and security without the expense (or tips)
We're aiming this week's Real.Est. List Spotlight at Virtual Doorman, the nifty doorman alternative for smaller residential buildings (up to 100 units or so) and townhouses where a flesh-and-blood doorstaff just doesn't make financial sense.
The 12-year-old service is also a sensible supplement for traditional doorman buildings, providing a more affordable way to cover quiet shifts and/or secondary entrances.
It acts a security guard, greeter, concierge, and key-holder, remotely securing a building, acknowledging visitors and granting access, accepting deliveries into secured package rooms, and facilitating maintenance and service calls.
Virtual Doorman can do almost anything a regular doorman can do except accept tips, wrinkle up its nose when you trudge by in a hot mess from the gym, or walk your dog (though it can tell you how long your dogwalker actually walked your dog).
We asked Virtual Doorman's senior v.p. of sales, Colin Foster, to expound on some of the finer points of the Virtual Doorman system:
- Virtual Doorman costs $500-$2,500 per month, while expenses for a single traditional doorman can be as high as $80,000 per year (you need multiple doormen to provide seamless 24/7 service).
- Most brownstones and townhouses rarely even have a live-in super. Outfitting one with a Virtual Doorman system can increase resale values by up to 15-20%, says Foster.
- For an additional cost, monitors can be installed in individual apartments. Then, you can activate a camera when contractors, dog walkers, or cleaning people are in your apartment to monitor the time of arrival or departure, and the work accomplished.
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