Tipping Movers 101 (Why, When, & How Much)
Most people tip their servers a standard 20% without batting an eye, but when it comes to tipping the moving crew, they’re a little more hesitant.
But think about it: your moving crew works much harder than your average barista or hairstylist. (Isn’t that why you decided to hire someone in the first place?)
Between the careful packing and unpacking of your items, professional movers have to do things like take inventory, negotiate narrow stairways and tight corners, wrap furniture so it doesn’t damage the walls, maneuver around your pets, and deal with rush-hour traffic.
A tip for a job well done—while not required—is a token of appreciation and good etiquette as well.
How Much to Tip Movers
So how much do you tip movers after a long day of lifting boxes and furniture?
Naturally, every move (and every city) is different, so there’s no formula we can give you to calculate your exact tip amount. But there are some good starting points so you can figure out a tip you’re comfortable with.
Standard Rates For Tipping Movers
Moving.com – “For a simple move, $20 per mover is more than sufficient. For a more intensive move, $30-$50 per mover.”
Movers.com – “$20 per person for a half-day move; $40 per person for a full-day move; $50 per person for a 12-hour move.”
Angie’s List – “For light moves, $10 to $20 per mover. For larger moves, a tip of $20 to $50 is appropriate.”
As you can see, these estimates are either based on the time it took to move or a flat rate. Most experts in the moving industry agree that you shouldn’t look determine the tip from the cost of your move, because it might have been based on things like fuel costs. If you tip based on a percentage of this amount, this could become very costly.
Other Factors to Consider
Once you have an amount to start from, here are some other factors to consider.
- Time – Did the moving day take longer than expected? Did it take place over multiple days?
- Performance – Did they show up on time? Finish the job in a timely manner? Were your belongings well taken care of?
- Attitude – Were they courteous and respectful?
- Conditions – Were there difficult staircases to manage? Was it excessively hot or unseasonably cold? Was it raining?
- Extras – Did the crew go the extra mile? Did they help you in any way they weren’t contractually obligated to?
Hand over the tips at the end of moving day so you’ll have had time to evaluate how well the move went.
Give the tips to each worker, not in your final check. This is your way of showing appreciation to the individual movers for their hard labor, not the moving company.
Is It Okay Not to Tip Movers?
Again, tipping movers is always optional. After all, they are getting paid a living wage (unlike the server at the restaurant last night) and don’t rely on tips to pay their bills.
But you absolutely shouldn’t tip your mover if they fell short of reasonable expectations.
- They arrived late, without an apology or explanation.
- They were rude or disrespectful.
- They caused damage or showed a general lack of care with your things.
- The cost of the moving company included the cost of the tips.
In the moving industry, tips are never expected and (in every industry) they are meant to show appreciation for a job well done. You should never tip movers that failed to perform their jobs well.
If you feel that any members of your moving crew are behaving rudely or inappropriately, bring it up to the main office as soon as possible so they can address it.
Other Ways to Show Your Appreciation
Luckily, there are other ways to show your appreciation to the moving crew without using cash.
- Meals – Serving a meal during the move is not only a great way to say “thank you” to the moving crew, it’s also the best way to keep things moving. (Otherwise, your crew will have to stop working to go out to eat.) If you haven’t already determined what meals will be, ask the movers if they have a preference. Pizza is a common default option and they might have already eaten it twice that week.
- Drinks – “Job well done” or not, providing cold drinks on a hot moving day is just common courtesy (especially here in Orlando during the summer!). Have a cooler of cold water and sports drinks available on a hot day, or hot coffee/cocoa/tea if you’re moving during the winter. Just don’t offer any beer; it’s not professional.
- Snacks – Moving is tough work and can become a full-day event. Have some snacks available between meals for movers, friends, and family to fuel up on if they get a bit peckish. Shelf-stable options like fruit, granola bars, and trail mix will be filling without the risk of sugar crash.
- A genuine “thank you” – Your mom was right. A simple, heartfelt “thank you” is enough to make anyone feel appreciated.
- A good review – After you’ve showed your appreciation for the crew, give them (and the company they work for) a shout-out online with a great review. Many moving companies rely on good online reviews for continued business and they’d love seeing a positive review.
While tipping movers for a job well done is appreciated, it’s always optional.
Use your personal discretion when deciding if and how much to tip your movers and only offer them cash if they did their job well.
And if cash is an issue, don’t forget that there are other ways to show your appreciation. Your movers worked hard to get you into your new place, and they love knowing that you were pleased with their work!
We have experience moving throughout the entire country and can handle your local, long-distance, residential, or corporate move in no time.