What is an appropriate tip for movers?

Hiring Moving Experts - September 16, 2018

Moving is hard work. We hire a professional moving company to help us with manpower, vehicles, and equipment. If moving was easy, we would not need them. Think about how much energy the whole process requires and how much effort movers invest in the services they provide. In fact, they work harder than most people employed in the service industry. Yes, it is their job, and yes, they do get paid by their employer. Still, like in many other professions, tipping is perfectly normal in the moving business. A lot of people are willing to show their appreciation by tipping their moving crew. But what is an appropriate tip for movers? That is a good question without a definite answer.

One thing is sure, the last thing you want to do after a stressful moving day is worry about how much to tip the movers. Therefore, get informed on time.

A woman surrounded by question marks, asking herself "what is an appropriate tip for movers?"
“What is an appropriate tip for movers” is a common question many people ask when the move-in day comes.

Why do we tip movers?

Tipping your movers is not a requirement. You are in no obligation to do it. However, it is a common way to express that you are satisfied with their moving and/or packing services. Movers do not always expect a tip but they always appreciate it. Although you may think the moving company’s fees are already too high, the guys packing and carrying your boxes do not make a lot of money. So, if you think they were professional, punctual, attentive and friendly, you should reward them. On the other hand, if they did any harm to your possessions or disrespected you in any way, a tip is out of the question. Alternatively, you could tip only the crew members who deserve it. It’s all up to you – do what you think is fair.

What is an appropriate tip for movers?  – You decide.

If you are wondering what an average tip is, the answer depends on the circumstances. Of course, it depends on factors such as the distance, how much time and effort it took to load and unload the moving truck, as well as the moving services included in your moving package.

For a half-day move (4 hours), $10 per man is an appropriate tip. For a full-day move (8 hours), $20 is the norm. If the movers spend 12 hours preparing your belongings for relocation, $40 should be enough.

Another rule of thumb is giving 5-10% of the total amount for an average long-distance move. For instance, if moving a four-bedroom home costs $3,000, it is fair to give each set of movers between $150 and $300. The money should be divided between the movers so that each one gets an equal amount.

A person taking money out of a wallet
There is no right answer to the question what is an appropriate tip for movers. At the end of the day, you should do whatever feels comfortable.

When are extra tips appropriate?

A tip can be larger than the norm in case you feel the entire moving staff has exceeded your expectations. If you are wondering when a moving crew deserves an extra tip, here are some suggestions:

  • Delivering your items unharmed despite obstacles such as long walks, stairs, elevators, narrow doorways, etc.
  • Managing to fit all of your belongings into the moving truck although it seemed impossible at first.
  • Delivering a lot of bulky and heavy objects, such as furniture, unharmed.
  • Finishing the job sooner than originally estimated.

What is an appropriate tip for movers, other than cash?

Cash is the most common choice for tipping professional movers. However, if you do not have enough cash, there are a few other ways to show them how grateful you are. What is an appropriate tip for movers apart from the cash you ask? Here are a few examples:

  • Food. The crew will enjoy a good meal since they need a lot of energy to complete this physically demanding task. Instead of preparing or ordering something “everyone likes”, ask them what they prefer to eat. They might be sick of pizza or hamburgers.
  • Drinks. Offering your movers something to drink is considered common decency. Serving cold drinks, such as water or juice, is a great idea to help your movers refresh, especially on a hot summer day.
  • Unwanted items. Ask the movers if they need some of your old belongings. This is not only a nice gesture but also an easy way to declutter your home or office space.
A jar of water with slices of lemon and a plastic straw
No money no problem! There are many alternative ways to tip your movers.

Ideally, you should offer your movers some of these things in addition to cash. They do not cost much but they mean a lot.

Almost all moving companies allow tips but some of them have a strict no-tipping policy. Food and drinks may still be okay though. Therefore, make sure to ask if you can tip your movers and whether they accept money. You can try to find this information on their website, ask them personally when booking the move, or check with the foreman on the move-in day.

Bear in mind that beer or any kind of alcohol is not an appropriate tip for movers. In fact, some moving companies strictly forbid drinking on the job.

Tip the movers individually, both times

Tip each person individually (using an envelope) instead of giving the whole amount to the supervisor or the driver. Thus, you show how much you value their individual efforts. Besides, some foremen are dishonest, which is why you should make sure that every person gets their tip. Also, if you think that some of them did a better job than their colleagues, it is perfectly fine to give them a bigger tip. Furthermore, remember that the team of movers that helps you move out of your old home may not be the same one that helps you move into your new home. That is why you should tip each moving crew separately.

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