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What's a Generous Tip for Movers?


Moving day is here! You’ve planned, packed, and paid, and now you are ready to move into your new home. The moving crew you hired is working carefully and efficiently. At the end of a long day, all your belongings have found safe spots in your new home. You pay your final bill with the moving company and then—the awkward question: “Do I tip movers?”


What do you do? First, there is no need to feel awkward. This is a common question. Tipping etiquette for movers is not well-known and confuses a lot of people. Let’s tackle this one question at a time.


Do you tip movers?

The answer is yes, you do. Movers are part of the service industry, where tipping is expected in return for exceptional customer service. It’s important to understand context, too. Wait staff might spill a drink or a barber/stylist might mess up a haircut, but the mistakes are not lasting. A mover who damages valuable furniture or family heirlooms leaves a negative impact that is long-lasting. Movers bear a huge responsibility, and this should be reflected in their tips.


How much you tip is your choice, but factors to consider include how fast and how diligently you feel they worked. Notice how they talk to and work with one another. Do they display a strong work ethic? Are they moving things with a sense of urgency? Evaluating these things will help you determine your tip amount. If it is evident that they are taking great care with your belongings, such as protecting your furniture, then they deserve bigger tips.


What is the proper amount to tip movers?

Tipping etiquette for movers works differently than, say, taxi drivers or servers in restaurants. Tips for movers are not based on a percentage of the move’s total cost (like the cost of a meal at a restaurant). The difficulty and duration of the move determine the amount of tips. Industry standard amounts to $20 per mover for a five-hour job, or $100 per mover for a 12-hour job (particularly if the job is tough—like moving a lot of fragile antiques to an eighth-floor apartment). Just consider what they are being asked to handle. Are they moving a few boxes or a grand piano?


If your job is shorter (in terms of time) and less intense, consider tipping between $4 and $8 an hour. Again, this depends on what you are asking your moving company to do and how well they met your expectations.


How do you distribute the tips?

Having enough cash on hand to evenly tip five or more movers might prove difficult. Don’t worry about that. Let the crew chief know you would like the tip distributed evenly to the team. Or let them know to give one person who was working particularly hard a little more. The on-site manager can make that happen for you.


Do I need to stress over this?

Absolutely not. You are going to be stressed enough on moving day, so don’t add to it by worrying about the exact amount to tip your movers and when to do it. Get a ballpark figure and adjust as needed. You have to see how things go anyway. Just make sure you know where your wallet is!


The last word on how much to tip movers

Tipping movers is good etiquette. But remember: you only need to do it if the service is exceptional and you feel they truly deserve it. The standard rate is between $4 and $8. Food and beverages are also appreciated. Good luck!

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