Do You Have to Tip Movers?
As you’re budgeting for your local or long-distance move, you may be wondering – are you supposed to tip movers? Although you’re not obligated, most homeowners do tip their moving crew. But even if you want to, some moving companies don’t permit tipping, so give your mover a ring to find out its policy.
Few service industry employees work harder than movers do. Your tip reflects your appreciation for the quality of their service, the difficulty of the move, or unforeseen challenges. After all, if these people relocate everything you own without any hitches, you’re grateful – right?
Tipping is especially warranted when the service exceeds your expectations, or the move is particularly tricky. If the crew provided extra TLC for your piano, completed the job far in advance of the quoted schedule, had to haul lots of heavy furniture up narrow stairs, or managed a long steep pathway from the van to your front door, you probably will want to show your appreciation with a tip. However, if the movers don’t treat you or your belongings with respect, or your experience is simply awful, you don’t owe anything beyond your contract agreement. If you do decide to tip, be sure to hit the ATM before moving day so you’ll have plenty of cash on hand.
How Much Do You Tip Movers?
If hard-working, accommodating, friendly movers take good care of your house full of stuff, you’ll probably want to compensate them with a tip. The amount to tip depends on whether your move is large or small, local or long-distance, simple or complex.
So how much should you tip movers?
One reasonable way to calculate a tip for movers uses a general rate of $4 to $6 per hour per mover. If you received outstanding service, your move was especially complicated or long-distance, you can increase the tip at your discretion. A more budget-friendly method is to tip a minimum flat fee of $10 per mover for a half day’s work or $20 for a full day, again, adjusting the amount for exceptional service or challenges.
Since your tip shows your appreciation, pair it with a verbal “thank you” and an acknowledgment of what pleased you about their work. Also, tip individually rather than expecting the foreman to distribute the cash. Tipping movers is subjective, just as it is with any other service employee. Feel free to adjust your tip according to the overall job, and don’t feel obligated to tip.
How Much to Tip Long Distance Movers
Tip long distance movers $4 to $6 per hour per mover, based on service and any unforeseen challenges or extra work involved. It’s not recommended to base the tip on a percentage of your long-distance moving bill. Given that the average interstate move costs around $4,200, if you tip 15% on $4,200, you’d be shelling out $630.
Long distance moves typically involve two different crews. In most cases, one team loads the truck at your old address, while another crew unloads the truck at your new place. Again, you’ll tip each mover based on the quality of their service, unforeseen challenges, or extra work.
For example, maybe your first crew showed up right on time, was friendly, and efficiently loaded your household into the van in only 7 hours instead of the estimated 8. You decide to tip $6 per hour x 7 hours. You’ll tip each mover $42.
Three days later, you meet the moving van at your new place. The moving crew seems a bit surly, they aren’t accommodating to your requests, and they scratched the dining room floor. But they hustled and got your stuff moved in quickly. You’ve decided to tip them at $2 per hour for 8 hours of work. $2 per hour x 8 hours = $16 for each mover.
How Much to Tip Local Movers
The standard tip for a local move is $4 to $5 per hour per mover, given your movers get you suitably moved in without woes or damage. Local moves take less time and effort than long-distance moves, but they can still be complicated, so your tip will depend on many factors.
For example, let’s say two movers completed your move within four hours. They were efficient, friendly, and moved you without hassles. You base their tip on $5 per hour x 4 hours = $20 tip for each mover.
But as we said before, tipping is subjective, and that means your tip will be subject to the difficulty of the move. Maybe you’re just moving from one ground floor studio apartment across town to another ground floor studio. If you’re pleased with the service, a $10 is a decent tip for each mover.
But what if you’re moving within the same town, from a sizeable five-bedroom farmhouse with several packed outbuildings to a four-bedroom Victorian with three floors and narrow winding stairs. A $10 tip wouldn’t be appropriate. If you were pleased with the job, you’d base your tip on a minimum of $5 per hour
When NOT to Tip Your Movers
Some moving companies include a tip as a line item on their contract. Inspect your contract for this addition and don’t tip if you see it. If you’re unsure, call the moving company.
You read your contract carefully and are aware of the services the moving company should provide. However, you shouldn’t tip if the services you expected to receive weren’t delivered.
A variety of circumstances can pop up on moving day that may dissuade you from tipping your movers.
- The movers showed up late – didn’t explain, didn’t apologize – and worked with a churlish attitude.
- The moving crew was disrespectful to you and your family, making you feel uncomfortable.
- The crew just plunked boxes in any room, ignored the box labels, leaving you to sort it out.
- After the crew left, you found that the movers left some of your rolled-up rugs by the curb.
- The movers were careless with your furniture and bumped it into walls and doorways. They left scrapes and scratches behind that you had to repair.
In general, if your experience is terrible, don’t feel guilty about not tipping. Be polite, say thank you, and that’s enough. File your complaints with the moving company’s customer service rep.
Other Ways to Tell Your Movers “Thank You”
Whether you’re tipping at the high end of the spectrum or not tipping at all, you can show appreciation to your crew with a variety of thoughtful gestures. Taking the time to plan a few considerate details will go a long way to building rapport and fostering goodwill that makes the move go more smoothly for everyone.
- Provide bathroom access: First of all, make sure the crew has access to a decent bathroom with toilet paper and a place to wash their hands with soap and water.
- Offer hydration: Whichever season of the year you’re moving, your crew (and you) need to stay hydrated. Supplying drinking water isn’t optional. As the homeowner, you should provide plenty of clean, pure water. If your tap water is healthy, provide cups. Or buy a case of bottled water. If you want to step things up, you could supply sports drinks with replenishing electrolytes or another refreshing beverage, like lemonade. Even though an icy cold beer can taste great on a hot moving day, moving companies prohibit drinking on the job.
- Provide a light breakfast: If your move starts on a cold morning, pick up some coffee and donuts for the crew.
- Provide refreshments or food: All-day moves are exhausting. If your move continues through lunchtime, provide sandwiches and snacks. Encourage the crew to take a break to eat and drink. Fruit or cookies are an added treat.
- Write a review: Take a few minutes to write a review. It’s a great way to back up what you’ve told the crew in person and show them that you valued their work.