How Much do you Tip Movers?

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Illustrations by Marlowe Dobbe

Are you supposed to tip movers?

We get this question all the time. The answer is “no”. Or, “yes”. It kinda depends, so let us explain.

The first thing to know is that, no, movers do not generally “expect” tips for their service. Unlike other gratuity based jobs, professional movers often get paid a baseline wage by their employers. Rarely should a professional mover actively be on the lookout for money directly from you, the customer.

But tipping is still an important consideration for several reasons. Think about tipping movers as an expression of above average satisfaction.

A tip conveys: “Wow! Your team reconfigured my tricky furniture, impossibly packed my tiny container and somehow did it all an hour under schedule!”

What movers do is already exceptionally difficult. Is your food bad? Sure, a good waitress can always fix it by bringing you more. But break your antiques then put them back together again? Not so much. Moving is a skill especially worth appreciating. That’s why you should also keep in mind it may be misleading to award extra cash to a crew who, under fair scrutiny, may not have deserved it.

What can we say? It pays to hire highly rated crews.

One more thing … while a mover may already be compensated by their boss for a nine hour work day, it can occasionally be true that they work more than nine hours in a single day, depending on their moving schedule. Because of this, it’s important you keep an open mind towards tipping your helpers who may potentially be on the clock well over eight hours.

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Okay, I get it now. But how much do I tip them?

This can vary, but we’ll break it down.

Some people tip based on percentage. That percentage is generally 5%, and that’s fine. But there’s a pretty big caveat here: 5% of a $200 move versus a $2,000 move is quite a different number. More importantly, the price charged for your move more often reflects distance driven, versus how much was physically moved by hand.

For that reason, the industry standard tends to revolve around $10-20 per mover. If the move is giant enough, sometimes it might be appropriate to tip $50 a mover or higher. Here are some things you should consider when deciding on the amount:

  • How heavy were the items that were moved? Did they move 10 Tupperware containers or 10 grandfather clocks?
  • Did you move out of a studio apartment, or an eight-bedroom mansion?
  • Did the team arrive on time? Did they finish on time? Maybe they finished even faster than expected? Is it Christmas Eve?
  • Did your moving company make you feel taken care of? Maybe you didn’t know exactly how you were going to transport your oddly shaped futon, but they put you at ease and safely got it all taken care of?

Acing all of these things is the mark of a moving pro!

Anything else I should know?

A final few notes on the quest to tipping mastery:

  • Don’t be afraid to just hand the cash to the movers individually, as opposed to tipping the crew leader.
  • Want to be extra nice and get the crew pizza? Consider asking your team their preference – imagine how many pizzas a mover must eat in their lifetime!
  • Always wait until the move is completely finished before offering up your tip, and never offer up alcohol as a token of your gratitude, as many moving companies have strict guidelines when it comes to operating trucks while drinking.
  • Looking to cut down costs of your move? Remember that hybrid moving can drastically eliminate huge dollar amounts versus full-service moving companies, which might be just what you need in order to show how much you appreciate your movers.
This post is an updated version of the following post: http://blog.hireahelper.com/how-much-to-tip-movers/
 

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