Tipping is part of the US culture, so we’re all accustomed to leaving a tip after a meal or a round of drinks. It’s a given: add at least 15% to the total as a gratuity to the server, bartender, or barista. There’s a bit more of a grey area in other services, like the valet, delivery driver, or moving company. They’re performing a service and a tip is ideal, but what’s the formula to determine how much?
How much should you tip a moving company? Should you even tip them at all? We’ve put together a guide to help answer all of your questions.
How Much to Tip Movers
A good starting point is an amount per mover handling the job. Start with $4-5 per person per hour. That means:
- A Half Day comes out to $20 per mover
- A Full Day is $40 per mover
- 12 Hours or More is $50-60 per mover
The tip that you give your mover should align with the level of service you receive. You should also take into account the difficulty of the move. Do you have a lot of stuff? Many things that are oversized or need special care, like a piano, pool table, antique furniture, or large artwork? If you have flights of stairs or otherwise complicated entry points, your mover will need to work harder to shift your things safely.
Every move is very different. Instead of counting on a flat percentage of the cost, consider the effort involved in taking care of things for you. After all, you’ve hired these movers because you either can’t or don’t wish to do the hard work yourself.
Long-Distance Moving Considerations
Unlike local moves, long-distance moves often involve different people at the start and finish. You will likely have one crew at your current home, loading your items into the truck for transport. On the other side, another crew will unload your belongings into your new home. While the driver will most likely be involved from start to finish, the rest of the crew will likely change.
You can still use the rates above to tip your loading crew, and your unloading crew. If you choose to go with a percentage of the move, your tip will grow quite quickly. On average a long-distance move costs from $3,000-5000 or more. Opt instead to tip based on an hourly rate for each crew member.
Is Tipping Compulsory?
Moving is similar to any other service industry. A person is doing a job you’d rather not (or are unable to do) and it’s nice to show your gratitude. Movers don’t often expect a tip, which means it’s even more appreciated when they receive one. It’s true that you may feel you’re already investing a lot in the process of hiring a moving company but remember: your movers are really breaking a sweat.
Your movers are handling all of your most precious items. You’re putting a lot of trust and faith in your moving company.
When to Tip
Whether it’s a couple of hours or a full day, your movers will do hard work. To determine whether you should tip your mover, pay attention to the work they do. Be mindful of how they handle your things and the amount of care or skill they apply during the packing and moving processes.
If your mover:
- Handles your fragile or antique items with the utmost care
- Moves large, heavy, or awkward items up or down stairs or through tight doorways
- Moves swiftly and efficiently
- Helps with disassembly, reassembly, and set-up of your furniture
- Is especially friendly or supportive with your family
It’s great to offer them a tip as a thank you.
When Not to Tip
Tipping movers is a nice thing to do, but it’s not a mandatory part of the process. It’s a polite and recommended aspect – if you have a good experience. If you don’t, you don’t need to tip.
If your mover:
- Shows up late (especially without communicating well in advance)
- Dings your new or old walls, floors, or other parts of your house in the process
- Puts well-labeled boxes in all the wrong places
- Spends more time on a break than moving
You can adjust your tip, or consider not tipping at all.
Before you choose not to tip, consider the bigger picture. If unforeseen circumstances arise or accidents happen but your mover handles it professionally, factor that in. If they’re communicative and offer a way of rectifying the situation, remember that accidents do happen sometimes. Movers are only human, after all.