How Much to Tip Movers: Be Smart When Tipping Movers

Moving from one home to another is a rather stressful period that’s often filled with a myriad of tough questions and suspenseful uncertainties. Interestingly enough, there are a couple of questions that seem to worry (almost) everyone who’s decided to do the sensible thing and hire a top-rated moving company to help them move their belongings between the two homes:

Interestingly enough, there are a couple of questions that seem to worry (almost) everyone who’s decided to do the sensible thing and hire a top-rated moving company to help them move their belongings between the two homes:

Should you tip your movers? And if yes, how much to tip movers?

How much you should tip movers is a delicate matter: on one hand, you don’t want to look cheap or unappreciative of the hard work your movers did, but then you would not want to over-tip your hired workers either because for you, just like millions of fellow countrymen who move house each year, every dollar counts.

Your movers wouldn’t really mind getting bigger tips than they usually receive, but after all, it’s your hard-earned money, and besides, you’re most probably moving on a tight budget as it is.

The following guide to tipping movers will provide the right answers to the puzzling questions:

Are you supposed to tip movers? and What’s a proper amount to tip movers?

Do you have to tip your movers?

Let’s get this straight: tipping residential movers is not something you should feel obliged to do. Based on the quality of the move, the (professional) attitude of the hired workers, and the number of items that remain intact at the end of the day, you get to decide whether to tip your moving crew members or not.

Wait a minute! Why should you tip your movers when they already get paid by the moving company they work for? What an interesting question! Well, that’s true, but then again – why do you bother tipping waiters or waitresses, cab drivers, plumbers, restaurant or hotel valets or bellhops who happen to provide a good service? Isn’t tipping a good way to show whoever is employed in the service industry that they are doing a great job and should continue to do so?

Moving companies are in the service industry and tipping is a standard way to show your gratitude. Thus said, in no way should tipping your movers be considered something that you have to do. While a lot of people get genuinely worried whether they should tip their movers or not at the end of the move, the answer cannot be any simpler than that: just ask yourself if you’re happy with the moving service you just received. It’s that simple.

Here are a few pointers to help you make up your mind whether your movers deserve to be tipped or not:

  • Have your packers and movers arrived on time?
  • Have your hired workers been nice, friendly and sociable, or maybe rude, cold and disrespectful?
  • Have your movers acted in a professional way from the moment they have stepped inside in your home?
  • Have your packers and movers treated your possessions with care and attention? You can tell a lot about the quality of the service you’re paying for by merely observing from a distance how your moving crew goes about handling your household items.
  • Have your movers done what is necessary to avoid property damage?
  • Have your hired professionals worked hard from start to finish, or have they tried, on numerous occasions, to deliberately extend the time they need to finish the job through frequent cigarette or bathroom breaks, or by using other dishonest and disrespectful time-wasting tricks? This is especially true for local moves where you get charged by the hour.

Of course, there are other good indicators that will let you decide whether your movers deserve tips or not. By the time your moving experts are done, you should know perfectly well what to do. Just remember that you are under no obligation whatsoever to reward your movers if they have not done their work like true moving professionals.

Is it rude not to tip movers? No, it isn’t. Things have a funny way of balancing themselves out – professional movers should automatically know just how well they did their job, so they can often sense whether a generous tip, a standard tip or no tip at all is coming their way even before you do.

In case you did you homework right, spared a bit of time for a little research on a few top-rated moving companies and chose an established mover with an impeccable reputation, then you shouldn’t find yourself in any unpleasant no-tip situations. On the contrary, you should find yourself gladly tipping each individual worker to show your appreciation for their hard work and professional attitude throughout the move.

But just how much to tip household movers? Read on to find out.

How much to tip movers?

Here’s the best answer to the question that might have been bothering you for some time: how much to tip your movers should be based entirely on their job performance, your level of satisfaction and your budget. In other words, use your best judgment under the presented circumstances to come up with the proper amount to tip movers.

Tip your movers what you believe is fair:

  • bigger tips if they really did an outstanding job or had to work under tougher conditions (long flights of stairs, narrow corridors, heavy and huge furniture pieces, etc.),
  • standard tips if they did a good job protecting, carrying and loading your household items with care,
  • no tips at all if they did a poor job, damaged some of your belongings or had a rude or disrespectful attitude.

How much should you tip movers? See the standard tipping amounts below.

How much to tip local movers?

One thing is clear – you will hear various pieces of advice on how much to tip movers. Unlike most industries in the service sector, tips based on percentages won’t work well in the moving industry. For example, the standard tipping practice in restaurants is 15-20% of the final bill. However, should you tip your movers 20% of your final moving bill, you might be okay with the tipping amount but you might also be giving your hired crew a fortune depending on just how much your final bill turns out to be.

Here’s a universal tipping formula that will help you know how much to tip movers when you’re moving short distance:

  • If your movers do a satisfactory job, consider tipping them $4-$5/hour per mover. For instance, if a team of 3 local movers works 8 hours to complete your short distance move, then you will end up tipping each mover $40/day which is a decent, appropriate and pretty standard tip for movers.
  • If your movers do an outstanding job and you’re very happy with the way they handled your move, then you may be willing to reward their efforts in the range of $6-$7/hour per mover, or even $8/hour per mover. Again, use your best judgment to determine how much the tip should be.

How much to tip long distance movers?

If you’re moving long distance and you’re thinking of tipping your movers based on a percentage of your final moving bill, you might want to reconsider. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) states that  the average cost of moving of an interstate move is around $4,300, so if you decide to reward your cross country movers with tips of about 20%, then, well, you can do the math. In order to earn such astronomical tips, your movers must have really had superpowers or something!

What’s more, tipping on long distance moves can be much more confusing because you may get two sets of movers: 1) the movers who will load the truck at your current home and 2) the movers who will actually drive the truck across the country to your new home and unload your stuff at the new address. Do you tip movers on both ends?

Sometimes only one crew of professional movers completes the two-stage long distance move. So, what do you do? Your best bet is to call up the main office of the moving company and find out how many crews will be handling your move – one or two.

How much do you tip movers for a long distance move? Forget about percentage-based tipping. Instead, use the universal tipping formula above: a good amount to tip long distance movers is around $5/hour per mover if they do a satisfactory job, or you can round up the tip to $40/day per mover. Of course, you can always add a bit more cash if you can afford it and you’re more than satisfied with their services.

What’s the best way to tip movers?

Now that you can recognize when the professional furniture movers in your home deserve to be tipped for their service or not, let’s go through the proper way to tip movers. Although tipping movers is pretty easy and straightforward, there are still a few things to keep in mind to thank your moving crew the right way.

Give your movers a bit of an incentive [It works!]

In the best case scenario, the packers and movers who have arrived in your home will earn their rightful tips by working quickly, safely and efficiently from start to finish. But even if you’re lucky enough to have hired such a hard-working crew, it won’t hurt to encourage your movers to do their best by informing them in advance that good tips will be waiting for them at the end provided that they do their jobs the way they’re supposed to.

In fact, this powerful tactical move in the form of an added incentive has proven to boost productivity and efficiency of professional movers for obvious reasons. Of course, once your hired men do their job admirably, you should live up to your promise and reward their genuine efforts.

When do you tip movers? [Timing is important.]

Do you tip movers and packers?
It seems like your move is drawing to an end. What’s your verdict: generous tips, standard tips, or no tips at all?

If you’ve decided to tip your movers, then it’s important that you get the timing right. As discussed above, you may want to encourage your crew to work harder by promising tips at the end of the move provided that they do a good job. In addition to your verbal assurance, you could also hand a $10 bill to each worker to let them know that you’re serious about tipping them. The chances are great that they will get serious about being tipped too.

However, if that initial tipping makes you nervous or if you don’t think it’s a good idea, then stick to the general unwritten rule that says that you should tip your moving team only after they’ve completed the job – that is, when they have delivered your boxes and furniture pieces and taken them inside your home. If you’ve opted for the extra service of unpacking, then you should hand out the tips after they’re done with it too.

First of all, make sure all of your possessions are accounted for, and that they are all in good shape. Then, sign your final paperwork and only then should you take out your wallet to reward each mover individually.

Know in advance who to tip [Avoid awkward moments!]

There’s always one person who is in charge of the crew of packers and movers – the foreman. The foreman, who sometimes happens to be the moving truck driver, is the individual you should go to if any problems or misunderstandings arise during the household move. Provided that you’re happy with the way your movers handled the entire job, then it’s only natural that you would consider tipping your house movers.

According to the unofficial and unwritten tipping etiquette for movers, you are expected to tip each mover individually according to their level of service, professional attitude, and general performance. Be sure to prepare separate tipping money in advance as that will show your appreciation towards their individual efforts.

Don’t make the mistake of giving the entire sum to the foreman or the driver! If you’re wondering why that could prove to be a mistake, then keep in mind that some not-so-honest foremen might simply forget to share the tipping money among the crew members and keep the money to themselves.

It’s not only about the money [Are you serious?]

It’s not always about the money, is it? Tipping your movers is one thing, but there are other good ways to show your movers that you’re a good host and that you appreciate the quality moving service they provide. Remember that your moving crew does not consist of charged robots unfamiliar with the concepts of fatigue, thirst, or hunger. Sooner or later, the strangers in your own home will start to tire, they will get thirsty and hungry, and their work efficiency will drop as a result.

Nobody is blessed with limitless energy – not even the top-rated professional movers who are currently packing and moving your household items. Sometimes playing the role of a considerable host can mean more to your hired professionals than any monetary tips you offer them at the end of the day.

How to treat movers? To motivate the moving experts you’ve hired for the job and to keep their morale and energy level high enough throughout the house move,

  • Offering cash tips to your movers for a job well done is always appreciated but there are other ways you can thank your moving crew: leave a positive review about their outstanding service.offer refreshing beverages to your workers: cold drinking water or sodas during the summer period, and tea, coffee or hot chocolate during the winter. Stick to non-alcoholic drinks as most moving companies have a policy against their moving crews drinking alcohol before, during or after a job is completed.
  • If the move is bound to take many hours to complete, offer your professional helpers snacks, sandwiches or even think about treating them to pizza for lunch. Or, considering how often they get offered pizza, maybe you are willing to ask them what they would like to have for lunch to renew their energy?
  • Get a bathroom ready for them and make sure it’s equipped with enough liquid soap and disposable paper towels.
  • Finally, if you’re satisfied with the moving company you’ve chosen and the way the professional workers handled your household move from Day 1, then do find 10 minutes in your busy schedule to do them a huge favor: to share the successful partnership with the world by writing a moving review about the quality services of your mover. It’s never a bad idea to ask the names of the professional helpers who you noticed to work the hardest, and then to praise their commendable efforts by mentioning their individual names in the moving review – you can be sure that they will appreciate it.

Follow the tips of the above guide on tipping professional, and your movers will appreciate the gesture by putting even more effort into their work. Ultimately, your goal is to reach a win-win situation where both parties of the relocation job get benefited from two-thirds of professional obligations and one-third of goodwill, understanding and mutual respect.