Tipping Your Movers

Kelsey MacGregor
Tipping Your Movers

After weeks of planning, packing, sorting, and quite a few expenses, your move day finally arrives, and with it the fear of things going wrong. But instead of broken glasses and heart, your movers show up, and surprise you by being lightning fast! Not to mention how carefully they finesse your grandma’s antique china cabinet onto your second story without a scratch.

You are so relieved and excited to start unpacking… until you go to pay the final bill and think: “Wait, am I supposed to tip movers?”

Trust me, you’re not alone! There is a lot of confusion when it comes to this topic, and with all the things going on during you move, this detail is easily forgotten.

Yes, Tipping is Expected

Just like any other service industry job, tipping is expected for movers that do an exceptional job. How hard you felt they worked is entirely based on your own experience, but keeping an eye on the team’s work ethic and how well they communicate with each other is a good sign that they are putting their best foot forward for your move. Are they protecting your furniture effectively? Are they busting a sweat running from the truck into the house to collect the next item? If they’re helping you pack, are they collecting items from the same room to make your unpacking a little easier? These things show effort to make your move go smoothly, and prevent any problems along the way. Thank them for making your life easier by giving them a tip.

So How Much Should I Give Them?

Unlike waiters or waxers, tipping your mover isn’t necessarily based on a percentage of the total cost of the move. Generally, the industry standard is to give each mover their own chunk of change based on the duration or difficulty of the job. $20 for each mover for 5 hours of work seems reasonable, or maybe $100 apiece for a 12 hour move (especially one where all your antiques were seamlessly move into your new 8th floor apartment) would seem more appropriate. Anywhere between $4-8 for each hour of hard work is a normal expectation to uphold. But try not to hurt your brain too much with the exact math, just go with your gut with how well you feel the team delivered.

Don’t Worry About Cash

Handling that much cash to evenly distribute to a team of six movers is time consuming and awkward. Save your nickels and dimes by letting the crew lead know whether you would like your tip distributed evenly across the team. Sometimes you feel one person was working way harder than someone else, and you’d like to acknowledge that by giving them a bigger tip. The manager on-site has no problem making sure that happens for you.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Money

The last time you moved, your friends were cool with being paid with pizza and beer for their labor. Professional movers don’t mind being paid the same way! (Except for the beer part. Generally you don’t want tipsy people handling your breakables.) If you see them working hard, ordering a pizza or having some food for them to take a lunch break is a great way to show your gratitude for the job well done. Movers are always on the go, and it isn’t necessarily food safe to leave a sandwich inside a truck for 6 hours in the 90 degree heat. Hungry workers do not equal happy workers, so this keeps the energy and gratitude high, without having to stress over any exact dollar amounts.

Stress is inevitable on move day, but knowing what impact your wallet might face will hopefully alleviate a bit of the panic. At least until you realize that you forgot your wallet back at the old place! Ah, the joys of relocation.