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Tipping professional movers—and anyone in the service industry—is customary to show appreciation for good service. However, whether and how much to tip depends on the level of service provided. As a general rule, moving companies do not automatically include gratuity but rather leave it to their customers to offer whatever tip seems fair to them.
After reading through tipping recommendations from the top moving companies in the country, we compiled this guide to tipping etiquette for moving services.
How Much to Tip Movers
Most people are used to tipping a percentage of their total bill, often in the range of 15% to 20%. However, this approach does not work as well with movers. The total cost of your move may not accurately reflect the time or effort it takes to load and unload your belongings, and you will almost certainly have more than one person to tip.
Instead, calculate your tip based on how many hours the moving crew works. A good rule of thumb is $5 to $10 per mover per hour, which works out to $20 to $40 per person for a half-day move (four hours) or $40 to $80 per mover for a full day of work (eight hours). Assuming a team of four movers, your total tip amount could be anywhere from $80 to $320.
You may not know ahead of time how many crew members will be working or how many hours it will take. In that case, we suggest setting aside an amount equal to 20% of your total moving costs.
While these figures are good starting points, you should consider other factors when calculating your tip. You might decide to adjust the final amount up or down based on the quality of service and moving conditions. We elaborate more on tipping etiquette below.
Tipping Etiquette for Professional Moving Companies
Every move is different. Here are a few factors that may affect what constitutes a good tip.
Heavy or Fragile Items
If your move involves several pieces of large or exceptionally heavy furniture, you may want to leave a larger tip. The same is true for fragile or difficult-to-move items. Long-distance moving companies often employ specialists to handle pianos, fine art, and antiques. If your movers take appropriate or exceptional care with these items, tipping closer to $10 per hour to account for the heavy lifting is a nice gesture.
Movers can go above and beyond in several ways. They might be particularly friendly or personable. You may appreciate how careful they are with your belongings or how respectful they are of your home. Maybe they’re impressively quick or offer extra help with furniture assembly. If you notice your movers going the extra mile, let them know with generous tips.
Several factors outside your control can make moving day more difficult. Perhaps your home has a flight of stairs, tight doorways, or a long sidewalk between your driveway and the front door. Depending on the season, you might wake up to pouring rain, icy roads, or blistering heat. As you calculate the tip, consider the conditions and obstacles the movers faced. Tipping extra shows you sympathize and appreciate their hard work.
Late Arrival or Slow Progress
The moving company should let you know ahead of time when its team will arrive, especially if the movers aren’t going to be on time. You may reduce your tip if the crew arrives late or without the proper equipment. Similarly, you might tip at a lower rate if the workers seem deliberately slow or inefficient.
Rude or Careless Behavior
Movers don’t have to be super warm and friendly—but they should be respectful of you and your belongings. Crew members who behave rudely or damage your belongings should not expect to receive large tips. In severe cases, you may decide not to tip at all. Just be sure to hold the right parties responsible. One careless mover should not cost everyone else their tip.
How to Tip Movers
Most people in the moving industry recommend tipping movers individually at the end of the day. This allows you to tip different amounts if necessary and eliminates the possibility of one mover keeping the lump sum. Keep in mind that interstate movers will likely use two different crews. In that case, you will need to tip twice: once when the first team finishes loading and again when the second team finishes unloading or unpacking.
As far as how to tip, you have a few different options:
- Cash: This is the safest option. With cash, you can quickly and easily tip each mover the exact amount you feel is appropriate. When you withdraw cash for tipping, get smaller bills to divide it up easily.
- Check: You can choose to tip with checks instead of cash. This option allows you to tip custom amounts and gives you a written record of the tip. However, writing multiple checks will be more time-consuming than tipping with cash, and it may be less convenient for the recipients.
- Credit card: If you want to tip via credit card, call the moving company to ask about its policy. They might be able to run a separate transaction to process your tip, or they may simply add the amount to your final bill.
- Venmo: Some movers may accept tips through Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, or a similar service. This allows you to use your credit card regardless of the moving company’s corporate policy. Ask the individual movers about their preferences before choosing this option.
Although tipping movers is not technically required, it is customary, so we do recommend it. A good rule of thumb is to tip $5 to $10 per person per hour, paid individually rather than as a lump sum. Generally, you will tip the crew members at the end of the move after they have provided their final service.
Some moving companies make adding a tip to your final bill easy, and a few may charge an automatic gratuity. However, in most cases, a simple cash tip based on the number of hours worked and the level of service provided works best.
How Much to Tip Movers FAQ
Do I need to feed my movers?
No, you do not need to feed your movers. However, providing refreshments is a nice gesture. This can be as simple as offering store-bought snacks and bottled water throughout the day. Consider providing a full meal if your move takes longer than four hours. You could order pizza, subs, or catering platters from a fast-food chain or local restaurant.
Is it okay not to tip movers?
While you should always tip movers (and all service workers) for a job well done, it is okay not to tip movers in certain situations. For instance, you might decide not to tip if any of the following are true:The movers arrive late without sufficient noticeThe movers damage your home or belongingsThe movers are rude, slow, or carelessThe movers do not fulfill the terms of the contractYour moving bill included an automatic gratuity
When should I give my movers their tip?
You should give your movers their tip at the end of the day once their work is complete. You will likely need to tip two teams for a long-distance move, such as an interstate or cross-country move. In that case, you would tip the first crew after they load the moving truck and the second crew after they move everything into your new home.