How Much Should You Tip Movers? [2019 Edition]
You’ve just shelled out what feels like your entire life savings on your move, but one question still remains: How much should you tip movers? Between the down payment on the house (or the security deposit on your apartment), hidden moving fees, and the million and one other moving expenses, it can feel as though everyone’s competing for your checkbook. After all of the stress brought on by a big move, tipping your movers may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to make sure know how much you should tip your movers before your moving day. When it finally comes time to tip, here’s how to know exactly how much to tip your movers.
How Much You Should Tip Movers: The Basics
While tipping your moving company is technically optional, consider the nature of the work and the effort it takes to get your belongings from point A to point B. Your movers are doing difficult work to get the job done. We’re talking moving your grand piano up the staircase in the heat of summer difficult. Movers are part of the service industry and tipping is the best way to show your appreciation for all of their hard work.
When asking, how much should you tip movers, you can go one of two ways. You can tip by a percentage of the total move or simply a flat rate.
What percentage should you tip movers?
A good rule of thumb is to tip movers 5-10% of the total cost of the move. So, if your move costs $3,000 in total, you would tip your movers $150-$300. That said, the length of your move, the quality of service, and a variety of other factors play into exactly how much you should tip movers. We’ll get into that in just a moment.
What is a fair flat rate to tip movers?
For a simple, short-distance move, the standard flat fee is $20 per mover. For more complicated or long-distance moves, you can tip $50-$100 per mover. But how much should you tip movers according to this sliding scale? Every move is different, so you’ll want to take the whole experience into consideration when calculating your final tip amount.
Calculating How Much to Tip Movers
While anywhere between 5-10% is a standard percentage, and $20 is a standard flat fee, some customers tip their movers much more than that. Ask yourself these questions as you evaluate how much to spend.
How complex was your move?
The more challenging the move, the more you should tip your movers. Do you live on the fourth floor of a walkup or does your house have more than one floor? The added struggle of moving furniture up and down stairs is worth paying for. The same can be said if your movers helped you pack. It’s a great idea to compensate their willingness to carefully pack your belongings, especially if you aren’t paying for a full-service move.
Did your movers provide white-glove customer service?
Figuring out how much to tip your movers is essential when they do a good job. That said, assessing the quality of your mover’s customer service goes beyond asking whether they successfully carried grandma’s china from point A to point B without breaking it. Instead, consider whether your moving company raised the bar with their customer service.
In most cases, an excellent moving experience means that your movers will pay attention to the small details. Here are the most important factors to consider when judging your movers’ customer service:
Did they arrive on time?
Were they polite and professional throughout the entire process?
Did they tend to the details to ensure a seamless moving experience? For example, did they make sure that your dog Buddy was safely tied in the backyard while they moved your stuff?
Did they respect your belongings and your home in the process? (Think: navigating around your freshly planted bed of petunias)
Wondering how much to tip movers who check all of these boxes? Many customers tip on the highest end of the scale which is 20% or $100 per mover.
How did your movers handle moving day conditions?
When deciding how much to tip your movers, ask yourself if they went above and beyond the call of duty when presented with tricky situations. For example, how did they handle it when your four-legged friend snapped at their ankles? Were they gracious, despite the poor weather? If your movers handled unpredictable factors with grace, you’ll want to consider tipping well. This means at least 20% of your total move or nearing $100 per mover.
Did your moving company charge extra for challenging work?
Investigate whether your moving company charges additional fees for extra work, like a bulky item or an appliance fee. If these fees aren’t rolled into the overall price of your move, you should tip your movers higher, particularly if your movers encountered an obstacle on your property, like the rickety steps leading up to the front porch.
How much should you tip movers for a long-distance move?
Wondering how much to tip your movers when you’re moving over 50 miles or moving out of state? It is common for customers to settle on a daily amount to tip each of their movers. The industry standard is to tip $50 per head per day. Meaning, if your long-distance move takes three days and three movers, you should expect to spend around $450 on tips.
After Calculating How Much to Tip Your Movers
Tell your movers you’ll tip.
Never underestimate the power of an incentive. Toward the end of your move, tell your movers you’re planning on handing out a tip (Think: "You all have definitely earned a tip today with all of your hard work!"). Your movers are more likely to deliver an exceptional job if they know a tip is waiting for them.
Hand out your tip individually.
For starters, it’s a nice gesture to individually thank each mover for their hard work. Plus, it'll ensure that your money lands in each of their hands, rather than the hands of the moving foreman.
When to Consider Not Tipping Movers
As with most services, you would not tip for poorly executed work. This doesn’t mean that you should withhold your tip for a broken wine glass, however. Accidents do happen after all. If your movers arrive on time (or notify you if they’re running late), treat your items with respect, and help you handle any moving mishaps, they deserve a tip. Movers who arrive hours late without an explanation, are rough with your valuables, or are unwilling to help should something break might require you to reconsider tipping.
Other Ways to Express Your Gratitude
At the end of the day, if the big move has left you in the red, you can still show your appreciation without doling out the cash. Consider one of these options to let your movers know you appreciate their service.
Don’t forget to say thanks.
This one should be a no-brainer, but moving day stress sometimes means that a simple “thank you” will slip through the cracks. Moving is literally back-breaking work, and chances are that your movers pulled some ridiculous stunts throughout the day to get everything into your home.
Moving companies distinguish themselves from the competition by offering professional service. Don’t underestimate how much a simple compliment to the foreman will mean to him and his team.
Skip the beer, and offer lunch.
While many customers think it’s a nice gesture to offer their movers a beer at the end of a job well done, most moving companies have strict regulations about not drinking on the job. Instead, consider offering coffee and doughnuts in the morning or a pizza for lunch.
Open up your furniture inventory.
If you have extra furniture lying around the house that you’re planning on donating, ask your movers whether or not they’d be interested in taking a look at your extra furniture. Hey, who knows whether they’ll need a new coffee pot or ironing board!
Now that you know what to look for as you decide how much to tip your movers, you’ll be ready to tip appropriately on moving day. If you decide not to tip, make sure that your movers walk away with something, even if it’s the experience of working with a gracious customer and a few bottles of water.