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How Much to Tip Movers: A Go-To Guide

You just spent what feels like your entire life savings on your move, but one question still remains. How much do 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 the stress of a big move, tipping movers may be the last thing on your mind. But it’s important to make sure you’re familiar with the tipping etiquette before moving day. When it finally comes time to tip, here’s how to know exactly how much to tip your movers.

How Much to Tip Movers: The Basics

You don’t have to tip professional movers. That said, it takes effort to get your belongings from point A to point B — your movers are working hard 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. So tipping is the best way to show your appreciation for all their hard work.

When deciding how much to 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. Still, factors like the length of your move and quality of service play into how much you should tip movers. We’ll get into that in 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 do you tip movers according to this sliding scale? Every move is different, so consider the whole experience when tipping movers.

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Calculating How Much to Tip Movers

Anywhere between 5-10% is a standard percentage and $20 is a standard flat fee. Some customers tip their movers much more than that, though. Ask yourself these questions as you evaluate how much to spend.

How complex was your move?

Wondering how much to tip movers for a complicated move? The more challenging the move, the more you should be tipping movers. Do you live on the fourth floor of a walkup or does your house have more than one floor? The added struggle of carrying a lot of heavy 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 them for taking care of your belongings and fragile items. This is especially true 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, rating your mover’s customer service is complex. It’s not enough to ask whether they carried china to the truck without breaking it. Instead, consider whether your moving company raised the bar with their customer service.

Usually, an excellent moving experience means that your movers pay attention to details. Here are the most important factors to consider when tipping movers:

  • 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 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 movers, ask yourself if they went above and beyond in 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 surprise events with grace, you’ll want to consider tipping well. This means at least 20% of your total move or nearing $100 per mover.

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Did your moving company charge extra for challenging work?

Find out whether your moving company charges extra fees for jobs like moving bulky items. If these fees aren’t rolled into the price of your move, you should consider tipping movers more. The same goes if your movers faced obstacles on your property, such as several flights of stairs.

How much do you tip movers for a long-distance move?

Wondering how much to tip 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. So, if your long-distance move takes three days and three movers, 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. They may not be expecting a tip, so tell your movers you’re planning on handing one out. 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 crew member 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.

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When to Consider Not Tipping Movers

As with most services, you would not tip for careless work. This doesn’t mean that you should withhold your tip for a broken wine glass, though. 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 with any moving mishaps, they deserve a tip. If movers 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 movers.

Other Ways to Express Your Gratitude

If tipping movers is going to break your bank, there are other ways to say thank you without doling out the cash.

Don’t forget to say thanks.

This one should be a no-brainer, but with moving day stress, it’s easy to forget a simple “thank you.” Moving is hard work, and chances are that your movers pulled some impressive stunts 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 a bite to eat.

Many customers think it’s nice to offer their movers a beer at the end of the day. However, most moving companies have strict rules about not drinking on the job. Instead, offer coffee and doughnuts in the morning or a pizza and bottled water for lunch. A quick bite and a non-alcoholic drink are great alternatives to tipping movers.

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Open up your furniture inventory.

If you have furniture in the house that you’re planning to donate, ask your movers if they’d like to take. Hey, who knows whether they’re in need of a new coffee pot or ironing board!

Now that you know the best way to 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 the experience of working with a gracious customer and leaving with a few bottles of water is better than nothing.


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