There are so many different things to think about when you move house: How early should you start packing? How can you save money on this move? To name just a few. This is one of the many reasons why people often decide to hire movers in the first place.
Hiring professional movers can be a great way to cross off some items from your to-do list, and subsequently ease some of the stress that can come with moving. However, it can also leave you with a couple of new questions to consider, one of which is, “Do you tip movers?”
Tipping protocol in the United States is a minefield of etiquette and unspoken rules. Unlike with some of the more commonly used services, such as hair styling or restaurant service, the rules surrounding tipping movers are not quite so widely known but are very important to consider.
To help local homeowners and renters learn how much you should tip movers and if you should tip them at all, we have created a helpful Movers Tipping Guide for NYC residents.
Do You Tip Movers?
A rule of thumb for just about any tipping is that it is encouraged every time a service is offered. If the service has exceeded your expectations and you would like to offer a reward for a job well done, tipping is always highly appreciated. This is why people will often tip their hairdressers, nail salons artists, waiters, delivery persons, and yes, movers.
Moving is both a physically and mentally demanding task, as movers are specially trained to carry heavy, awkward and/or fragile items within a specified amount of time. In addition to the strenuous working conditions, movers must always remain on the alert to not leave a single sign that your piano or antique vase has been handled at all.
Some might argue that this is all part of their job. However, some movers might perform their tasks with minimal effort and a bad attitude while others will offer an attentive, professional approach – and a smile to boot. While it is not “mandatory” to tip movers even with these considerations in mind, it is only polite to show your gratitude to the attentive crew.
Now that we have established that, the next question naturally arises about how much to tip movers. Unfortunately, the answer is not quite as straightforward.
How Much Should I Tip Local Movers?
When determining how much to tip movers, remember that the main difference between a local and long-distance move is that local moves require only one crew and the driver will spend substantially less time on the road. The standard of care in every type of move is the same and should be rewarded as such.
Although there is no general rule for tipping movers, the average amount recommend is between $50 and $100 per crew member a day for a standard move, and more if it is a more difficult move.
Situations where your tip amount can be higher include:
- Completing the move more quickly and efficiently than estimated.
- Moving excessively heavy or awkward items.
- Disassembling or reassembling furniture, or packing for you.
- Overcoming obstacles such as excessive stairs, long walks, poor weather conditions, etc.
How Much Should I Tip Long Distance Movers?
Like local moves, there is no general rule for long-distance relocations. You should always consider the extent of the move and the quality of the work of each crew – the one that handles your belongings at your old home and the one that unloads them at the new location.
While the $50 and $100 per person is a fair tip for long-distance movers, the same guidelines apply as above. However, the mover responsible for driving typically deserves a tip based on the hours (or days) spent on the road, an amount that can be higher than average if you are satisfied with the arrival of your belongings.
When Should I Tip the Movers?
As with any other service, it is customary to tip the movers once the task has been completed. It allows you to properly assess the quality of the work that the team – as well as each individual mover – has completed and provide the reward accordingly. With long-distance moves, there will be two moving crews handling the job and hence each should be evaluated separately.
Additional tip: Tipping movers on an individual basis is always preferable, as it demonstrates that you recognize and appreciate each person’s efforts. After all, you don’t usually tip the restaurant owner, do you?
How to Tip the Movers: Other Compensation
When it comes to compensation, you should consider not only how much but also how to tip your moving crew. It is a common courtesy to offer your movers a meal, or at the very least, some bottled water or sports drinks throughout the day. This shows your appreciation as well as your concern for their health.
If you offer to buy them lunch, make sure to check with them for preferences, as they probably have had their fill of pizza. Other than that, offering the odd cup of tea or a cold soda at the end of the day would probably be gratefully received.
If you are planning to dispose of any items that you no longer want, such as furniture or décor, offering it to your movers would be another kind gesture in lieu of cash.
Bottom Line: Do I Have to Tip My Movers?
As with anything regarding tipping, there is a great deal of personal judgment involved. At the end of the day (literally), if your movers have done a good job, been friendly and professional, and worked efficiently, then they deserve a good tip as a reward. How much is up to you – when in doubt, it is best to err on the side of generosity.