Things to Know About Moving Tipping

Moving can be stressful, to say nothing of physically strenuous. To get the job done quickly, and with comparatively little hassle, many families like to call upon professional moving companies. This isn’t necessarily cheap, but it can often be well worth it.

When hiring a moving company, one question often arises: Are you supposed to tip them? And if so, how much? The answer may be a little more complicated than you think, so we’ve put together a quick FAQ.

Here’s everything you need to know about proper moving tipping protocol for your professional moving company.

Tipping Your Movers: A Complete Guide

Do you have to tip your moving company?

Let’s get this out of the way: While it’s pretty common to tip the moving team, it’s not something you should feel obligated to do. It is an expression of gratitude for a job well done and can be a way to show appreciation for the hard work and effort put in by the movers during the moving process. The amount of the tip is typically based on the level of service provided and is left to the discretion of the customer. 

We’d say you should decide for yourself if and how much to tip your residential worker, based on:

  • How many items are intact/broken at the end of the day
  • The professionalism of their service, as well as their communication
  • The overall quality of your moving experience, and the attitude of the workers

Why should you tip your movers on top of what you’re already paying?

Another common question: Given how expensive it can be to enlist a professional moving company, why should you add on a tip? Aren’t you paying your movers enough?

Again, you’re not obligated to tip. However, it’s good to remember that you probably do tip your waiters and waitresses, rideshare drivers, etc. Movers are service industry professionals, and tipping is a common practice for showing your thankfulness for a job well done. It’s also a good way to encourage good movers to keep working hard, providing a cheerful attitude, etc.

Is it rude not to tip my movers?

No, not necessarily. Most movers have a pretty good sense of the quality of the job they’re doing, and thus usually know whether they should expect a generous tip, a modest tip, or no tip at all. Assuming you arrive at a reasonable, honest tipping decision, you’re probably going to be in good shape.

If for example, the movers are late, break things, are careless with their work, or take too many breaks, you may reconsider how much of a tip you offer.

How should I decide how much to tip?

As you think about whether to tip your moving team, and how much, here are some questions that might be illuminating:

  • Did the moving team arrive on time?
  • Did the moving team members show a kind, respectful, social attitude, or were they rude and surly?
  • Did they show respect for your home and your property?
  • Have they taken every reasonable step to avoid damaging your stuff?
  • Did they work hard from start to finish, or did they eat up a lot of time with smoking breaks, goofing around, etc.?

If the movers go above and beyond to accommodate your needs, such as helping with disassembly and reassembly of furniture, or if they handle your belongings with extra care, then a larger tip would be appropriate. On the other hand, if the movers are not professional or if the service is not up to your expectations, a smaller tip or no tip at all is acceptable.

These are just some of the considerations you can make as you assess the performance of your moving company.

How much should I tip my moving team?

We come now to the question of amount. What we’d recommend is:

  • Giving an especially generous tip to movers who do a truly exemplary job and/or have to work in tough conditions (snow and ice, sweltering heat, a lot of going up and down the stairs, etc.)
  • A modest tip for movers who do a good to great job.
  • No tip for movers who are disrespectful or who damage your stuff.

For local movers, a good baseline amount is to tip each mover $10 or 20 per hour. Again, you can use your judgment to determine if they should get a little more or a little less. But this is a good place to start your considerations.

For a long-distance move, maybe up to $20 to 40 an hour. It’s also recommended to be mindful of the customary tipping range within your area. Tipping ranges can vary depending on location and the cost of living but typically ranges grom 15-20% of the moving cost. A good way to find out the standard tipping range in your area is to ask other people who have recently moved, or to check online.

When determining the amount of the tip, it is important to take into account the size and complexity of the move. For example, a larger move with more items and a longer distance to travel may warrant a larger tip than a smaller move. Additionally, it is important to consider the distance traveled, the time of the move, and any special circumstances, such as heavy or bulky items that require extra effort to move.

When should I tip the movers?

Some individuals offer a tip up-front, hoping to incentivize their movers. We’d argue that it’s generally wiser when it comes to moving tipping to tip at the end of the job, and only after you’re checked and ensured that all your stuff has been safely relocated. Try to tip in cash if possible and to give it directly to the movers. This allows them to receive the tip immediately after the move is complete, and it gives you the opportunity to evaluate their performance and tip accordingly. You can also tip with a check or credit card if needed. 

Other nice things you can offer your moving team are: gift cards, water, snacks, or lunch or dinner to show your appreciation for their help. 

You may wish to inform your moving team up front that you plan to tip for a job well done; that may be the more prudent way to incentivize.

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We hope we’ve answered all of your tipping questions. 

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