How Much Should You Tip Movers

One of the most common questions moving companies get, surprisingly, is whether it is appropriate to tip the workers, and How much to tip them if so. Moving is tough work, which is why most homeowners choose to hire experienced help. A single move can take up to 12 hours to accomplish, and there’s a lot of lifting and carrying going on, and possibly packing and unpacking as well. In short, there are good reasons to tip the workers, but exercise a little forethought before doing so.

How much should you tip movers?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? Again, moving is not a light expense for most households, so setting aside extra for tipping can feel a bit excessive. Here’s the thing, no reputable moving company should ever presume tips from the client, and a reputable moving company will always accept, with a smile, whatever tip a client is willing to give. But assuming a client wants to provide a tip, here are a few guidelines to tipping in a way that works for both the client and the workers:

1. If tipping with cash, consider the effort involved – A cash tip is always welcome, of course, and any amount is appreciated. And in truth, the tip amount is totally up to the client. If the client tips $10 a mover or $100 a mover, that will be received well. If the client is looking for some tipping standards (every industry has them), then consider a $10 tip per worker for a half day move, a $20 tip per worker for a full day move and a $40 tip per worker for a move that extends well past the 8-hour mark.

If the movers go above and beyond, then consider tipping a little extra. For example, a home that is packed with tight spaces or a home with a spiral staircase adds an extra degree of difficulty. Moving a lot of stuff out of the basement or attic is another tough obstacle that workers frequently encounter, and something that may warrant a little extra.

If the movers are well organized, show up early and complete the move earlier than expected, then consider a bit more. That is, of course, if the extra speed doesn’t come at the cost of safety or protecting everything from damage. If a moving crew beats the clock, that means they are working extra hard.

2. Don’t use a percentage-based approach to tipping movers – In most industries where tipping is common, using a percentage of the bill is the standard approach to calculating a tip. But in the moving industry, where a single moving bill can vary quite a bit, a percentage-based method doesn’t make much sense. Further, when a move costs considerably more money, it’s almost always because of travel distance, and that’s something that the moving crew doesn’t have much to do with. Sticking with a flat-tip-per-worker option is the better method.

3. Give the tips personally to the workers – There are a couple reasons for this. For one, giving a tip to each worker is a sign of appreciation that communicates to every individual that their efforts were noticed. Everyone likes to know when they’ve done a job well, and a personal tip to each worker is an easy way to say thanks for the work provided.

Also, and this isn’t a problem with reputable movers, but it still bears mentioning – giving all the tips to the driver or foreman may seem like an easy way to tip everyone at once, but there are some unscrupulous people out there that will pocket the tips for themselves. Again, reputable movers do their best to avoid hiring people who would do something like that, but tipping everyone personally ensures it’s not even a possibility.

4. There are other ways to tip – If cash is tight, and it often is, there are other ways to show the workers some appreciation. Moving takes a lot of energy and a lot of fluid, so why not offer some cold bottles of water or Gatorade? It’s hungry work, too, so a meal is something that workers will often accept with gratitude.

But before buying a meal, ask around to see what the workers would like. It may sound a bit presumptuous for the workers to offer food preferences, but think about how much pizza these guys get offered throughout the year. The easy, go-to meal options are the ones that the movers get the most often, and no offense, but eating pizza four times a week isn’t something that even the most ardent pizza lovers would seriously consider. Just remember that this is completely optional and not something the moving crew expects. Reputable movers know to bring refreshments and snacks with them to make it through the day, so don’t feel obligated.

5. Don’t offer alcohol – Yes, it seems like every beer commercial has people bonding over a tough day’s work, but in a professional setting, beer is not an option. For one, reputable moving companies do not permit drinking on the job, for obvious reasons, and it’s not something that workers will be allowed to accept. And for two, if workers are drinking on the job, that creates all kinds of liability issues for the worker and for the company. Offering beer will only put the worker in a tough spot, as they will have to refuse.

6. Tip what you can – Don’t pick a cheap mover so you can tip more on the backend. If tipping is just unrealistic financially, don’t do it. That’s a far better option than choosing a substandard mover and paying for it, literally, in other ways.

Moving is strenuous, unforgiving work, and the people who put their backs on the line deserve some attention now and again. The best way to show that attention is with a tip, as every worker will appreciate it, no matter what form it comes in.

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