To tip, or not to tip… that is the question. Well, and also how much. Figuring out when and how much to tip movers can be a delicate tightrope, but we’re here to tell you all you need to know. Read on to discover how much to tip movers per hour and per service, as well as when you should (and shouldn’t) bust out that extra green. 🤑
Some of you may be wondering, are you supposed to tip movers like wait staff? Everybody knows to tip 20% at a restaurant, but how much to tip movers isn’t so clear. Especially because a move is going to cost a pretty penny more than your average restaurant bill (ouch!), this is just another hidden expense to work out on your moving checklist.
Luckily, a percentage scale doesn’t apply when tipping movers. Instead think how much to tip movers based on hours worked per mover (trigger warning: math incoming, emergency calculator here). Some say this can be as low as $4 per hour while others go as high as $12 (your belongings better receive the red-carpet treatment for that!).
If you want an estimate of how much tipping movers is going to set you back, check out the table below:
Keep in mind that you should be tipping movers by satisfaction level, so how much to tip movers per hour should come down to service quality. Remember too that if your move is particularly difficult, it might even be appropriate to tip above what we’ve listed here!
Another way to determine how much to tip movers is to consider what kind of move you’ll be tipping for. Just like how the price tag is different for certain moves, so should the ultimate tip. We’re sure you’ve guessed it already, but the more effort, the bigger the tip.
A local move is generally considered to be less than 50 miles, while some (heroic) movers still consider moves local up to 100 miles. Local moves are easily completed in a single day, so you can expect not to tip so much because the costs are much lower.
How much to tip movers staying local? Around $20 per mover is a safe bet.
Long-distance moves can be as long as there are roads to drive. When trucking your belongings over vast distances, the delivery time can be measured in days rather than hours. Of course, the whole crew doesn’t strap in for that road trip, just the truck driver.
Long-distance moves are expensive enough, with $5,000 being common, so keep this in mind when tipping movers. Generally speaking, $60 per mover is how much to tip movers going long-distance, with an extra bonus for the driver.
Specialty services often have tipping customs built around them. Because piano movers are both specialized and exclusively handle expensive merchandise, soliciting their specialized training usually ends with a generous tip. So, how much to tip piano movers?
The $4 – $12 per hour range still applies, but we recommend staying around the $10 mark. Not only do you want your piano to arrive in one piece, you also want it to stay in tune! 🎶
When it comes to tipping movers, which movers should you tip? Sometimes the crew that picks up your belongings isn’t the one that drops them off. We see the questions bubbling up already:
Don’t sweat! It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Tipping movers for a job well-done is always appropriate and not always expected. This means if one crew was stellar and the other subpar, who gets what shouldn’t be so difficult.
How much you should tip movers should be proportionate to the size of the job. So, if one crew did the loading, but not the driving and unloading (or vice versa), tip accordingly.
And, if the first crew gets away before you can tip them, it’s not the end of the world!
Some people find tipping to be rather awkward, no matter how well-intentioned the tip or how well-deserving the mover. While there isn’t a single tried-and-true formula on how to tip movers, there isn’t much to it outside knowing how much to tip movers and when is the right time.
We do recommend, however, that you tip each mover in the crew individually. This not only personalizes your appreciation, but also prevents a dishonest crew member from holding onto the total themselves. We don’t like to think about it, but it does happen!
Perhaps the most daunting part of tipping movers, when do you go for it? Unfortunately, part of this is just ‘feeling it out,’ but typically tipping movers should come at the end of the job.
It doesn’t have to be awkward! A few words of appreciation when pulling out your wallet will signal a coming tip, and any mover worth their salt would never make you feel uncomfortable about it.
What payment methods are appropriate when tipping movers? We list the most common ones below:
Not all tips need to come in the form of cash. Appreciation can be shown in a number of ways, depending on your budget or moving situation. Feel free to think outside the moving box (see what we did there?), but here are the two most common alternatives:
Moving is a labor-intensive business with a lot of lifting, stair-climbing, and sometimes even jogging! A few hours this creates quite an appetite.
A common alternative to tipping movers you appreciate is to supply something to eat and drink periodically throughout the move.
On hot summer days nobody will turn away lemonade and ordering pizza or subs come lunchtime is always well received.
Perhaps even better than tipping movers is to help a moving company gain more business. Online reviews are becoming increasingly essential to any moving company’s success.
Because other customers survey online reviews on platforms like Sirelo before choosing a mover, sharing your good experience will be worth more than any fast bucks you could shell out!
In short, no, you don’t have to tip movers (not like you have to pay your taxes). But should you? If all went well, then of course! Even though the moving industry doesn’t have the same mandated tipping standards as the service industry, this doesn’t mean the spirit of tipping doesn’t apply (tip the service, not the job!).
When we look at why we tip, it’s to boost the income of valued workers in jobs where the wage-to-effort ratios seem a bit off. Considering that the average mover earns $16 per hour (for hauling couches down stairwells!), movers operate in one of the many industries which rely on tips.
Now that we have a mind that good movers ought to be tipped, what should you watch out for? A feeling of goodwill could be enough, but there are plenty of specific triggers to justify some grateful gratuity. If you’re thinking of tipping movers soon, look out for these points:
Some moves are more challenging than others. Asking movers to transport heavy furniture down an old fifth-floor walkup is different than a few boxes from the garage. The same goes for moves completed in the summer heat or the peak of winter. A tip shows you’ve noticed the effort!
If a mover goes through pains to protect your possessions with sturdy packing or your walls/banisters with protective padding, it shows they are committed to your move. A tip-top job, right?
Did the movers beat their own estimate? Hourly movers then undercut their own prices (Cha-ching!). Here it doesn’t hurt to spread the wealth back around for a job quickly done.
We know how stressful moving can be, so when a mover goes out of their way to walk you through the process the value is unmatched.
It’s the small things that can make the biggest difference. Movers that assemble furniture for you unasked or help you reposition or hang heavy items deserve that extra bump!
Because tipping movers is really about rewarding exemplary service, if you’re dissatisfied with your move then you definitely shouldn’t feel obligated to tip. In fact, not tipping movers can be a form of feedback that they underperformed, even if you don’t want to go as far as filing a complaint.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to hold back on a tip:
If your movers weren’t careful with your valued possessions, why should you go the extra mile?
Because moving is so stressful, on-site customer service is critical for any mover to master. If a mover were impolite, gruff, or dismissive, we wouldn’t feel comfortable tipping either.
Did you feel like your movers were dilly-dallying? Dragging out a half-day job to a full-day job (especially if you pay by the hour!) is a definite no-go on extra rewards.
Not showing up can reflect poor service or a lack of respect for your schedule. However, moving is a busy industry and often there are good reasons for small delays.
We hope we’ve managed to bring some clarity to this often murky situation. Now that you know how to tip movers, you have one less thing to think about as you plan your upcoming move. Want some extra assistance with your plans? Check out the links below for more of our comprehensive moving guides!