You’ve finally made the decision—you’re moving across the country to plant yourself amongst new corner coffee shops, cultural sites, and Friday-night go-to’s.
While you can certainly organize your vinyl collection and pack away your paraphernalia into a forest of cardboard boxes yourself, you can also hire a professional moving company. Movers come into your home to pack your belongings, haul heavy furniture to the moving truck, transport your home-on-wheels to your new city, and unload your items into your new residence.
That being said, the job of a mover is a challenging one. As such, it’s expected that you tip your movers to show your appreciation. But how much do you tip movers? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about tipping during your move.
The propriety of tipping movers
Tipping has become a ubiquitous facet of daily life in the United States, especially for members in the service industry. From your favorite barista, to last night’s driver, to your grocery delivery guy, most of the service people in your life work hard at the jobs they do. And showing them your appreciation with a cash tip is customary and appreciated.1The moving industry is no exception.
Like drivers and servers, movers provide a paramount service to you. Just imagine, without those movers, you’d be schlepping that baby grand up three flights of stairs alone! As such, you should tip your movers to compensate them for their good service and show your gratitude.
So does this mean tipping your movers is required? Not exactly. However, you should tip a professional mover when:
- Your moving team show an exceptional level of care and concern for you and your home
- Your move is long-distance or involves hills, stairs, or other difficult-to-maneuver obstacles
- You moved heavy or fragile items that require extra packing or cautious handling
- The weather during the move was challenging (think heat, rain, snow, or wind)
- They did a good job and the move was particularly smooth and well-executed
On the other hand, some circumstances in which you might consider withholding a tip are:
- Items were lost or broken during the moving process
- The attitude of the movers was unpleasant
- Communication was poor
- Timeliness was not a priority for your local movers
- A gratuity was included in the price of the move
The bottom line is that tipping movers is a personal decision based entirely on the quality of the moving service provided and your move’s particular circumstances.
How to calculate a tip for your movers
If you do decide that your move was satisfactory, or they did a great job, it’s customary to show your appreciation for service providers with a monetary tip at the end of the final day of the move.2
However, unlike many types of tips, the amount you tip movers is not based on a percentage of the total move cost.
So exactly how much should you tip? Generally, it’s expected that you tip $4 to $10 per person for each hour of work. However, how much you tip will greatly depend on the circumstances surrounding your move and the quality of the services provided.
Here are several helpful guidelines to consider:
- Local moves – With a local move, you’re likely to have the same crew from pack-up to move-in, and you may even accomplish the entire move in a single day. A typical tip for a local move is between $5 and $10 per hour per mover. So if your move takes 6 hours, you would tip each of your movers between $30 and $60.
- Long-distance moves – Long distance moves might be accomplished by a single crew or split between two local crews (one on each end with only the driver remaining consistent). In this case, use the guide for the local moves to tip each crew member. For the driver, consider the distance driven and any challenges they may have faced to calculate their tip. Tipping $5 per hour is typically appreciated.
- Difficult moves (ie. stairs, narrow hallways, a steep driveway) – If your professional movers have to navigate difficult conditions (hello, piano going up three stories), add on a little extra for those who, quite literally, shouldered the burden of the move.
How to Tip Packers
Some moves might involve additional personnel who carefully place your items into boxes and label them. Tipping them for their hard work is an excellent practice if these packers go above and beyond your expectations. Between $5 and $10 per hour per packer is a common tip (whether it’s a good tip is up for debate).
Other ways to show appreciation to your movers
While cash is certainly king, you can show your appreciation to your moving professionals in additional ways as well:
- Provide food and drink – Keeping your crew hydrated and well-fed will improve everyone’s experience. Ask the foreman or driver if you can provide an easy lunch or dinner depending on the hours of your move. And no matter the other circumstances of the move, always make sure your crew has water. You may also offer additional non-alcoholic beverages like soda or sports drinks.
- Leave positive online reviews – Don’t disregard the power of the written word. Giving good reviews to your movers online (or offering to write a testimonial or reference) is solid gold in a business where word of mouth is important. In fact, 28% of consumers say world of mouth recommendations greatly influence their choice when hiring a business.3
A tip from Common: streamline your move with all-inclusive homes
Knowing how much to tip movers can feel just as complex as planning your move. Generally, however, a $5 to $10 tip per person for every hour spent with your belongings will show your appreciation for their quality services. The tip is just one of the costs you can cover when moving. The other is the security deposit, especially when living in a rented space (whether that’s a loft vs apartment). What is a security deposit exactly? It is similar to a downpayment but is meant to prove your intent to live in the rented property to a landlord.
If you’re looking to start fresh in your new city, consider ditching your difficult-to-move belongings for an all-inclusive home with Common.
Our coliving spaces feature private bedrooms and shared suites furnished with cozy beds, nightstands, couches, and coffee tables. That means you can ditch the movers, too! Just bring your suitcase—and save that tip money for your next visit to the neighborhood coffee shop.
- Real Simple. The Positive Benefits of Tipping Well. https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/money-etiquette/restaurant-tip-well
- The Journal of Economic Perspectives. The Economics of Tipping. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26913191?seq=1
- Invesp. The Importance of Word Of Mouth Marketing – Statistics and Trends. https://www.invespcro.com/blog/word-of-mouth-marketing/