How much should you tip movers?
December 15, 2022 6 min read
Moving can be a big undertaking, and you might benefit from some professional help. But if you’ve never worked with a moving company, you may have several questions about the process—particularly when it comes to tipping.
Does the standard 15% or 20% tip for hairdressers, waiters and baristas apply to moving services? Maybe. But if you’re paying thousands of dollars for a major move, it may be out of your budget. This guide explains some factors to consider before tipping.
- Tipping movers is appreciated, but not mandatory.
- The total tip amount for movers may depend on the level of service, the difficulty of the move and the hours worked.
- Some moving experts recommend a $4 to $5 tip per hour, per mover, for local moves. Long-distance moves may warrant a larger tip.
Do you have to tip movers?
There’s no rule requiring you to tip professional movers. But tipping someone in the service industry is generally a good idea—especially if you’re satisfied with the work and it simplified your moving experience.
That said, you may want to ask the movers if their company allows tips. If the company has rules against it and they could get in trouble, maybe there’s another way to show appreciation.
How to tip movers
Each moving company may have different protocols when it comes to tipping. But you can usually tip movers in one of three ways.
- Cash: Tipping with cash is a common and often welcome method. Read on for tip amount suggestions so you know how much cash to have on hand.
- Credit card: You may be able to add a tip as a line item on your invoice and pay it with your debit or credit card. This makes it easier to track extra expenses. And if you earn rewards on your credit card, paying this way might give a small boost to the cash back or travel miles you earn.
- Check: Prefer checks to credit cards? Clear it with the moving company owner first, but you may be able to tip your moving crew by writing a check. You could total up the tips and give the check to the supervisor at any point during the move.
How much do you tip movers?
Deciding how much to tip your movers depends on factors like the quality of work and the difficulty of the move. Move.org recommends a benchmark of $4 to $5 in tips per hour, per mover. So if a team of two movers spent four hours packing and moving your belongings, you might tip them $16 to $20 each.
But if you’re moving long distance or your belongings require special care, you may want to give the moving team a bigger tip.
How much to tip long-distance movers
Long-distance moves typically take longer than a move across town does. It may make sense to tip your movers more if they’re traveling far.
Some people take a flat-rate approach. For instance, you could tip $40 for an eight-hour day or more if the team put in long hours. If you’re planning a multiday, cross-country move, tipping each mover a certain amount for every day of work would be an appropriate way to express your thanks for a job well done.
Or you may decide to tip a percentage of the total cost of hiring movers. A general guideline is a tip between 5% and 20% of your total moving costs. So if your bill is $1,500, you could tip the team between $75 and $300—with the final number based on the length and difficulty of the move.
How much to tip local movers
When it comes to a local move, you might tip slightly less than for a long-distance one. Consider sticking with the tip rate of $4 to $5 per hour, per mover.
You can also opt for a flat rate based on the time it takes to pack and move your belongings. For instance, a half-day might warrant $20 per person. But a full day of packing boxes, loading a truck and heavy lifting may call for a tip of $40 or $50 per mover.
Tipping etiquette: When to tip movers
Deciding when to tip movers depends on what kind of move you’ve hired them to manage.
- If you’re moving locally: You can tip at any point during the moving process. You may decide to wait until the end of the day to make sure the moving team completes the job to your satisfaction. But you can also tip your team at the start of the day to avoid the risk of overlooking it later.
- If you’re planning a long-distance move: Determine if the same team will be loading, driving and unpacking the moving truck. If not, tip each mover separately before and after you unload.
You may also decide to express your appreciation with refreshments during the move. Water, coffee and lemonade are often welcome, but it might be best to avoid beer or other alcoholic beverages. For lunch or dinner time, a snack or food delivery can be a nice gesture.
Do you tip each mover separately?
Plan to tip each crew member separately if you’re paying with cash. You might also be able to tip by credit card and have it added to your final bill. Even if you’re not paying the crew directly, it might still be worth letting the crew know they should expect something later.
What to consider before tipping movers
A tip may be welcome—and customary—but it’s not mandatory. Before you add gratuities to your moving expenses, consider the following factors.
When to consider tipping movers
As a general rule, people tip movers for their hard work. You may decide to increase the tip if:
- The movers worked long hours.
- The movers worked in extreme temperatures.
- The movers handled heavy furniture or fragile items.
- The movers had to navigate difficult terrain, like a steep driveway or several flights of stairs.
- The movers worked quickly.
- The movers went above and beyond to make the move easier.
When to consider reducing your tip
Not satisfied with your experience? You may decide to reduce or leave out your tip if:
- The movers showed up late, forgot packing materials or brought the wrong truck.
- The movers worked slowly or carelessly.
- The movers let you do most of the work.
- The movers broke your belongings or dinged the walls and doorframes when moving items.
Tipping movers in a nutshell
Whether you’re heading across town or moving across the country, moving can be a challenge. But finding the right crew of professional movers can make the process easier. As they pack boxes and load the truck, consider how much to tip your movers for their hard work.