Simple Tips for Tipping Your Movers

Simple tips for tipping movers

We all know the service industry tipping standard: 15% or more, based on quality of service. However, the formula for tipping movers isn’t quite as clear-cut. How much should you tip? When should you tip? Should you even tip at all? MYMOVE is here to help.

Should you tip your movers?

Tipping is not something you should feel obliged to do, but it’s a standard way to show your gratitude. Most movers don’t unequivocally expect a tip, but when one is given, it’s greatly appreciated. You may feel like you’re already paying the moving company a fortune and a tip is excessive, but few people in the service industry work as hard as movers do.

A tip is a gesture that shows you recognized their effort. Also, there is usually a lot more riding on your movers’ job performance than a waiter’s or a barber’s.

How much should you tip?

Using a standard percentage of the cost to calculate the tip isn’t recommended for movers, as the overall cost of your move is usually based on how far the moving van travels, not how long it takes the movers to unpack your things. Instead, consider time and difficulty of the move.

If it’s a half-day move (4 hours or less), $20 per person is considered appropriate. If it’s an 8-hour day, $40 per person is recommended. If the crew works 12 hours or more, $50-$60 per person is fair.

Another option is to base the tip on an hourly figure for each member of the team, ranging between $4-$5 per hour, per mover.

Ultimately, the tip you provide should reflect the level of service and degree of difficulty involved. Consider the size of the move, number of over-sized pieces and whether stairs are involved. Depending on these complicating factors, consider adding to the amount.

Sometimes, long distance moves require two crews: the one that loads the truck at your old location and the one that unloads it at the new location. It’s good practice to tip both crews.

Are beer and pizza tips? For your friends, definitely (and highly encouraged). For the pros: not a great idea. Offering food or drinks is a kind gesture, but it’s not recommended as a way to skirt tipping.

Finally, if your move results from career relocation, your tip could be tax deductible. The IRS has strict rules about which moves apply for this type of tax deduction, but if yours does, the tips may also be included. Because you’re dealing with the IRS, this bears repeating: Don’t take this deduction without clearing it with an accountant or tax lawyer.

How should you tip?

Before the crew begins unpacking, you may want to encourage them to work harder by promising tips at the end of the move. In addition to your verbal assurance, you could hand a $10 bill to each mover as added incentive.

However, if this makes you uncomfortable, stick to the general rule that you should tip your moving crew after they’ve completed the job. Don’t give the lump sum to the foreman or driver. Give each worker a tip. First, it shows that you recognize and appreciate individual efforts. Second, there are some unscrupulous foremen who will keep the entire amount for themselves. If you’re happy, let each worker know by personally handing him a tip, along with a smile and a “thank you.”

When not to tip

Did the movers show up late? Ding your brand new bedroom walls with your headboard? Put the boxes labeled “upstairs bedroom” in the downstairs living room?

Tipping is customary and polite, but, if you have a bad experience, it’s certainly not guaranteed. Use discretion: one thing to consider before completely forgoing a tip is how the movers react if any of the above incidents occur. Accidents do happen, and it’s how your movers deal with these situations that should determine if you tip at a reduced rate -or not at all.

Leave a review

A final tip on tipping movers: if you’ve received tip-worthy service, consider leaving an online review. Positive online reviews go a long way for people searching for moving companies, and it’s a much-appreciated way to show your gratitude for outstanding service (and earn yourself a few karma points)


Marisa is an award-winning marketing professional who loves to write. During the day, she wears her marketing hat in her marketing director role and at night she works as a freelance writer, ghost writing for clients and contributing to publications such as Huffington Post and Social Media Today.

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