How Much to Tip Movers: A Complete Guide

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customer and professional mover shaking hands

If you’re using a moving company for the first time, then you probably have a lot of questions. For example, while you’ve likely done your research and carefully selected your packing and moving company, you may not have considered the final costs of properly paying high-quality movers.

Before you part ways with the team that carefully packed and moved your belongings, you should know how much to tip movers and packers.

Do You Tip Movers?

Yes — if you’re happy with the service provided, then you should provide a tip to each member of your moving team.

Technically, tipping movers isn’t required. However, it’s important to remember that a tip isn’t included in your bill. Careful packing can be a tedious job, and moving heavy furniture is hard work. A quality moving team saves you a considerable amount of time and stress during an already trying time. A reasonable tip is a great way to reward them for their hard work.

5 Reasons You Might Decide Against Tipping Movers

Providing a tip to your movers is a reward for a job well done. If you aren’t satisfied with the services that were provided, you might pay a smaller tip or eliminate the tip completely. Here are a few reasons you may decide to skip the tip:

  1. Some possessions suffered breakage or damage.
  2. The movers showed up outside the scheduled time with no warning or explanation.
  3. The team uses time-wasting tactics when you’re paying by the hour (like multiple breaks and early meals).
  4. The movers were rude or disrespectful.
  5. The movers left items behind.

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How Much Should I Tip Movers?

Deciding how much to tip movers is important, and you should figure it into your total moving costs. Plan to provide 5% to 20% of the total cost of your move as a tip to the moving team.

There are a variety of suggestions about whether movers should be tipped based on the number of hours worked, a percentage of the total bill, a maximum amount, or the absolute minimum you can get away with. 

Your decision about the way you pay will depend on your circumstances. Also, your decision about how much to tip movers will likely be a similar amount regardless of how you decide to figure up the costs.

A decision to pay movers 10% of the total might work perfectly if you only work with one team of movers for a few hours. But the total cost you pay to the moving company typically depends on how many hours they spend inside the truck. 

A simple way to evaluate how much to tip movers is a scale based on how long the move takes. This method suggests $10 per person is acceptable for a half-day (4 hours) and $20 for a full-day (8 hours). If your movers are working from daylight to dark or spending an extravagant amount of time carefully packing fragile items, you can expect to pay up to $40 per person.

Big or Small: Deciding How Much to Tip Movers

The difference between 5% and 20% is a pretty big range. Most people aren’t in the financial position to offer movers with the largest tip on the scale just because they’re feeling generous. Still, your movers took good care of your possessions, and you want to give them a proper reward. Consider these factors when deciding how much to tip movers:

  • The difficulty of your move: If you have long, narrow flights of stairs to navigate, a lot of heavy furniture, or steep hills outdoors, your movers are forced to work harder and should be paid accordingly. 
  • Other benefits you provided during the day: If you treated the moving team to an expensive lunch to show your appreciation, they might not be expecting you to hand over a tip as well.
  • How many teams you’re working with: Sometimes, especially if you’re moving to a new city, the team who puts your belongings inside the truck isn’t the same team that carries your possessions into your new home. Do you tip movers on both ends? Yes — you should tip these teams separately, and that can change your decision on how much to tip movers at the beginning and at the end of the move.
  • Quality of service: If you think the moving team did a mediocre job, you shouldn’t have to pay a handsome tip.
  • Services that exceeded your expectations: If your team helped you finish packing simply because you were running behind or stayed around late to ensure your family heirlooms were properly placed in your new residence, then a larger tip will show your appreciation. Also, it will encourage them to continue that kind of exemplary service for the next customer.

Methods of Payment for Tipping Your Movers

In the past, it was natural to always tip movers with cash. Today, it’s a common practice to not carry cash at all. So, should you go to the bank before moving day and grab some cash to pay your movers? 

Honestly, cash is still the best way to offer a moving tip. While you might feel like you’ve paid more than enough to the moving company, the biggest portion of that didn’t go to the actual movers. When you pay cash, you can easily split it among the team so everyone gets their share immediately. Still, there are a few instances when cash just isn’t an option. So if you forgot to run by the ATM, these options may help:

  • Some large moving companies have a line to include your tip in the bill. If this is the case, it’s fine to pay the tip with the same card you’re using to pay the moving company.
  • If you need to record the payment, then tipping movers with a check is acceptable. In this instance, you’ll likely want to pay the foreman and ask him to divide it among the crew.

If you have the opportunity, it’s a great idea to tip each worker separately. This shows your gratitude directly to each of the movers instead of only the team’s leader. It’s also the only way to ensure the money goes where you intended. Additionally, if you had a single worker on the team that worked especially hard, you can tip them accordingly.

Should I Provide Meals for My Movers?

team of professional movers putting boxes in a truck

It’s definitely a nice gesture to provide food for your movers, especially if it’s a full-day move. While you don’t have to provide a meal or even snacks and drinks, it’s something to consider. Carrying heavy boxes and furniture is hard physical work, and food provides essential energy.

If your move takes longer than four or five hours, you can expect your team will need a break for lunch. Staying on-site for the meal will keep things running smoothly, and your movers will definitely appreciate the gesture. 

When considering a meal for your moving team, take into consideration a few options you’re comfortable paying for and choices that will keep the day running smoothly. Pizza is typically a good option to feed a crowd, but it’s likely the meal that movers see most often. Sandwiches, burgers, or fried chicken also make up an easy meal. 

Don’t be afraid to take a quick vote from the workers or order the special from that great local diner the movers may know nothing about. The goal is to provide much-needed nutrition and a break during a busy day.

Beverages Provide Essential Hydration

Even if you don’t plan to provide your movers with snacks, you should still consider the value of having water or other beverages available. Moving is hard work. Also, your movers are almost constantly exposed to whatever weather Mother Nature has served up the day of your move.

No matter what the weather is like, expect to have water available at all times. (If you’re on a shoestring budget, a jug of water and paper cups will suffice.) Whether your move lasts a few hours or a full day, consider providing these benefits for your movers.

  • Coffee on cold days or early mornings
  • Water throughout the day
  • Sports drinks during the hottest months
  • Snacks (Anything from donuts to fruit to crackers or chips can be a great pick-me-up.)
  • Hot cocoa or tea for workers who don’t like coffee
  • Non-caffeinated beverages as an option 

Tipping Your Movers and Treating Them Well Is Important

This valuable service often goes without the appreciation it truly deserves. The way you treat your movers is a way to show your appreciation for how they treat you, your family, and your possessions. A professional moving team saves you from a considerable amount of stress and time. Additionally, these workers face difficult jobs and risk of injury every single day.

Your home has valuable possessions — and even some items you could never replace. Your moving team provides your possessions with the care you may not be able to provide on your own. Knowing how much to tip movers can go a long way in making sure the whole experience is low-stress and enjoyable for everyone. 

No matter what tips and benefits you can provide for your moving team, be sure to provide each worker with a sincere thank you for a job well done.

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