Tip Your Movers: Guidelines to Keep it Simple

Tip Your Movers: Guidelines to Keep it Simple

Moving is hard work. Planning a move is tiring and overwhelming. But physically moving items from one location to another is exhausting. There is a reason many people hire someone else to move their belongings. So when you hire someone to properly take care of your items and relocate them to your new home, you must thank them with a tip based on your experience. Below are guidelines to help you know how to tip your movers:

people carrying furniture down stairs

Why Should You Tip Your Movers?

Yes, movers are paid by their employer to complete the work. Still, according to ZipRecruiter (https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Movers-Salary–in-California), a mover brings in, on average, about $13 per hour. That adds to about $100 for 8 hours of constant, heavy lifting. They are carefully packing and wrapping up your precious belongings. They are lifting items that are hundreds of pounds and often awkwardly shaped. They are carrying items many yards and frequently up and down stairs. They are organizing objects properly to load and unload the moving truck.

Laborers for a moving company are not paid enough. As a Physical Therapist, I have seen many patients with work-related injuries caused by lifting and carrying bulky items. They put their quality of life on the line each day at work. One stumble, one fall, or dropping an object could debilitate them for the rest of their life. It would be interesting to see the average injury rate for laborers at any moving company. It would also be interesting to see what training laborers receive on proper lifting and carrying to protect their bodies. I could go on about injury risk and prevention, but I will spare you the details today. 😉

Before I get too off track, tipping can be an awkward experience when working with moving companies. Just know…you need to tip your movers. They are working hard and taking care of your belongings.

people exchanging cash

How Much Should You Tip?

Like with most service industries, you tip based on your experience. And while most people are familiar with tipping 15-20% at restaurants and other local service providers, knowing how much to tip movers can be tricky. 

I recommend at least $5 per hour per laborer or at least 10% of the total move cost. If you pay $2500 for 3 laborers to move you, and it takes them 12 hours over two days, you have two options:

1) $250 split among all of the laborers (10% rule)

2) $60 per mover ($5/hour/laborer rule)

people unloading a moving truck

What factors should you consider when tipping?

  • How was their service? Were they polite and communicative during the day? Did they carefully handle your items and take special precautions to protect your fragile belongings?
  • Are you moving during the holidays? If you can spare the money, I recommend you tip extra for the movers who have taken the time out of their holiday schedule to help you. 
  • How much time did they spend helping you move? Were they efficient with their time? Make sure to allow for breaks to rest and rehydrate since they are doing physical work.
  • Did they help you pack items, or were you already packed when they arrived? If you had items packed and stacked in an organized manner, it would be easier for the movers to work quickly. If your things were disorganized or not all packed, it requires more work from your movers.
  • Did they have to go up or down stairs to transfer items to the truck? It is hard work to carry items up or downstairs. Especially more oversized items like furniture and mattresses.
  • How far did they carry your items from home to the truck? Were they able to park the moving truck right next to the door, or did they have to carry the items down a driveway or to a loading dock? These long carries can take more time and require more work from your movers.
  • Did they have to deal with a lot of traffic to move your belongings to your new home? Whoever is driving the moving truck to your new home may deal with traffic, delays, or accidents. Keep this in mind when you tip them.

Are you extremely satisfied with their work? Tip more! Are you very dissatisfied? Tip a lesser amount and contact their supervisor.

moving boxes labeled with kitchen, fragile, living room, and dining room

When should you tip your movers?

If you are moving locally, tip your movers after your belongings have been placed in your new home. If moving a long distance, you may have a different crew unpack the truck. I recommend tipping the loaders after they finish packing the truck. Then tipping the driver after they arrive at your new home. And tipping the unloaders after everything has been placed in your new home.

cash in a hand

Should You Tip in Cash?

Cash is typically the preferred method of payment. If you don’t have cash, ask if they take digital payments like Venmo or Paypal. But I always recommend stopping by the ATM before moving day to stock up on cash to tip your movers.

If you don’t have cash and a digital payment is not an option, check with the moving company to see if you can add the tip to the final bill with your credit card. I typically discourage this because movers may not be compensated promptly.

Examples of tipping

Here are a couple of examples of what we have paid. Once, we hired two guys to load boxes we packed into our rented moving truck. It took them about 4 hours total from start to finish. We tipped them $20 each.

Another time, we hired a full-service moving company to move us around the holidays. A set of folks came in and packed our items in one day. And the next day, a different group of movers loaded our packed boxes and furniture onto the moving truck. We tipped each person $60 because it was the holiday season. They also did a fantastic job and were extremely polite.

At the end of the day, you decide what you tip your movers. But ensure you care for them if they do a good job. On top of tipping, you can also provide water and food for them during the day. We’ve even given movers pieces of furniture that we wouldn’t take with us to our new home. Remember, movers sacrifice a lot to get your belongings from point A to point B. Reward them for their hard work. Let the movers know you appreciate their work.

And remember, if your movers do not provide a good service, please get in touch with their supervisor to help remedy the situation. You are paying for a service that must meet your needs.

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Tipping Your Movers

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