How Much to Tip Movers in 2023

Learn what to consider when deciding how much to tip movers for a job well done.

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How much to tip movers can depend on several factors including how happy you are with the service and the difficulty of the move.

Photo by: MartinPrescott / Getty Images

MartinPrescott / Getty Images

How much to tip movers can depend on several factors including how happy you are with the service and the difficulty of the move.

By: Robin Raven

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When you're planning a move, there's so much to consider. From how much to budget for the base moving costs to determining the best way to show your appreciation to movers, questions are probably swirling through your mind.

Is it proper etiquette to tip movers? Do you tip packers and movers? Is $100 a good tip for movers? Is $20 enough to tip movers? These are legitimate concerns, and those are the questions you should be asking. After all, when you're planning how much to set aside for the moving process, you need to consider all the related expenses such as taxes and tips.

There's just one catch: Tipping movers isn't as straightforward and simple as it is with other service professions for a variety of reasons, including the fact that movers are typically paid a fair wage and aren't dependent on tips. Also, tipping every packer and mover involved in your move based on a percentage of the overall cost would probably be too expensive, so tipping per hour or per day is more popular than tipping based on a percentage of moving costs.

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Justin Hart, president of the Arizona Moving Association and owner of Just-In Time Moving and Storage, explains that tips should never be expected or asked for by a quality moving company, but they are always appreciated. Since it's safe to say that tipping movers is customary, kind and appreciated, doing so can end your moving process on a happy note. Here's what you need to know to determine a good tip for movers.

How Much Should You Tip Movers?

Movers are typically tipped based on the hours they spend on your move and the days it takes them to complete the job. On the higher end of per-hour tipping, you may consider giving your movers approximately $10 per hour they spend on the packing and moving process.

"Depending on the size of the move, the performance of the team, the budget of the client, and how happy they are with the services provided, we typically see tips range from $20 to $100 per mover for a local move. Some clients are very generous and tip well above that for a job well done. Interstate or long-distance moves that are handled by the same moving team from start to finish are commonly tipped $100 or more per mover," Hart says.

Michael A. Maffucci, president of Verity Van Lines, Inc. and past president of the Long Island Moving and Storage Association, also recommends that general price range for tips. Although tipping is never mandatory, he shared that movers at his company tend to receive between $50 and $100 per day per person for a move.

Ben Breedlove, the chairman of the Southwest Movers Association, says that, depending on the number of days to complete the move, most customers tip between $20 and $100 per crew member. Sometimes they tip the lead a little more, too.

Are There Special Considerations for An Extra Tip?

Tracy Brito Denora, executive director of the New Jersey Warehouse & Movers Association, suggests considering how happy you are with your mover when deciding how much to tip them. Consider whether they are friendly, efficient and taking good care of your household items.

In addition to a normal tip that you might choose to give a mover for doing a satisfactory job, consider the circumstances of your move. If it was a challenging experience, you may want to give movers a little extra even if the difficult circumstances were beyond your control. For example, if movers had to climb multiple flights of stairs or lift very heavy objects, you may want to say thanks with something extra.

If it's extremely cold or perhaps storms throughout the move, tip as generously as you're comfortable with. This kind gesture can show that you appreciated their hard work even when things went wrong or weren't always pleasant.

Denora says, "I always take a few things in consideration. Is it hot out and are they really working hard to get the job done? Are they taking extra care with your items? Are they receptive to your needs?" If you can affirmatively answer those questions, an extra tip is probably well-deserved. You may even want to double up a tip for a mover who went above and beyond to make the process a smooth and happy one.

When Should I Tip Movers During a Move?

If you've never tipped movers before, you might wonder when you should surprise them with your tips. According to Denora, if the move is a one-day move, tip your movers after the job has been completed and they've unloaded all your belongings at your new home. However, if the move lasts two or more days, it's best to tip each day because there could be a different crew on different delivery days.

How Should Movers Be Tipped?

Breedlove suggests factoring in the probable amount you'll want to tip the crew into your moving budget. Then, when it's time to tip, disperse the tips to the crew members evenly so everyone receives the same amount.

Tip movers in cash if possible. That's typically the easiest, most convenient way for movers to accept a tip. If you are paying the moving company with a check or credit card, you might ask them if you can add the tip to the bill using the same billing method. Otherwise, you may be able to tip movers via PayPal or Venmo, but that can be time-consuming and a little awkward to ask for the specific details the mover would need for you to tip using those methods. The bottom line, however, is that tipping is kind no matter which method you choose and open communication about movers' preferences will likely be met with great appreciation.

Should You Offer Refreshments to Movers?

Have plenty of bottled water on hand and offer it to the movers throughout the day. "Having well-hydrated crew members will make for a better move, and it's obviously a safety concern, especially in hot weather. Crew members should bring their own water, but it is always a nice gesture to offer the crew members refreshments," Breedlove says.

Movers will need to take breaks throughout the day. That's only practical and safe. "It's hard work and a quick break might be needed," Denora says. "A tired mover makes mistakes and you don't want that while they are carrying a high-end piece of furniture." It's kind to offer a variety of snacks and beverages during the break, but it will not be expected.

There is also lunch to consider. Maffucci says that it's a good idea to ask movers about lunch at the beginning of the day, since some may bring their own lunch. You may want to ask for movers' input on choosing what they'd like to eat. "If you are going to offer lunch, my suggestion is to stay away from pizza. Most movers are 'pizza'd' out as we seem to get offered pizza far more than anything else," Hart recommends, smiling.

There's one thing you should clearly never offer movers, though. "Never offer alcoholic beverages before, during or after a move," Maffucci says. "It is a major liability under all circumstances."

How Else Can You Show Appreciation to Movers?

Since the moving process is usually a time-consuming one, it's polite to have a restroom available to movers while they work. "It is a good idea to designate one restroom in your home for them to use, if necessary," Maffucci says.

"Moving is a very hard job. It's very strenuous and trying at times. Moving is stressful for the homeowner but keep in mind these movers are working and need their space and not being constantly interrupted by the homeowners. Treat them with respect," says Denora.

"If you believe you have upcoming moves and you liked the crew, keep their names, or at least the name of the lead, and ask for that person on your next move," Breedlove suggests.

"Reviews on social media and Google are even more valuable to a mover than a tip and don't take much time at all," Hart says. "Many companies incentivize and give bonuses to their moving teams for good reviews. Plus, it helps spread the word about your good experience and helps to get more business for those movers that provide great service. As movers, we love to see our names in five-star reviews knowing that we truly made someone's life better by making their move a pleasant experience."

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