How Much Do You Tip Movers? A Complete Guide
When you hire movers to transport all of your belongings from your old home to your new one, you can expect to pay an up-front fee based on standard industry rates and the specifics of your move. This is a cost that will be quoted to you by the moving company or foreman in advance of your move.
But on the day of, it’s customary to tip the men and women who helped get all of your possessions safely from one place to the next. This is a standard way to let the movers know that you appreciate their hard work and care. But how much do you tip movers for their services?
How much you tip your movers will depend on several factors, and it isn’t as straightforward as tipping other service workers like waiters or bellhops. To that end, this guide will cover:
- Do you need to tip movers?
- How much should you tip movers?
- Tipping when moving cross-country
- Tipping for an in-town move
- When should you give them a tip?
Let’s get started!
Do you need to tip movers?
In some situations, it’s easy to know whether you should tip the people who have performed some service or task you deem valuable. For instance, everyone knows you should tip food servers, valet attendants, and certain hotel employees. But other situations beyond the service industry are a bit less obvious.
So, do you need to tip your moving crew?
The answer is yes. In any situation, a good tip expresses your gratitude to the person who has assisted you and shows your appreciation of their hard work. At the end of the day, the movers have handled all of your most personal and valuable belongings, so think of tipping as a way of thanking them for their care.
How much should you tip movers?
So, what is considered a generous tip? Generally speaking, the best place to begin when it comes to determining how much to tip your movers is how long the job takes. The more time-consuming your move, the more you should be tipping.
A commonly accepted rule of thumb is to value each hour worked at between $4 and $5. Starting there will help ensure that you tip your movers appropriately for the work that they do. From there, you can scale your tip up or down based on other factors of your move.
To give you a better idea, here are basic rates to tip professional movers:
- Four hours or less: $20 per moving crew member
- Eight hours: $40 per moving crew member
- 12 or more hours: $50 to $60 per moving crew member
What to consider when tipping movers
Time isn’t the only thing to consider when it’s time to tip your movers. In addition to how long the job takes, you should also consider the specific factors that make your move unique on your end and theirs to determine the final tip amount. Here’s what to consider:
- Quality: In most cases, the quality of the work will be obvious. Are the movers careful and thoughtful in how they handle your possessions? Are they respectful of both the new and old properties while they work?
- Difficulty: Not all moves are created equal. When tipping, be aware of things that might make your move more difficult than other moves. Large, heavy furniture, lots of stairs, or a large number of boxes are all things that can make a job more strenuous on the movers.
- Punctuality: Did the moving crew arrive at your home on time? Were they adequately prepared to begin working and respectful of your time? These are things to keep in mind when determining how much to tip.
- Efficiency: Most moving companies charge by the hour, so you don’t want movers whose only goal is to milk the clock. A good moving crew works quickly and diligently while still taking care of your belongings.
Keep in mind that there are also non-monetary ways to show your appreciation for your professional movers. For quick moves of four hours or less, a cash tip might be best. But for moves that take up the entire day, it can be nice to treat your movers to lunch or dinner as well.
In addition to the mover-specific factors, you should also consider outside factors that may affect the move, such as:
- Weather: To stay safe, movers may have to slow down during inclement weather to avoid dangerous falls or vehicle-related accidents. If you’re paying by the hour, this may increase the bill. You may also want to tip extra to thank the movers for getting your items to your new home safely.
- Distance: Long-distance or cross-country moves will require a heftier tip to account for the extra hours and miles (more on that later!).
- Stairs: If you’re living or moving to a home up several flights of stairs, you may want to add a few dollars to each mover’s tips to account for the extra work.
- Traffic: Traffic can significantly delay a move and add extra stress to a mover’s day.
Tipping when moving cross-country
Just as moving across the country presents a unique range of challenges and complications for homeowners and moving crews alike, it also somewhat complicates the tipping process. For starters, cross-country or long-distance movers will find themselves dealing with not one, but two moving crews:
- First crew: The first moving team you’ll interact with is the crew that shows up at your origin location to load your belongings into the moving truck.
- Second crew: The second crew will meet you at your new home to unload the moving truck.
It’s customary to tip both crews for a long-distance move. The good news is, tipping on a cross-country move doesn’t require a greater percentage or higher tip rate than any other type of move. Remember the standard of $4 to $5 dollars per hour, per mover, and start there.
Then, factor in any special quirks about your move that might deserve added compensation, such as difficulty and performance.
For a long-distance move or even cross-country move, keep in mind that it might also be necessary to tip the driver who transports your belongings to your new home. It’s typical to assess this tip based on how many days the trip takes, tipping at a rate of between $40 and $50 per day.
Tipping on an in-town move
In-town moves or local moves typically require only one moving crew. The same crew loads your belongings at your old home and travels with them to your new one to unload. Local moves can take anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day, which affects the tip:
- Moves less than four hours: For quick moves, a reasonable tip is about $20 per mover. That said, even quick moves that require lifting even one or two very heavy pieces, or moves that require the crew to climb a lot of stairs, might occasion a slightly higher tip.
- Moves than four hours: For longer moves, the standard of $4 to $5 per hour works out to about $40 per person. But it’s important to consider what contributes to the added time. For instance, traveling further between locations might not be as tip-worthy as having to lift heavy furniture or handle fragile pieces.
When should you give them a tip?
The most appropriate time to tip your movers is when the job is done. By then, you’ll have had the chance to observe their work and determine:
- Whether they were diligent and efficient
- How they interacted with you and your family
- Whether all of your belongings made it to your new home safe and sound, especially moving boxes that had fragile items
When you tip, it’s a good idea to tip each mover individually. While a clear leader or foreman might emerge on some crews, giving the entire tip to one person means you have no say over how the money is divided among all the workers.
Knowing how much and when to tip movers is just another aspect of moving that can cause stress and anxiety—but it doesn’t have to be. Following industry standards and your gut is all it takes to make sure tipping movers is easy and fair for them and you.
Of course, you wouldn’t be wasting your tip money if you hire the services of a reputable mover, which is why research is important. While doing research, find out which moving service is right for your move. At the end of the day, whether you give a bigger tip or not is up to you. But since moving is not an easy task, consider tipping as part of the total moving cost.
Find your next fully furnished home with Landing
If you’re thinking about moving somewhere new but want to skip the hassle of moving your belongings and hiring movers, consider renting from Landing. We offer fully furnished apartments in over 375 cities throughout the U.S., all with flexible lease terms that make it easy to move on your terms.