How Much To Tip Movers: 23+ Movers Give Advice

Knowing whether to tip movers and how much, can raise some questions. We asked some moving experts their thoughts on how much to tip movers.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  17 min
Everyone knows that tipping is customary in industries like hospitality, tour guides, and taxis.  Yet for movers, it can become awkward when customers ask how much to tip them.   Movers do get paid for their service. However, like any service, when you feel as though a mover has done a good job (or in many cases, goes above and beyond), movers appreciate tips.If your anxiety spikes thinking about tipping movers, you’re not alone!To help you out, we asked the movers listed on MovingCompanyReviews.com to help.    More than twenty movers offered their advice!   We compiled their guidance and thoughts into this helpful guide.    Check out the appropriate chapter for your move to know exactly how much to tip your movers.As Jill Ihly, Executive Vice President, Olympic Moving & Storage/Bekins Northwest states:A tip for a mover is just like a waiter. It’s nice to get a little something, but the more difficult the job, the more TLC the crew gives, and how far above and beyond they go should all contribute to the tip amount.Before diving into the guide, ask yourself these questions when determining your tip:
  • Did the movers show a high level of professionalism?
  • Did the movers demonstrate a good attitude?
  • How well did the movers treat your belongings?
  • How hard did the movers work?  For example, did they need to move items up and down long flights of stairs?  Did they have to carefully move large items down narrow hallways?
  • What external factors did they deal with?   Was the day extremely warm or cold?  Did it rain?
To help guide you during your next move, we have created the ultimate tipping guide.   Read the guide below to feel more confident in the tip you provide and avoid stress and confusion at the end of your moving day.Let’s get started!

Is it Tipping Movers Customary?

It really depends on the type of moving company. It is important to note that it is not required to tip your movers, but it is a way to show gratitude for exceptional work. Tipping will all depend on how the move goes and how well your movers did. If you find an exceptional moving company, you may feel more inclined to tipping movers as opposed to a company that does not do a good job. Tipping is always at the discretion of the client and should not be expected by the movers.

When Do You Tip Movers?

There are times when you may find it appropriate to tip your movers. If your movers showed up on time and were able to finish the move in a shorter time than expected, you may be so elated that you will ask yourself how much should you tip movers? Other instances that are signs of a good move or your movers going above and beyond are:
  • Climbing up excessive flights of stairs
  • Nothing was damaged during your move
  • They helped pack up last-minute things
  • Long-distance moving
When customer service and professionalism are top-notch, whether you should tip your movers is not even a question. If instead your movers showed up late, broke your valuables, and were rude then you should skip the tip and talk to your moving company.This also implies that the best time for moving tips is at the end of the day or the end of the move. This allows you to judge the level of service provided to you and your family. A professional moving company will know exactly what to do to keep our fragile items safe and have a successful move.Dive into the following seven chapters to understand everything you need to know about tipping.   Keep in mind all of the challenges that your movers face and remember no move goes perfectly.   The tips from the movers give some fantastic advice, we hope you find it useful!

Who Should You Give the Tip To?

When you are moving and have decided to tip your movers, you may now be wondering if you should give it to each individual in the crew or to just the supervisor. In a perfect world, they would each get a  fair share and you would simply give the tip to a supervisor.Although this does happen and can be easier on you, there are times when tips are forgotten or are not split. The best way to ensure that every mover gets their fair share of the tip is to place the tip in individual envelopes and hand them to each crew member. This way no one is left out or forgotten.You will know ahead of time how many movers will be in your crew which will make it easier to prepare ahead of time. You will even have time to write thank-you notes to include in the envelope.

Are There Other Nice Things to do for Movers?

There are other ways you can show your movers gratitude that does not require dishing out cold hard cash. Movers will be doing all the heavy lifting and that means you get to sit back and relax. While moving, they may get thirsty so offer them bottled water, sports drinks, or other cold beverages.If it is an early morning move, offer some coffee and a small breakfast item. If your move is during lunch or dinner time, check out some small food items like pizza or sandwiches. This can replace a typical cash tip or can go hand-in-hand with a cash tip. It is all up to you. Again, you have complete discretion when it comes to tipping a moving crew in amount and whether or not you decide to issue a tip.Another nice gesture you can do is to write an online review about the moving company and the movers themselves. This may encourage other families to hire movers in the future. Only do this if you are impressed with the overall moving company and they have truly made the beginning of your life in your new home a breeze. A review can truly make all the difference for a moving company.

Do You Tip the Moving Crew?

There is one thing to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to tip your movers. The moving industry are considered to be part of the service industry which means their base pay is heavily reduced as tips are calculated into their pay.This does not mean that if a mover does a bad job you are required to tip them but it helps families moving to make a decision on if and how much to tip. If they did do a horrid job, you may want to tip less. As with any service industry that runs on tips, every little bit does help and it is polite to tip when possible.

What is the Customary Amount to Tip Movers?

After You have decided that you want to tip your movers, the question of how much should you tip movers arises. Depending on how many crew members there are you’ll want to ensure there is a fair split amongst the crew.If there are four movers and you want to give them $20 each you will need to have $80 on hand to do so. The best way to determine the amount you will be tipping is to tip between 5-10. You will calculate five or ten percent of your total moving costs and will have a minimum that you can base your tip on. You can of course give them more or less but this is the customary amount to tip movers.Another formula you can use is tipping four to five dollars for every hour your move takes. The exception would be if it’s an all-day move that is over eight hours. In this case, you should tip $40 for each mover. This is of course for exceptional service. If you are completely dissatisfied with your movers then the amount will need to be lowered.A third situation would be a long-distance move. Long-distance movers are taking on a lot more responsibility and work compared to a day move or a half-day move. Similar to a full-service move, a good rule of thumb is to do a maximum of $40 per day per mover. This will allow you to stay within a budget and still give your moving team sufficient gratuity.

Do You Tip Movers for Packing Your Household Items?

There may be situations where you have two sets of crews, for example, there can be a crew that unloads your items and one that loads them. There may also be a team that can help you pack your household items. It is important to tip each team at the end of their task. If they are there to only unload then tip them once they are done unloading.

How much do you tip long distance movers?

original 1When you eat out at a restaurant, you may tip 15 percent — which is fairly standard.   However, we don’t recommend you follow this rule of thumb for long distance moves.In these cases, you’re better off tipping per hour. If your movers do a good job, consider tipping $5-$6/hour per mover.  Others prefer to just round up and provide x-amount for a hard day’s work, such as $40 per mover. If you have some extra cash and the movers do a flawless job, consider giving each mover a little extra.Everyone likes to feel appreciated, especially when they put forth extra effort.  Make sure that you tip each mover individually for their work, including the supervisor.  Give the supervisor a bit more than the other movers, as his/her job requires management and coordination in addition to moving.   This is not only proper tipping etiquette but also shows your true appreciation on a more personal level.We asked our movers to provide feedback, read below to hear it straight from the source:
“Most of the time on a long distance job, the driver is going to be the only duplicate person at the time of loading & delivering. He is most likely a contractor. So tipping will most likely not be shared equally amongst everyone. Normally a good rule of thumb is 5%,” says Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website).“First, if your movers ask for a tip, then most likely they do not deserve it. Second, if you see that your movers have treated your belongings with care and respect then please, show them your appreciation. (Only you know how much your belongings are worth) Third, movers shouldn’t be tipped before your items have arrived at your destination, instead, tip them well once the whole job has been completed. 10% of your total charges is the average tip for the whole crew. If you are extremely satisfied, then 20 to 25 % is what people usually tip us. If your total moving charges are $2000 then a $200 tip for the crew will show them that their work has been appreciated. Our guys usually receive a 20% average because of our higher than average provided service,” says Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)“How much to tip varies widely based on many factors – i.e. the size of the shipment, the nature of the belongings, the nature of access (stairs, long carries, challenging parking, complex logistics), the preparedness of the customer, and any special handling or services provided among other things. $50 to $500 depending on factors listed above,” says Eric from Hansen Brothers Moving and Storage in Seattle, WA (website)It can range from $0 to about $200. The reason for the variance is because it is all based on customer service, timelines, and did they do what they said they were going to do. – Nicholas from Car Shipping Carriers in Tampa, FL (website).

How much do you tip local movers?

When moving locally, the same variables apply.  Movers who move you two blocks over still deserve the same recognition as movers who help  move long distance.  Depending on what they help you move (and what they pack or unpack), they can easily put in a harder day’s work than long distance movers.Our movers mentioned three tipping strategies:
  • Percentage based: 5%-10% of the move
  • Hourly: $5/hour per mover is fairly standard
  • Per day: $10 – $40 per mover per hour
For example, if a crew of movers work for 4 hours, some customers will pay each mover anywhere from $10-$40 for their service.   This depends on how smooth the move went, how personable the movers were, and how comfortable they made you feel in terms of your personal belongings.In addition to tipping, consider some nice small things to provide the movers –  bottled water, leaving the AC on during hot days, and even ordering the moving crew some pizza for lunch.   Moving is back-breaking work and to support their efforts, it’s nice to go above and beyond as a client. This extra thoughtfulness goes a long way with your moving crew.Check out what our movers told us about tipping for local moves below:
Actually, tipping the movers IS customary and highly appreciated! During the summer in Arizona, people don’t move themselves because it’s so hot out. The movers highly appreciate it when getting a tip. It lets them know you did a great job! Our movers tips really vary but typically it’s 15% or more. – Don from Frontier Apartment Movers in Phoenix, AZ (website).If you don’t want to tip, you can always ask what they’d like for lunch. Another thing they appreciate is that you do NOT turn off the air conditioning in 110 degree heat. Our movers are courteous about not leaving the door wide open so it doesn’t save you anything by turning it off. It actually makes the movers work in a hot, stuffy environment that isn’t helpful. – Lynette from All Star Movers in Glendale, AZ (website)Moving is considered to be in the service industry, and tipping should be treated accordingly. 15% on the total bill is a good landmark and should be split between the crew members, not given 15% per mover. – Luke’s A+ Moving Service in Hurst, TX (website)We encourage 10% of the move cost – Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)From the perspective of a moving company owner, DO NOT TIP movers that did a bad job, especially if you intend on going back to the company to ask for concessions based on mover performance. It really muddies the waters when we go back to analyze a job and see that the movers were tipped (well), as we are assessing any concessions. It does not help make your case when you do this. Tips are appreciated but not mandatory – tip based on good service, not out of obligation. Dan from All American Moving & Storage in Columbus, OH (website)

How much to tip movers in New York City, Chicago, and other cities

original 4Movers in certain cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles tend to report higher tips, as moves cost more there.For higher income cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, etc. some movers report tips in the $50-$100 range.   Regardless of the city, the fundamentals remain the same — tip more for a great customer experience.If you are really unsure what to tip in your area. You can always reach out to the company ahead of time and inquire about average tipping. That way, you do not put any movers on-the-spot, as this can be an uncomfortable situation.Check out what our movers told us about tipping in more expensive cities:
Our large metro area is Seattle. The tipping amount doesn’t really change, but we do see more people giving tips. On average (we have 10 locations across the state of WA), less than 50% of customers tip, but closer to 75% do in Seattle. – Sommer from Bekins Moving and Storage in Mountlake-Terrace, WA (website).
We mostly serve the Washington DC metropolitan area. Our movers’ average tip is 20% from the total bill. Although we always tell our clients that tipping is not mandatory. But they usually are so impressed with our movers’ work that they feel they must tip them. (And our movers always, greatly appreciate their kindness) – Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)
Generally, 10-20 % of the bill would be considered good to excellent amount for a job well done. If you were not happy with the way the movers worked and want to tip less, or if your job was particularly easy, it is understandable. Ultimately, what you want to give the workers on top of the bill is at your discretion – Vlad from 1st Moving in Howell, NJ (website).

Chapter four: How much to tip movers for 2-hour jobs (and other short jobs)

original 2On average, most movers agree that a 2-hour job typically results in a $5-$20 tip.   That depends on the overall size of the shipment, the nature of the belongings, how difficult access is (i.e. tight spaces or challenging parking), and whether or not the mover handled special items.Within a 2-hour span, movers may experience some highly stressful, challenging situations. If you feel as though a mover did a fantastic job, focus less on the timespan and more on what they achieved.Read the feedback our movers sent us below about tipping for short jobs:
For 2-hour jobs, the average tip is $5 per hour per mover, and/or based on individual performance. – Tommy from American Top Moving in Miami, FL (website).Even for the very short jobs, you really should not be tipping less than $15 per person. $20 is usually the golden standard. – Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website).For 2 hours or less, $10 per mover is considered appropriate. If items are extra heavy or difficult to move, consider adding and extra $5 per mover. – Ben from Olde World Movers in Euless, TX (website)$10 – $20 dollars per mover – Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)Generally no tip is given, but it’s common for the customer to buy lunch, breakfast, dinner, or even drinks for the crew. – Sommer from Bekins Moving and Storage in Mountlake-Terrace, WA (website)If your move is a multiple day job it’s always nice to tip your movers at the end of each day. This is always appreciated by the movers and gives them incentive to do a good job for you the following day. We typically see tips around 15% of the total bill. – Luke’s A+ Moving Services in Hurst, TX (website)Chapter five: How much to tip movers when they just pack
original 3Many movers and company supervisors agree that on average, movers who simply pack do not get tipped. However, this varies highly from city to city, job to job. Packing can pose equally hard work, especially when movers deal with valuable or fragile items — it’s stressful work!Based on the movers we spoke to, some stated that $0 was customary, whereas others typically receive a $20 tip for packing only.    Packing is not as physically demanding, but it takes A LOT of skill to effectively and properly pack a full house or apartment.Let’s see what our movers told us about how to tip for packing-only jobs:
Packing is actually harder than moving. Although it might not be so physically challenging, it still takes a lot of skill to properly pack a house or an apartment. If your movers, actually care about your belongings and they make sure every single box they pack is correctly packed and labeled, then they do deserve some love! – Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)I tell customers that tips are not assumed but instead earned. We would love it if all our crews received amazing tips for their hard work, but it is completely discretionary. When customers push, We usually tell them between $50 – $100 per man per day whether it is packing or moving and regardless of the area. – Stephen from Molloy Bros Moving and Storage in Harrison, NJ (website)Packing is hard work too, albeit in a completely different way. I think packers should be tipped $20-$30 per person. – Eric from Soda City Movers in Columbia, SC (website).

How much to tip movers per day?

original 5When movers spend a full day on one job, it challenges them both mentally- and physically.    Based on the input from movers across the country, the standard tip falls anywhere between $20-$100 per day. This appears to be customary regardless of the location, and whether or not movers were packing or physically moving items.For multi-day jobs Luke’s Moving told us that it’s always nice to tip movers at the end of each day. This not only rewards a job well-done, but provides an extra incentive to push hard the following day.Let’s see what our movers told us about how much to tip per day:
I would say 95% of our jobs fall within the $20-$100 range for one day. – Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)For longer jobs, you can tip up to $100/per mover. Food and drink are also commonly expected for jobs longer than a couple of hours, and for a full day’s job, a decent meal is not out of the question. – Rachel from Transit Systems Inc. (TSI) in Wayne, PA (website)I never pressure any customer to tip and if they ask how much I just say, “whatever you feel comfortable with.” Personally, I believe Movers should get tipped the same as waiters and waitresses – 15 to 20%. – Chad from Movers with Manners in Venice, FL (website)The biggest tip I ever received in cash as a mover was $200. We had just finished an understaffed 20 hour local move. Tips can take all forms. Sometimes customers will buy you lunch and some may give you things (I was given a coin collection recently). – David from Around Town Movers in Sterling, VA (website)Tipping depends on how well the crew did their job. If they were efficient and courteous I would say $3 – $5 per hour is appropriate. I have seen a customer tip each packer/mover $20 at the beginning of the day and then another $20 at the end. I thought this was very smart because the crew went out of their way for the customer all day long. – Bryan from Move It Once in Pocatello, ID (website)$20-$50 depending on the move cost and performance – Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

Chapter seven: How much to tip piano movers

original 6First things first – never move a piano yourself!   Always hire a professional.When hiring piano movers ask about the company’s moving trucks, as air-ride suspension and climate control are two variables that can make or break piano move.Consumers often overlook piano movers and appreciate them less than other movers.  Piano moving charges tend to cost a pretty penny, which leads many customers to believe that tipping is not necessary.Our movers recommended that you tip around $20 per person.  Depending on some the shape and size of some pianos, the job may require anywhere from three to seven movers.Read the tips our movers sent in about tipping piano movers:
First, never do it yourself. Hire a professional. Make sure they have trucks/trailers that are climate controlled and air-ride suspension equipped. Tips for long distance movers average $20-$60 per person and for local moves, $0-$20 per person. – Christopher from Modern Piano in Sullivan, MO (website)Piano movers should get $20 each if it’s upright piano. For baby grand $30-$40 each, and if the piano is moved upstairs, movers should be tipped at least $50 each. – Roi from Above and Beyond Movers in Anthem, AZ (website)It depends on the type of piano and if stairs/elevators were being used. If you stick to the classic 10-15% you should be OK. The main thing is that you only give what you can afford. Never feel its a demand but a reward for good work. – Ward from A League of Extraordinary Movers in Fort Lauderdale, FL (website)Piano movers are usually the least appreciated workers. When someone is only moving a piano, the moving charges are usually so high that people tend to believe that a tip isn’t necessary. Depending on the type of piano being moved, you might need 3 or 7 movers. $20 per person for a successful local relocation is what we would recommend. If you are crossing state lines then make sure your movers are well taken care of, especially if they deliver your piano in the same condition they picked it up in. – Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)If the company charges the same hourly rate whether there is a piano or not, it is highly recommend to tip at least an extra $30 for each person involved in the process of moving a piano. – Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)$20-$30 a man – Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

Conclusion

At the end of the day, like any service-based industry, you’re NOT required to tip movers.   However, even though tipping a mover is not mandatory, movers welcome and appreciate tips for a job well done.When tipping, consider the level of skill and patience required to be a mover.    Read the helpful tips provided by our movers for your type of move and tip based your own experience.  We hope this guide helps you in your move!   And if you’re moving soon  get a free moving quote from one of our  highly-rated movers.

Are There Things You Can do to Make a Move Smoother?

There are a few things you can do ahead of time to ensure you have a swift and easy move. The main thing is to finish packing. Although some moving companies will pack items for you, it is important to pack as much as possible prior to your local movers arriving.There will be a lot of fragile items from cups and glassware to collectibles. You should ensure you label these items or boxes with a fragile sticker to ensure movers know to take extra care when handling them.For a more organized day of the scheduled move, label boxes with their corresponding rooms. For example, a box that contains pots and pans should be labeled with the kitchen. This allows your movers to place boxes exactly in the room they belong so you aren’t lugging boxes all over the house once their job is finished. Professional movers expect to do some heavy lifting but they do expect there to be drawers full of stuff to make furniture even heavier.Empty out your drawers and shelves so they have an easier time loading furniture. Things like this can also greatly improve the quality of service. Lastly, you should always be available to your movers to answer any questions. You do not want them to take a guess as to what to do with your grandmother’s china cabinet, your artwork, or any other precious items.Relocating can be hard work and there are so many things running through your mind. When you hire movers, this can alleviate some of the stress and you will want to show them your gratitude by the end of the move by offering a good tip for their job performance if they provided good service. A good rule of thumb is to do what you are comfortable with and get a free quote so you can budget accordingly.
Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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