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Many people wonder about the appropriate tip for movers. Since most people don’t move that often, the etiquette regarding tips for movers isn’t as widely known as that for tipping in a restaurant. Tips for movers are also a bit more complicated than tips for restaurant employees, so it’s no wonder there’s some confusion.
Although some moving industry experts might disagree, here’s the generally accepted tipping etiquette: tips for movers aren’t really expected but are definitely appreciated. Moving is stressful and if moving company employees actually make it easier for you, you might want to consider giving a tip.
Whether you’ve asked yourself “what do you tip movers for a move?” or are more interested in the etiquette surrounding a long distance move, the following should help you determine the most appropriate tip for movers, based on your specific circumstances:
If your movers show up on time, are responsive to your requests and don’t damage anything, they qualify to be tipped. Keep in mind that accidents happen to even the most careful people. So unless there’s a pattern of carelessness, you don’t necessarily want to hold one broken object against a mover and not tip him if you’re tipping others.
Providing food isn’t necessary but is considered polite if the move extends into mealtime.
Unless you have a specific reason to tip more or less, the rates below will give you an idea of what’s considered appropriate. You can always tip more but if you tip too little it will be considered insulting. For example, a tip of $5 is considered an insult, especially if the move has been difficult.
One mover: If there are only 1-10 items and there’s nothing over 20 pounds, the appropriate tip would be $10-20.
If it’s a more complex move because there are over 10 items; or there are stairs, a cramped elevator, narrow passages, or large and/or heavy items such as appliances; the appropriate tip would be $20-50.
Multiple movers: The appropriate tip for movers when the move takes fewer than four hours is the same as above, minus $5-10 per mover.
If the loading portion of the move takes more than four hours, the tip should be $30-$40 for the hardest workers, $20-$30 for those who didn’t work quite as hard and $10-$20 for those who did the least.
If all the workers gave roughly the same amount of effort, you can combine the tips and give the total to the supervisor to distribute — just don’t lower the amount because you combined it.
If you find it too confusing to figure out the appropriate tip for your movers, you can always just give 5% of the total bill.