How Much To Tip Movers in 2021

a pair of movers carrying boxes

Moving can be pretty stressful. Hiring a helpful team of movers can help you shoulder most of the burden. Around 45% of Americans have moved during the pandemic, according to a new study. So, it only makes sense to tip movers for their work. But how much should you give them? Should you stick to a specific percentage?

What if you’re moving across your state or to a different one altogether? How much should you tip the movers if your relocation is a long-distance one? In this guide, we explain how to tip movers for their work.

How Much Should You Tip Movers?

As a general rule, you should tip each person $4 to $5 an hour. Meanwhile, experts at Forbes suggest you tip $6 to $12 per hour, depending on the level of service provided by the movers.

“The moving crew, who is not making a lot of money to begin with, does have a general expectation that they will get tipped,” said Mike Keaton, a spokesman with American Moving and Storage Association. “If you think they did a good job, a tip is a lovely gesture to thank them and reward them.”

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You can also tip a certain percentage of the amount you paid for the move if that makes more sense to you. Most experts agree that 5% to 20% is the perfect range. For instance, if the move costs $1,000, you can tip anywhere from $100 to $200.

Typically, all moving companies allow customers to tip the movers. To be sure, ask the moving company beforehand or read the service agreement to check if there’s any mention of a tipping policy.

How Much Should You Tip for a Short-Distance Move?

If the move takes about two to four hours, you should pay each crew member $5 to $6 per hour. For instance, if it’s a two-person crew, you can pay up to $24 for a two-hour move and $48 for a four-hour move.

Keep in mind that you should tip more if there’s a larger crew so that each individual gets an equal share of the amount.

How Much Should You Tip for a Long-Distance Move?

If the move takes anywhere from eight to 12 hours, you should pay more than $100. For instance, if you’re moving eight hours away and there’s a two-person crew, tip anywhere between $96 and $192 .

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Likewise, for a 12-hour move, you should tip $144 to $288. The bottom line is that every crew member should get at least $6 for the hour.

When To Tip Movers

Sure enough, moving is already pretty expensive and not everyone is delighted about the idea of spending an extra hundred bucks. But if the movers have made your life easier, don’t be reluctant to tip them, especially in the following circumstances:

  • Fragile Items. If the crew had to carry delicate items such as glass decoration pieces or a piano in and out of your home, make sure to tip them.
  • Customer Service. While all companies vow to provide matchless customer services, not all of them live up to this promise. If the movers are on time and immensely personable, you should tip them generously.
  • Quick Service. When you book a moving company, they give you a timeline for the move. If the crew finishes their work before time, tip them to show your gratitude.
  • Stairs. If you’re moving to an apartment on the fifth floor and the movers had to carry some things up the stairs, tipping them almost becomes a necessity.

When Not To Tip Movers?

You don’t necessarily have to tip if the service was notably bad. Reconsider how much you’ll tip the movers in the following situations.

  • Wrong Vehicle. If the movers bring the wrong vehicle, which leads to chaos and nuisance, you might choose not to tip them.
  • Late Arrival. Being on time is one of the most valued qualities of a reliable moving crew.
  • Slow and Inefficient. If you feel the movers are being deliberately slow and aren’t moving efficiently, think about tipping less.
  • Damage. Reconsider your tip amount if the crew isn’t careful with your fragile items and there’s substantial damage during the move
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More importantly, if you feel like you’re doing most of the work yourself, there’s no need to tip the movers.

How To Tip Movers

Now that you know how much to tip movers, another concern is how to tip them. Since moving is pre-planned, you’d know the day and time the movers are set to arrive. So it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough cash on hand since tipping in cash is the most efficient way.

“Generally, you know well ahead of time your moving day, so hit the ATM, get some crisp bills, and then put your gratuity in an envelope,” said Daniel Post, a spokesman at Emily Post Institute. “Give it to the foreman at the end of the move, requesting that he distribute it among the workers.”

Alternatively, you can tip each crew member individually if you want to make sure the tips get shared equally. It’s infrequent for moving companies to include gratuity on your bill, so cash is the only option you’d most likely have.

Good To Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we pay for things since there’s a fear of viral transmission through banknotes and checks. Ask your moving company if it accepts tips through a digital payment app, such as Venmo.

Should You Feed Movers?

Apart from tips, it’s also courteous to offer food to the moving crew on a long-distance move. For instance, if the move is expected to take 12 hours, you’ll have to eat at some point along the way.

So how much should you tip movers if you’re also providing food? The same as you would if there was no food involved. A tip is a gratuity, while food is more of a necessity. In any case, most movers will have enough drinks and snacks in their vehicles to keep them sorted.

But the crew will be appreciative if you offer them snacks and refreshments. Alternatively, you can get pizzas for everyone since they’re cheaper and make for good food when there’s not enough time to stop for a full-fledged meal.

GOBankingRates’ Tipping Guides

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He's helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he's not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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