Should You Pay Friends Who Help You Move?

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Moving can be extremely stressful, time-consuming and expensive, so you may be inclined to ask friends to help you with the process. But before you make this ask, consider how to do it in a way that doesn’t put them on the spot. You should also consider how you will be repaying them for their time, whether that’s in cash or by some other token of appreciation.

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GOBankingRates spoke to Joy Weaver, a protocol and etiquette expert, to get her best tips on how to handle both the relationship and financial aspects of involving friends in your move.

Don’t Put Your Friends on the Spot

“Do not ask the question, ‘What are you doing Saturday?’ This clearly puts people on the spot because they do not know if you are about to ask them to help you with a dreaded move or if you are about to invite them to a fun party,” Weaver said. “The appropriate way to extend a verbal invitation is simply letting the person know the details of your plans, and graciously asking them to get back with you after they check their calendar. This gives them an out and keeps your friends from feeling pressured into doing something they may not want to do.”

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Give Plenty of Notice

Rather than springing this request on your unsuspecting friends, let them know about your moving plans ahead of time.

“Provide ample notice,” Weaver said. “Your friends are likely to say ‘yes’ to help you move if you ask at least a month in advance.”

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Instead of Offering Payment in Cash, Treat Your Friends to Food and Drinks Throughout the Day

Although you don’t need to pay your friends an hourly fee for helping you move, you should make sure they are well taken care of throughout the day as a way to show your appreciation.

“Several days in advance, send out a fun thank you text or email to all the friends helping you move to let them know the details,” Weaver said. “Include the time to arrive, snacks you’ll be providing throughout the day and dinner plans afterward. This will remind them of their commitment and verify they are still on board with your move.”

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You should express your gratitude again on moving day.

“Even before one box is moved, make a special announcement to everyone to say a sincere thank you,” Weaver said. “Also let them know you are providing the best coffee, drinks and snacks during the move, and dinner after the move. Communicate the details.”

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Send a Gift Card After the Move

“Write a thank-you note to each person for helping you with your big move,” Weaver said. “Add in a gasoline gift card to pay for the gas they used, or a gift card to their favorite coffee or tea shop.”

Host Your Friends at Your New Place

Another way to show your appreciation is to treat your friends to dinner once you are all settled in at your new home.

“Invite these same dedicated friends over for dinner to show them the fruits of their labor,” Weaver said.

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Return the Favor

One of the best ways to pay a friend back for helping you move is to do the same for them.

“Be the first to reciprocate the favor when a friend needs your help to move!” Weaver said.

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    Last updated: Oct. 27, 2021

    About the Author

    Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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