How to Tip Movers if You’re Happy With Their Work

Tipping seems to be an awkward encounter for many people hiring professional assistance for relocation. After all, without proper guidelines, it can be easy to find yourself struggling to navigate this social situation. But, to help you out to learn how to tip movers, as well as when, where, and how much, we created this thorough guide. So, let’s make this potentially uncomfortable situation a bit more comfortable. Here’s everything you should know on the matter.

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November 30, 2021 Posted in How-to

It’s Difficult to Know How to Tip Movers

Whether your close friends or family members moved recently, the chances they’ll outright tell you how much they rewarded workers for a job well done are slim. People don’t have the culture of talking about money, paying, and tipping. However, especially those relocating for the first time surely have a bunch of questions regarding the moving process and those things that aren’t officially designated – such as a cash reward for a well-provided service. While the matter may seem frightening and awkward, it’ll become less so when we answer the questions you may have on the topic. So, let’s get to demystifying the process right now.

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Do You Have to Tip Movers?

So, let’s start with the age-old question, do you really have to tip movers for the provided services? The thing is, whether you go to a restaurant or you’ve just moved efficiently with the help of professionals, tipping is always a nice gesture. And although it is customary (not to mention kind) to give out rewards for a job well done, it isn’t mandatory. But distinguishing between the two can be more difficult than it seems at first glance. So, here are some guidelines that’ll help you make your decision.

If You Are Satisfied With the Long Distance Moving Services, Don’t Hesitate to Tip

We’ll get into the details soon enough, but there is one easy golden rule to help you make up your mind, and it goes something like this: if you’re satisfied with the service, reward those who provided it. But maybe this is the first apartment you’ve moved to or the first time you’re hiring cross-country movers, so it is more difficult to make up your mind. In that case, here are some indicators that the service provided is to be honored with a little something deducted out of your moving expenses budget:

  • They are carefully handling and packing fragile items,
  • They are punctual, working swiftly and in a structured manner,
  • They are helping you relocate during winter or in bad weather or substandard conditions,
  • They are taking heavy items up and down the stairs of your home,
  • They are making you and your loved ones feel comfortable.

Tipping May Be Customary, But Deciding Against It Is Fair Sometimes Too

Unfortunately, not all relocation companies are reliable. And if you are so unlucky to run into workers who aren’t providing you with satisfactory assistance, it’s completely valid not to reward their work with a reward. After all, if they turn your already stressful relocation into a true nightmare or provide you with a bad experience even, you shouldn’t feel obliged to honor their manner with cash. Here are some situations when not tipping would be legitimate:

  • They are late,
  • They leave moving boxes with your things right at the door, when they are supposed to go on the second floor,
  • They aren’t careful with your stuff and damage them in the process,
  • They spend more time making breaks than actually doing what they are hired for.

If you want to deliberate upon the question of whether one should or shouldn’t reward crew members, we recommend spending two minutes of your time on the following video.

How Much Is It Customary to Tip Movers?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it is time to figure out the size of the tips. Since cash is more often than not a taboo subject, it can be difficult to obtain the information you need. It’s no problem to find out how much movers cost – you can even easily obtain the details on how much they would cost to move a one-bedroom apartment or a larger place. But when it comes to giving out a rate that isn’t set in stone, getting that info becomes a bit harder.

Use the Percentage Approach to Tip Movers That Have Successfully Moved You to a New Home

One of the most common approaches to tipping is providing the workers with a percentage of the full cost of the move. If you don’t want to deal with unnecessary math, we recommend turning on an online calculator now. Given that you probably already have your free quote and know the cost of the move, all you have to do is count the percentage, and here’s how.

When it comes to giving out tips, it is important to factor in the distance and size of the move. If you are changing your address and are relocating to another state the size of the reward should follow the passed mileage. During an interstate move, the tips generally go from 15-20%. To conclude: if you want to provide percentage tips, give anywhere from 5-20% to the crew, and you should be good to go.

Another Way to Go Is to Provide the Workers With a Flat Reward

Another common way of tipping is providing the workers with a flat rate. Depending on the length of the move, it could be an hourly or daily rate. For example, if you hired professionals for packing services, you can give the packers an extra 10-20$ per day given that it’s not as physically exhausting or dangerous work. On the other hand, for cross country moving, you should count that each crew member gets around $40 for one 8-hour working day. If the move lasts longer than that, you might up the rate up to $50-$60 for a working day of 12 hours or more.

A proud mover in front of a truck
Depending on whether you're being relocated by a long-distance team or a local company, the tips will vary in amount.

At What Point of the Move Do You Start Tipping?

Now that we’ve got the most important questions out of the way, it is time to ease up any anxious minds that might be wondering when, and how to give the workers extra cash. Basically, you could give workers the money before, midway through, or after the move. While generally, all three work well, it may be better to skip the first option.

The thing is, unless you already know the workers, and have hired them before, you should wait a bit to see if they are doing the work well. It doesn’t happen often, but there is an existent portion of moving scammers, who might just want to take your money without doing anything. So, it may be better to wait a bit and see if you are satisfied with the provided services. If you get a good vibe midway through, you can tip them and motivate the workers. Otherwise, it is customary (and wise) to wait ’till you’ve actually moved to start honoring their dedication.

Cross country movers cross country moving
While rewarding a team upfront can be stimulating, it's best to wait till your home inventory is completely done to do so.

What Are the Best Ways to Go About Tipping Cross Country Movers?

So, what is the best way to actually give the cash to the workers – straight out of the waller? Or in an envelope? Do you give everything to one foreman, and ask them to send the bucks out further? Or do you give each crew member their fair share on-site? Generally, you can do whatever makes you most comfortable. However, if you want to ensure that everyone who helped you move to a new city gets their cash, you should give each crew member cash yourself.

You can never be sure if the crew foreman is a fair person who’ll spread the tips out evenly among the workers. And to be fair, it doesn’t matter how you’ll give the tips out. If you don’t feel comfortable handing out bills outright, you can put them in envelopes. However, it is nothing to stress about; the workers will ultimately be glad they’ve received a reward, whatever shape or form it comes in.

Two men moving a chair
While every team has a foreman, it's best not to leave anything to chance, and provide each worker with their fair share on-site

If the Move Left You in a Financial Bind, Show Your Appreciation By Leaving the Long Distance Moving Company a Good Review

Truth be told, moving into a new apartment is never cheap. Home rent, utilities, deposits, it all adds up to a pretty generous sum at the end of the day. So if you have to relocate on a budget, you might have to save on relocation costs wherever possible. And given that tips aren’t mandatory, this generally seems like a good place to start. However, there are still free, or at least cheap ways to show your appreciation while not spending more than you can afford.

One of such ways is leaving a good review – a true thank you note. By writing a generous review you’ll make sure that anyone who searches for “long distance movers near me” ends up hiring these folks. And although you didn’t have the cash to reward the workers, some other customers surely will. Of course, even if you have money to tip, we would still recommend leaving a good review if you are happy with the provided service. After all, it will take you a minute or two to write it up, and could mean the world to those the review relates to.

What Are Some Other Free or Budget-Friendly Rewards if You’re Short on Cash?

Generally, on the relocation day, you’ll have workers going up and down the stairs, carrying house plants to a designated storage unit, lifting furniture, and doing many more tasks. Although these workers may be strong and trained, they are still human, and as such need water, food, and rest. After all, when you go to your work, you take breaks and drink coffee.

So, if you want to show your appreciation for all their hard work, you should check in with them and ask them if they might need water, coffee, or maybe even a snack. It won’t make a significant dent in your budget, but it will show gratitude, and they will do their best to ensure you have a stress-free move – and ultimately feel more stimulated to give their best on the job.

A jar for tips with nickels inside
Relocating a home can dry out your bank account, but there are always ways to show appreciation for a job well done.

While It Isn’t Mandatory, It’s Important and Nice to Tip and Treat Good Workers Well

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that there is a lot of unfairness in the world, and too often, people who put in their best efforts don’t get the recognition they deserve. When moving professionals put in the time and effort to look after you, your house inventory, and your family, they are not only doing their job but showing the kindness that should be honored. Additionally, they are saving you a lot of time, effort, and nerves you’d otherwise have surely lost over the entire process. So, whether you’ve hired a company to help out with auto transport, packaging or relocation, be sure to appreciate those who do their job with dedication. It’s important.

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.



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