Moving. It can be an exciting time, but – as you may well know from experience – it can be far from stress-free.
Between the many plans (and purchases) that need to be made, knowing exactly what to do along the way can seem complicated and overwhelming. Finally, moving day arrives and there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
It is likely you’ve researched how much a moving company costs, ordered moving boxes and made inventories of your belongings. But one question that may be lost in the moving hubbub is: Is it common practice to tip movers? And if so, then what should determine the tip amount?
While tipping movers is not a requirement, doing so is considered best practice. With services in general, there can be a big difference in the quality of the job performed. Movers who do their work well, in a timely and efficient manner, and communicate along the way can make a positive difference in your overall moving experience.When to tip movers
Since moving can be an infrequent occurrence, we often feel a little lost on the etiquette of tipping when the time comes. Given the amount of variation in the conditions surrounding a move, there is no hard-and-fast consensus on how much to tip movers. Still, there are some guidelines to consider when arriving at what is most appropriate for your particular situation.
Tipping is based on the quality of service. What’s considered standard for food service – a starting point of 15% – does not necessarily apply to moving.
Generally, movers are tipped based on several factors, including how long they are working. For each hour of labor, a tip around $5 is standard.
Translated to the entirety of a move, you should expect to tip about $20 for what’s considered a half-day move (up to four hours). For a full day, the tip would be around $40 per person*.
While these guidelines can help establish a ballpark amount, you should consider other aspects of the moving experience before making a final determination.
How many flights of stairs are involved? It’s good form to acknowledge the level of difficulty present. If movers perform their jobs well, despite the challenges inherent in maneuvering (possibly many) heavy and unwieldy objects, then that factor should be reflected in the tip.
It’s important to keep in mind that some moves involve two sets of moving crews: those who load from your previous residence, and those who unload your belongings into your new home. You will need to calculate tips for both crews.When not to tip
Tipping should reflect the quality of the job that’s done.
If movers show up late and damage your possessions, then you’re entirely in your rights to not tip, or tip a reduced amount.
Note: When hiring movers, there are usually key discussions that help the moving company estimate how much time and how many movers will be needed. Their questions tend to focus on the size and layout of your home(s), the amount of your belongings and your progress in packing.
Still, unforeseen occurrences and damage to your belongings can happen during moving. Withholding a tip, or giving a smaller-than-otherwise amount, would be appropriate in this instance.
Often, movers get booked for more than one job in a day. It’s helpful to be somewhat flexible and understanding if this is the case: their previous move can run long or involve a complication (that’s no fault of their own) that delays their arrival.
Determining where damage took place – in loading the truck, en route in the truck, or coming into your new residence – can be tough to pin down.
If you’re looking to track down when damage occurred, then footage from a Nest doorbell or other smart camera device could be helpful. You may consider filing a claim with your moving or home insurance, if applicable.Additional tipping considerations
Consider the variables in a move: the amount of stuff, whether the move is across town or out of state, etc. Did the movers place boxes in their intended locations? How did your movers interact with fragile objects? These details matter and should weigh into your tipping strategy.
Recognize the fact that movers will need to take short breaks. They’re human. The physical work they’re doing can require pauses to catch their breath or replenish with water or snacks. Nevertheless, since you’re paying (tipping) by the hour, it’s good to remain nearby so movers know you’re keeping track of their progress.
Movers come with experience and perspective. Unless it’s obvious to think otherwise, trust their judgment and expertise at first.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you’ve worked in service industries, then you know firsthand the joy in having an extra effort acknowledged.
Tipping can be discussed with movers ahead of time. You can indicate what your expectations are – and what rewards could be – for a job well done.
Tips should be handed directly to each mover.Other signs of appreciation
In lieu of – or on top of – a tip, you can show additional appreciation for your movers.
To help make the climate more comfortable during the move, consider using a Honeywell™ dehumidifier.
It’s also appropriate to provide bottles of water or snacks, or to buy the crew lunch or dinner.Conclusion
A reward for a job done well is certainly appropriate, especially given the uncertainty and stresses of moving. Still, keep in mind the overall costs associated with the move, which can regularly top a few thousand dollars – if not more.
Tipping in the service industry is for a job well done. It’s not mandatory, especially if you have a bad experience. Ask yourself: Would I recommend this mover to friends or family? If the answer is “no”, then that’s telling and should weigh into your tipping strategy.
Tip-worthy service is no guarantee. It’s likely you or someone you know can recall a moving experience they’d wish had gone differently. While you will conduct research ahead of time to find a reputable and vouched-for company, there will always be a luck-of-the-draw element to moving. If movers perform well, then it’s a reason to be grateful and consider giving gratitude as recognition.
By and large, you and the movers want the same thing: a task completed in a safe and efficient manner.