How and When Are You Supposed to Tip Movers

May 19, 2022 / Posted in How-to
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

The relocation team is there to help you ease the process by taking care of many challenging tasks. But are you supposed to tip movers for their help and, if so, when, where, and how much? If you’re planning a cross-country move soon, make sure you have all the answers ready before the relocation day.

Long-distance movers unloading a truck overlay
Gratuity is customary in many service-based businesses - but what about the relocation industry?

You are supposed to tip movers, but only if satisfied with their service. If they are respectful, professional, and efficient, you should acknowledge it by adding a bonus to the bill. On the other hand, if they are obviously lacking in their work, note that you’re not obliged to provide tips. However, if you choose to do it, count on the complexity of the move as well as the number of workers in teams when calculating how much money to set aside.

The Origins of the Tipping Custom

Tipping has come a long way since it became an American custom – some scientists believe it dates way back to the Roman empire, while others connect its beginning to the early 18th century and European aristocrats. Moreover, did you know that tips were the sole source of income for many women and people of color in the US before emancipation?

Today, providing gratuity for the employees is not obligable but desirable – especially if you’re content with their service. If you want to find out more about the nature of tipping in America and how it affects workers, take a look at the video below:

Are You Supposed to Tip Movers When Moving Long-Distance?

For many people, relocation is a stressful period they want to fast-forward, so it’s no surprise that some opt for hiring movers to help with dunting relocation tasks. A reliable and reputable long-distance moving company is the best choice for a smooth and stress-free move – but do you tip moving companies?

Cross-country movers are essentially service workers, like waiters, transportation providers, and food delivery employees. If you cultivate a habit of adding gratuity for these workers, know that your relocation team is no different. Moreover, always have in mind how physically hard but delicate their job is, even with the smallest of moves. They need to be able to pack, disassemble, load into the truck, unload, and reassemble all of your belongings while keeping them safe and damage-free.

Many are well aware of all the challenges relocation brings and are more than willing to add gratuity to the final bill for all the efforts relocation workers have put into it. Still, the ultimate decision is yours – no one can or will force you to show your appreciation this way.

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The Complexity of the Long-Distance Move Is One of the Most Important Factors to Consider

Not all moves are the same. A move to a new state is much more complicated than a local one – but other factors can make one relocation more demanding than another. For example, you must think about all the items on your household inventory list. Packaging clothes, beddings, and toys are far easier than moving a piano, hot tub, or other heavy and bulky furniture.

The number of floors is another important thing to consider, as well as weather conditions during the move – relocating in the rain or during heat makes all the relocation work less bearable. The more hard work a crew has put into the tasks, the more of a gratuity they deserve.

Deciding Whether to Add Gratuity or Not – The Ultimate Tips

Of course, it should go without saying that the quality of long-distance moving services should be the deciding factor. Here are some signs of exceptional service when relocating to a new state:

Professional behavior

Every mover should treat you (and your family) with respect. The team’s positive attitude, punctuality, politeness, and readiness to answer all of your dilemmas and possible requests are necessary for the excellent relocation experience.


A good team needs to have highly developed time management skills. Relocation workers need to be well organized and capable of working both as a group and as individuals to help you move efficiently.

Good performance under pressure

Sadly, not all moves can go without a fuss. Many unpredictable things can happen during the relocation day, postponing the completion of separate tasks. However, the best workers will know how to reorganize and complete the move safely and on schedule.

Taking excellent care of your belongings

Movers’ ultimate goal should be relocating all of your household goods to a new home damage-free. When getting packing services, relocation workers should get all the materials ready and be extremely careful while packing fragile items like glasses, dishes, and similar delicate objects. The same goes for moving electronics, appliances, and furniture.

The same goes for hiring a professional auto transport company. If you’ve decided to enjoy the benefits of car shipping, the auto transport team should be up to the task and handle your vehicle with the utmost care. Professionalism, devotion, and helpfulness should be awarded when possible – exceptional workers deserve gratuity for a well-done job.

Is It OK Not to Tip Movers?

The answer is, of course, yes – if you’re not content with their performance. Lousy workers will only add to your anxiety about relocating. If the relocation and car shipping company workers show unsatisfying work ethics, don’t feel obliged to provide a bonus. Taking breaks every few minutes, handling your belongings without care or necessary knowledge, and being disrespectful are all signs of bad service. Not only that, but bad performance often represents a red flag for dealing with potential relocation scams.

What Is a Standard Tip for Movers?

Suppose you opt for adding a bonus to the bill – how to decide its amount? Questions like Is $20 enough to tip movers or Is $100 a good tip for movers are very common among people who plan a move to a new city. However, the answer is not that simple.

You can choose to form a bonus as a percentage of moving costs, but you must consider how difficult the move is. Is 10% a good tip for movers? Sure, for an average relocation, but the amount should vary between 5% and 20%, depending on the difficulty level. The rule of thumb is the more complex the move, the bigger the gratuity.

On the other hand, you can opt for a flat-rate solution based on the hours worked, with $3-$5 per hour as an average tip for movers. Here are some examples of how these rates change with more hours required:

  • $10-$20 for part-day (around four hours),
  • $20-$40 for full-day (up to ten hours),
  • $60 for work that lasts longer than ten hours.

Keep in mind that those are the amounts calculated per mover – to calculate the final sum, you must multiply it by the number of workers in charge of your move.

Should Mover Tipping Include the Whole Team or Individuals?

You should not feel obliged to reward all workers if you can clearly see the difference between those hard-working and devoted, on the one hand, and sluggish or rude ones, on the other. Moreover, you should also consider providing a higher bonus for a mover who demonstrated amazing skills, knowledge, and care to bring your relocation to a successful end.

Do You Tip Movers When They Load or Unload – The Specifics of Local and Cross-Country Moving

When relocating to a new home, you must consider whether the same team will be designated for loading and unloading your household goods – it will provide you with the answer of when is the right time to give tips. When it comes to a local move, it is most likely that the same workers will be there to get your belongings into the truck and out of it.

But what’s the case with an interstate relocation? Do you tip movers on both ends? The answer is yes because you won’t be dealing with the same crew at the beginning and end of your move. Therefore, when calculating how much money to set aside for the bonuses, you must think about both teams.

Additionally, remember that length of the move is an essential factor in determining how to compensate them. Bonuses formed as a percentage of relocation costs can be a good choice for when you move to a new home inside of the same city. However, 20% of cross-country relocation expenses can sometimes go well over $1,000, which isn’t suitable for those who want to save on relocation costs. Therefore, when planning an interstate move, it’s always better to form tips on the amount of time worked.

How and to Whom Should You Pass the Tips?

The easiest way of tipping your long-distance movers is by using cash, so put visiting the ATM on a to-do list for a relocation day. You can give the whole amount to the foreman (whose job is to supervise the crew) or give money to each mover separately. Although it may be less convenient for you, go with the second option if you want to ensure that each individual gets the money they deserve.

Additional Ways of Tipping a Moving Company

Some relocation companies offer alternatives to cash payments, like paying via checks. Moreover, sometimes you’ll be met with the possibility of adding gratuity to the official bill and leaving the tips at the same time when paying for the move. Aside from being more convenient, this payment method can be helpful with the reimbursements if you’ve moved because of the job.

People exchanging money needed for cross-country moving overlay
Cash is the most common form of gratuity - but it is not the only one

Best Ways of Showing Your Appreciation for the Help Provided

Tipping a moving company is an obvious way of showing workers that their hard work is well appreciated. Unfortunately, sometimes a relocation budget can’t include the tipping amount each mover deserves. What to do in that situation? Consider some other ways of awarding the crew for their efforts, such as:

  • Purchase enough food, snacks, and beverages – each relocation to a new home implies physically arduous labor, so make sure crew members maintain their energy by providing them with necessary refreshments. This is an essential part of preparing for movers.
  • Be as helpful as needed – answer all of the movers’ questions, point them to the bathrooms, secure enough soap and towels, and so on.
  • Leave the recommendationwriting a positive review is the ultimate token of your appreciation, but it can also result in a bonus or other award a crew can get from their employer for their exceptional work.
  • Be kind – relocation day can be very chaotic, which can significantly impact a person’s emotional and mental state and, therefore, their behavior. However, if you’re expecting the crew members to be friendly and respectful, so should you. After all, it’s an essential precondition for good cooperation.

Tipping Movers and Packers Can Improve Your Relocation Experience

Tips are probably the best motivation for the team to work even harder at completing your move smoothly and without a fuss. If relocation workers know that there’s a chance they’ll be rewarded for a job well done, it’s only natural that they’ll be more devoted. Therefore, look at the gratuity as something all parties can benefit from – including you.

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