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Mover Tips: How Much Should You Give and Alternatives To Cash

Mover Tips: How Much Should You Give and Alternatives To Cash

The moving company has been hired. And the moving crew is working hard to be efficient while handling your possessions and furniture with care. Knowing the best approach for tipping movers is something you must consider. In this practical guide we share the why, when, and how you should tip the moving crew. 

Note: Tipping is almost always accepted by moving companies. If you are wondering if tips are allowed by your moving company, check their tipping policy and guidelines online or with a phone call.

Why You Should Tip

Always remember the reason you hired a moving company -- the workers are providing a physically demanding service. They lug your back-breaking sofa, bed, dresser and numerous heavy boxes to make your move easier and quicker. And the movers are asked to provide this service in not always perfect situations. They work everyday in all types of weather and through many obstacles: stairs, tight corners, and narrow doorways.     

Tipping is important because it shows people that are helping you that you are grateful. And tipping the moving crew generously honors their hard work. When planning your move, the mover tips should always be part of that budget. 

When You Should Tip

It is always appropriate and proper to tip your movers although there can be times when you may want to withhold your tip. But even if you feel there was blatant unprofessionalism such as rudeness or mishandling of your possessions by a crew member, be careful not to dismiss the entire moving crew from a gratuity. You should still provide a tip of some type to the moving crew and communicate any dissatisfaction to the moving company management. 

tipping your moving crew
Remember to tip based on the overall effort of the moving crew

How Much You Should Tip

Mover tips can be based on a flat rate or a percentage based tip. Either type of tip is considered an acceptable courtesy and will be much appreciated by the movers. 

Flat Rate Tip  

You have three choices for paying a flat rate tip to the crew. A flat rate tip can be paid based on the hours each mover worked. $4 to $8 per hour per mover is recommended if you choose an hourly gratuity. While $10 to $20 per half-day, and $40 per full 8-hour day per mover is suggested if you choose to tip based on a daily flat rate. Or the flat rate tip can be based on the difficulty of the move. $20 to $30 for smaller moves and up to $40 for complex, large moves.

Percentage Based Tip  

Tipping movers based on the total moving bill would be the fairest assessment of the hard work and service that was provided. The total bill reflects the distance and actual difficulty of the move.

Most moving resources state that tipping 15 to 20 percent of the total moving bill to be split evenly between the moving crew is recommended.

Some etiquette experts claim it is acceptable to split a crew member tip that is 5 to 10 percent for smaller, cross-town moves. These are usually local moving companies 15 to 20 percent for large moves. These are usually larger long-distance moving companies.

How to Pay a Tip

Just like any tip you would pay to a service organization, there are many options for tipping movers: cash, credit card, or digital payments. Here’s the pros and cons of each tip payment option:

Cash

This is the preferred option with movers for their tip. 

Pros

  • Movers receive 100% of the tip, no taxes are removed
  • Movers are paid immediately at the time of the move
  • You can thank the movers in person with your tip in hand to show your appreciation

 Cons

  • Most of us do not keep large amounts of cash on hand. You will need to plan ahead to ensure you have the correct amount of cash and increments for splitting between each mover
  • Due to COVID-19, moving resources now recommend setting aside an envelope with the cash for a few days before the move to help prevent any potential virus spread

If you had planned to tip based on the” final” total moving bill, you will need to base your cash tip on an “estimated final” moving bill instead. That is perfectly acceptable.

Credit Card

With this payment type you can pay for the entire move and tip on your credit card.

Pros

  • More convenient, do not have to keep cash on hand
  • If using a large national moving company, a line item is usually included on your bill for the tip
  • The best way to document to the IRS that you tipped as part of your moving expenses

Cons

  • Movers are taxed for this type of tip
  • Moving companies could take a percentage of the tip, so the crew does not get all of the tip
  • You, like many people these days, may prefer to tip with digital payments over a credit card
Girl paying movers a tip using a credit card
It's common practice to pay a tip using the same credit card used to pay for services.

Digital Payments

Business insights show that in the last year, nearly 80% of those surveyed used a digital payment such as Apple Pay, PayPal, or Venmo to purchase or tip for something. In our current economy, digital payments are growing at an impressive rate. And people giving gratuities are among the top uses of digital payment apps.

Pros

  • More convenient, do not have to keep cash on hand
  • Movers receive 100% of the tip, no taxes are removed
  • Money is transferred within minutes
  • Apps like Venmo have transactions with memos that flow to a social media feed. You can leave written thanks, like “Thanks for making my move so much easier” or “I would recommend your company to anyone!”

Cons

  • Every moving crew member may not have access to a digital payment app
  • Payment apps need to be used with people you know and trust as these transactions are immediate and nonrefundable 

Alternatives to Cash Tips

If you are looking for some alternatives to cash tips, many people suggest you can show your gratitude to your movers in these other great ways:

  • Hand the movers drinks, lemonade on a hot moving day or coffee on a cold moving day 
  • Have available plenty of bottled water and a few healthy snacks
  • Make the movers sandwiches
  • Buy the moving crew lunch
  • Offer the moving crew any old furniture you weren’t planning on taking with you anyway
  • Give them a 12-pack of beer to take home with them after the job is done
  • Personally thank each mover with a handshake and a sincere smile. Then tell their supervisor how much you appreciate his crew

And for those really great moving crews, generously offering some of these alternatives plus a payment tip is outstanding.  It is a great way to show these hardworking people how much their service is appreciated.

Buying your moving crew pizza is a great way to show your gratitude.

Decide and Plan Your Mover Tip

As you plan your moving budget, always plan for tipping your movers. They provide a specialized and difficult service. Whether you tip the moving crew hourly, daily or a percentage of the total moving bill, they deserve to be thanked. With many options available for tipping: cash, credit card, and digital payments as well as non-cash alternatives, deciding your preferred tip option is made easier with this guide.