You wouldn't think twice about tipping your hairdresser, bartender, or server at a restaurant when you get great service, right? The same goes for your movers - they work hard to take good care of you and your valued belongings, and as with other service industry professionals, they rely on tips to make up a portion of their wages.
Unfortunately, there's no set rules or standard etiquette around tipping movers, and that can leave you feeling awkward when it comes time to express your gratitude to your moving crew. The whole issue of tipping movers is subjective, including when to tip, who you should hand the tip to, and the factors that you should consider when deciding the total amount of your tip.
Consider the Total Cost of Your Move
Some industry experts suggest tipping a percentage of the total cost of your moving bill if you're moving your household (which tends to be a labor-intensive process for the movers). A tip of 5 to 10 percent is often recommended, and this amount should be given to the entire moving team via the foreman. For example, if you've paid $2000 for your moving services, consider tipping anywhere from $100 to $200.
While this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, it can be a good way to simplify the question of how much to tip your movers. Keep in mind that in the case of long-distance moves you may be dealing with two different crews - one which loads up your belongings, and another than unpacks. Each team should be tipped separately.
Think About What's Involved With Your Move
Some moving jobs are more challenging than others, especially when it comes to household moves.
If your move involves navigating lots of stairs, dealing with lots of fragile items, or happens during a snowstorm or heat wave, you can let your moving team that you appreciate that their work ethic and professionalism by tipping generously.
Remember What Your Movers Can, and Can't Control
There's a lot of factors involved in every move, and while hiring a great moving company can help minimize the stress of the day, there's always a chance that unforeseen circumstances could add delays that are beyond the control of your moving team.
Avoid the temptation to withhold your tip if your movers are delayed due to traffic, adverse weather, or equipment failures. After all, you wouldn't think of skipping out on tipping your waitress if the restaurant runs out of your favorite dessert, right? The same thing goes for your movers.
Tip In Cash
While electronic payment systems are now the norm, cash is still where it's at when it comes to tipping. Be sure to plan ahead and have enough greenbacks on hand to pay your movers' tip in cash, and it can be a good idea to have a few envelopes ready to slip the tip into as well.
When and Who to Tip
Generally speaking, the tip should be given at the end of the move - and it shouldn't be mentioned in advance, either.
Whether or not you hand separate tips to each crew member or tip the entire team at once via the foreman is entirely up to you. If you do choose to tip separately be sure to keep things fair and give each crew member the same amount (unless there's a compelling reason to tip a mover more than the others).
Beyond The Tip
Of course, there's other things you can do to show your appreciation to your movers. Simple things like having plenty of cold water and sports drinks on hand to offer your hard-working movers, providing snacks, and even offering to buy the moving crew a meal once they're finished. Keep in mind that movers shouldn't be offered a beer though, since most moving companies have strict rules against consuming alcohol on the job
And if you've received really great service, be sure to take the time to post a positive review of your movers online.