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Using moving services can make relocating to a new home or office much more streamlined, efficient, and relaxing. And like many other services, customers may choose to reward good movers with gratuity. However, unlike dining at restaurants where we have grown accustomed to the practice, etiquette for tipping professional movers is a lesser known subject in the Big Apple. 

That’s why our team of New York movers created the below guide. It answers all your moving tipping questions, from “how much should I tip my movers?” to “when do I tip my movers?”. Plus, it has our best tips on tipping! 

Should I Tip My Movers? 

Yes, you should tip your movers if they provide good service. Your tip reflects your satisfaction with the job and appreciation for the efforts of your moving crew. 

As in any other service industry, the gratuities movers receive are a significant portion of their compensation for a very physically demanding profession. Therefore, movers expect to make money on moving tips. However, the tip should not influence the level of service you receive—which is why we suggest always tipping at the end of the move. 

Do I Have to Tip Movers? 

Tipping is not mandatory, and you may tip as you like, the same way tipping is optional at restaurants and bars. However, it is always highly appreciated! 

How Much Should I Tip Movers?

15% - 20% of your total bill is standard. However, moving tip amounts vary depending on multiple factors. Here are a couple of things to consider when calculating your tip. 

Quality of Service - Please keep in mind moving is a high-risk industry where accidents happen. However, if you have multiple issues with your moving team (showing up late, damaged property, rude demeanor) then tip less—or not at all in severe situations. The best way to avoid poor service is to do your research before you hire. Find a professional moving company with good reviews, a known history, and usdot registered moving trucks. Google Maps, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau are great places to start researching movers.

Length of Move (Distance) - The amount you tip for a local move will be less than a long-distance move. For example, if you move from Manhattan to Jersey City, the tip amount will be less than if you were to hire long distance movers for a cross-country move from LA to New York

Length of Move (Time) - You may also want to adjust your tip based on the time it takes your movers. For example, a full day of heavy lifting and unpacking warrants a larger tip than moving a sofa

Additional Services – Tip more if you’re asking for the movers to move any difficult or fragile items like pianos, hot tubs, or pool tables, disassemble and reassemble your furniture, or pack for you.

Move Location - Since the easiest way to calculate a tip is as a percentage of your move total, your tip amount will be more in areas where movers cost more. For example, moving companies based in NYC may be more expensive than movers in other cities across the U.S. 

What is the Standard Tip for Movers? 

The moving industry standard tip is 15-20% of the total move cost. That tip is divided among all crew members. Like other service industry workers, movers rely not only on their base salary but also on tips and gratuity. This motivates many employees to work harder and do better at their job.  

Note: For long-distance moves with Oz and many other moving companies, two separate crews will deal with loading and delivery. Therefore, you will need to tip each crew independently. A good rule of thumb is to tip 15-20% of half your overall price on each end (ie, if your job costs $3000 you should tip each crew 15-20% of $1500).

How Do I Set My Tipping Budget? 

The first step to setting your tipping budget is knowing how much your move will cost. Reach out to local moving companies in your area and request a free quote to get an idea of the cost. From there, tack on an extra 15% - 20% for your tipping budget.

For example, if your move costs $2,000, you need to put aside an extra $300 - $400 for tipping your movers.

Trying to budget your move? Learn how to estimate your costs or, get a free moving quote

What Else Should I Consider When Tipping Movers?

Every moving job differs from the next, requiring a range of efforts and skill sets from movers. Some moving jobs can be as simple as relocating the contents of one studio apartment to another down the street or as challenging as moving an entire estate from one side of the country to the other. Long-distance moves may even require drivers to spend multiple days on the road. 

Some moving jobs may call for multiple crews and special assistance for other bulky and oversized items. In New York City, for instance, many movers are required to lift heavy furniture up and down several flights of stairs through intense heat. Moreover, there can be various hiccups throughout the day, like navigating road congestion or narrow corridors, which may require movers to work additional hours. Such details are important to consider. 

Another thing to consider when tipping is your movers' attitude and work ethic. You don’t want to see your movers being negligent or trudging along without proper consideration of your belongings. Therefore, when deciding to tip your movers, consider the difficulties and circumstances of the move and how successful the movers were in completing their job.

Tipping Etiquette 

We’ve all seen those movies where during a handshake a cash bribe subtly changes hands to help get someone into a restaurant or elsewhere. While tipping movers isn’t quite that complicated—or movie-worthy—there is tipping etiquette that will come in handy on moving day. 

When Should I Tip Movers?

You should tip the movers after you’re done moving in. The tip will be a satisfying conclusion for the movers after a challenging day on the job. 

How to Prepare for Tipping 

If you are planning to tip, take out some cash beforehand so that you can swiftly tip your movers at the end of the job. First, calculate approximately how much the move will cost, and then calculate how much a 20% tip will be for that sum. This cash enables you to tip accordingly, if you deem it appropriate.

Who Should I Tip?

Oz recommends leaving the responsibility of dividing up the tip to the foreman or woman. They will distribute the money to the rest of the team fairly. There’s no need to stress over how much you should tip each crew member.

If you are still unsure about exactly who and how to tip, you can always ask our in-house staff or the movers helping you on moving day. 

Can I Tip Movers with Food or Drinks?

Substituting food & drinks for cash tips isn’t recommended. These are the pros, not your friends; pros generally prefer cash. Offering food or drink to your movers is a kind gesture, but they shouldn’t be substitutes for monetary tips.

The General Rule of Tipping Movers

Remember: at the end of the day, tipping is entirely up to you. 

You are the customer and can determine whether or not you were satisfied with the service. Tipping movers is much like tipping in any other service industry, so treat it that way. If the movers have done a good job, give a good tip. The reverse is also true. 

There is a lot to consider during the moving process, so it is easy to overlook tipping. Luckily, planning ahead and understanding tipping etiquette makes it simple

Tipping may not be essential, but it is the best way to thank your movers for their hard work! 




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