U-Pack vs. Alternatives: How Do They Compare?

Thinking about U-Pack for your move? Read our detailed review and alternatives.

This article explores U-Pack’s service, comparing it to PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT and independent full-service movers to help you make an informed decision – so you can get packing and moving toward the next chapter of your life.

When you’re getting ready for a big move, the last thing you want is to have a snafu happen with your moving service. You also don’t want to be so overwhelmed that you can’t determine which one is best for your needs.

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If your moving day is fast approaching, you need to take action to lock in your ideal moving service.

Snapshot: All About U-Pack

U-Pack, owned by ABF, is a moving service halfway between full-service moving and rental truck service, where you load and unload your belongings but don’t need to handle the driving. U-Pack is intended for those moving long distance from state to state. You might not be able to use U-Pack if you’re moving within the same state, since this option depends on total mileage and service centers. To find out, check the coverage areas or speak with a customer service representative.

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What Does U-Pack Offer?

Containers and Trailers

You’ll choose from ReloCubes or a moving trailer depending on your needs and the company’s equipment availability. Each ReloCube is a metal, weatherproof container measuring 7 feet wide by 6.3 feet deep by 8.4 feet high; interior measurements are 70 inches by 82 inches by 93 inches. According to their website, this should hold one room’s worth of furniture. The moving trailer measures 28 feet long by 8 feet wide by 9 feet high on the outside, comes with a loading ramp, and can hold up to 1,944 cubic feet – equivalent to a 3- to 4-bedroom home.

Pickup and Delivery

U-Pack drops off your ReloCubes or moving trailer at your residence, giving you up to 3 days to load your belongings. They’ll pick up the trailer or ReloCubes and take them to your destination, estimating a delivery of between 3 to 5 business days. U-Pack does not pick up or deliver during weekends.

Service Options

You can choose from door-to-door service, terminal-to-terminal service, or a combination of door-to-terminal or terminal-to-door service.

A Full Review of U-Pack

To make the best choice on a moving service, you need to have all the facts.

Getting a Quote

When you want a quote from U-Pack, you’ll have one of two options: either you call and talk to their representatives or you use the online form. You’ll receive a quote in less than a minute as long as it’s not overly complex or impossible based on service areas.  The the price includes 3 ReloCubes (or one trailer) and the cost of the driver, fuel and taxes. The quote also includes catastrophic liability and carrier negligence liability at no charge; U-Pack does not cover damages caused by loading and unloading. Supplemental liability insurance is recommended, especially since carrier negligence is only 10 cents per pound per piece. As an example, if your 60-inch, 55-pound flatscreen TV broke, you’d receive about $5.50 (10 cents times 55 lbs equals $5.50).

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Understanding U-Pack Costs

According to their website, you only pay for the ReloCubes you use. This means your bill might be less if you only use two. Of course, there is only one size option, which might be an issue for larger furniture. You need to measure accurately to ensure larger furniture will fit.

If you choose a moving trailer, you’ll only pay for the space you use. While the trailer will not include anyone else’s belongings, it will include commercial freight to fill up the space. You’ll install the bulkhead divider after you’ve finished packing, which serves to separate your stuff from the commercial freight.

Discounts are available for students and military members, and you can save some money if you opt for terminal service as opposed to door-to-door service.

Expect to pay more if you want extra services, such as storage ($105 per ReloCube per month) or U-Pack Guaranteed ($150 for a one-hour window and $75 for a two-hour window) if you need your stuff delivered on a certain day.

You won’t pay for your moving service until your belongings are in transit to the new destination. If you cancel your reservation within one week of the drop-off date, you can expect a $50 fee. This fee increases to $150 if you cancel on moving day.

…What U-Pack Customers Say

Yelper Barbara B. from Studio City, CA, had good things to say about the pricing. She wrote,

“We were getting quotes from other moving companies for $15-20,000, and we ended up doing the move using U-Pack and movers for under $4,000.” Other customers like Taylor Y. from Austin, TX, felt misled by the price versus quoted delivery date: “It wasn’t until later in the process that I was told I needed to pay an extra $200 to be guaranteed delivery on that date. Fine, but I wish I had been told upfront.”

Receiving Your U-Pack Containers or Trailer

Drivers will drop off your ReloCubes or trailer in a safe, legally allowed location. At that point, you’ll have three business days to load your belongings. If you need additional time, you can call U-Pack to request it. Extra days will increase your bill. If you want your containers picked up early, you call your local terminal.

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If you live in an area with narrow streets or difficult parking, or if you live in an apartment complex and need to get your belongings in and out as soon as possible, call U-Pack and ask about same-day service. In some instances drivers can drop off and pick up your ReloCubes or trailer on the same day. A live load, where the driver waits at the loading destination while you pack, might be possible as well.

One important note is that ReloCubes are only available for drop off in certain areas, typically closer to U-Pack’s terminal locations. If you don’t live near a larger city or within a certain radius of a metropolitan area, you might need to go with their moving trailer option.

…What U-Pack Customers Say

Megan S. from Denver, CO, was blunt about the state of her delivered trailer:

“The trailers ARE filthy dirty, so make sure your stuff is either boxed or well wrapped.” Some Yelpers, like E T. from Manhattan, NY, state that their belongings were damaged in transit. E T. said, “Broken desk, lamp and dishes. Boxes were visibly crushed. Dents in my solid wood bed frame. It was obvious that items had been roughly handled.”

Tracking and Delivery

You’ll be able to track your items online or by calling U-Pack. Since drivers typically make one or multiple stops at ABF terminals, you can see where your belongings stop along the way. On delivery day, the driver will drop off your ReloCubes or trailer and have you sign a delivery receipt. You’ll have three business days to unload your belongings before a driver picks up the containers for the final time.

…What Customers Say

Some customers, like Dan B. from Seattle, WA, end up with deliveries far outside what was in the quoted schedule. He said,

“We were told that the cube wouldn’t arrive until the next Monday, 21 days after it had been originally picked up, a full 14 business days from when it was supposed to arrive.” Others, like Darryl F. from Marina del Rey, CA, praised U-Pack for “Drop-offs and pick-ups in precise small windows, and helpful staff in every interaction.”

How Does U-Pack Compare to PODS?

As another mid-level moving service, PODS has many similarities to U-Pack, including self-serve loading and unloading with weatherproof, steel-framed moving containers that drivers drop at the customer’s door.

Unlike U-Pack, PODS offers three sizes of moving containers – 7 feet, 12 feet and 16 feet. They also let you keep the container for up to 30 days, versus 6 days total for U-Pack, although you will pay for each day you use it.

PODS has service areas in 48 states, versus 50 states for U-Pack, but the company also handles local, same-state and state-to-state moves instead of mainly state-to-state moves.

The final difference is in the cost, with PODS, according to HireAHelper.com, costing on average about $800 to $1,000 more.

How Does U-Pack Compare to 1-800-PACK-RAT?

A third competitor is 1-800-PACK-RAT. While this company offers the same self-serve loading and unloading, its containers are all-steel and said to be stronger than U-Pack’s and fully weather-resistant.

1-800-PACK-RAT offers moving containers in three sizes – 8 feet, 12 feet and 16 feet – with barn-style doors, unlike U-Pack’s single size option. They also include 30 days of use in the quoted price, which is substantially more than U-Pack’s 6 days.

While the moving service has fewer service areas than U-Pack, it does offer local and long-distance moves. Long-distance moves also come with $10,000 worth of complimentary content protection, but upgrades for any move type are available for an extra charge.

1-800-PACK-RAT, according to HireAHelper.com, is more expensive than U-Pack and similar in price to PODS.

How Does U-Pack Compare to Full-Service Movers?

Full-service movers offer local and long-distance moves, while U-Pack is limited to long-distance only. They also include full liability coverage and professional movers, while U-Pack leaves the packing and unpacking up to you and offers much more limited liability coverage.

If you’re on a strict budget, you’ll be drawn in by the significant savings that U-Pack offers; however, you’ll also need to be able to pack your belongings just as well as the professionals do.

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U-Pack may cost you less for transportation, but it might cost you more in replacing belongings should anything happen during transit, such as shifting or container leakage.

A state-to-state (not cross-country) move using full-service movers could be the ideal balance between cost, efficiency, reliability and quality of service. If you have a larger budget and are unable to or prefer not to DIY your move, consider requesting quotes from your local independent full-service movers.

About MovingCompanyReviews.com

MovingCompanyReviews.com offers consumers a transparent, trustworthy way to find great movers.   We show full licensing information for each mover, pictures, and 100% human-verified reviews.    Whether you’re moving from Scottsdale, Palatine, or Pine Brook we have plenty of great movers to choose from.   You choose who you want to get quotes from and always have full control over who contacts you. Getting a quote is free, just head on over to our homepage to search and get a free moving quote.

P.S. Don’t forget to tip your movers if you use full-service movers.

 

Green Drop Donations: Review and Overview

It’s only when it comes time to packing up for a big move that the startling revelation occurs – you’re somewhat of a hoarder! In fact, you may be well on your way to getting your own TLC show! Before the stress of packing everything up gets to you, find out how GreenDrop Charitable Donations can help. Find out how you can give them to those in need – and simplify your move at the same time. Read on for eight reasons to consider GreenDrop donations for your big upcoming move.

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moving day!

1. What is GreenDrop?

GreenDrop is a donation service that accepts gently used items for resale in thrift stores. The money raised from the sale of these once unwanted goods supports charities like Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia, and the American Red Cross. According to GreenDrop’s website, “In 2015, charity proceeds from the sale of the donated goods to the thrift stores exceeded $2.5 million – supporting charitable programs locally and nationwide.”

You can find GreenDrop locations all over Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virgina. You can consult their locations listing directly on their website or you can click here to schedule a pick-up.

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donations

2. What Does GreenDrop Accept?

Before scheduling a pickup or planning a drop-off, it’s probably a good idea to get familiar with what this charitable organization does and does not accept. GreenDrop accepts clothing, shoes, kitchenware, toys, unused and unopened toiletries, small appliances, small furniture, electronics, books, sporting equipment and loads more.

You can actually verify a more detailed list right here. The only things GreenDrop does not accept are items that are both too large and heavy, like dishwashers, or beds, children’s car seats and other items that may be dangerous once expired, and a few other common household items. To verify the complete list of unacceptable items, you can visit their website for more information.

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3. How Do My Donations Work?

Once GreenDrop accepts your unwanted items, they are sorted and placed for sale at local thrift shops at reasonable and affordable prices. The money raised from the sale of these items goes right back into the community to finance programs many needy American families depend on. Your donation is also an environmentally-friendly choice according to Greendrop’s website: “Not only do you make a charitable donation, but you make a difference for the environment – by extending the life of unwanted items to individuals in need.”

4. Who Are these Charitable Organizations?

The American Red Cross services the entire nation, providing disaster relief and emergency aid to citizens in need. Without this humanitarian organization, natural disaster survivors all across America would be hungry, homeless, and alone.

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The Military Order of the Purple Heart works to fund services for veterans across the country. Whether it is in the form of physical rehabilitation, welfare, or caring for surviving family members, this organization puts the care of our valued veterans and their families above all else.

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An equally charitable organization, the National Federation of the Blind is the largest and oldest organization in America for the blind. Their mission is to help deliver services and tools to the visually impaired.

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Finally, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia believes in one core value: “Neighbors helping neighbors.” Your donations can quickly convert into what GreenDrop calls “critical dollars.” Proceeds are used to better the nation and provide care to those who need it most.

 

5. How Do I Donate?

A great feature of the GreenDrop program is that it is remarkably easy to donate. If you’re in the middle of a move, you probably don’t have tons of time to spare. To make donating simple and easy, you can either drop off your unwanted goods at one of the many GreenDrop locations in your area or call to schedule a pick-up.

6. Home Clean-Out Service

After the death of a loved one, sorting through a lifetime of items can be an overwhelming task – especially for those still grieving the loss of their relative. GreenDrop offers a Concierge service that will come straight to your location and help you sort through all the furniture, clothing, and household items suitable for donation. This way, you don’t need to do all the triage of goods completely on your own, wondering what can be donated and what can’t. GreenDrop’s goal is to make donations as easy as possible.

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packing is a huge help

7. Is GreenDrop a Legitimate Organization?

With many unverified websites promoting fake services, it can be tough to decipher whether or not one company is legitimate or not. The best way to confirm this is to check with the verified organizations they work with.

For example, the American Red Cross confirms their partnership with GreenDrop on their website, encouraging Americans to opt for donating rather than simply throwing away their products. You can also verify the company on the GreenDrop LinkedIn page, where you can connect with some of their 500 employees. You’ll also be able to confirm their contact information and read user reviews.

8. What Do People Have to Say About GreenDrop?

From the feedback on GreenDrop’s website, you’ll see that hundreds of people have had a great experience in working with them.

Jill K. from Rosedale, MD, says, “Thank you so much for coordinating my pick up and assisting me with getting much of mom’s items donated to Purple Heart. I appreciate everyone’s assistance and help in making my overwhelming job of clearing out my mom’s condo much easier. ”

Linda and Paul of Street, MD, echo those same positive sentiments. “We would be happy to recommend GreenDrop to anyone who needs this valuable service. We are happy to know that our donation will help the good work of the Purple Heart,” they wrote.

Yelp user Taheera B. of New Orleans, LA says she was satisfied with how simple the drop-off actually was. “The process was super easy! I pulled up with my bags. The gentleman came and asked where I wanted the items donated…He got my bags. I got an email. And that’s that,” she says. Another Yelp user says she will consider a GreenDrop donation again. “You can select where your donation goes to from several charities, in my case Purple Heart,” says Patricia G. of Arlington, VA. “I’ll be happy to drop off donations again in the future, thanks to the easy process, convenient location and helpful, pleasant staff.”

Conclusion

Whether you’re moving in Fairfax, Baltimore, or Montclair, donating your unused items through Green Drop Charitable Donations can make a big difference to the charities they support.  Green Drop offers a great service to anyone moving that needs to offload items they don’t want to bring with them.    Green Drop supports wonderful charities and their Concierge service (available in Philadelphia) offers a huge help to those with large amounts of stuff to donate.

If a move looms in your future, check out these other helpful articles on how to prepare for a smooth move day:

Moving Food Without Losing Your Mind

Moving?  Read This Guide To Moving (or Getting Rid of) Your Food.

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It’s time to move houses and you booked a mover, packed the furniture and knick knacks, but what about moving your food?     Moving food is a pain!   There’s that awkward week or so before moving where you just don’t know what to do.

Fear not, you’re not alone.

We have tips to help you with moving that food!

Prioritize Your Food

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Before you do anything, assess what you have and its value. That box of weird Japanese cookies that no one dares touch can probably go. The expensive balsamic vinegar your aunt gave you will be hard to replace, so keep that.

It doesn’t hurt to do an inventory of everything in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Now, go over the list with an eye to value and portability. Obviously, if you’re moving across the country, transporting frozen steaks won’t give you that romantic dinner you hoped for upon arrival.   You can replace a half-empty box of cornflakes in a jiffy for a few bucks.

Items that you need to use or discard before your move include:

  • Frozen items
  • Refrigerated items
  • Opened condiments
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Items that expire within the next few days
  • As you look at all your food, you’ll have some items that you obviously want to keep. Set those aside. You can pack this food and move it, along with your furniture.

Once you figure out what is most valuable and needs to go with you, you’ll have food that is hard to transport. You’ll also find food that simply isn’t worth the effort. That’s what you’re going to be dealing with in the days leading up to the move and we’re here to tell you how.

Stop Buying Food

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This point may seem a little obvious, but you may purchase something small for lunch thinking it’s only one meal. That’s a bad idea, because each item you buy is one less thing you’re getting rid of at home.

Skip buying food for at least a week before leaving and use up what is in your pantry. It requires getting creative, but it’s worth it when you have less to deal with later. Meal planning is your friend at this point.

Use Up Perishables

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Everything that is already opened or will go bad needs to be gone by moving day. Whether you eat it or toss it or give it away, get rid of these things. This includes pretty much everything in your fridge.

Since moving is rarely a surprise, you have time to do a little meal planning! Design your last meals in your home to use up those perishables.

To meal plan effectively, you need to know what you have on hand. Refer to the inventory list you took at the beginning of this article. Pair off the foods that go together to create meals. If you have open pasta sauce, cheese, and potatoes, you can make nacho baked potatoes. Frozen ground beef makes a hearty meal when added to the potatoes and a salad on the side makes for less to pack.

Make a simple calendar for the days until your move. Now add a meal you’ve come up with, using only pantry items, to the calendar. You’ll want one meal for each slot, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For your last home-cooked meal before moving, try making soup. Heat broth and add everything that is still hanging around to it. My mother used to call this “clean the fridge soup” and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.

Throw a Party

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While you might not want to try this if you’re struggling to pack in time, a farewell party is a great way to use up food. Not only do you get some quality time with friends, you eliminate a problem.

Dig out the frozen and refrigerated food and dust off the grill. Meat, fish, and seafood can all create a tasty buffet that your friends and family will enjoy. Add in the remaining vegetables from the fridge. You instantly have a smorgasbord of great food that means no moving food that will perish.

This is the perfect time to offload anything you want other people to take home, as well. Let them know in the invitation that they’ll be taking a can or box on their way home.

Donate, Donate, Donate

 

Take a good look at your pantry. Do you really want to lug all those cans and boxes with you? Probably not! Fortunately, there are tons of people who will take that food off your hands.

Food pantries and homeless shelters are often happy to receive non-perishable items. If you prefer, you can give the items directly to others. Talk to your local church about who might be in need of some extra nourishment. Some seniors may find it tough to get to the store, so you can save them a trip.

Contact your movers before you get too far into planning. If they’re part of Move For Hunger, they can actually take care of your extra food for you. It’s a good option if you prefer to let someone else handle the distribution.

Grab a Garbage Bag

So, you’ve eaten and donated as much as you can, now what? What do you do with the remaining odds and ends that no one wants?

You have two options. Pack the odds and ends and keep them kicking around your new house, or toss them. The second is your best option. Grab a sturdy garbage bag and dump everything that is leftover after packing and eating. This can all go to the garbage dump and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. After all, a new home is a fresh start and no one needs ten bags of food with half a serving left in them.

It might feel wasteful to throw food out. When you have already done all you can with the rest of the food, it’s best to cut your losses.

Moving Food You Still Want

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You won’t want to get rid of everything, which means you need to pack it. Moving food can be tricky if the packages aren’t sturdy enough. For example, a bag of flour could burst if anything heavy is on top of it.

The simplest way to avoid issues is to put everything into hard plastic boxes. You can find these at any storage store and they work well to protect your food. The plastic will also prevent any spills from leaking to the other items in the moving truck.

If you must package food in cardboard boxes, make sure you seal everything first. This may require using zippered plastic bags to contain any leakage. Packing tape can also be helpful for keeping opened bags closed. Put tape over the tops of spice containers and salt and pepper shakers to stop spillage, as well.

Packing order is also important. Put your heaviest items at the bottom of the boxes. This prevents heavy items crushing the lighter and more delicate foods.

Keep in mind that glass bottles are more likely to break than plastic bottles. It’s best to skip them altogether, but you can wrap the bottles in newspaper if need be.

Your Last Supper

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The final meal before a big move is usually a haphazard one. To make life a little simpler, plan to finish using up your perishables before this. Then, for your final meal, order takeout.

Takeout food lets you enjoy a fortifying meal without worrying about cooking. You’ll need your strength for moving the next day! It also allows you to pack up the last of your dishes and utensils. Everything you need comes with the meal.

When you are sick of leftovers and the pantry is empty, takeout will seem like a blessing.

Make Moving Day Easier

Moving food may actually be one of the toughest parts of moving (along with knowing how much to tip movers). It ranks right up there with sorting through your important papers, deciding which to keep.

If you have packed everything properly, you shouldn’t have too many issues with leaks and spills. However, be sure to label your food boxes in big letters. This makes it simple to sort them out so you can eat once you arrive in your new home. It also lets the movers know that the boxes contain food items.

Not going too far? If you are only moving across town, you can get away with taking a cooler along. Put that jar of opened caviar and a few condiments in it. We don’t recommend this for longer trips, of course. Make sure you add ice to the cooler!

Finally, be sure to have some packaged food and drinks on hand for moving day. You’ll get hungry at some point and it’s easy to grab a bag of peanuts or a granola bar to munch on. There’s no need to leave any of your regular food out. Just have a tote or small box with snacks to keep you going.

Once you’ve moved, it is time to unpack everything, including your food. If you’ve prepared well, you only moved the best food and are ready to start your new life with a clean pantry.

Prepare For A Smooth Start At Your Next Home

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The first couple days after a move can stress even the calmest people out. You can plan ahead to make those first whirlwind days easier. Scout out new delivery restaurants by your new home on GrubHub, find some highly rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, and consider setting up food delivery if you can. If you’re a coffee lover/addict, consider a coffee subscription (Javaya is a good choice) and think about your home coffee brewing choices if you want to upgrade to a higher level off coffee happiness. For regular food delivery, check out InstaCart or Amazon Fresh to see if they service your area. Prep like this gives you one less thing to worry about after the move!

How Much To Tip Movers: 23+ Movers Give Advice

Moving stresses out the best of us!   This is why most people hire movers to do the heavy lifting and careful packing. However, once the job is complete, you likely ask yourself, “how much do I tip the movers?  Is there a standard amount or percentage?  Do I tip at all?”

If your anxiety spikes thinking about tipping movers, you’re not alone!

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You’ll find yourself exhausted and distracted at the end of your moving day, the last thing you need is extra stress trying to figure out how much you should tip your movers, or if you should tip your movers at all.

To help you out, we asked the movers listed on MovingCompanyReviews.com to help.    More than twenty movers offered their advice!   We compiled their guidance and thoughts into this helpful guide.    Check out the appropriate chapter for your move to know exactly how much to tip your movers.

Everyone knows that tipping is customary in industries like hospitality, tour guides, and taxis.  Yet for movers, it can become awkward when customers ask how much to tip them.   Movers do get paid for their service. However, like any service, when you feel as though a mover has done a good job (or in many cases, goes above and beyond), movers appreciate tips.

As Jill Ihly, Executive Vice President, Olympic Moving & Storage/Bekins Northwest states:

A tip for a mover is just like a waiter. It’s nice to get a little something, but the more difficult the job, the more TLC the crew gives, and how far above and beyond they go should all contribute to the tip amount.

Before diving into the guide, ask yourself these questions when determining your tip:

  • Did the movers show a high level of professionalism?
  • Did the movers demonstrate a good attitude?
  • How well did the movers treat your belongings?
  • How hard did the movers work?  For example, did they need to move items up and down long flights of stairs?  Did they have to carefully move large items down narrow hallways?
  • What external factors did they deal with?   Was the day extremely warm or cold?  Did it rain?

To help guide you during your next move, we have created the ultimate tipping guide.   Read the guide below to feel more confident in the tip you provide and avoid stress and confusion at the end of your moving day.

Let’s get started!

Table of contents

Dive into the following seven chapters to understand everything you need to know about tipping.   Keep in mind all of the challenges that your movers face and remember no move goes perfectly.   The tips from the movers give some fantastic advice, we hope you find it useful!

Chapter One: How much to tip long distance movers

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When you eat out at a restaurant, you may tip 15 percent — which is fairly standard.   However, we don’t recommend you follow this rule of thumb for long distance moves.

The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) writes that when moving interstate the average cost sets you back around $4,300.  If you planned on paying  20% in a tip to each mover your entire moving budget would blow up.    Remember, you may work with two sets of movers — one that helps you pack the truck and one that helps you unload at your new address.

In these cases, you’re better off tipping per hour. If your movers do a good job, consider tipping $5-$6/hour per mover.  Others prefer to just round up and provide x-amount for a hard day’s work, such as $40 per mover. If you have some extra cash and the movers do a flawless job, consider giving each mover a little extra.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, especially when they put forth extra effort.  Make sure that you tip each mover individually for their work, including the supervisor.  Give the supervisor a bit more than the other movers, as his/her job requires management and coordination in addition to moving.   This is not only proper tipping etiquette but also shows your true appreciation on a more personal level.

We asked our movers to provide feedback, read below to hear it straight from the source:

Most of the time on a long distance job, the driver is going to be the only duplicate person at the time of loading & delivering. He is most likely a contractor. So tipping will most likely not be shared equally amongst everyone. Normally a good rule of thumb is 5%.

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website).

 

The tipping circumstances on long distance moves can be quite unique and present their own challenge. It is not always the same crew that is at the pick up location and at the delivery location. As such, you should strive to tip the crew after the load, and then again after the unload. There may also be an advantage, as you may get a better unloading crew if the movers are aware you are a "good tipper". You can apply similar math to that of local moves when calculating how much to tip, somewhere between $6 and $10 per hour per mover for the labor. If the delivery was prompt and the communication from the driver excellent it will be appreciated if you tip the driver or foreman extra, depending on how long the drive was.

- Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)

 

First, if your movers ask for a tip, then most likely they do not deserve it. Second, if you see that your movers have treated your belongings with care and respect then please, show them your appreciation. (Only you know how much your belongings are worth) Third, movers shouldn't be tipped before your items have arrived at your destination, instead, tip them well once the whole job has been completed. 10% of your total charges is the average tip for the whole crew. If you are extremely satisfied, then 20 to 25 % is what people usually tip us. If your total moving charges are $2000 then a $200 tip for the crew will show them that their work has been appreciated. Our guys usually receive a 20% average because of our higher than average provided service.

- Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)

 

How much to tip varies widely based on many factors – i.e. the size of the shipment, the nature of the belongings, the nature of access (stairs, long carries, challenging parking, complex logistics), the preparedness of the customer, and any special handling or services provided among other things. $50 to $500 depending on factors listed above

- Eric from Hansen Brothers Moving and Storage in Seattle, WA (website)

 

It can range from $0 to about $200. The reason for the variance is because it is all based on customer service, timelines, and did they do what they said they were going to do.

- Nicholas from Car Shipping Carriers in Tampa, FL (website).

 

Most customers we have provided service for are unsure whether they need to tip movers. We have been asked that question many times over our 48 years in business. As far as we are concerned, the simple answer is: Tipping is NOT required. However, if a customer is happy with the movers and wants to tip the movers, it is entirely up to them how much to tip. The secret for movers getting tips is for them to provide good service, great communication and to make sure the customer is satisfied with the work. It's that simple!   We have seen our movers get tips from $5.00 each to $150.00 each on local and intrastate moves. Mostly, the size of the job does not matter either. Some shippers have even provided meals during loading or unloading and some of those gave tips on top of that.  We have heard of movers that, upon arrival on the job, want to discuss tipping with the customer BEFORE they even begin to do any work. That is outrageous! To the customer, it may seem as though the workers will define how well their move is going to go based on the tip amount they will give to the crew. At our company, our movers are not allowed to mention tipping at any time - before, during or after any services provided.

- Robert from Tomball Moving & Storage in Tomball, TX (website)

The long distance movers I know have said that 10% gratuity is the going rate. That can get pretty high on large-size and longer-distance moves, so there's probably a cap of around $500 that would be considered "average" for an expensive move.

- Eric from Soda City Movers in Columbia, SC (website).

 

Chapter two: How much to tip local movers

local-movers

When moving locally, the same variables apply.  Movers who move you two blocks over still deserve the same recognition as movers who help  move long distance.  Depending on what they help you move (and what they pack or unpack), they can easily put in a harder day’s work than long distance movers.

Our movers mentioned three tipping strategies:

  • Percentage based: 5%-10% of the move
  • Hourly: $5/hour per mover is fairly standard
  • Per day: $10 – $40 per mover per hour

For example, if a crew of movers work for 4 hours, some customers will pay each mover anywhere from $10-$40 for their service.   This depends on how smooth the move went, how personable the movers were, and how comfortable they made you feel in terms of your personal belongings.

In addition to tipping, consider some nice small things to provide the movers –  bottled water, leaving the AC on during hot days, and even ordering the moving crew some pizza for lunch.   Moving is back-breaking work and to support their efforts, it’s nice to go above and beyond as a client. This extra thoughtfulness goes a long way with your moving crew.

Check out what our movers told us about tipping for local moves below:

Actually, tipping the movers IS customary and highly appreciated! During the summer in Arizona, people don't move themselves because it's so hot out. The movers highly appreciate it when getting a tip. It lets them know you did a great job! Our movers tips really vary but typically it's 15% or more.

- Don from Frontier Apartment Movers in Phoenix, AZ (website).

 

If you don't want to tip, you can always ask what they'd like for lunch. Another thing they appreciate is that you do NOT turn off the air conditioning in 110 degree heat. Our movers are courteous about not leaving the door wide open so it doesn't save you anything by turning it off. It actually makes the movers work in a hot, stuffy environment that isn't helpful.

- Lynette from All Star Movers in Glendale, AZ (website)

 

Moving is considered to be in the service industry, and tipping should be treated accordingly. 15% on the total bill is a good landmark and should be split between the crew members, not given 15% per mover.

- Luke's A+ Moving Service in Hurst, TX (website)

 

We encourage 10% of the move cost

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

 

From the perspective of a moving company owner, DO NOT TIP movers that did a bad job, especially if you intend on going back to the company to ask for concessions based on mover performance. It really muddies the waters when we go back to analyze a job and see that the movers were tipped (well), as we are assessing any concessions. It does not help make your case when you do this. Tips are appreciated but not mandatory - tip based on good service, not out of obligation.

Dan from All American Moving & Storage in Columbus, OH (website)

 

I usually recommend $5 per mover per hour as a good tip. This applies to all moves - big and small. If it's a 2 hour studio apartment, that's a $20 tip overall - $10 per mover. Say if it's an 8 hour move with 3 movers, that's $40 per mover, or $120 total. It goes without saying that tips are never expected, and we always tell our customers who ask about tipping that you should do it if you feel like our team went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded your expectations.

- Eric from Soda City Movers in Columbia, SC (website)

 

The general rule of thumb is somewhere between 15%-25% for local moves, which translates to roughly $6-$10/hr per man, depending on how happy you are with the service. By using these guidelines in tandem you can be confident you are being courteous to your crew without spending too much.

- Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)

 

$20 to $150 based on the move factors

- Eric from Hansen Brothers Moving and Storage in Seattle, WA (website)

Chapter three: How much to tip movers in New York City, Chicago, and other cities

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Movers in certain cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles tend to report higher tips, as moves cost more there.

For higher income cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, etc. some movers report tips in the $50-$100 range.   Regardless of the city, the fundamentals remain the same — tip more for a great customer experience.

If you are really unsure what to tip in your area. You can always reach out to the company ahead of time and inquire about average tipping. That way, you do not put any movers on-the-spot, as this can be an uncomfortable situation.

Check out what our movers told us about tipping in more expensive cities:

Our large metro area is Seattle. The tipping amount doesn't really change, but we do see more people giving tips. On average (we have 10 locations across the state of WA), less than 50% of customers tip, but closer to 75% do in Seattle.

- Sommer from Bekins Moving and Storage in Mountlake-Terrace, WA (website).

 

We mostly serve the Washington DC metropolitan area. Our movers' average tip is 20% from the total bill. Although we always tell our clients that tipping is not mandatory. But they usually are so impressed with our movers' work that they feel they must tip them. (And our movers always, greatly appreciate their kindness)

- Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)

 

Generally, 10-20 % of the bill would be considered good to excellent amount for a job well done. If you were not happy with the way the movers worked and want to tip less, or if your job was particularly easy, it is understandable. Ultimately, what you want to give the workers on top of the bill is at your discretion

- Vlad from 1st Moving in Howell, NJ (website).

Chapter four: How much to tip movers for 2-hour jobs (and other short jobs)

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On average, most movers agree that a 2-hour job typically results in a $5-$20 tip.   That depends on the overall size of the shipment, the nature of the belongings, how difficult access is (i.e. tight spaces or challenging parking), and whether or not the mover handled special items.

Within a 2-hour span, movers may experience some highly stressful, challenging situations. If you feel as though a mover did a fantastic job, focus less on the timespan and more on what they achieved.

Read the feedback our movers sent us below about tipping for short jobs:

For 2-hour jobs, the average tip is $5 per hour per mover, and/or based on individual performance.

- Tommy from American Top Moving in Miami, FL (website).

 

Even for the very short jobs, you really should not be tipping less than $15 per person. $20 is usually the golden standard.

- Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website).

 

For 2 hours or less, $10 per mover is considered appropriate. If items are extra heavy or difficult to move, consider adding and extra $5 per mover.

- Ben from Olde World Movers in Euless, TX (website)

 

$10 - $20 dollars per mover

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

 

Generally no tip is given, but it's common for the customer to buy lunch, breakfast, dinner, or even drinks for the crew.

- Sommer from Bekins Moving and Storage in Mountlake-Terrace, WA (website)

 

If your move is a multiple day job it’s always nice to tip your movers at the end of each day. This is always appreciated by the movers and gives them incentive to do a good job for you the following day. We typically see tips around 15% of the total bill.
- Luke's A+ Moving Services in Hurst, TX (website)

Chapter five: How much to tip movers when they just pack

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Many movers and company supervisors agree that on average, movers who simply pack do not get tipped. However, this varies highly from city to city, job to job. Packing can pose equally hard work, especially when movers deal with valuable or fragile items — it’s stressful work!

Based on the movers we spoke to, some stated that $0 was customary, whereas others typically receive a $20 tip for packing only.    Packing is not as physically demanding, but it takes A LOT of skill to effectively and properly pack a full house or apartment.

Let’s see what our movers told us about how to tip for packing-only jobs:

Packing is actually harder than moving. Although it might not be so physically challenging, it still takes a lot of skill to properly pack a house or an apartment. If your movers, actually care about your belongings and they make sure every single box they pack is correctly packed and labeled, then they do deserve some love!

- Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)

 

I tell customers that tips are not assumed but instead earned. We would love it if all our crews received amazing tips for their hard work, but it is completely discretionary. When customers push, We usually tell them between $50 - $100 per man per day whether it is packing or moving and regardless of the area.

- Stephen from Molloy Bros Moving and Storage in Harrison, NJ (website)

 

Packing is hard work too, albeit in a completely different way. I think packers should be tipped $20-$30 per person.

- Eric from Soda City Movers in Columbia, SC (website).

 

Normally they don’t get tipped

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

Chapter six: How much to tip movers per day

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When movers spend a full day on one job, it challenges them both mentally- and physically.    Based on the input from movers across the country, the standard tip falls anywhere between $20-$100 per day. This appears to be customary regardless of the location, and whether or not movers were packing or physically moving items.

For multi-day jobs Luke’s Moving told us that it’s always nice to tip movers at the end of each day. This not only rewards a job well-done, but provides an extra incentive to push hard the following day.

Let’s see what our movers told us about how much to tip per day:

I would say 95% of our jobs fall within the $20-$100 range for one day.


- Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)

 

For longer jobs, you can tip up to $100/per mover. Food and drink are also commonly expected for jobs longer than a couple of hours, and for a full day's job, a decent meal is not out of the question.

- Rachel from Transit Systems Inc. (TSI) in Wayne, PA (website)

 

I never pressure any customer to tip and if they ask how much I just say, “whatever you feel comfortable with.” Personally, I believe Movers should get tipped the same as waiters and waitresses - 15 to 20%.

- Chad from Movers with Manners in Venice, FL (website)

 

The biggest tip I ever received in cash as a mover was $200. We had just finished an understaffed 20 hour local move. Tips can take all forms. Sometimes customers will buy you lunch and some may give you things (I was given a coin collection recently).

- David from Around Town Movers in Sterling, VA (website)

 

Tipping depends on how well the crew did their job. If they were efficient and courteous I would say $3 - $5 per hour is appropriate. I have seen a customer tip each packer/mover $20 at the beginning of the day and then another $20 at the end. I thought this was very smart because the crew went out of their way for the customer all day long.

- Bryan from Move It Once in Pocatello, ID (website)

 

$20-$50 depending on the move cost and performance

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

Chapter seven: How much to tip piano movers

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First things first – never move a piano yourself!   Always hire a professional.

When hiring piano movers ask about the company’s moving trucks, as air-ride suspension and climate control are two variables that can make or break piano move.

Consumers often overlook piano movers and appreciate them less than other movers.  Piano moving charges tend to cost a pretty penny, which leads many customers to believe that tipping is not necessary.

Our movers recommended that you tip around $20 per person.  Depending on some the shape and size of some pianos, the job may require anywhere from three to seven movers.

Read the tips our movers sent in about tipping piano movers:

 

First, never do it yourself. Hire a professional. Make sure they have trucks/trailers that are climate controlled and air-ride suspension equipped. Tips for long distance movers average $20-$60 per person and for local moves, $0-$20 per person.

- Christopher from Modern Piano in Sullivan, MO (website)

 

Piano movers should get $20 each if it's upright piano. For baby grand $30-$40 each, and if the piano is moved upstairs, movers should be tipped at least $50 each.

- Roi from Above and Beyond Movers in Anthem, AZ (website)

 

It depends on the type of piano and if stairs/elevators were being used. If you stick to the classic 10-15% you should be OK. The main thing is that you only give what you can afford. Never feel its a demand but a reward for good work.

- Ward from A League of Extraordinary Movers in Fort Lauderdale, FL (website)

 

Piano movers are usually the least appreciated workers. When someone is only moving a piano, the moving charges are usually so high that people tend to believe that a tip isn't necessary. Depending on the type of piano being moved, you might need 3 or 7 movers. $20 per person for a successful local relocation is what we would recommend. If you are crossing state lines then make sure your movers are well taken care of, especially if they deliver your piano in the same condition they picked it up in.

- Luis from Movers on Duty in Gaithersburg, MD (website)

 

If the company charges the same hourly rate whether there is a piano or not, it is highly recommend to tip at least an extra $30 for each person involved in the process of moving a piano.

- Paul from Go to Moving & Storage in Staten Island, NY (website)

 

$20-$30 a man

- Frank from Family Moving & Storage in Palm Bay, FL (website)

Conclusion

At the end of the day, like any service-based industry, you’re NOT required to tip movers.   However, even though tipping a mover is not mandatory, movers welcome and appreciate tips for a job well done.

When tipping, consider the level of skill and patience required to be a mover.    Read the helpful tips provided by our movers for your type of move and tip based your own experience.  We hope this guide helps you in your move!   And if you’re moving soon  get a free moving quote from one of our  highly-rated movers.

How to prepare kids under 10 for a move – tips and tricks from a child psychologist

MovingCompanyReviews note:   We’re delighted to have Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, write this post for us.   Dr. Brown Hasbrook is a well known Child Psychologist in the Chicago area, and recently moved with her three children.    Her post below gives some fantastic tips and tricks on how to make the moving day (and the weeks leading up to it!) less stressful with kids.

It is not surprising that moving is listed as one of life’s most stressful events! After all, you are not just relocating your physical belongings, but you are leaving behind your community, your friends, your schools, and all the well-worn paths you created over the years! Moving becomes more complicated when children are part of the equation. Now, you don’t just have yourself and your worries with which to contend (e.g., How do I find the local grocery store, Will I make friends, etc.), but also a whole host of concerns from your children and their different perspectives. As you embark on this exciting journey, it is important to keep routines as consistent as possible.

When my family relocated from Chicago to a nearby suburb, our children were 3, 5, and 7 years old. Knowing that much of parenting lies in the marketing, I knew that how I presented the upcoming relocation to the kids was important. I also knew that I was serving as the main model based on my attitude and behavior about the move. On a basic level, they knew a relocation was impending given the “For Sale” sign in front of our condo and the numerous, quick clean up toys and flush the toilet sessions before showings. Since we know that change is challenging for everyone, especially if you perceive that you have little or no control over things, my husband and I tried to involve the children in an age-appropriate manner from the outset.

Let’s face it, looking at prospective houses and schools is tremendously easier without children present. Once we narrowed down the town, however, we felt it important to bring them along so they could share their input and visualize their “new life” in the suburbs. Seeing their new school, new neighborhood, and new house greatly managed expectations and appeared to help the move feel less scary! We requested a meeting with the principal so our kids could see a smiling and friendly face belonged to the leader of their new school. As always, they noticed things that my husband and I might not have noticed. After these trips to visit houses and schools, instead of rushing back home, we always made time to stop at local parks to play. Again, a new fond memory at a park made it easier for the kids to imagine playing at that park with their new friends sometime in the future!

We also took time to talk to our children about their feelings regarding leaving the only home and city they knew. We tried to validate their feelings of sadness, fear, and excitement by saying things like, “Thank you for telling me about your worries about making new friends. That is a really normal feeling to have when you move to a new town. Mommy feels the same way too, but I know we are a friendly and kind family. I am sure we will make friends really quickly. Just watch!” This ongoing, open conversation was really helpful as my youngest child expressed sadness regarding “really missing” her toys in the future. We reassured her that all her toys were moving with us to the suburbs. Had we not created an open conversation, we would not have known that she thought her toys were being separated from her! That brings me to my next point, make sure when packing items, that your children’s most beloved possessions (for younger kids it’s usually a lovey or blanket) are not packed in a box, but carried with them or you, if possible! Those items can serve as a great source of comfort (we, psychologists, call them transitional objects) during a stressful time! Make sure to mark the boxes with children’s bedding and toys accurately so they can be the first boxes unpacked in the new house! Involve your children in setting up their new bedrooms. Why not give them control wherever you can by allowing them to select paint colors, to choose furniture placement, and other unimportant details!

Finally, allow your children to connect with their old friends when appropriate. In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever to FaceTime, text, or call friends. The timing of visits and playdates is important though. If your children return to their old schools, or old friends’ houses before they have established enough connections or roots in their new community, it can be painful and delay their adjustment.

Kerry Brown Hasbrook, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist