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!
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.
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
- Chapter 1: How much to tip long distance movers
- Chapter 2: How much to tip local movers
- Chapter 3: How much to tip movers in New York City, Chicago, and other cities
- Chapter 4: How much to tip movers for 2-hour jobs (and other short jobs)
- Chapter 5: How much to tip movers when they just pack
- Chapter 6: How much to tip movers per day
- Chapter 7: How much to tip piano movers
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!
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).
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)
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).
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.