How Much Should You Tip Your Movers? A Complete Guide

February 20, 2024

Tipping is a customary practice in the service industry, including for movers. Deciding how much to tip movers can be tricky. The tip amount depends on several factors and can vary widely.  This article provides guidelines on average tip amounts, key considerations when deciding tip percentages, whether to tip per ...

Tipping is a customary practice in the service industry, including for movers. Deciding how much to tip movers can be tricky. The tip amount depends on several factors and can vary widely. 

This article provides guidelines on average tip amounts, key considerations when deciding tip percentages, whether to tip per person or per team, appropriate non-cash tips, when to tip, and general tip etiquette. The goal is to equip readers with the knowledge needed to tip movers appropriately. Tips are a sign of appreciation for good service, but should also reflect other factors like the difficulty of the job and movers’ base wages.

Factors That Impact Tip Amount

The amount you tip your movers can vary based on several factors:

Distance of the move – For local moves within the same city, a tip of $20-50 per mover is common. For longer distance interstate moves, tips tend to be higher – around $50-150 per mover – to account for their time away from home. 

Size of move – The more items and furniture being moved, the more challenging the job. Tips should reflect the amount of work and care involved. For small studio moves, tip around $20-50 per mover. For larger 3-4 bedroom home moves, $50-150+ per mover is appropriate.

Crew size – Tips can be calculated per person or per team. For solo movers, the standard tip advice applies. For multi-mover crews, adjust the per person tip amount accordingly to come up with a fair total tip to present. 

Additional services – Did the movers go above and beyond by providing exceptional service, disassembling/reassembling furniture, packing specialty items, using stairs, or handling bulky items like pianos or safes? Increase tips to account for difficult work. An extra $20-50 per mover is reasonable.

Quality and care – How well did the movers protect your items and home? Did they exhibit professionalism and efficiency? Tip more for movers who took extra care. Reduce tips for movers who damaged items or were unprofessional.

The major factors that influence tip amount are distance traveled, size/difficulty of the move, number of movers, and quality of service. Tips should adequately reflect the effort required.

Per Person or Per Team

When tipping a moving team, it can be tricky to decide whether to tip each worker individually or give one tip to the team as a whole. There are arguments on both sides of this issue.

Some advise tipping each mover separately. This allows you to reward exceptional service or effort from specific workers. If one mover went above and beyond while others simply did adequate work, an individual tip can acknowledge that. Tipping each worker also promotes accountability and encourages movers to provide their best service to earn their tip.  

However, others recommend providing one tip for the entire moving team. This approach is simpler and ensures even distribution of the gratuity. The moving job involves coordination and teamwork, so the team tip philosophy recognizes that. It also avoids any jealousy or conflict if certain workers receive more than others. The team leader can divide the tip among the crew as they see fit.

There’s no right or wrong approach. Both individual tips and team tips are common and acceptable. Consider the size of the moving team, the complexity of the job, and any outstanding effort from individuals. Do what seems fair and appropriate for the service you received. The most important thing is showing your appreciation for the movers’ hard work.

Also, Read : Best Interstate Moving and Storage

Non-Cash Tips

In addition to monetary tips, consider providing snacks, drinks, meals, gift cards, or other non-cash tokens of appreciation to your movers. This can be especially thoughtful if you supply locally made or artisanal goods that reflect your region. 

Some ideas for non-cash tips include:

– Good coffee and breakfast pastries or bagels if the movers are arriving in the morning

– A cooler filled with bottled water, sports drinks, and soft drinks to keep the movers hydrated 

– Fresh fruit, veggies, sandwiches, pizza or other easy grab-and-go foods for lunch or snacks

– Gift certificates to popular coffee shops, restaurants, or grocery stores

– Gift baskets with local treats, baked goods, or specialty foods

Providing food and drinks shows your movers that you appreciate their hard work and want to keep their energy and spirits up. It also saves them time and money searching for places to eat or buy drinks during the course of the move. 

If possible, try to customize your non-cash tip based on preferences or dietary restrictions. Ask ahead if anyone has food allergies or sensitivities. 

Giving snacks, meals, or small gifts in addition to a monetary tip can help convey your gratitude for exceptional service. Just be sure to check on policies regarding gifts first.

When to Tip

Tipping at the right time is important when showing your appreciation to movers. You generally want to tip your movers after the moving service is complete. This allows you to assess the overall experience and quality of service provided before deciding on a tip amount. 

Tipping the movers while they are still working can make some feel awkward or uncomfortable. It can also set the wrong expectations if issues or damages occur later in the move that would impact your satisfaction.

The ideal time to tip is after the movers have finished unloading and unpacking your items in your new home. Take a quick walkthrough to ensure no immediate damage or issues. Assuming you are satisfied with the service, offer a tip to the lead mover and thank them for their work. This shows your gratitude and completes the experience on a positive note.

Some key times to tip or avoid tipping:

– At the end upon satisfactory completion – Best practice

– While movers are still working – Avoid as it can be awkward

– Before assessing potential damages – Hold off until the work is done

– Days later by mail – Acceptable but lacks personal touch  

Tipping at the end when the job is fully finished allows you to tip according to your satisfaction. It also gives movers something to look forward to as their work day wraps up. The little extra effort to tip in-person helps ensure a five-star moving experience.

Tip Etiquette

Tipping movers requires more than just handing over some cash. Follow these etiquette tips to ensure you’re tipping properly:

– Tip in cash directly to each mover rather than leaving a general tip, so they each get their fair share. Count out the cash tip for each person as you hand it to them. 

– Offer tips at the end of the move when the work is completed. Tipping early could be seen as a bribe for better service.

– Don’t tip movers less because of minor problems or delays that occur. Tip based on their overall hard work and time spent.

– If you offer snacks or drinks, do so in addition to a cash tip. Refreshments shouldn’t replace monetary tips.

– Avoid overly effusive thanks. A simple “Thank you, this is for your hard work today” suffices when tipping.

– Don’t ask for change back if you hand movers a larger bill. Let them keep the change as part of their tip.

– Provide an envelope for tips if multiple family members are contributing. This keeps things organized.

– If hiring movers again in the future, tip well to encourage excellent service next time. 

– Discuss any tipping concerns privately with company management rather than shortchanging hardworking movers.

Following proper tipping etiquette shows movers your appreciation for their services while maintaining professionalism. A thoughtful tipping approach leads to good feelings all around.

Ask About Tip Policies

Before your move, be sure to ask the moving company about their tipping policies. Many movers have standard tipping practices or recommendations. Getting this information upfront allows you to budget accordingly and avoid any awkward tipping situations on moving day.  

Some companies include gratuity in their overall charges so additional tipping is not expected or required. Other companies may have a suggested tip amount or percentage. There can even be tipping policies for specific services like packing versus loading/unloading. Knowing the policies in advance enables you to tip fairly and appropriately.

You’ll also want to find out if tips should be per person or per team. For example, some companies pool tips to split evenly while others expect individual tips per mover. It’s important to know the tipping structure to provide tips in the desired manner.

Discussing tips ahead of time can prevent uncomfortable conversations onsite and ensure the tipping process goes smoothly. The movers will appreciate you taking the time to understand their policies. Asking about tips also provides insight into a company’s practices, which can help in comparing moving companies. Be sure to get all tip-related information prior to your move date for a seamless experience.

Tax Implications

Tips paid to movers may be tax deductible, but there are some important factors to consider. Generally speaking, tips to movers are deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. However, miscellaneous itemized deductions were eliminated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act starting in 2018. This means that for most taxpayers, tips to movers are no longer deductible.  

There are some exceptions though. Tips may still be deductible if you are self-employed and the tips relate to your business. For example, if you tip movers while moving equipment or inventory for your business, those tips can potentially be deducted as a business expense. The key is being able to demonstrate that the tips were an ordinary and necessary expense for operating your business.

Tips may also still be deductible if you itemize your deductions and can claim them as moving expenses related to a job relocation. However, the tax rules around deducting moving expenses are complex, with distance and time requirements that must be met. Consult with a tax professional to understand if your specific moving-related tips qualify for this deduction.

The bottom line is that for most people who use a moving company for personal (not business) reasons, tips paid to movers are no longer tax deductible after the recent tax law changes. Deductions may be possible in limited cases if you are self-employed or the tips relate directly to a job relocation. Check with a tax advisor to be sure.


Tipping your movers is customary practice in the moving industry, but determining how much to tip can be tricky. In this article, we’ve covered the average recommended tip amount of $50-100 per mover, key factors like move distance and crew size that impact your tip, whether to tip per person or per team, and creative non-cash tip ideas. 

It’s important to confirm when to present tips, adhere to tip etiquette by not implying obligations, ask companies ahead of time about standard tipping policies, and be aware of tax implications. With these tips in mind, you can show your movers your appreciation through an appropriate tip.

To recap, the goal of this article was to provide readers with a definitive guide on mover tipping best practices. By outlining tipping averages, influential factors, policies, and etiquette, readers should now feel equipped with the knowledge needed to confidently tip their movers. Tipping can be a major part of the moving experience, so we hope these tips help you tip your movers generously while avoiding missteps.