Tipping is largely a cultural thing, so more than a few people wonder whether or not they’re obligated to tip movers. In short, tipping is almost never required, although some companies might build a tip into the overall moving costs. Where that doesn’t happen, it’s up to you to decide what’s appropriate.
Is Tipping Really Justified?
No one will require you to offer a tip to movers in most cases. In some companies, tipping is forbidden. Be sure the get that information first. But it’s never bad form to give something to the workers who carry and transport your prized possessions, saving you from the work that nobody really wants to do. Apartment Guide recently learned in their Moving Etiquette study that 71 percent of respondents do, indeed, tip movers.
One argument against tipping seems sound on the surface, but falls apart upon closer inspection. Yes, movers are paid, either with an hourly wage or by the job. A tip is an offering of appreciation for a job well done. They didn’t have to be in a good mood, and they might have carried mud through your house. But they didn’t, and that’s a reason to be happy and extend a little “thank you.”
How Much is Appropriate?
This is a stickier subject than whether or not to tip. Some people are naturally big tippers no matter the situation, and some want to calculate a tip all the way down to a fraction of a percentage. Flatrate Movers says that 5 percent of the moving cost is fairly reasonable in the industry for each mover on the job. But so is 10, 15 and 20 percent, depending on different factors. The more difficulty and the longer the drive, the higher the tipping percentage. Apartment Guide’s study showed that 39 percent of respondents tip 10 percent of the moving cost.
If it’s a simple move, with no extraordinary work required of the movers, five percent per mover might be perfectly fine. But, if you have a difficult house or apartment with steep, narrow stairs and a houseful of heavy, awkward furniture, the nice thing to do is increase the tip. Remember, your movers probably don’t own the company, and these are typically not high-paying jobs.
Other Niceties That Show Appreciation
Movers have a hard job, even under the best of circumstances. That’s why all of your friends seem to have other plans when you need to move, and they all call you when they need help with theirs. Nobody dreams of carrying boxes and furniture all day every day, so a few refreshments on moving day is a very nice gesture.
Bottled water, sodas, juice and light snacks are always welcome. And Flatrate Movers suggests that you’ll get no argument from movers if you decide to pick up the tab for a pizza lunch. Just watch out for exchanging refreshments for a tip. They’re perfectly capable of buying their own drinks and lunch. A free lunch should be an add-on, not a reason not to tip at all.
No matter what your opinions are about tipping, the fact is that it’s a cultural norm in the U.S. Countries where tipping isn’t common usually have higher wages, which helps explain the difference. But the bottom line is that a tip is a nice thing to do for someone who has broken his back and stayed in a good mood all day long to keep you happy and your valuables safe.
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