For most people, moving to a new home is an irregular experience. The average American moves about 11 times in their entire life, and because of that irregularity, it can be difficult to pick up all of the social customs and routine practices associate with moving. Compare that to more common activities like going to a restaurant or getting a haircut that people do over and over again. They have plenty of chances to learn how and when to tip at a coffee shop, but little when moving.
As a result, most people don’t know what to tip their movers, or even if they should tip at all.
Tipping is common in the moving world, but it is never mandatory. If you don’t like the service you received, don’t leave a tip and contact the company to make sure your message gets through. If the service was acceptable but not above and beyond, it’s entirely your call if you should tip or not.
Remember, it’s your gift as a sign of satisfaction. It is not a requirement.
If you decide you do want to tip, you should do so at the tail-end of the job when all the work has been completed. The standard for a local move is around 15% to 20% for the entire crew. Try to give it when they are all together as a group and if you don’t have small bills to divide up on the spot, don’t worry, they’ll be happy to break them up on their own.
If you are moving a few states away or even cross country, consider upping the tip. Remember that when the movers are tied up with your move, they can’t be working on another one. A long enough move could keep them from doing several small jobs in the local area, so try looking at it from their perspective.
Also consider punching up your tip a little if you threw some difficult tasks at them, such as moving a grand piano. If your hot tub arrived at your new home without a dent or scuff, dig a little deeper.
It’s also common to buy the crew food around lunchtime. Pizza is a common choice, so if you decide to go this route ask them if there’s any specific takeout food they’re hankering for, like Indian cuisine or Italian sandwiches.