Tipping is second nature to most New Yorkers. We do it in restaurants, taxi cabs and hair salons. In fact, it feels like almost everywhere you go requires an additional 15-20 percent. Despite how ubiquitous tipping is in this city, there are still some gray areas that stump even the most etiquette-savvy folks. Moving is one of them. And since we are in the middle of moving season with the school year ending and college students packing up, we thought it was time to look at how much to tip movers.
Should I tip my movers?
Like in any service industry, consumers can choose to tip movers to show appreciation for a job well done. “Tips are not expected and it is up to the consumer to decide if they’d like to tip the movers,” says Michael Keaton, director of communications at the American Moving and Storage Association.
According to Dumbo Moving and Storage, tipping is not mandatory, but is greatly appreciated — especially for a job well done.
How much should I tip my movers?
That’s a tougher question and answers vary widely depending on whom you ask. Some favor a fixed amount. The American Moving and Storage Association recommends tipping $10 to $20 per mover for a half- to full-day move and suggests consider tipping more if it takes longer.
Others take a more traditional approach and suggests you tip a percentage of the total cost of the move.
Mateo Prendergast, Chief Relocation Consultant for Rabbit Movers LLC, a moving company out of Brooklyn, suggests tipping 18-25 percent of the total bill for the whole team, not per mover. Similar to wait staff, Pendergast says the tip can be scaled depending on the service you’re getting.
“Tipping more for physically/mentally demanding moves is always greatly appreciated,” says Pendergast.
Bottom line: you should tip your movers, but there are caveats on how much depending on your situation. Here are five guidelines to consider when making this decision:
1. Size and distance of move
How much stuff did they have to carry? Was it complicated? Did they have to hoist and move a grand piano through a window? How many hours did it take to move?
2. Environmental factors
Did the move happen in the middle of a heat wave, rain storm or blizzard? Did they have to climb up 6 flights of stairs? Are your hallways extra narrow?
3. Service provided
Are they also packing for you? Did they fulfill all their duties? Even better, did they go above and beyond? Did they even help you hunt down that NYC mouse that rented a space underneath your couch?
4. Damage control
Did they help wrap fragile items in bubble wrap? Did they set towels on the floor to make sure your floors didn’t get scratched? Were they mindful of walls?
Were they on time? Where they friendly and professional?
As in any service industry, tips are a great way to reward your movers for a job well done. Even though opinions run the gamut on how much you should tip your movers, take the time to assess using the guidelines above. Happy moving!