How much to tip delivery of lumber
June 9, 2014 3:47 PM   Subscribe

I bought $500 of lumber from the local hardware store/lumber yard. They will delivery it tomorrow. Assuming there are two guys and it takes them 5-10 minutes to unload it, how much should I tip each of them, if anything?
posted by coffee and minarets to Work & Money (23 answers total)
I'd give them $10 each and say "lunch is on me".
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:53 PM on June 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

I don't tip delivery people, but I offer them a can of soda.
posted by brujita at 4:18 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll tip food and grocery delivery, but not something like this.
posted by brujita at 4:21 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I get a lot of lumber delivered. I've never considered tipping. In fact construction delivery guys expect to be asked next to impossible in some cases. Guys on-site expect the delivery guys to place the load as they need. How it gets done is the delivery guy's problem.

So yeah, it wouldn't go unappreciated, but the delivery guy will wonder what's up with this weirdo.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:51 PM on June 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

Freight delivery like that? I don't think I'd tip. (We had a bunch of flooring delivered here to my office, though I made my guys bring it up the stairs. Didn't tip any of them. :p)

There's something about it being construction-related that makes me a little less inclined to tip for some reason.

White glove delivery where someone's unpacking furniture in my house? $5 or so per person.

I had a 250 lb solid hardwood table brought up a switchback staircase in a second floor walk up. I tipped $5 or $10 each for that. (Don't remember off-hand. It was brutal, so probably $10.)

Movers moving my entire house for 8 hours? I think we tipped $20 each.

Pizza guy? $3 to $5 for a pizza + wings $30 order.
posted by disillusioned at 5:03 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think you need to tip, but if they do a good job, get their names and write a complimentary letter to their boss/management/corporate.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:05 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

We get lumber delivered all the time at work. We don't tip.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:10 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yep, this is a non-tipping situation. I order $1000 in lumber regularly and it would never occur to me to do that. It would be weird to, in fact.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by four panels at 5:40 PM on June 9, 2014

I'm with Joe Z. $10 a piece and if its before lunch. "Lunch is on me." If its in the PM then "let me buy you guys a beer."

Enjoy your lumber!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:56 PM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

We get lumber delivered all the time at work. We don't tip.

That's at work. This is not. I'd tip $10.00 each.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:02 PM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, this isn't business to business. Pay it forward. $20 a head, at least.
posted by monospace at 6:20 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Or a cold six-pack of beer (or enough cash to buy a nice cold six-pack).
posted by RoboKaren at 6:35 PM on June 9, 2014

I wouldn't tip unless they did something exceptional for you. Tipping is not customary in construction. If they had to carry individual pieces up stairs or something, and you're obviously a homeowner (like monospace assumes) then I'd tip. But a basic delivery? Nah.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:57 PM on June 9, 2014

I used to deliver lumber for a lumber yard. Decks, roofing, whole garages, you name it.

Odds are pretty good, they are gonna show up, take off the straps, tip the bed, get you sign and head out. This was especially true for deck/garage packages. We'd have them in a nice tidy bundle that would slide right off the dump bed in 10 seconds.

If you want them to hand move the stuff, you might slide him a 5-10 bucks - most places I am familiar with pay on a sort of commission - the more loads you haul, the more you make. So, a hand unload - especially if you gotta schlep it back behind the house or some shit would suck double because of extra effort and a net cut in pay.

Do make sure you take the minute to double check that everything is there. I would do 20-30 loads a day on a good day, and if the picker only screwed up once in 100, that was 3-4 screwups every week. It happens.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:00 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Don't offer them beverages. You don't know what they like, and they don't know if they can rely on random beverages from customers. The one time I've offered a beverage to a delivery person, he had to turn it down and it was just plain awkward.

I fail to see why it matters whether the customer is a business or an individual, or why individuals should be hit harder than businesses.

If you're really wondering about the policy or custom on tipping, why not just call the store and ask about the policy or custom?
posted by John Cohen at 8:04 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had $1000 of lumber delivered from 2 different local lumber yards in the Bay Area. Each time the guy came out of the truck to flip a switch and the lumber rolled off. It won't be 2 guys taking pieces off the truck by hand as you might be picturing. If they do unload by hand, I would tip $5-10 each (but I would be surprised).
posted by poyorick at 8:43 PM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

wow. people are cheaper than i thought.* if they are hand unloading and bringing it around to your back yard or something, i would tip 20$ a guy. (frankly, if i'm having something delivered, i expect it to be put where i want it, and i will pay extra/tip for that.)

*i just moved and tipped each guy $40 each for a pretty easy move, because i valued their services that much. not having to lift and carry and ugh is worth it.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:48 PM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

John Cohen, when I've offered soda it's always in a sealed can.
posted by brujita at 12:23 AM on June 10, 2014

They're getting paid by their employer to bring the lumber to you. So if they show up late and jump dump it out, feel free to not tip. But anything they do to make the process more convenient for you -- showing up on time (or communicating if there's a delay), stacking it where you want it, etc. -- is extra service that deserves a tip. I would tip $10 to $20 each depending on how helpful and polite they are.

Offering a cold beverage as suggested above is also a good thing to do. (Especially if they are Latino! Apologies for the stereotyping but when I lived in Central America it seemed like inviting delivery people and other workers to sit down for a bit and have a snack and drink was simply the done thing. Since returning to the U.S. my impression has been that many Latino immigrants have brought this culture of universal hospitality here with them and thus Latinos seem more receptive to these offers than people of other cultural backgrounds.)
posted by Jacqueline at 8:23 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

In addition to the tip, I always offer a cold drink, because it's hotter than hell out there!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:04 AM on June 10, 2014

I would tip a delivery of heavy items/furniture person $20/person + bottle of water and I am not rich.
posted by CtrlAltD at 2:36 PM on June 10, 2014


One guy showed up, we moved the wood together, it took 5 minutes, I gave him $10, he seemed to really appreciate it.
posted by coffee and minarets at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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