How much to tip?
January 7, 2022 11:25 AM   Subscribe

How much do I tip movers?

We're moving locally (less than two miles, in fact - within Portland, OR), but we're hiring a moving company to do the heavy lifting. I definitely want to tip the people doing the move. The company charges an hourly rate, but I doubt the actual movers see a reasonably sized piece of that.

It's a two person crew, and the move should take about 4 hours I think. What would be an appropriate cash tip amount for the two movers? Also would it be a nice thing to have like coffee/donuts or something available for them, and if so at which end of the move?
posted by pdb to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would give them $50 each, in cash.

I would not give them coffee/donuts. It's a nice consideration, but not all people like coffee or donuts. They're able to pay for their own food locally at the same price as you are. If you give them the cash value of those coffee/donuts, they can decide to spend it on coffee/donuts, or whatever they want - or even use it to pay for their rent, their family's food, etc.
posted by saeculorum at 11:29 AM on January 7 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I would not give them coffee/donuts - but chill a case of water and offer them those - and somewhere between $25-50 each once the move is completed.
posted by rozcakj at 11:36 AM on January 7 [6 favorites]

I'd think of this as two jobs (packing and unpacking) so I'd do more in the ballpark of $40-50 each. I wouldn't bother with coffee/donuts, but yes, make water available.

Other potentially relevant factors: the weather (like, if it was pouring rain/snowing I'd pay more), how many flights of steps you have, etc.
posted by coffeecat at 11:52 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

When I hired movers, I told them I was running to the corner store right at the start, asked them if they wanted anything. One enthusiastically ordered an iced tea, another a fresh coffee, the others took nothing. I tipped them each in the $25ish range in cash at the end and they seemed happy with that (they loaded but did not pack, unload, or unpack).

Anyway, if you straight up ask about goodies, you lessen the risk of buying them and nobody wanting them. The iced-tea guy in particular seemed to really appreciate that he got what he just what he wanted :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:56 AM on January 7 [6 favorites]

Best answer: My spouse and I have had complicated conversations about this. My understanding of the consensus in the US is that 20% is unusually generous, and USD15-20/hr is pretty good but not surprising. Doubling anyone's likely hourly wages is never a bad plan.

Coffee isn't bad. Offering the use of a bathroom has been very welcome in the past.
posted by eotvos at 12:01 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

I would definitely offer coffee/burger/whatever's easy to pick up and let them choose.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:26 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

I start with $10/hr for any person that's providing a service and then scale up or down based on situational factors (and in the case of restaurant or salon services, I increase the tip if needed to make sure it's at least 20%). So I would plan on tipping each person $40-50 for a 4 hour move, if you can afford it.

Offer bottled water too. I probably wouldn't offer the restroom but would of course make it available if asked.
posted by happy_cat at 12:31 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I think the last time I had movers I tipped them $50 each.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:32 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and cash, for sure, or like every mover I've interacted with (and I've had to engage movers twice this year) has had cashapp. They're cool with that also.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:37 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]

When we moved last summer, we looked at guidance on the internet, and it seemed almost completely hilariously low (like, $2 an hour, crap like that). It was hot out, it was the middle of a pandemic, they were all moving all our crap wearing masks the entire time, so we didn't feel bad about throwing them all $60 each. We also got them all refreshing drinks (ice tea, gatorade, etc.) of their choice once we arrived at the new place.
posted by General Malaise at 1:00 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]

We've moved quite a bit in our city, usually a pack, load, and then move for an 8 hour day, done by two people. We usually tip $50 each at the end of the day. At lunchtime we offer to purchase drinks and green chile cheeseburgers (we are in New Mexico - it is a thing!) and we've always been taken up on it. Everybody ends the day happy.
posted by furtheryet at 1:24 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Please hand each person their tip. Sometimes the boss or foreman doesn’t let the other guy know that there was a tip or may not distribute it equally
posted by spork at 1:39 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all! I was thinking somewhere in the $40-50 range per person, I'm glad to see that seems appropriate.
posted by pdb at 1:51 PM on January 7

I would give them $50 each, in cash.

I had movers recently, moving a not-too-big load of stuff (some furniture, one room's worth of boxes) and it took them a few hours and 90 min of driving and I handed each one a $50 bill (in line with what spork said above). Also said it was fine to use the bathroom and offered snacks that we had available in the house, bottled water or coffee or cookies.
posted by jessamyn at 2:31 PM on January 7

I bought lunch for myself in the middle of the last move from a local sandwich place. I asked if they wanted anything, everyone ordered something. I also tipped ~40 each.
posted by lab.beetle at 3:18 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

I bought everyone lunch and waters and tipped $50 each.
posted by slateyness at 3:50 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]

$50 per for a one-day in-town move sounds reasonable, but I would consider any aggravating circumstances (many flights up, not breaking any of your super fragile china doll collection, etc.) in deciding whether to add onto that.
posted by praemunire at 5:14 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]

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