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August 19, 2006 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Are you supposed to tip movers?

You know... like movers...the guys that come in the truck and charge an exorbitant fee to take your random detritus from point A to point B -- do you tip them? Having never hired movers, I am totally in the dark on this point of etiquette.
posted by kaseijin to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How much to tip the movers. Do it sooner than later though. No point in tipping for a job well done, when you could pay them off to be careful in the first place.
posted by SirStan at 10:37 PM on August 19, 2006

My ex-roommate was a mover. His advice was to tip right away and your stuff won't get broken.

Yes, it IS as insulting as it sounds, but that's how it works.

Aside from the fact that I don't want dipshits with that sort of mentality handling my personal affects, I don't believe in tipping someone for doing their job as it should be done. I don't hire movers. I realize that isn't an option in all cases.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:47 PM on August 19, 2006

I have never heard of tipping a mover and I worked for a moving company briefly.

At least where I live in Canada, this is not something we would do...

I am rather taken aback by the suggestion. Where does the poster live, this must be a cultural thing...
posted by Deep Dish at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2006

Don't tip them. They're getting paid to do a job, just like you do.
posted by Jimbob at 12:49 AM on August 20, 2006

However, they may appreciate a nice cold beer once the job is done.
posted by Jimbob at 12:49 AM on August 20, 2006

I believe that if someone actually does what they promise, they deserve a substancial tip simply because they did something nobody else does. think about it, who still does live up to their promises? the phone company doesn't, utilities per se don't and every other offer comes with an asterix next to it.

I tipped the guy who moved my stuff from new york to chicago $100. he worked hard for about as much as a one-way uhaul would have cost me and you know, I respect that he did not try to screw me over.

(btw, I used vantruckmove.com)
posted by krautland at 1:38 AM on August 20, 2006

In a Seinfeld episode it was establshed that you should at least offer them a drink.
posted by keijo at 3:57 AM on August 20, 2006

Best answer: You absolutely must "tip" movers long before they are finished packing up your belongings. Food goes a long ways.

Great them pleasantly. Be polite and courteous and immediately offer them something small like muffins and coffee.

Buy them a large lunch (pizza or sandwiches or chicken) with a little bit of beer and a lot of soda.

Keep a cooler stocked with ice and drinks throughout the day.

What you do during the packing is much more important than what you do afterwards.
posted by sleepyflywheel at 6:01 AM on August 20, 2006

Yes, for god's sake. Maybe in other countries everyone, including the poor saps lugging the stuff, takes the "just doing a job" attitude, but you're in the States (I see from your profile), and here in the States movers, like waiters, get tips. Make it a good one; it's hard, sweaty work.

Yes, it IS as insulting as it sounds

You must have a different understanding of "insulting" than me and the dictionary.
posted by languagehat at 7:14 AM on August 20, 2006

And no, muffins do not constitute a tip. Feed them and tip them.
posted by languagehat at 7:15 AM on August 20, 2006

Languagehat- I took Dark Messiah to mean insulting to the person expected to give the tip on top of the normal fee. Nice mirror you got there. Shame if someone - dropped - it.

I'm torn. I've always tipped, but after the fact simply because, well, it's an add on, and extra, isn't it? To insure promptness, right? To seal the deal on a job well done and show appreciation for hard work.

But then I ran into Dark Messiah's ex-roommate....

And so reality once more degrades my own sunny POV and what was once a nice feel good gesture on my part will next time become a simple bribe. Sad, really.

(Oh yeah, and they also got good food and plenty of it on the packing end and unpacking end. Bastards.)
posted by IndigoJones at 1:26 PM on August 20, 2006

This just came up recently as my friends were moving (but out of town on an emergencey) so I "watched" the movers. One of the movers mentioned a tip early on in the day. I was taken aback and hadn't even thought of it. So I started calling all my friends covering lots of different socio-economic backgrounds (waiter, bank VP, .com, etc.). There was NO concensus. Some folks thought that tipping movers is mandatory and others scoffed at the thought. Finally, I just called the moving company to get the straight answer. They told me their movers were not allowed to accept tips.
posted by Bear at 6:59 PM on August 20, 2006

When I moved, "real" movers were out of the question, so I hired some laborers on Craigslist.

I explained that the pay was X per hour and I budgeted for X hours of work. I further explained that I couldn't afford to pay more than this, but if they finished early I would pay them for the entire time.

They finished in about half the time and were happy to take the full amount and split.

I overestimated the amount of time I thought it would take, thinking that if they were slower than I anticipated the work would still get done.

I did explain all this upfront, which I think put us all on the same page from the start. I also gave them cold beers when the work was done and I was paying them. Both the money and beer were much appreciated.
posted by Sheppagus at 10:16 AM on August 21, 2006

My advice on movers:

-Shop around, check better business bureau.
-Move anything small (and valuable) yourself (perhaps rent a small storage unit). Remember, your hiring movers to help you move the big stuff you might not want or be able to move yourself. Also, I hate to say, small things are targets for theft, a couch isn't.
-Moving is back breaking job. Offer plenty of water, tell the head guy that you'll definitely take care of them (tip). Buy pizza for lunch.

I moved last year. It took all day. The 3 guys earned their tips ($60/each) and they even knocked a hour off the charge. For something that happens infrequently, it's money well spent.
posted by devilshgrin at 10:29 AM on August 21, 2006

If you don't think that tip right away and your stuff won't get broken is insulting, Languagehat, I hope I never have the misfortune of having any professional contact with you.

I have always tipped movers after the fact and never had an issue, but I always make sure to be prepared and have everything ready to be picked up and go, and supervise the process. They'd be hard-pressed to break anything in the in or out stage without my being aware of it and I think my involvement makes it clear I'm taking an active interest in the end result.

As others said, I make sure water is available, cold, free and plentiful. When it's done I've always tipped roughly $5 per person per hour, which seems similar to devilshgrin's end result.
posted by phearlez at 12:20 PM on August 21, 2006

If you don't think that tip right away and your stuff won't get broken is insulting, Languagehat, I hope I never have the misfortune of having any professional contact with you.

I read your comment too hastily and thought you meant tipping is insulting in and of itself (in my defense, that's an all too common position in these arguments). My apologies.

And my practice is similar to yours.

Practice is one of those words I am never sure of; half the time I write it with an -s-, look at it, think "that doesn't look right," and have to look it up. Stupid word.
posted by languagehat at 12:53 PM on August 21, 2006

They'd be hard-pressed to break anything in the in or out stage without my being aware of it....

Actually, that's exactly what Dark Messiah's ex-roommate did do. Didn't become obvious until after they left.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:58 AM on August 27, 2006

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