The Movers Say the Muffins Aren't Enough.
July 27, 2007 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Help me sort out tipping packers/movers: The move is 65 miles (so not interstate, etc.), but because of scheduling, I have packers (3) coming on day one (about 1/2 of my stuff is already packed), movers (3) to load on day two, and movers (3) to unload on day three. Is this $20 a person no matter what? I plan on drinks and food, too.
posted by oflinkey to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My experience has been that no matter what you give them as a tip, they ask (yes, ask) for more. I moved two weeks ago and ended up giving each guy about $30. There were three of them and they worked for about 4 hours. But because I'm almost positive they were all illegal immigrants, I figured they probably weren't getting all that much of an hourly wage. But then again, they weren't all that great, either.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:49 PM on July 27, 2007

You tip them what they're worth. If they work like shit, fuck 'em. We recently moved about 100 miles and the movers were so *fucking* slow I had to keep kicking their asses to have them move at all. When the pulled away from the house... I kid you not... one of them was sniffing glue. I had to call in reinforcements at the other end or we would have not been in before dawn broke the next day. We gave them $20 each (because they did pick it up at the end after I kicked their asses).

No automatic tip for movers.
posted by unSane at 7:52 PM on July 27, 2007

unSane has it right--you tip based on what they actually do. Sure, give them food and something to drink as they're working, but base your tip on their performance. You can also avoid them asking for more by putting your tip into an envelope and giving it to the lead mover as they're leaving. Do not feel bad about tipping an amount that you think is reasonable--it is a tip, after all. Don't let other people bully you into tipping more than you think you should.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:44 PM on July 27, 2007

The three guys who showed up for my recent move hustled from the moment they showed up until the time they drove off.

The new place is on a narrow, one way street with little parking. The closest spot big enough for the truck was five or six doors down the street. But instead of parking there, the lead guy grabbed a couple of homemade "Detour" signs out of the cab and placed them up the street at an alleyway, thereby redirecting traffic off the street and away from the move.

"Think you should be going that?" I said.

"If you want, I can park in the spot you found. It'll cost you because we'll have to carry the stuff all the way from over there."

"Looks good to me, " I said.

I'd planned on tipping each guy $20. I ended up doubling it.
posted by notyou at 9:24 PM on July 27, 2007

Maybe I'm just dense here, but are you paying them something other than the tip? Is there a flat fee or something?

I have to agree with unSane on this one - packers/movers are like any other labor. They do a good job, they get a little something extra. After all, if there ARE getting some sort of a wage, screw 'em if they suck. Maybe next time they'll actually work.
posted by jimmyhutch at 11:04 PM on July 27, 2007

I should add that you also take into account the overall cost of the move... in our case the movers were RIDICULOUSLY cheap so I knew they were getting paid jack shit, and I felt any kind of genuine effort on their part should be rewarded. If it had cost more I would have tipped less.

(It did make me wonder though... if you are a person who has an obvious aversion to picking up heavy objects and moving them from one place to another, why on EARTH would you get a job as a mover? It also became apparent that none of them could read a map, and two of them couldn't read ANYTHING, when they got lost despite haven driven right through the destination town, and almost ended up driving right out into Lake Huron).
posted by unSane at 6:27 AM on July 28, 2007

My rule of thumb has been to tip back roughly 50% of how much billable time the movers saved over my estimate of what it would have take me and my friends. During my last move, the three-person crew easily saved 3 hours (@ $165/hour) with their efficiency and hustle (running up/down stairs with loads, etc.), and the $75 each I tipped left them quite pleased.

Normally $20/person would be my minimum, but the separate load/unload is an interesting wrinkle. If each assignment only takes an hour or two, you might get by with $10/person, but...on the load, saving $30 and possibly annoying the people who have your possessions seems like a bad trade-off.
posted by backupjesus at 6:27 AM on July 28, 2007

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