Do you tip movers, and if so, how much?
May 13, 2004 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Etiquette question: Do you tip movers? And if so, how much? I've hired 3 Men, 1 Truck for an across-town move that will probably take about 4 hours. The move is billed by the hour and the hourly rate is pretty steep, so I assume (hope) they get a decent wage.
posted by FreezBoy to Human Relations (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When I've had moving help - volunteer or paid - it seems that pizza-and-beverage is always appreciated. That beverage doesn't have to include alcohol.
posted by yesster at 6:30 AM on May 13, 2004

When I hired movers, they took four hours to do a three-hour (max) job. I'm a pretty laid-back guy, but I found I really had to hound them--at $2 a minute, I considered paying for that extra hour to be the tip.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:57 AM on May 13, 2004

On the other hand, I have had a positive experience, too. I hired two college students, gave them pizza and beer, and gave them about a 25% tip on top of what we agreed, because they earned it. Plus I gave them all the stuff that didn't fit into the new place. Oh, and those empty 5-gallon water jugs I never got around to returning, so they got the deposit on them.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:00 AM on May 13, 2004

Food and beverage should be given liberally. Many people provide food for lunch but I'd recommend buying doughnuts for the morning as well. Think of it as a tip given PRIOR to the service to ensure good service for the rest of the day.
posted by yangwar at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2004

i always tip movers. while it's done after the fact and won't change the quality of care you receive, i think it fosters good will for the future.

i'd also wait to ask what they would like to eat and drink. the last time i moved, i used delancy street movers (they also have a great restaurant down in soma) which enables people out of prison to develop new skills. they couldn't accept anything other than bottled water with intact seals. they were great... really nice guys.
posted by heather at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2004

I always tip them too--they're doing the work i don't want to, and aren't strong enough for (and i always live up narrow staircases).
posted by amberglow at 8:11 AM on May 13, 2004

The movers probably don't get very much of that hourly rate. I worked as a mover a few summers ago. The billed rate was $24.50 per man per hour. We got $7.50 of that. A large percentage of the hourly rate goes towards insurance.

I'd tip if they do an especially good job and definitely have some drinks to hand out. I'd estimate that we got tipped about 1/3 of the time, so it wasn't anything that was counted on.

I might mention that if they do the job quickly, they'll get tips. It's pretty easy to take your time when your only getting such a small percentage of the billed rate. I've also seen lots of guys knock some billable time off the bill for customers who promised tips if the job was done quickly.
posted by ttrendel at 8:20 AM on May 13, 2004

Our moving service was a corporate-based company, so our fee went to the company and the movers themselves were paid on the clock. We had a team of four guys and we gave each of them $20 at the end of the job. They might have gotten more if they didn't spend half the day hitting on my sister.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:20 AM on May 13, 2004

I think 10 to 25 percent being typical was what I read before my last move. I assumed I could throw it onto the final check, but they insisted on cash, so they only got a 10% tip since that was all I had on me. It was the first time I used movers and I have to say it was worth every penny. I'm never moving again by myself, it's just stupid to put your family, body, and friends through such pain.
posted by mathowie at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2004

For apartment moves, 40-50 bucks a person sounds reasonable, I think. Usually for small jobs you get 2 people, and medium 3.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2004

it's fucking hard, grueling work. if at all possible, tip them.
posted by matteo at 10:28 AM on May 13, 2004

My mother and my stepfather just hired a small company like the one described in the post (Two Men And A Truck, or something like that) to move them to a new house, and when the job was finished the stepfather tipped each man $100. From the looks on their faces you'd have thought they'd never seen Benjamin Franklin before. I'm guessing that probably doubled their wage for the day.

Frankly, since the last time my mom moved I was the one who did all the heavy lifting, I'd have happily tipped them $100 myself just to thank them for saving my back.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:26 AM on May 13, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, I did try to set up a moving fund by inviting all my friends to pay me money, rather than have to help me move. It didn't work out so well.

Thanks for everyone's advice. I'll definitely be supplying food and drinks and I'll have a goodly amount of tip money on hand.
posted by FreezBoy at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2004

Last time we moved, we tipped $60 or $80 extra bucks and a 12-pack of beer. The movers seemed more grateful for the beer than the money, but it was a really hot day. (The fee for the move was about $300 IIRC, so you do the math.)
posted by me3dia at 2:04 PM on May 13, 2004

In general I find that if I'm unclear whether I should tip someone or not, that means I should.
posted by Nelson at 3:19 PM on May 13, 2004

Tip them. They work harder for the money than just about anybody else. (I think 20% is about right.)
posted by languagehat at 7:20 PM on May 13, 2004

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