How Much Should You Tip Interstate Movers?

Should you tip movers when moving across the country? Moving companies don't include a mandatory gratuity on their bills like some restaurants do, yet many people want to show their appreciation in the form of a tip. According to a survey conducted by Apartment Guide, 71 percent of people tip moving crews. If you're moving across the country this summer and want to leave a tip, there's a follow-up question that must be answered: How much should you tip interstate movers?

Looking at People's Tipping Habits

Apartment Guide's survey shows that, while most people tip their movers, there's no consensus on how much to give them. The survey found the following results among people who left a tip:

  • 17 percent based the gratuity on a set hourly rate
  • 23 percent gave movers a flat amount
  • 21 percent offered 20 percent of the move's cost
  • 39 percent offered 10 percent of the moves cost

(These findings don't distinguish between tipping for local and long-distance moves.)

On long-distance moves, the latter two methods of calculating a tip become excessive. For example, a 10 or 20 percent tip on a cross-country move that cost $8,000 would be $800 or $1,600. No one expects to receive a gratuity over $1,000 -- even when the moving company's invoice is for $8,000.

Thus, you're better off using one of the first two methods to calculate an appropriate tip when you move across the country. Looking at how much a percentage-based tip on a local move would amount to can help you decide what would be a fair hourly or flat rate for your long-distance moving crew.

Calculating Percentage-Based Tips on a Local Move

As an example, assume you're hiring a moving company for a local move that costs $800. (HomeAdvisor reports that most homeowners spend between $402 and $1,000 on a move.) According to Apartment Guide's survey, 60 percent of people would offer a tip between $80 (10 percent) and $160 (20 percent). If the entire move was completed in a single day, as many moves are, the moving crew would receive $80 to $160 for their eight hours of work. Divided among four laborers, each mover's individual tip would be between $20 and $40.

Thus, while there is no set amount that you should tip movers, a tip of $20 to $40 for a day's work is reasonable when moving locally. This could be broken down to between $2.50 and $5.00 an hour for an eight-hour work day, or it could be viewed as a flat rate of $20 or $40 per day.

Settling Upon a Tip for Your Long-Distance Move

From the above calculations, $20 to $40 is an appropriate tip for each laborer for each full day that they work. Using these figures, it's easy to arrive at how much you might tip long-distance movers.

A typical long distance move might require the following workers:

  • a crew of four movers to pack your belongings in the moving truck
  • a single driver to drive the truck
  • a crew of four movers to unpack your belongings from the truck

If you want to, you're welcome to tip the driver. Truck drivers, however, are usually well paid and not typically tipped.

If you wanted to tip your movers, you'd be most likely to tip the two moving crews. Assuming each crew could complete their work in a single day, your tip would amount to somewhere between $160 (8 workers x 1 day x $20 per day) and $320 (8 workers x 1 day x $40 per day).

As mentioned above, you aren't obligated to tip your moving company's employees. If you want to leave a tip for your long-distance movers, a gratuity of $20 to $40 per mover, per day is appropriate. This gives your movers a decent gratuity for their hard work, and it keeps the tip from becoming excessive.

Read more about the services a moving company might offer to further determine what might be an adequate amount to tip.