For many consumers, the cost of moving has reached a ‘tipping point’

What other server providers expect a tip?

When estimating the cost of a move, don’t forget to add the cost of tipping the crew. These days, they kind of expect it.

Tipping fatigue has become common across many industries, as more businesses — from dry cleaners to coffee shops, and now moving companies — have added an option for people to leave a gratuity. About two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed by ConsumerAffairs say they’ve noticed increased pressure to tip across all industries in 2024, and 35% say they’re concerned about it.

In a recent ConsumerAffairs survey, 61% of respondents said they felt pressure to tip moving staff even if the service wasn’t great. In general, if you’ve hired a professional moving company — and you’re happy with the service — tipping the crew is customary. But is it necessary, and how much is standard?

Moving costs are expensive anyway. An expected gratuity can make the cost more than you might think.

$5 to $10 per person per hour

For example, Meyr Aviv, founder and CEO of iMoving, a technology platform for relocation planning, told ConsumerAffairs that a good tip for a mover is $5 to $10 per person for each hour of work. 

For a large, full-day move, plan to tip each crew member between $50 and $100 for a job well done. It’s not required, says Aviv, but it is appreciated. After all, the members of the crew may be called upon to handle fragile items and make sure they reach their destination safely.

Aviv says other factors might include the time it takes to move everything and the difficulty of the move. Did they have to dismantle a sectional sofa and remove a door to get it outside? In the case of those difficult moves, Aviv says you should plan on an extra 20%.

Josh Morales, the president of International Van Lines, said consumers should remember that few movers draw a salary, they only get paid when they are working. 

“The average pay is $200 per day, regardless of how much work is involved and how complex the move is. Moving is backbreaking work, so although tips aren’t mandatory, they’re appreciated,” Morales explained.

If the move is unsatisfactory – and more of them are these days – that’s another story. But if the fault lies with the company and not the movers, that can be a mitigating factor. A good rule of thumb for flat-rate tipping is $20 to $30 per person per day for local moves and $50 per crew member daily for cross-country moves.

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