We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure

How Much to Tip Movers in 2024

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
a group of people standing around a table
If you've ever moved house, you know exactly how stressful and physically demanding it can be. I always recommend hiring professional movers to make the transition smoother. But how much should you tip them, if at all?

As a relocation expert with firsthand experience, I recommend hiring reputable moving companies. My cross-country relocation taught me how challenging moving is without professional assistance.

I'll help you understand appropriate tip amounts depending on the crew size, number of hours worked, and factors that make an impact.

» Need to store your stuff? Check out the 10 best moving companies with storage options.

Why Should You Tip Your Movers in 2024?

In 2021, about 26.45 million people changed their residence in the US. Most service workers must go above and beyond to cater the experience to their customers' needs.

They'll move your furniture and other potentially fragile items that make your house a home. You want them to take care of your belongings, and tipping can make them extra careful while fostering a pleasant relationship to make this stressful time a little easier.

I rented a portable moving POD to ship my belongings, but getting everything out of my closed-access apartment took tremendous manpower. I hired incredibly efficient movers from U-Pack, who spent hours helping me empty the apartment.

I tipped them $25 each, gave them a lunch break, and offered refreshments as a courtesy. I felt it was the least I could do. My clients often ask me how much is appropriate to tip movers. While compensation is a personal preference, most people want to reward the movers' hard work.

Your gratitude doesn't always have to come in the form of money. If it's a hot day, you may even consider offering them a cold beverage or a bite.

A woman talking to a mover in front of a van.

Difference Between Percentage-Based vs Flat Rate Tips


Percentage-based tips depend on a share of the total cost of the service. For instance, you may tip 10% of the entire charge. The main advantage of this method is that it directly corresponds to the effort put in. More furniture means a higher cost with a bigger reward.

The downside is that there's no real wiggle room if you go with a percentage. A more cost-effective company like Native Van Lines may charge you less than American Van Lines, but that shouldn't mean their workers are tipped less, especially if there's more of them.

You can get around this somewhat with a dynamic percentage. If friendly and efficient movers help you, give up to 20%; if they're a pain, give 5%.

Flat Rate

A flat rate tip means you give a fixed amount of money as a tip, no matter how much the service costs. For instance, you may tip each mover $20, which stays the same regardless of your total moving bill. It's a simple and consistent way to tip that doesn't discriminate based on the cost of the service or the number of people.

I often suggest using the flat-rate-per-worker approach because it lets movers walk away with a little bonus money. Drawing from my personal experience as a relocation expert, here's an average recommended tip amount for different crew sizes and moving durations:

2 hours
4 hours
8 hours
12 hours
2-Person Crew
3-Person Crew
4-Person Crew
5-Person Crew

Note: These are total amounts for the entire crew, not per person. The tip you decide to give should be based on the quality of service you receive.

Which Option Is Better?

It truly comes down to looking at the work that is being done. I believe that if you're there on move day watching your movers work, you'll see the amount of labor they require and want to offer a fair tip. Small things like food and water can go a long way, or even offering them small breaks throughout the day.

If you have multiple movers, ensure each receives a fair tip. Splitting a percentage may not be enough. It can work better to give each a flat rate tip instead can work better.

Generally, it's a good idea to go with a flat rate when multiple workers handle your move. On the other hand, using a percentage-based tip may be a suitable choice if you only have one or two workers or know that it's a small company owned by the employees.

» Check out the ultimate moving checklist + essential tips.

A woman holding a packed box tipping her moving company worker in a yellow shirt

Factors Influencing Tipping Amounts

Service Conduct and Attitude

The movers' conduct affects gratuity, just as a server's does at a restaurant. If they are rude, disgruntled, complain, or do poor-quality work, reduce their tip accordingly. Base the amount you give on the service provided.

Quality of Work

Always assess the quality of the work. If movers handle your fragile items carelessly, it may warrant a reduced tip. Conversely, reward careful handling of delicate items with a higher reward.

Accommodating Challenging Circumstances

Think about any external circumstances that may make your move more challenging. Consider increasing the tip for moves involving high-floor apartments, numerous stairs, or challenging weather conditions.

Efficiency and Speed of the Move

Since most relocations are charged at an hourly rate—the speed matters. If the movers work slower than necessary, it can increase the total cost of your move. On the other hand, if they work efficiently and diligently, giving them a larger tip is a good way to show appreciation.

Cleanliness and Respect for Property

You likely have enough to handle without worrying about cleaning up after a move. A considerate moving company will be careful not to leave behind unnecessary spills or debris.

Two movers from a moving company helping to unload boxes.

When Should You Tip Your Moving Crew? 

When to Tip

  • After the move is completed.
  • If they did an excellent job moving and providing good customer service
  • Halfway through the move—provide food/drinks as an additional tip.
  • If they worked hard despite challenges like bad weather or many stairs.

When Not to Tip

  • Poor quality service overall.
  • The moving company has a no-tipping policy.
  • The movers don't follow reasonable directions.
  • Belongings are broken or mishandled due to negligence.
  • The movers leave a mess requiring cleanup in the previous or new home.

» Worried about the cost? Discover how to save money when using a moving company.

How to Tip Movers

For fairness and accuracy, I advise tipping each mover separately. This lets you give different amounts without worrying that one mover takes the entire tip. Remember that long-distance movers like Colonial Van Lines use packing and unpacking crews. This means you'll need to tip twice—once when the first loading team is done and again when the second group has finished unloading or unpacking.

  • Cash tips: You can reward each mover the amount you want quickly and safely. Remember to withdraw smaller bills ahead of time to divide the cash easily.
  • Checks: These work but take more effort if you have to write multiple checks.
  • Credit card: Call the company first if you want to tip by credit card, as they may be able to process a separate charge to your final bill.
  • Banking apps: Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle are excellent options. Just remember to ask the movers what their preferred app is.

Cultural and Regional Tipping Differences

Studies show that tipping for services in various countries is primarily driven by three things: the desire to reward good quality service, to help the service providers, and to gain social approval and status.

Generally, tips are expected for service work in America, and higher tips reflect exceptional service. However, people from various cultures moving to the US, or even long-term residents with different cultural beliefs, may not adhere to tipping norms.

Nevertheless, I advise those hiring movers to consider tipping strongly. If you're moving to a different country, consult your relocation consultant or seek advice from local residents about customary tipping practices for service work.

When dealing with diverse tipping customs, a direct approach is often best. Some movers may decline your tip, and it's essential to honor their choice. Respect is key to adapting to regional tipping norms in mover services.

Young couple unpacking boxes from the moving company truck at their new home

Recommendations and Insights for Tipping Movers

With over 16,851 moving companies in the US, you're sure to find a reliable service to help you ease the relocation process.

While not strictly required, tipping is customary and recommended. A sensible guideline is $5-$10 per crew member for every hour of work. Pay each person individually rather than pooling tips. Tip in cash at the end of the job when the final tasks are complete.

Tipping your movers is more than just a courtesy—it's a way to express genuine gratitude for professionals like Allied Van Lines who manage the stressful relocation process. These hardworking individuals carefully transport your belongings and handle taxing tasks like heavy lifting.

» Prepare yourself by knowing what companies will and won't move.


Can I give food to movers instead of tipping?

There are no issues with offering movers food. However, providing a meal instead of a tip may not be their preference. It's best to ask the movers first if they would like something to eat or drink. In my experience, sometimes food is not necessary if they aren't hungry. However, offering water or other refreshments is usually appreciated.

Should I tip each mover individually or give a lump sum to the team leader?

With a small team of just two-three movers, you'll likely interact with each one individually. In that case, tipping them separately in cash allows you to reward each person based on the quality of their work.

With a large crew, you'll primarily communicate with a leader or manager who oversees the whole operation. Then, it would make sense to give one overall tip and allow the leader to distribute it appropriately. Just make sure to give the tip to whoever will be dividing it rather than an individual mover.

When is the best time to give a tip to my movers?

The best time to tip your movers is once the move is complete. This way, you can access the quality of their work.

Are there different tipping guidelines for local vs. long-distance moves?

Tip more generously for long-distance moves out of state or across the country. These relocations involve substantial packing and long drives. For local moves within the same metro area, tips don't need to be as substantial. While local moves don't require large tips, good work deserves appreciation. Use the same key factors of any relocation to determine an appropriate amount.

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
Emily Calorino-Sipe holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, focusing on international communication. She is a relocation expert that helps clients through each stage of their journey worldwide. Her writing is a clear, informative, and reliable resource for anyone planning a move.