Most of us know what is expected from us in terms of the tip at a restaurant or when the pizza delivery guy shows up, but one of the most common questions we get at Citymove is “how much should I tip our movers?”. NYC Moving crews will generally expect around 20% gratuity on services. This is somewhat unique to residential moving, as most other home services and delivery will not expect such a high tip amount. There are some things you should be aware of, and so we have prepared a comprehensive guide to tipping to cover the most common scenarios.
Tipping on a Flat Rate Moves
On a straight forward flat rate move, a 20% tip is a good rule of thumb. Almost every moving company will tell you that while tips are not mandatory, they are expected. If you do not agree with the custom, stiffing the blue-collar workers who just worked hard to relocate your home is not the way to do it. You can ask the moving company to add gratuity to the price upfront and make a note of it on the paperwork if you would like. Of course, if there were major issues with the service, you can adjust appropriately. A move with lots of damaged items, severe neglectful delays or a rude crew should not be rewarded the same as a smooth experience.
A gratuity of about 20% of the total is standard for moving companies in NYC, but be aware of notable exceptions.
Hourly rate and packing moves
With the hourly moves, some guides will recommend you tip approximately $5-$8 per hour for each worker, instead of using a flat percentage model. This makes sense, and will likely work out close to the 20% at least on the labor portion. On packing jobs, it is typically safe to go with the hourly guide, or if the pricing is transparent, try to calculate 20% of the labor only portion (exclude materials and similar fees).
$5-$8 per hour per person extra is a good rule of thumb for hourly moves for standard services.
What the $5-$8 guideline boils down to, is that if the mover worked for about half a day (let’s say 4 hours), a reasonable tip would be about $20-$32. If they worked a full day (closer to 8 hours), $40-$64 makes sense. Keep in mind this should be calculated per person. This is also a useful guide if the entire crew wasn’t present for the whole job (sometimes some of the movers may leave after the pack or load is done).
Tipping on Long Distance Moves
It is easiest to get bogged down on how much to tip on long-distance moving services. Particularly if you are using a high-quality service and immediate delivery, your bill can be in the thousands of dollars, so 20% of the total can be too much. If only 2 movers handled your move, 20% on a $6000 job can be $1200, to split between 2 people. While such a tip is generous and will certainly be appreciated, straying from the 20% rule of thumb is acceptable in the case of long-distance moving. Generally, $100 per day per person is a great tip, so if the driver was on the road for 2 days, $200 for him should be sufficient. You can tip the helpers according to the hourly guideline.
For long distance moves, $100 a day for the driver is a great tip.
Additional Advice on Tipping the Movers
You may get some conflicting advice, but generally, tipping on the storage, materials, sales tax, and other fees is not expected. On the other hand, when you ask movers to go above and beyond for you, doing a little extra when it is time to tip will likely be expected of you. Some common situations when moving crews may anticipate a good tip:
- Narrow staircases where movers have to carefully navigate the landings
- Getting items up additional flights within your home (placing some boxes in the attic, when the bill of lading specifies only going up 1 set of stairs)
- Particularly hot (or cold) days of the year, or relentless rain
- You have particularly heavy furniture (and you know it)
- You haven’t finished packing on time, and either you are delaying the process on the day of, or you ask the movers for last-minute help
- Last-minute request to reschedule, postpone, or change the move plan, particularly on the day of (such as adding an extra stop to your move)
No matter how you feel about the custom of tipping, when you are hiring a moving company in NYC, the reality is it’s something you need to budget for. There is also nothing wrong with asking your moving company directly “How much does your crew expect in gratuity?”. You can book great movers in NYC on Citymove by posting your move and getting movers to place their offers and compete to offer you the best price possible.
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