A Guide To Tipping Movers (How Much To Tip In NYC)

So you’ve found a great new apartment in New York or house, and it’s finally time to move in!

You’ll grab some boxes, fill them up, and then ride off into the sunset as you move into your new place, right?

Not quite.

The whole moving process is more stressful than you think.

That’s why many choose to hire professional movers. They help save time, reduce stress, minimize moving mistakes and make the entire process as painless as possible.

Two movers man loading furniture and boxes from truck vehicle

Movers work pretty hard for their job. In 8/10 cases, you’ll be happy with their speed, efficiency, and professionalism.

But what happens when you do? Should you tip them? And if so, what should the amount be? Is there a going rate, and how much is it?

It can be complicated to figure out when and how much to tip movers in NYC. So, here’s a detailed guide that hopefully makes it easier for you.

Are You Supposed To Tip Movers?

male movers placing sofa in a home

Honestly, there is no right or wrong answer to the question about tipping movers.

Generally speaking, though, you should tip if you receive good service. But if you feel that the service was subpar, you should not feel obligated to do so.

Tipping is about rewarding movers who are deserving of it.

If movers are extremely helpful and go out of their way to accommodate you, you should tip them accordingly.

It’s worth noting that the moving industry isn’t one where tipping is almost mandatory. This differs from frequently ordering pizza from at the same place without tipping. In that case, you’ll probably find yourself on a list you’d rather not be on.

The same is true for restaurants, small diners, and other places where tipping is the norm. This is because these employees typically work for less than (or close to) minimum wage and rely on their tips to earn a decent wage.

However, this isn’t the case for movers.

According to Payscale.com, movers in the US make around $14.85 an hour. That’s more than half of what waiters and waitresses earn in the US.

Thus, even if movers didn’t get a single tip, they could keep their job and (in most cases) pay their bills.

So why tip?

As I said, tipping movers is not compulsory. So don’t do it if you don’t want to or don’t believe in it. You won’t get worse service. After all, the service has already been provided, and you aren’t obligated to use the same movers again.

But if you wish, you can always judge the team based on their work.

There is little reason to tip if your stuff was handled carelessly, if the movers came late or if they had a bad attitude.

Nevertheless, if the workers take good care of your stuff and do everything efficiently and carefully, you may reward them.

Still unsure? Ask the moving company. They’ll be happy to tell you what their policy is.

In some cases, grocery stores, for example, strictly prohibit the tipping of baggers. The same rules apply to some moving companies, even though it’s rare.

Contacting the moving company to find out their opinion might be a good idea.

How Much To Tip Movers

Two Happy Male Workers Loading Stack Of Cardboard Boxes In Truck

Again, deciding whether and how much to tip movers isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Movers do all the heavy lifting, ensuring your personal belongings are safely transported from point A to B. However, no book of proper moving etiquette tells you how much you should give the movers for their hard work.

The good thing is that movers often appreciate anything you can hand them.

Although there’s no set formula, tipping in New York is usually 15-20% of the total moving cost. Alternatively, you can tip $20 to $100 per mover.

Generally, it’s recommended to tip $40-60 if only one or two people are moving you.

If there are two people, they can split the money evenly.

When determining the exact amount, you should also consider how difficult the moving job was. In other words, consider if you have heavy boxes to move, bulky furniture, or lots of stairs to carry items up and down on.

When there are two or more movers, you should tip $20 per person.

Give the entire amount to the person in charge of the moving crew. This might be the lead mover or the supervisor.

Allow that person to divide the amount among the other movers before they leave. This is to prevent them from keeping all the money themselves or dividing it unfairly.

By giving out the money for distribution, the person responsible can choose to reward the guys that worked hard. You don’t have to worry about the pressure being on you to decide who gets how much.

Ultimately, the amount you tip is entirely up to you.

You could tip your movers up to $100 if they provided you with phenomenal service. This includes packing, wrapping fragile items, and doing other tasks that should have been done before the movers arrived.

Make sure they earn their tips, though. Don’t just give it to them because they expect it.

Is It Possible To Under-Tip Movers?

Probably; you may not get much appreciation if you hand five guys a five-dollar bill.

Beyond the ridiculous, it’s really up to you how much you give. In any case, the movers are already making a livable wage, moving you without a tip. But it is customary and appreciated to add a gratuity.

How Much To Tip Long Distance Movers

Like local moves, there is no rigid formula for long-distance tipping.

However, long-distance moves are relatively expensive and challenging compared to local ones.

Sometimes, it involves two separate teams, one at your old home/business and the other at your destination. In this case, you can tip the movers using the standard prices of $20-$100 per person.

Ideally, $20 would suffice for a half-day move, $40 for an 8-hour move, and $60 per person for 12 hours or more.

You can also use the industry standard of 15%-20% of the total moving cost. But given the high cost of long-distance moving services and the fact that you may deal with two separate crews, this may strain your budget.

So, the best thing to do is to tip 15%-20% of half your overall moving charge.

For example, most long-distance moves in New York cost an average of $3000. In this case, tip 15%-20% of $1500.

Tip 20% of the half-cost for large, long-distance moves and 15%-20% for small to medium-sized long-distance moves.

Do You Tip Piano Movers?


Fragile items like a piano (s) require complete care, efficiency, and professionalism when handling.

If the workers manage to move the piano (s) delicately without breaking, scratching, or causing any damage, they sure deserve a tip.

The recommended amount to tip piano movers is $20-$40 per mover. And although tipping is not required, it is only good manners to do so, given the delicate nature of the move.

Also, the amount you tip is at your discretion.

You can follow the industry standard or raise the amount based on your satisfaction with the crew’s performance.

For example, tip closer to $40 or above if the movers exceed your expectations. This is if they were friendly and respectful, carried the piano up/down stairs, completed the job quickly, and took clear steps to ensure the piano’s safety.  Likewise, you can lower the tip amount below the industry standard if dissatisfied with the service.

It all depends on how much you liked or disliked the service.

How To Tip Movers In NYC?

Laughing woman with long blond hair giving dollar note

Most large moving companies include a tip option as a line item on your bill. So you can pay the tip as part of your total moving cost.

However, smaller companies don’t have this option. In this case, you can tip the team in cash or ask the company to include the tip in the total amount charged to your card.

  • In cash: this is the most popular and convenient way to tip movers in NYC. If you want to tip the crew, you should ask their leader if this way of tipping is per company policy. Remember to have enough cash on hand so you can tip the movers this way.
  • Tip with a credit card: this is the best way to tip if you want to document the tip as an expense and if you are paying it with your moving charge.
  • Write a check – a check is also a good way to document your expenses, especially if the move is work-related. Consult with the movers if this is an accepted form of payment. You can write one check and let the crew handle the rest.

Sometimes, a tip for movers can’t be put on a credit card, and you can’t write a check or have cash on hand. If this is the case, ask the movers if they use any money-sharing services, such as Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal.

Do You Tip Movers When They Load Or Unload?

As with any service, a tip is usually given to movers once the work has been completed.

If the job is completed with loading your belongings into the moving truck, you should tip at that point. The same is true if the job is completed after the items are unloaded at your new place.

Male workers cooperating while loading cardboard boxes in a delivery van

It may be tempting to tip your movers halfway through the job, but this is not recommended. Wait until after the job is complete, keeping in mind that the tip should reflect how satisfied you were with the service.

By tipping after the work is done, you can assess how well the movers worked together and individually.

This way, you can reward them accordingly.

To encourage the movers to work harder, you can give them a small amount at the start of the project; say $5 or $10 per worker. Since it is an incentive, this amount can be separate from the tip for the day or a portion of it.

Do You Tip Movers If Company Pays?


Even though moving companies pay movers a salary, moving is hard work. They’re hired to move heavy furniture and boxes, so you don’t have to.

In addition, moving to a place with many stairs will be extremely tedious and exhausting to move all your things up there.

The movers must also ensure that everything arrives safely at your new place.

Therefore, tipping the movers is just one way to thank them and let them know how much you appreciate their effort.

If the movers drag your furniture around, break things, or rummage through your packing materials to steal valuables, it’s okay not to tip them. In the end, their wages remain.

Can I Tip Movers Using Food And Beverages?

It’s not advisable to substitute cash for food and drinks when tipping movers.

Tipping food and drinks is fine if your friends and family are helping you move. But with professional movers, cash is preferred.

Food and drinks should only act as a kind gesture but shouldn’t be substituted for cash tips.

Generally, as a customer, you should provide drinks for the movers that are appropriate for the time of day and weather.

Water accompanied by soft drinks, coffee, or hot chocolate is a good choice. Avoid giving movers any alcoholic drinks as this may interfere with their work; it is mostly against company policy to drink on the job.

When the move lasts many hours and extends into lunch and/or dinner (such as a long-distance move), the movers will appreciate a meal. The best options are sandwiches, burgers, and pizza, which are inexpensive and can be consumed relatively quickly and on the go.

Be sure to check with the movers for individual preferences when offering to buy them food or drinks.

Final Words

Tipping movers and how much to tip them in NYC is entirely at your discretion.

Go ahead and tip if you can do so. If not, or if you feel the movers don’t deserve it, don’t tip.

More importantly, only tip what you can afford.

At the end of the day, you can always give good reviews on the moving company’s website, social media pages, and other platforms (yelp, google, etc.). The mover (s) will surely appreciate this kind gesture.

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