Wednesday, February 2, 2011


    Q:  "What is a fair tip for the movers at the end of the job?"
     A:  "The sky is the limit."

     Okay that is my answer, but, of course, I am a full-time mover.  Let's talk reality...

     I was trained in Portland, OR and tips were great for movers.  Usually.  When we relocated to Wilmington, NC I was hired on at a local moving company.  I had 3 years experience at the time I was hired and was instantly, far-and-away, the best mover at that company (the owner included). 
     My tips plummeted.  I am talking ZEROS on 4 out of every 5 jobs.  STIFFED.
     The movers here told me that "People in the south don't tip."  I was astonished daily.  The actual problem was that I was hired at a moving company that was what we call a "circus".  A constant rotation of idiotic, mindless, criminal, drunk, high, weak, lazy "movers".  They drifted between jail, prison, and when they made it to the halfway house, they came out and moved furniture at the circus.  And when they get fired they rotate to a different circus.  "The longer the job takes, the more they makes."  They were sooooo slow.  Nobody I worked with had any idea what to do on a move job.  They could break anything or everything they touched.  These jobs were memorable.  Not in a good way.  I worked there 3 months and then started ALL PRO MOVERS where, from day 1, we have avoided these sketchy movers altogether by simply not hiring them.  But, I digress...

   Well, I can tell you that people in the south do tip.  People everywhere leave gratuity.  You just have to provide a great service. 

    HOW MUCH? 
     You should not decide how much to tip until the job is complete.  Watch the movers work.  Is the job going faster than you expected, or is it dragging?  Are the movers doing things to speed up the job or are they intentionally throwing up delays on the clock?  Is the crew making your move more, or less, stressful?  Is the crew leader adding unforseen charges?  Are they taking a lot of breaks?  (at All Pro Movers we probably average 1 ten minute break every 2 hours, but this is not a good benchmark for break-taking as we work a lot harder/faster than regular movers). Do they care about your furniture and residence? (that is obviously a critical factor that is easy to observe - are they slamming, dragging, dinging, etc.).  Do they know what they are doing?  Are they movers?  Do they know where they are?
     On a quick little local job, 1- 2 - 3 hours, you are probably going to start at $10- $15-$20 per mover for gratuity.  Adjust the amount, up or down, depending on the service level provided and the final bill; was it worth hiring this company?  If service was very bad, just pretend like you don't know about tipping movers.  If the job took 3 hours but it should have been done in 2, then $5 to $10 per mover.  Probably $5.  (they got the rest of their tip with the extra hour on their paycheck).   If the job took 2 hours and you thought it would take 4 or 5, then pass some of the money you saved on to the movers! 
     On large or long-distance moves you can start at 10% of the bill for gratuity and adjust up or down accordingly. 
     Feel free, in fact, be encouraged to tip individually.  If one guy is clearly a heads-up mover and is running the show like a maestro in a monkey house, then pull him aside at the end and give him extra gratuity as thanks for his efforts.  If one guy is slack, stiff him completely and tip the others on the side. 
 Hopefully this gives you some idea of how much and when to tip movers. 
     Customers who intend, from the onset, on tipping the movers are well advised to inform the movers of this fact straight out of the gate.  At the beginning of the job tell the movers directly that if the move goes quick and clean then the will be compensated, in cash, for their efforts.  You are almost guaranteed to have your movers paying attention. 
      Best of luck.
     Visit our website for more tips and ways to save money on moving day!

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