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:: HOW TO TIP YOUR MOVERS
Consumers put a lot of faith in professional movers, which is why good ones are as prized as a competent and fair mechanic. As a customer, you are entrusting all of your possessions, prized and otherwise, to people you may not even have been introduced to before they started taking your stuff and loading it into a truck. Although movers are considered part of the service trade, there is usually a lot more riding on their job performance than, say, a waitress or someone who cuts your hair. If the waitress drops your rye toast, she can quickly get you a new order and, hey, your hair will grow out.

If a mover, however, does a poor job packing, drops your family heirloom or drags your furniture across the wood floor, there is a lot more at stake. Besides, there are few people in the service industry that work as hard as movers.

Perhaps because consumers rely so much on a mover doing a good job that they don't consider them as a service professional. But they are and proper etiquette requires that they be treated as such. This means it is proper to offer a tip, whether it is cash at the end of the day or you buying the crew lunch or even both.

As with any other service provider, you would base your "tip" on job performance – a bad attitude and indifferent work habits would hardly be considered tip worthy. If, however, you think your crew was attentive, helpful and professional, then give what you believe is fair.

Moving is a stressful life event overloaded with thousands of small details that need attention. One of those is how to treat the crew moving your life's belongings, so here's a quick reference that should keep the guys happy and moving:

•Moving is hard, back-breaking work so it would only be common decency to have cold bottled water, soda or sport drinks on hand.
•Some people prefer to buy the crew lunch in lieu of a tip and this is perfectly fine. Some do both. It's whatever you are comfortable with. If you do offer to buy the crew lunch, make sure to ask if they have a preference as to food choice. Many people think, "Oh, we'll get some pizza," so you can imagine how much pizza these guys might have had that month.
•You will hear varying advice on how much to tip. Percentages don't really work as they do in restaurant work. The difference between a $2,000 full-truck move and a $20,000 full-truck move is likely the distance the moving van travels, not how much time it took to load the vehicle. Basically, if it's a half-day (4 hours) move, $15 per person is considered appropriate. If it's a full-day move (8 hours), then $30 is the consensus. If you have a lot of heavy furniture, narrow or winding stairs, a steep lot, etc., you should consider adding to the amount. If the crew works 12 hours to get your belongings packed, figure $50 as fair.
•A tip about tips from movers themselves: Don’t give the lump some to the foreman or driver. Give each worker their tip. First, it shows that you recognize and appreciate their individual efforts. Second, there are some unscrupulous foremen, who will keep the entire amount for themselves.
•Avoid giving the guys beer at the end of the day. It's a bit stereotypical and most legitimate moving companies have rules against drinking on the job. It also opens liability issues. Make the tip cash and the movers can spend it how they wish.

By Rick Hazeltine, Courtesy of Move.com
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