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How Much to Tip Everyone Involved in Your Move

The only certainties in life are death and taxes — and tipping. You already know the protocol for tipping waiters and cab drivers, but moving-related service professionals? Not so much. What’s the protocol? Are you over-tipping? Are you being stingy? Do you even need to tip at all?! Check out these guidelines to make sure that your moving service professionals get their fair share, not your whole wallet.


While movers always welcome tips, they aren’t mandatory. 5% is standard, but if movers are hauling your grand piano or carrying heavy boxes up a spiral staircase, it’s fair to offer a higher tip of 10-20%. Make sure you give each separate mover their cut of the tip individually so that the tips are distributed evenly.


Cable installers don’t expect tips, but they’re certainly appreciated. Especially if installation happens in extreme weather or involves crawling around your dusty attic, a $5 to $10 tip is appropriate. At the very least, offer water, coffee, and courtesy to your cable installer — they encounter enough rude customers as it is!


“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it” — keep this adage in mind when hiring an exterminator. If it’s a routine preventative treatment, you can skip the tip. However, if the exterminator is handling a massive infestation or treating a large area, consider offering them a 10-15% tip as a courtesy.


In the same way you wouldn’t tip a dentist, you don’t have to tip a plumber or electrician. Plumbers and electricians have vocational degrees that make their salaries higher than other service professionals, so tips are less necessary. However, if your plumber fixes a flooded bathroom at 4am, feel free to reward them for going the extra mile.


Do you enjoy being outside all day long in the dead of winter? Neither do painters. Since painting jobs tend to lull during the winter, painters’ paychecks are often at the mercy of the seasons. While it’s not obligatory to tip painters, offering 15-20% is an appreciated bonus (especially during colder months).


Technically, you don’t have to tip house cleaners (especially if they work for a house cleaning company). However, a bottle of wine, a holiday bonus, or even just a thank you note will make your house cleaner feel appreciated. That being said, if you’re leaving it to your house cleaner to clean up Friday night’s rager, shelling out some extra cash is definitely the right thing to do.

A final word of advice? Take tipping protocol with a grain of salt. Even if company policy says that tips aren’t necessary, it doesn’t mean that service professionals (or their wallets) agree. If company policy prohibits tipping, offer cold drinks, food, or other small tokens of appreciation. Most importantly, recommended tipping amounts are just that – recommended. If a service professional goes above and beyond what’s expected, so should your tip. After all, a little generosity never “killed nobody!”

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