When you’re buying a house for the first time, you may be surprised by how many different people you’ll work with in the course of your move. It’s already an overwhelming process on many levels, but not knowing proper tipping etiquette can add a touch of stress and awkwardness. Should you tip your movers? Who do you need to tip and how much? We’ve got the standard for tipping the main folks you’re likely to work with when moving to your new home.
Should You Tip Your Movers?
Tip? Yes, 10% and up
If you hire movers, you know they’ll be doing a lot of work. You’re already paying them their asking rate, but should you tack a tip on in addition to that? While not required, it is generally customary to tip movers, but how much can depend a lot on circumstances.
If it’s a fairly straightforward and local job, about 10% is standard, so consider that your starting point. But if the move takes an especially long time, you have a lot of heavy stuff, or they have to lug big boxes up a flight of stairs, then you should go higher. And for long-distance moves, using a percentage gets complicated because so much of the amount charged is tied to the distance traveled rather than the work the mover is doing.
In these cases, about $10 for every four hours of work performed is a good standard, adding in a little more for harder jobs like those that involve stairs.
Our tipping tips for movers:
- Make sure for long-distance moves that you tip both those who pack up your home and those who unpack, since there will likely be different crews in each place.
- Make sure you give the tip to the workers themselves, so you know it gets to the right people.
- In addition to a monetary tip, your movers will appreciate the offer of a free lunch and cold drinks while they work (the latter might be tricky if your fridge and coolers are all still packed up, but do what you can).
- Don’t feel like you have to help the movers move – that’s what you’re paying (and tipping!) them for. Feel free to park yourself in a room like your kitchen and start loading up cabinets or something so you’re available for direction and questions if needed.
Your Real Estate Agent?
A good real estate agent can make a huge difference in how easy and pleasant your first home buying experience is, so you’re probably wondering if that good work should be rewarded with a tip. Real estate agents get a sizeable commission for their services, so no tip is expected in this case. If you want to show your appreciation for their work, one of the best ways to do so is to provide referrals whenever you hear friends talk about wanting to buy or sell a home. Trust us, if those referrals go well, it’ll mean a lot more money in their pockets.
Appliance Delivery People?
Tip? Yes, $10-20
Often a move requires buying new appliances. The people who deliver that heavy refrigerator or washer and dryer do a lot of work to move those items into your home. While a tip isn’t expected, for the amount of work they have to do, it’s definitely a nice thing to do. $10 to $20 is customary, and we’d recommend the higher end of that range if the delivery folks carry your appliance up stairs or have to do anything else that makes the work harder.
Home inspectors perform an important service for new homebuyers, but they’re generally already well compensated for their time. This is a case where you don’t need to worry about a tip.
Tip? No, unless you live in New York
For most people reading this, your title agency won’t expect a tip and might even find it strange to be offered one. The one exception is in New York, where it’s become customary to provide a tip of $100 or more to the title agency after closing. You still don’t have to tip if you’re buying a home in New York, but it’s the only place where you may encounter the expectation.
In most cases, general contractors don’t expect a tip, but will appreciate being offered one if their service goes above and beyond. (Then again, who wouldn’t?) Some companies don’t allow their contractors to accept tips, so you may on rare occasions get an outright refusal when you offer, but they will still appreciate the gesture.
Cable or Internet Installation Representative?
This is another case where normally, you don’t have to worry about tipping, but if they do something to really stand out and make the experience positive, then a few bucks will be appreciated.
All tipping is up to you, but at least you now know the expected etiquette when it comes to tipping your movers and others who help you settle into your nest.