For clients: a guide to tipping everyone involved in a move

Real Estate Technology with Updater

Hi friends! I haven't blogged on ActiveRain in a LONG TIME, but I'm back in action with something I think you'll appreciate.

With the busy season right around the corner, I'm often asked by friends, "How much should I tip my movers?" Or, "Do I need to tip the cable installer?" The list is endless. Therefore, I put together a guide that you can share with clients. Let me know what you think or if you'd like to add to the list!


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!"


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
moving day

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I've never tipped any tradesman, never knew that was a thing?

As a former house painter, tile layer, handyman and construction grunt I can confirm no one in CA has heard of it either.

I tip waiters, room service, food delivery people, hair and mani/pedi people and drivers. I think that's it?

Apr 04, 2017 09:09 PM #1
Jenna Weinerman
Updater - Manhattan, NY
Your ActiveRain moving & relocation expert

Hey Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS , you make a good point. I think it certainly depends on the region and the type of home. For example, I live in NYC and use a service called Handy to send handymen whenever I need something fixed in my apartment. I know that Handy (the company) coordinates payments, so I'm not sure how much the handyman himself receives. Therefore, I like to tip if a job was well done. In NJ, some people tip gas station attendants (it's not a self-serve state). We also just painted our office when we moved and tipped the painters. It really just depends. I guarantee most clients are as confused as most of us are on some of these categories.

Apr 04, 2017 09:20 PM #2
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jenna Weinerman - good point. I tip some 'handyman' who work at my home, a TV delivery person etc. However, I doubt tipping is that common here in suburbs of Boston.

Apr 04, 2017 09:30 PM #3
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jenna, many of these we don't tip around here, but these things do differ in different parts of the country.

Apr 05, 2017 05:09 AM #4
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jenna Weinerman

Your ActiveRain moving & relocation expert
Partner with Updater