Moving Tips&Tricks December 4, 2023

How Much to Tip Movers When Moving Internationally

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

When planning an international move, a common question arises – how much to tip movers? This post delves into the etiquette of tipping for international relocations. We will explore various factors influencing the appropriate gratuity amount. Our insights aim to ease your decision-making, ensuring your appreciation for the movers’ hard work is both thoughtful and appropriate.

How Much to Tip Movers?

How much should you tip movers when moving overseas? Tipping movers from an international moving company can often be a point of confusion, but a general guideline is to give between $4 and $5 per hour per mover. For example, if you have a team of two people working for 8 hours, a reasonable amount would be between $64 and $80 per mover.

However, consider the complexity of your move abroad – if it involves heavy furniture, very long distances, or stairs, higher international moving tips are appropriate. Remember, tipping is not mandatory but a way to express gratitude for good global moving services. In the end, the amount should reflect your satisfaction with the work that was done.

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It’s Important to Understand Tipping Etiquette in Different Countries

Understanding cultural etiquette in tipping is crucial for travelers, as it significantly varies across different countries – it may cause you culture shock. It’s important to inform yourself about the customs of the place you’ve decided to live in. We know that, in the United States, tipping is almost mandatory, with expectations ranging from 15% to 20%. But in contrast, countries like Japan and South Korea often consider tipping unnecessary or even rude, as excellent service is expected as standard.

For those living in Europe, the approach to tipping is more moderate. In France and the UK, service charges are usually included in the bill, but leaving a small extra amount, around 5% to 10%, is appreciated for exceptional service. Italy and Spain follow a similar pattern.

In the Middle East, such as in the UAE or Saudi Arabia, tipping is customary, often around 10% to 15%. However, in countries like Egypt, small tips, known as baksheesh, are expected for almost every service. In Australia and New Zealand, tipping is not customary, but it’s welcomed for exceptional service, usually up to 10%. Lastly, for those moving to Canada, tipping is similar to the US, generally expected at 15% to 20%.

A woman searching for an international moving company on a laptop
When researching your future country, don't forget to research tipping etiquette

What Are the Factors Influencing Tipping Amounts?

How much do you tip movers? When considering how much is appropriate to give, several factors play a crucial role. The complexity of the relocation is a significant determinant. If it involves navigating narrow staircases, handling oversized or fragile items, or dealing with challenging parking logistics, a higher amount is warranted. Additionally, the distance also influences the tipping amount. Moves that require multiple days or extensive travel naturally deserve more generous tips due to the added time and effort involved.

The quality of service is another critical factor. This includes professionalism, care in handling your boxes and packed furniture, punctuality, and overall efficiency. Exceptional service, where movers go above and beyond to ensure a smooth experience with no relocation stress, justifies a higher amount. Conversely, a less satisfactory service might result in a lower tip. It’s also important to consider any extra services provided, such as packing assistance, which add to the workload.

How the Size of the Moving Team Can Impact Tipping?

The size of the team of movers significantly impacts tipping etiquette. With a larger team, the individual workload might be less, but coordinating among more people can add complexity. In such cases, you might opt for a smaller tip per person, but ensure that the total amount reflects the overall effort. If a team of four people works less intensively but efficiently, you might give each slightly less than you would in a two-person team doing more intensive work.

Conversely, a smaller team taking on a substantial workload might deserve a higher per-person tip. The key is to assess the total effort and distribute the tip fairly among the team members. Regardless of team size, the amount should correspond to the level of service and the difficulty of the relocation to another country, ensuring each mover is appropriately compensated for their effort and contribution to an efficient move.

A person holding cash
How much do I tip movers? Many factors influence the amount people decide to tip

What Are Alternative Ways to Show Appreciation?

While monetary tips are a common way to show appreciation when moving internationally, there are also non-monetary gestures that can be equally meaningful. Offering refreshments, such as cold drinks, snacks, or even a meal, can be a thoughtful way to express gratitude, especially during a long or physically demanding job. This kind of hospitality shows a level of personal appreciation for the movers’ hard work.

Another significant way to show appreciation is by leaving positive reviews online. In today’s digital age, a glowing review on platforms like Yelp, Google, or a company’s own website can have a substantial impact. It not only acknowledges the movers’ good work but also helps their business by building a positive reputation. Personal recommendations to friends or family who are relocating can also be valuable for the relocation company.

When Is It Appropriate to Offer a Non-Monetary Token of Appreciation?

A non-monetary token of mover appreciation is especially appropriate in situations where you’re relocating on a low budget or when you feel that a monetary tip does not fully convey your gratitude. For instance, if the movers have gone above and beyond in accommodating special requests, handling unexpected challenges, or demonstrating exceptional care and professionalism, a personal gesture like a heartfelt thank-you note can add a personal touch to your appreciation.

In certain cultural contexts where tipping is not the norm or in situations where the relocation service is already quite expensive, offering refreshments and writing a positive review can be a more suitable way to express gratitude. Ultimately, the appropriateness of a non-monetary token of appreciation depends on the context. It should be something that genuinely reflects your gratitude and acknowledges the hard work and service provided.

A mover and a woman are standing in front of boxes for international moving
If you're happy with movers' work, show appreciation with non-monetary gestures

When Is It Okay Not to Tip Your Movers?

In the realm of relocation services, tipping is generally seen as a gesture of appreciation for a job well done. However, there are certain circumstances where it may be okay to answer the question “How much should I tip movers?” with – zero. Tipping is not an obligation but a reflection of your satisfaction with the service provided. Here are some scenarios where withholding a tip might be considered reasonable:

  • Poor service quality – If the movers display a lack of professionalism, such as being excessively late without a valid reason, being rude, or showing negligence towards your belongings, it’s reasonable to avoid tipping.
  • Damage to belongings – If your items are significantly damaged due to the movers’ carelessness, and there’s an apparent disregard for handling instructions, not tipping is understandable.
  • Unprofessional behavior – Instances of unprofessional behavior, such as inappropriate comments, not respecting your property, or showing a lack of effort, can justify not giving any tips.
  • Contractual issues – If the relocation service has hidden fees or it involves services that were promised but not delivered, and this significantly affects your experience, withholding a tip can be an appropriate response.
  • Dispute resolution failure – In cases where there is a dispute or a problem and the moving company does not provide adequate resolution or customer service, not tipping is a valid option.

How to Find Reliable Movers When Moving Internationally?

When planning an international move, hiring a relocation company is essential for a smooth and stress-free experience. Start your search by conducting thorough research on potential companies, focusing on those specializing in international relocations. Check their online reviews and ratings, paying attention to feedback regarding their professionalism, timeliness, and care for belongings.

Evaluating Expertise and Services

It’s important to select a company with a strong background in international moves. They should be well-versed in customs regulations and necessary paperwork and have a successful history in handling the complexities of international logistics. Ensure that your hired movers are properly licensed for international relocations.

Obtaining and comparing quotes from several companies is also a wise step, but remember that the decision shouldn’t be based solely on price. Evaluate the full range of services they offer, including packing, storage, and insurance options. Direct communication with the moving companies can give you a better feel for their customer service quality and responsiveness, which are crucial for managing the challenges of an international relocation.

Lastly, check the types of insurance coverage offered by the movers. Adequate insurance is particularly important for international moves, considering the higher risks involved. By taking these steps, you can select a relocation company that combines expertise, reliability, and appropriate service offerings for your international relocation.

Movers next to a truck
Finding a trustworthy relocation team is a complex task that requires a lot of research

Shepherd International Movers Is Here to Assist You With the Difficult Task of Moving Abroad – Contact Us for a Quote

Embarking on an international relocation can be a daunting task, but Shepherd International Movers is here to make your transition seamless and stress-free. With our expertise in global relocations, we understand the complexities of moving abroad. Our team of professionals is equipped to handle every aspect of your move, from packing and shipping to navigating customs regulations.

We offer tailored solutions to meet your unique needs, ensuring a smooth journey for your belongings. Contact us today to receive a personalized quote and experience a hassle-free international move with Shepherd International Movers, your trusted partner in global relocation.


Is It Mandatory to Tip Movers When Moving Internationally?

Tipping movers during a move to another country is not mandatory, but it is a widely accepted way to express gratitude for good service. It’s a gesture that acknowledges the movers’ hard work and dedication. However, it’s important to consider the customs and practices of both the country you’re moving from and the destination country.

How Do I Determine the Right Amount to Tip for My International Move?

The right amount to tip for a move across the world generally depends on factors like the quality of service, complexity of the move, and duration. A common practice is to tip each mover a set amount per hour of work, considering the overall effort and challenges faced during the move.

Can I Tip Differently for Different Levels of Service?

Yes, you can tip differently based on the levels of service. If certain team members go above and beyond in their duties, such as handling delicate items with extra care or solving unforeseen problems, it’s appropriate to acknowledge their effort with a higher tip.

What if Tipping Is Not Customary in My Destination Country?

If tipping is not customary in your destination country, it’s respectful to adhere to local customs. Instead of a monetary tip, consider showing appreciation through other means, like offering refreshments or writing a positive review.

How Should I Handle Tipping if I'm on a Tight Budget?

If you’re on a tight budget, be honest and upfront about it. Movers understand that moving, especially internationally, can be expensive. You can express your gratitude in non-monetary ways, such as providing refreshments, assisting during the move, or offering heartfelt thanks and positive feedback.

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