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Moving Etiquette: What You Need to Know
02-16-2022 | Armbruster

Moving Etiquette: What You Need to Know

Phew! You finally made the decision. You hired professional movers for your upcoming move.  Congratulations—you just saved yourself a ton of work. Understandably, you’re a little nervous, too. There’s nothing quite like having people traipsing through your house and touching all your stuff!  You also have some questions. What am I supposed to be doing when the movers are here? Do I help? Stay out of their way? What’s the expectation on tipping?   If you’re wondering about the current moving etiquette on working with professional movers, look no further. We’ll walk you through how to prepare for moving day, your role with regard to your movers, and how much to tip for great service.

Tasks to Do Before Your Movers Come

Your movers are going to do the heavy lifting—literally—for your move. There are a number of things, though, that you can do ahead of time to make your move go more smoothly. 

Label Everything

If you are packing boxes* yourself (as opposed to having your movers pack them), label all of them. Include the room where boxes should be unpacked at your new home. Label at least two or three sides of the box so you and your movers don’t have to spend time turning boxes around.

Electronics and Appliances

Shut down and unplug your electronics. Box up small or medium electronics with their power chords, chargers, etc. Unplug televisions and large appliances

Bulky or Fragile Items

Alert your moving company to any bulky or fragile items you expect the movers to handle. Follow their instructions for preparing items—or leave them completely alone if they ask.

Your Travel and First Night Items

You need to keep some items with you en route to your new home. Set aside personal papers, money, drinks and snacks, and clothing and toiletries for your first couple of days in your new house. Keep them out of the way of your movers so they don’t get loaded on the truck by mistake.

Check Parking Access

Make sure your mover is able to park their van or truck nearby your front entryway without getting a parking ticket. If you live in an apartment building, make sure your movers have access to an elevator if needed.

Make Arrangements for Kids and Pets

The last thing you or your movers want to deal with on moving day is little beings underfoot. Having kids or pets running around on moving day is dangerous for everyone. Assign one person to keep an eye on them during the move. *Don’t use boxes that are smaller than a file box (no shoeboxes). Boxes that are too small make for an inefficient move.

What You Can Expect 

You’ve taken weeks to carefully sort and wrap and pack your stuff. You movers will take an amazingly short amount of time to haul it all out and then back into your new home. Don’t be surprised if your movers are lightning fast. They have strategies and skills that most of us don’t. You’ll see them use straps, dollies, and bins on wheels to move items quickly.  Try not to worry that their speed means they aren’t being careful. If you’ve gone with a reputable moving company, you can trust that they are going to take care of your stuff. Moving companies depend on happy customers to recommend them, so it’s always in their interest to protect your belongings. 

Let the Movers Move Your Stuff

Every mover has their own rhythm to carrying out a move. Let them do what they do best. You look at your boxes and see a whole bunch of different items to be hauled out the door. They are already calculating the best way to fit everything in their truck. They’re figuring out which items should go out first. They’re moving stuff and strategizing for the tricky parts of the move they’ve spotted.  If you try to get in the mix, you’ll interrupt their flow. That will slow them down and end up costing you more money. 

Be On-Site When Possible

It’s necessary that you or someone you trust is on-site for any issues that arise on moving day.  There are a variety of tasks the movers will want you to do before, during, and after your move to ensure a seamless move. You will have to be there do a walkthrough with the crew at the beginning and at the end to sign any paperwork and do all final walkthrough to make sure all services have been complete.  If you’re there when the move is happening, the movers can ask you questions, and you can field questions of your own. This is especially true when your stuff arrives at your new place. Invariably there will be items that didn’t get labeled. In that case, you’ll have a better idea of where things should go. 

Consider Drinks and Snacks for Your Movers

Your movers are doing a strenuous job. They’re saving you time, stress, and aggravation, and helping you avoid injury. Have some of the basics on hand for your movers. Movers appreciate cold drinks in hot weather and hot drinks in winter. Coffee and snacks are welcome in any season.  Make sure your movers have access to the bathroom, including soap and paper towels. In very cold weather, keep the bathroom door closed to keep some heat in. 

How to Tip Your Movers (If Desired)

Whether or not to provide tips is one of the most-asked questions about moving etiquette. Tipping your moving crew is not required, but it’s always appreciated. If you feel that you would like to tip your crews, it can be tricky to know the proper amount. As a general rule, tipping movers isn’t like tipping a waiter or a hair stylist. For those type of services, the tip is usually around 15-20% of the bill.  A moving bill can be in the thousands, so that percentage doesn’t work. It’s customary to tip $30-$100 per mover, depending on the size of the move and the quality of service you receive. 

Leave a Review & Recommend Them

Every smart business owner is concerned with their online reputation. If your movers did a great job and eased your stress on moving day, it’s especially nice to leave them an online review.  Ask if they have a referral program. Since word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most influential ways that movers get new customers, they may offer an incentive for telling a friend or peer about their services if you were pleased. Want to work with top-notch movers? Contact us to learn why we’re the movers for you!
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