It’s moving day again. A big truck full of men (and maybe women) pull up ready to pack all your worldly possessions and start you on your way to your next “home.”
As they unload the boxes, the packing papers and the endless rolls of tape, you have hope that this crew will take the time and care necessary to keep your belongings intact. And if you’re like the majority of milspouses we polled, you want to make their day a little more enjoyable by providing them with a few extra niceties throughout the day to show your appreciation.
So how do you go about doing that? (And how do you do it without going broke?) We asked your sister spouses to give us some of their tips on “tipping” and other ways of showing general appreciation throughout the pack out. Here’s what they told us they do:
Offer Lunch and Drinks (Skip the Pizza)
Most families tell us offer food and drinks as their normal practice of showing appreciation to the movers. They felt it was the least they could do for the hard labor the workers were putting in. (The good news: While there were rare occurrences where movers slacked on the job, that was the exception, not the rule.) Consider buying a decent meal and nice beverages an additional investment in the care of your belongings.
Here are tips on what to offer in the way of food for your movers:
- Have cold water and Gatorade in a cooler to keep the movers hydrated. When the movers arrive, point out the cooler and make it clear that they should help themselves throughout the day.
- Consider having a few light snacks out that don’t take a ton of time to consume as they are packing and loading. This will keep their energy levels high as they work.
- Offer several options for lunch. Pizza seemed to be the go-to item for many families that were polled – meaning the movers are having pizza most days, so consider offering subway sandwiches or something else of convenience.
- Some families made food or picked up food at the grocery deli for the movers – home made sandwiches, chips, store bought potato salad etc. This is one way to defray the expense of take-out.
Here’s advice from milspouses on determining whether you should tip:
- Look at each move and groups of movers differently. I’ve had nice, funny, wants to talk too much to not knowing how to pack to talking on cell phone all day to…our last move where they stayed til’ midnight loading the truck by the lights of one of their cars, which ran out of gas, I’ll buy them anything they want. – Alisa Shipley, Navy Wife
- We have always provided breakfast snacks, drinks and lunch for our movers everyday that they are working. We also tip each worker and give the lead mover a little more at the end of the job. We try to set up the best rapport we can with them in the beginning, and you notice that they work harder when you are kind and generous. It’s the least we could do when the military is footing the bill. – Valerie Vedder, Army Wife
- We always tip everyone – the packers and the guys who load and unload the truck – and for the most part we’ve had hard-working, careful crews. Our furniture is extremely heavy, and by the end of a long day, they absolutely deserve a tip as a sign of our appreciation for a job well done. – Kathleen Williams, Navy Wife
We realize that not all families can afford to add a tip on top of the expense of a move because while the military does pay the bulk of our moving expenses, we realize that there are residual expenses that come up. We also know that it may be your personal preference not to tip and that is ok.
But it’s important to be gracious for good service. These labor workers are working hard for you, so be gracious with your words and actions, even if you are unable to thank them through your wallet. Consider making them a lunch if you can’t pick them up takeout – not only is it an investment in the safe arrival of your belongings but it’s telling someone who is working hard for you that you notice their efforts and you are appreciative of that hard work.
Sometimes your genuine thanks and a nice home made turkey sandwich throughout the course of the two days can be tip enough.