Note: this post take from an opinion piece written by the owner of our company on Medium

As the owner of a moving company, one of the most frequent questions I get from customers is “How much should I tip my movers?”. In fact, a quick search reveals that people in the US have asked Google “how much to tip movers” well over 10,000 times in the past month alone. It’s understandable — for most people, moving is something they might experience a few times during their lives. The answers you will find online range from well-meaning to downright insulting. As a society, we have well-established benchmarks for other types of tipping: 20% in a restaurant or bar for example. However, when it comes to tipping your movers or other people you have hired for manual labor, the rules are less clear.

So let’s set the record straight.

Tipping is part of the price of the your move. Understandably, some people can afford to tip more than others. However if you want to eat at a restaurant and can’t afford to tip the waiter any money — you can’t afford to be eating at that restaurant. Just as if you want to hire manual laborers and can’t afford to tip them, you shouldn’t be hiring them.

If you receive good service, tipping is expected.

Stride Movers employees are some of the hardest working people I have ever seen. They regularly put in 12 hour days with few breaks, and no complaints. Once I had a teamwork 27 straight hours. I’ll paint a picture for you:

Last year Stride Movers had a move in Manhattan. It was almost 100 degrees that day, a recipe for heat stroke. The customer lived in a fourth floor walk-up at the top on a steep hill, which — due to limited parking — our crew had to park at the bottom of a hill. To top it off, the building management had chosen that day to paint the hallway. Paint fumes + heat + 4 flights of steep stairs. As our movers were making their way up and down the stairs, it began to pour. The stairway windows — open because of the paint fumes — dripped water onto the stairs, making them hazardously slippery. The movers continued to carefully and quickly load an entire apartment into a truck, without getting a single item wet or sweaty.

Just a typical day as an NYC mover.

They carry refrigerators to your 4th floor walkups without scratching the walls once. Our guys gently carry sleeper sofas down spiral staircases without inconveniencing your neighbors. Sometimes they even work in the pouring rain, slushiest snow and sweatiest days of summer. They do all the things you cannot and will not do. And though they make it look easy — it’s not. They are highly trained professionals who fulfill any request with a smile.

Which brings us back to tipping. The amount of your tip will depend on the size of your move, and the level of service that you receive. Please DO NOT take advice from people or articles that say you should tip $20/mover or $4–$5/hour/mover. That is the advice of a person who has never done manual labor. You hired these people to do something that you physically can not do. They work incredibly hard, and in my experience — often get treated like crap.

If you receive good service, consider tipping 15–20% divided amongst your movers. If you receive great service, consider tipping 25%.

For example: you hired two movers and your bill was $500. 20% of $500 = $100, so give each mover $50.

Companies often allow you to tip with a credit card, but might charge an extra fee. Tipping with cash is often easier and you can be sure the money is going straight to the movers.

P.S. Offering water or gatorade is also appreciated. You’d be shocked at how rarely this happens.

For the hardest working movers in New York City and beyond, check out Stride Movers, and remember — always tip your movers!