Moving is stressful enough without wondering what the correct moving day etiquette is.

However, have you ever wondered if you’re supposed to help movers pack your belongings? Are you supposed to tip movers? Should you provide water or snacks for the movers? What can you do to make the moving process easier for the professional movers and your own family?

In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about moving day etiquette to prepare you for everything on the day of your big move. 

Still haven’t decided which movers to go with? Read Our Recommendation for Best Moving Companies.

    Get to Know Your Moving Company’s Policies

    You may think helping your professional movers move your belongings is okay and may even save you some money. 

    However, this often isn’t the case. Professional moving companies often have policies that forbid homeowners or renters from helping their teams move belongings. This may seem severe, but these policies are in place to protect you and reduce liability for the company. 

    During your pre-move screening process, ask the moving company about its policies for moving. For local moves, you may be able to help out some because local moves are usually charged by the time taken, unlike long-distance moves, which are charged by miles and the weight of your belongings. 

    In either case, you won’t be allowed on the mover’s truck, so don’t try to place any boxes there. 

    Stay Clear of the Movers

    Remember, your moving team is made up of professional movers who know the best way and order to move your belongings onto their moving truck. Stay out of their way. While you may think helping them load boxes is kind, you might actually slow them down in the process. 

    In addition to this, make sure that your kids and pets are far away from the movers. Ideally, have your kids and pets stay with a relative or friend for the day. If this isn’t possible, have one parent take them out for the day while the other stays behind to direct the movers. If that’s not an option, set up one room where your kids and pets can stay out of the way and relax. 

    No mover wants to worry about tripping over a cat or child while carrying heavy boxes or furniture. Your pets and small children may even become distressed by everything happening on move day, so this is better for them too. 

    Be Prepared for Your Movers

    Don’t wait to pack until the last minute. Packing often takes far longer than we anticipate, so waiting until the day before to pack is not an option. Break your home into small sections and put aside 30 minutes to an hour each day to pack. Use weekends or days off to pack more extensively. You shouldn’t need to pack anything, except toiletries and a few items you need the morning of your move day. 

    Unless you’re paying your movers to pack your belongings, you should have everything already packed into sealed boxes on the day of your move. 

    Otherwise, you’ll be paying more while your hourly movers wait around for you to finish packing or face fees for the delay from moving companies charging you by the weight and miles driven. 

    Make Things Easy for Your Movers

    Before your movers arrive, go over your living space and ensure they have easy access to everything they need to finish packing your belongings. 

    While it’s understandable that your home will be filled to the brim with boxes, you must leave clear, wide walkways throughout your rooms so that the movers can carry things out safely. 

    Most movers won’t empty your house room-by-room. Instead, they will choose the biggest pieces and boxes that’ll fill empty spaces on the truck as they go. So, they will need access to your entire home from the very beginning, not just the closest room to the door. 

    Check off Your Commitments

    Before the movers arrive, double-check that you have fulfilled your responsibilities. Many moving companies will require you to do the following: 

    • Disassemble furniture and gym equipment
    • Disconnect appliances
    • Empty drawers
    • Remove flammable substances, like gas, from your BBQ or lawn mower
    • Remove mirrors from dressers

    Go over the brief and instructions given to you by the moving company and ensure that you have accounted for any items that you need to take care of beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck having to move these cumbersome items yourself. 

    Not all moving companies will require that you empty dresser or furniture drawers. You may be able to keep lightweight items, like shoes or clothes, in your dresser. However, we recommend asking your movers about this before moving day. You’ll almost always need to remove heavy and fragile items from the drawers. Movers will often need to tilt your furniture, so you may be better off removing everything from the drawers anyways to make moving these heavy items and valuables easier. 

    Don’t Disappear on Your Movers

    Most movers want customers to stay out of their way when moving boxes and heavy furniture. However, you should never disappear and completely abandon your movers. They may need to ask questions about specific items. You should always have at least one responsible adult on the premises to answer questions and do a final walk-through of your old and new home. 

    If you must step out briefly, give them your contact number and let them know that you need to leave for a couple of minutes. 

    Be Ready to Pay Up 

    Your movers are exhausted after a long day moving your belongings. The last thing they want is to fight with you over receiving payment. 

    Most customers pay with credit cards. However, cash is also an option, especially for local moving companies. Make sure you have more cash on hand than you expect you’ll need. You don’t want to come up short if the actual move requires more hours or additional fees. 

    Additionally, if you don’t provide them with payment on the spot, some moving companies will hold on to your belongings until they’re fully paid. Don’t risk this happening. Have extra cash on hand in case the final cost is more than the provided estimate. 

    We also recommend keeping the estimate and payment paperwork on your person so that you can reference this should there be a payment dispute. 

    Tip Your Movers

    Unlike some industries, moving companies don’t expect tips. However, it’s generally considered good practice to tip your movers unless you had a terrible experience. 

    Being a mover is a grueling, physically demanding, and often underpaid position that requires a lot of hard work. So, budget in extra to tip your movers. 

    If possible, you can also offer bottles of water, Gatorade, soda, refreshments, or coffee to your movers. We recommend setting this up with ice and a cooler before the moving crew arrives. You may even consider ordering pizza, sandwiches, or takeout for the movers to thank them as they work. 

    Don’t Surprise Your Movers

    One of the worst and rudest things you can do to your moving crew is surprising them with added items or belongings, like ATVs or a jacuzzi, that were not reported on the owner’s belongings. 

    Not only will this lead to a frustrated moving crew, but your moving estimate will no longer be accurate. You may even be charged additional moving fees for the inconvenience, or you may need to wait for the movers to come back another day if they can’t finish the job on the same day as planned. 

    Final Thoughts

    Moving day can be a stressful and tense day in it itself. Don’t make it worse by surprising your movers or being underprepared. Start planning and building a moving checklist now so that you are prepared. Whatever your moving needs are, whether you are making a small move or you need movers for items like gym equipment, you need to be adequately prepared before your movers arrive. Not only will you make the day less stressful for yourself and the movers, but you may even save money by not incurring fees for surprise items or extra hours to complete the move.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Sam Wasson

    Sam Wasson

    Staff Writer

    Sam Wasson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Sam brings over four years of content writing and media production experience to the Today’s Homeowner content team. He specializes in the pest control, landscaping, and moving categories. Sam aims to answer homeowners’ difficult questions by providing well-researched, accurate, transparent, and entertaining content to Today’s Homeowner readers.

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    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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