It’s PCS season and once again military spouses are asking the big question, should I tip or feed the movers?
There is a wide difference in opinion here. Some people always tip, others tip based on performance and for some, the thought of tipping has never crossed their mind.
The same goes for feeding the people that pack up all your precious belongings. Many military families choose to feed the moving crews in some way but there are still people that do not.
There are people that both tip and feed the movers and some that choose to only do one of those things.
There are also people who do neither.
Everyone has a strong opinion on the matter as well.
What Food Should I Feed My Packers or Movers When We PCS?
If you choose to provide food for the moving team, what do you feed them?
Many military spouses responded to this question saying that they buy pizza. I have bought pizza many times. My parents bought the movers pizza when I was growing up as an Army brat so that was the norm, or so I thought.
Also, in the early stages of military life, families don’t tend to have much money to spare on individual meals for a large group of people. We didn’t.
After a multitude of moves, my perspective, as well as wallet, has changed.
Now I give the movers a few options for lunch and then my husband goes to pick it up. I also always make sure to have cold water in the fridge for everyone.
Who wants to eat pizza every day? Could you imagine spending hours packing up things and getting pizza constantly?
Some military spouses say that they provide breakfast or lunch and some provide both. Most said they have water for them and offer pizza, subs, Chick-fil-A or KFC.
A few said they offer some of the beverages they aren’t moving with to the movers. One military spouse said this:
“My husband once gave them bottles of booze. They loved him for it. I was mortified.”
How Much Should I Tip Our Packers During a PCS?
I haven’t tipped our packers during a PCS. Actually, I hadn’t thought about it until someone recently brought it up.
One military spouse had a good point. She said, “I tip the groomer and nail salon techs for goodness’ sakes.” If she’s going to tip for those services, it makes sense to tip the people who take care of her precious belongings.
When asked if they tip, a number of women said that they were told by the TMO, Traffic Management Office, that tipping was not allowed. Not all moving companies follow this however. Even if that is their policy, some movers will still take the cash tip.
In the civilian world, tipping is part of proper etiquette. The average tip is $20 per mover. That could really add up for military moves if you have separate people that pack your belongings up and then unpack at your destination.
I have had as many as eight people packing up our home. There are a lot of costs involved in moving and an additional $160 for the packers’ tips is not necessarily something I would want to spend my money on. That cost really adds up if you have to tip just as much when the next group unpacks at your new duty station.
Related: 5 Steps You Can Take Today to Make Your PCS Go Smoothly This Summer
Everyone has a different perspective however.
Some people only tip if they notice that the movers are particularly friendly or pack things how they want them to be packed. If you choose to tip, make sure you give the money to each mover personally. Don’t just give it to the leader of the packing crew. They might not actually divvy up the money. Also, handing out tips to each person shows that you recognize their individual effort.
Hopefully, the movers are grateful no matter if you provide a meal or a tip them.
If you are going to buy a meal, give them some options and let them choose. They will likely appreciate having something other than pizza.
If you decide to tip, you choose how much to give them. While $20 per person is the norm in the civilian world, it isn’t necessarily the same for military moves.