Sign up for the Spouse & Family Newsletter

Popular Spouse Benefits Articles

Military Life 101

  • job fair
    Military Spouse Employment 101
    While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
  • (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)
    Military Spouse Education Help 101
    Good news for you: Being a military spouse can actually make some parts of going back to school easier.
  • (Photo: U.S. Navy)
    Military Life 101
    Military life has a lot of nuts and bolts. You know, the little things that make up just an ordinary day.
  • stack of one dollar bills
    Military Spouse and Family Benefits 101
    Don't know exactly how to get your military spouse and family benefits or want to know more about what they are? Read on.
  • Movers at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, load up a truck with household goods. Jose Ramirez/Air Force
    Military Spouse and Family Moves 101
    Whether you're an old pro or new to the military moving game, there's stuff to learn about PCSing. Here's our easy PCS 101 guide.
  • (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie)
    Military Family Deployment 101
    Preparing for deployment can seem like an uphill battle. But we've been there. Here's what you need to know.
  • Military family
    Military Family Life 101
    Military life is not easy, but we've got your back. From marriage to kids and parenting, we have the resources you need.

Do I Have to Tip the Movers?

Are you supposed to tip military movers during a PCS? We know the answer.

Dear Q&B:

I've heard that some military families give their packers and movers cash tips during a PCS. Now I'm worried that if we don't give them money, they are going to break our stuff on purpose. No one talked about tipping during the transportation briefing. What should I do?

-- Don't Break My Stuff

Dear Stuff,

Whether to tip the movers is one of those timeless debates among military families. From what I can tell, most military families choose to feed their packers and movers lunch or dinner in lieu of giving them cash. In a poll on's SpouseBuzz blog, over 58 percent of readers said they never give cash tips, while almost 22 percent said they do, and about 20 percent said it depends on the movers and the quality of work they are doing.

According to moving industry officials I've spoken with, tipping is considered common and even expected in the civilian moving world. Those experts suggested giving cash -- as much as $20 per packer and mover -- to each person at the end of the job. But for military families, that can really add up if you have two different teams doing the packing and unpacking, as is often the case.

That may be why, in lieu of a cash tip, many military families make sure there is pizza, sandwiches or some other meal and drinks provided for the packers and movers every day that they are there. I've also heard of some families giving the movers the liquor they didn't plan to take with them as thanks (after the job is done, obviously).

Personally, I think whether you decide to give a cash tip depends on what kind of move you are doing. Tipping after your pack out is done isn't going to win you any good graces from folks you're never going to see again. But if you are doing a door-to-door move, you may have the same team on both ends. In that case, giving each person $20 after the packing but before the actual moving for a job well done could buy some happier movers. And happier movers could equal less broken stuff. It's worth a shot.

Good luck with your move!

Team Q&B

-- Do you have a question about your benefits? Email the Questions and Benefits team at

Related Topics

PCS Questions and Benefits

Military News App by

Download the new News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Featured VA Loan Articles