Moving can be an expensive undertaking, especially when you hire outside help to pack and transport your belongings. When calculating costs, keep in mind that the amount you pay the moving company doesn’t necessarily trickle down to the people packing, loading and driving the trucks. 

Here are five questions you can consider when deciding whether and how much to offer your moving team:

What's the industry standard?
Unlike the restaurant business, where 15 to 20 percent of the check is considered the standard, the moving industry has no such tipping guidelines. Determining how much to tip somewhat depends on the quality and quantity of the service you received.

How far was your move?
For local moves that require less than a half-day’s work, $10 per mover is considered acceptable. If the move takes a full day, tipping $20 per mover might be more appropriate. If your move requires long distances and several days on the road, use a percentage model. A tip between 5 and 10 percent of the total bill is usually considered fair.

How large is your household?
The size of your household should factor in, too. If you have a large family and lived in a large home, with a basement and garage packed with possessions, your move will require considerable effort. You can adjust your tip accordingly.

What services did you request?
Consider what you’re asking of your movers. Will they be packing your belongings for you? How about delivering boxes and furniture to the appropriate rooms and on various levels in your new place? Will they be required to handle large, difficult objects such as delicate artwork or a bulky piano? Will they assemble your beds before they leave? All of these tasks can be weighed as you consider a tip.

Did your possessions arrive on time and in good condition?
For local moves, time isn’t usually a significant factor. But when it comes to long-distance or interstate moves, the timeliness of the arrival certainly can factor into the tip. If you received your belongings on schedule despite a major snowstorm along the way, for example, you might decide that's worthy of a tip. Likewise, if unexplained delays occur, this might be reflected in your tip. After the the movers unload your possessions, do a quick inspection. If everything checks out, reward them for a job well done.

If you’re considering a move, buying a house, or listing your home for sale, contact a local RE/MAX agent. He or she can guide you in finding the right place – and any additional services you might need.