Do You Tip for Furniture Delivery?

Updated: Aug. 22, 2023

To tip or not to tip? It's hard to keep up. Here's what to know about tipping for furniture delivery.

Have you ever pretended to be out of town during a friend’s move because you know how difficult it is to haul furniture? Furniture deliverers do it all day long! Monstrous couches, overstuffed chairs and king-sized beds are bulky, heavy and hard to maneuver.

Do you know what else is hard to maneuver? America’s tipping culture. What’s the protocol? Should you tip for furniture delivery?

I had a giant sectional couch delivered once, and while I was ready with a tip, that’s as far as my plan went. There were two delivery guys. Was I supposed to have change? Would the one I handed the tip to share it with the other guy? Was I supposed to tip at all, given the hefty delivery fee?

Later, I noticed a gravel-filled hole in the arm. Should I have withheld the tip after they dragged the couch on the pavement?

It’s difficult to know what to do in these situations. Here’s some advice for navigating tipping for furniture delivery.

Should You Tip for Furniture Delivery?

Yes. Tipping recognizes and rewards good service, and furniture delivery is a demanding, labor-intensive job.

Tipping furniture deliverers isn’t the same as, say, tipping waitstaff and servers who rely on them to augment their hourly wages. However, it’s still a common practice, especially if the crew provides quality, on-time or otherwise remarkable service.

“Good behavior doesn’t just fall out of a delivery truck,” says certified etiquette professional Lisa Mirza Grotts, former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco who also authored a manners blog for the Huffington Post for eight years. “It takes human beings to go the distance to provide friendly, satisfactory service.” So tip those workers!

How Much To Tip Furniture Delivery

“In general,” Grotts says, “plan for $20 a person unless a complex assembly is required, or if they had to stay very late.”

As with any tipping decision, it’s really up to you. It’s OK to adjust the tip based on the relative ease of the delivery, or your budget.

Here are some factors at play:

  • Size of delivery: A single barstool delivered to a first-floor flat may only warrant $5, but multiple heavy items earn that $20.
  • Assembly required: Furniture that requires assembly, even if it’s not IKEA-level complex, should net the $20 tip.
  • Difficulty of delivery: Is your delivery a three-hour ordeal up four flights of stairs? Is it the middle of August? Be prepared with that $20 per person, plus a bit more.
  • Service level: Consider service that goes above and beyond, like spending extra time, staying late, being friendly to your dogs or respectful of your kids.

“Like any other gratuity, the amount should reflect your satisfaction with the delivery team,” Grotts says.

Furniture Delivery Tip Alternatives

Is it ever OK to tip in something other than money? Bottle of water? Granola bar?

I’ve never encountered a delivery person sweating through a triple-digit Texas summer who wouldn’t take an ice-cold drink of water, but a little coin will buy a few more refreshments. Consider offering drivers a drink as well as a tip. If things are tight, offer what you can.

When Not to Tip for Furniture Delivery

While it’s a good practice, there’s no requirement to tip for furniture delivery. There’s also nothing forbidding you from tipping, unless it’s company policy.

Some stores and delivery companies don’t allow workers to accept tips, so if that’s the case, respect the rule. Pressing employees to take a tip when they can’t may be awkward.

If you’re ever not sure whether tipping is accepted, just ask. The workers will tell you. Or try to tip and see what happens. To be absolutely certain, call the company, ask at the point of purchase or check online. The internet has no shortage of previous employees sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits.

One more thing. You may be tempted to skip the tip if you’re already paying a delivery fee. But delivery fees don’t go to the driver, or may only partially. Larger companies and custom furniture manufacturers often contract third parties for local delivery, so tip those people if you can.