A whole host of furniture retailers are now offering bespoke furniture assembly services at an extra cost on top of delivery.
The main players such as Ikea, Amazon, and Wayfair are all now providing this service in an industry now worth over $13.8 billion according to Statista.
Let’s face it, constructing flat-packed furniture is a nightmare and there’s no wonder that companies providing assembly services are going from strength to strength.
If you’ve purchased furniture assembly services, then you might be wondering what the tipping etiquette is for this type of worker.
Managing your tipping habits can help you take stock of your budget so you don’t tip when you shouldn’t but also don’t fail to tip when it’s good practice to do so.
To help you decide whether you need to tip and how much, we’ve done the number crunching.
This article will look at the common practice for tipping furniture assemblers, what they earn, the average cost of this service, and will draw on inside knowledge from someone who works in this industry.
Keep reading to find out more…
Do You Tip Furniture Assembly Guys? The Short Answer
In short, you should tip furniture assembly workers. They tend to earn below-average incomes as many work as part of the gig economy and therefore tips are required to supplement their income. We suggest tipping 10-20% of the price of the assembly or $5 – $30 as a fixed amount.
How Much Do Furniture Assembly Workers Earn?
A key factor in deciding whether and how much to tip will be working out what assembly workers earn.
Some industries demand that their workers receive tips because they receive a poor basic income.
But is this the case for assembly workers?
We’ve had a look at salaries from Zippia which shows that assemblers receive only $30k per year on average:
This is much less than the $53,490 that, according to Jobted.com, US workers earn on average per year.
Moreover, the truth is that many assemblers earn even less than $30k per year as they work for gig economy companies such as TaskRabbit and Handy which tend to pay not far off minimum wage and the work hours just aren’t always available.
Here’s what one gig economy assembler told us:
“When you are hired as a furniture assembler you are a 1099 subcontractor, not an employee. There are no employee benefits you pay for your gas to and from jobs and you are not paid while driving to and from jobs and any other expenses. Most people doing this work do not get 40 hrs of work and in my area I am lucky to get 10. I guarantee you that if you own an upper-middle-income home or better and you do not tip the assembler is leaving your house disappointed in you as a human being. It is not unusual during slow times of the year to only have one job for the day and a typical queen bed assembly for example gets you maybe $50. Assemblers rely on tips to make the job in general worth it. Most people doing this work are working more than one job and are struggling to make ends meet.“Colin Daniels, Gig Economy Assembler
It’s clear from this that tips are certainly warranted when it comes to assembly services and we recommend that one should be provided where possible.
The work is poorly paid, insecure, comes with no benefits and there’s no guarantee of work from day to day.
That’s not to mention that the job can be difficult, tedious, and tiring!
Honestly, who really enjoys constructing furniture? Certainly not us and we assume neither do you if you’ve searched this topic.
On that basis, a tip is definitely warranted within this industry.
How Much Does Furniture Assembly Cost?
The average furniture assembly cost in the US according to Thumbtack is $120 but they state prices can be as low as $60 and even as high as $450.
However, Fixr.com puts the average cost at $150.
Clearly, what you pay is going to depend on the size and complexity of the furniture being assembled.
For example, when we looked at whether to tip Wayfair Assemblers, the cost of assembling a bed was $101.99, and $98.99 for a cabinet.
The cost of assembly is likely to be more if you use a qualified carpenter or other highly skilled laborer compared to if you use a gig economy worker from somewhere like TaskRabbit or Handy.
How Much to Tip a Furniture Assembler?
The standard tipping rate in the US is 10 – 20% of the total cost of the purchase.
If we apply that to the average assembly costs provided by Thumbtack above, then you’ll be looking at approximately $6 – $90 as a tip.
Clearly, the upper end of this may be too steep for some people and they may prefer to apply a fixed rate tip.
We’d suggest that $10 – $25 is probably about right if you’d rather tip as a fixed sum rather than a percentage.
We wouldn’t suggest going any lower than this as the tip then starts to become meaningless.
Clearly, there are other non-monetary ways you can tip an assembler such as:-
- Gift vouchers
- Food or drink
- A review or appraisal
- Tickets to a game
- Or verbal praise
However, given many assemblers, especially from the gig economy, are earning below-average salaries, we suggest a monetary tip is likely to be more welcomed.
To Tip or Not To Tip?
As above, tipping is common practice within the assembling business but there will certainly be times when you might want to tip more than you usually would.
This might be when:
- The work has been done to a high standard;
- The work has been done efficiently and on time;
- The work has been done cleanly and without much disruption to your home;
- If the worker has been professional, courteous, and has looked after your home and furniture;
- Around the holidays.
Alternatively, you may wish to withhold a tip if:
- The furniture has been damaged;
- The assembly was slow or took much longer than expected;
- The workmanship is poor;
- The work area has been left in a mess;
- The assembler has been rude, unprofessional, or inefficient.
We’d suggest only withholding a tip in extreme circumstances as assembling is an area of work where the worker really does rely on your tips to get by as Colin Daniels told us above.
Furniture assembly is one area where a tip definitely should be provided.
In our eyes, given the modest earnings and how insecure this work is for many assemblers, we think that a tip is certainly justified.
Furthermore, assembly costs are fairly reasonably priced and it is a very tedious job that most people hate doing.
We’d suggest tipping 10-20% of the cost of the service as is customary etiquette for tipping in the US, or at least $10 – $20 if you’d rather tip as a fixed sum.
Of course, there will be times when a tip should be withheld but we suggest this should be on rare occasions and you might want to think about being more generous, rather than less, in this particular industry.