I never thought I’d have to right an article on this, but a lot of people do ask this question. They do not move their piano very often and do not really know what the expectation is and are worried about insulting someone. There is no right or wrong answer here and I am not going to tell you anything you do not already know.
Firstly, Yes it is common practice in the moving industry for piano movers or delivery people of any sort to receive tips.
Secondly, you will never hear from me that you must tip the piano mover. A gratuity is something earned for a job well done. As an additional “Thank you” to the actual person(s) that performed the physical work you requested. If they did a crappy job, they shouldn’t get a tip, unlike some other professions you can probably think of.
With regards to how much? This is really only a question that you can personally answer. The reality is the piano mover will take what ever you give him. Ask yourself these question(s): How much do you tip your waitress or hair dresser? Or better yet how much do you tip the pizza delivery person? Now compare services and value of piano entrusted to them vs. pizza or food or hair. What do you think is right?
In my option, something is always better than nothing.
The cheap tip is rounding off the change on the move or not asking for change back.
The normal low tip is offering a drink or money to buy one.
A thoughtful tip is to supply money to buy lunch since they are on the road all day.
To put a real smile on the piano movers face is $20-100 for each piano mover. Generally on the high end pianos or difficult piano moves with lots of stairs.
The above examples are all real tips that piano movers have received on jobs. Hope that gives you some insight or help in deciding what you would like to do.