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Moving your piano
Table of contents
- Checking a movers credentials
- Piano Movers Insurance
- Preparing for the move
- Why hire an expert?
- How to move a piano
- Are all professional movers equal?
- Are all movers insured the same way?
- The importance of worker injury
- Can moving a piano affect its sound?
- How much notice does a moving company need?
- Questions to ask a mover
- Long distance piano moving
- Great moving tips
- Piano moving equipment
- Cost breakdowns
- The pitfalls of moving your own piano
A piano is one of the most amazing musical instruments that any professional musician should have the luxury of being able to call their own. However, the amount of responsibility that comes with owning one of these instruments is commonly something that people tend to look past.
Once you have a piano in the comfort of your home, it can be very easily to simply focus on the fact that it offers you the ability to express your talents and create timeless music in the process. However, moving a piano may not be something that you are ready to take on without a bit of help.
Something that must be in place in order for you to limit the damage to this instrument would be a large amount of caution in addition to tons of padding. If the piano is not very well padded, this could lead to having something break. Instead of having to worry about the potential for damage, you should make sure that the instrument is properly wrapped.
Blankets would be one of the best sources of padding, you want to wrap the piano as tight as possible in order to eliminate movement room during relocation.
Additionally, it would be very smart to avoid attempting to do this on your own. When moving a large instrument, there is a significant risk that something could go wrong. Having to suffer through an injury for a slip up while attempting to complete a move is not something that you should have to worry about. Instead, simply contact a moving company that understands how to quickly move your piano while ensuring that it arrives in perfect condition.
When you want things done correctly in the safest manner possible, it is very important that you pick up the phone and call a professional. We can help in many states and cities and offer a service of piano movers in los angeles.
Check Your Mover’s Credentials
Companies who move pianos need to be registered and licensed through the Department of Transportation in your area. There are a number of companies out there that do have the experience and are capable of assisting you with your move, but they might not be registered with the appropriate authorities.
A piano moving company must be able to present you with their USDOT or MC numbers and they should be aware that you can in fact check online if they are being truthful.
Check Your Mover’s Insurance Coverage
Every professional mover needs to have insurance as well as be correctly registered. You must ask your moving company to provide you with the certificate from their insurance company and you need to follow up by calling the company to check if they are in fact covered.
In most cases, your mover will have sufficient coverage, but if you are still concerned, you can contact your homeowner’s insurance for further coverage. Ask them to provide you with what is called a “rider” on your insurance. This will cover you during your pianos move. Having that bit of extra coverage will make you feel much safer during the move.
Research Piano Mover’s Before Deciding – Make sure that you do thorough background checks on all the moving companies that you are thinking of using. It does take some more time to do the research, but it will be worth it in the end. Once you have all the information that you need, you will be able to make a well-informed decision as to which company is right for your needs.
Preparing a Piano for Moving
A piano is an expensive and very sensitive instrument that requires preparation before you can move it safely. Making sure that your piano is prepared in the correct manner is the only way that possible damage can be kept to a minimum.
You could be tempted to cut corners with the preparation, especially if you are busy with other things in your home, but be warned that your actions may end up costing you a lot more money than you bargained on.
Padding is needed when moving your piano. Wrapping your piano in blankets before you start moving it will solve two problems.
Firstly, the padding will protect your piano from scratches that could occur during the move.
Secondly, by making sure that your piano is well padded, you will also be protecting other surfaces in your home from getting damaged by the piano when it is being moved. Should you have an upright piano, it is important that you make sure there is no dust on the castors or any other parts that could prevent the piano from being moved smoothly.
This will also save the mover’s time when they arrive to transport your piano. Plan Well When Moving a Large Piano – Make sure that you have a cleared path for the movers before they arrive. Planning in advance will save you and the mover’s time. Make sure that your pets are not in the way and move all excess furniture out of the path that the moving company will need for getting your piano out of your home safely.
Why Should You Hire a Professional?
If you are thinking of using a regular household mover to move your piano, you will be taking a risk. The main reason why you should hire a professional piano mover is that most other types of movers have not had the correct training and do not have the equipment needed to move pianos in the right manner.
The value of your piano could be as high as 500,000 dollars, depending on the age, make, model and condition.
Pianos are also very heavy items that can weigh anything from 400 to 1300 pounds. Your piano will most likely need to be moved through small spaces and could have to be dismantled in order to get it out of your home.
A professional will know exactly how to take your piano apart in the correct manner, which will automatically lower the risk of any damage to the instrument or your home. Making use of a mover who does not have experience in moving pianos might seem like the cheaper option, but in most cases there will be some type of problem and you will need to hire a professional after all.
This means that you will end up paying twice for your move.
Here’s a quick video on how not to move a piano!
How are Pianos Moved?
If you have hired a professional to move your piano, you can expect 2 or 3 people to come to your home on the day of the move. . There are some moves that may require 4 to 6 people to get the job done.
They will have moving pads, slings, ramps, piano skids and the knowledge they need in order to move your piano in a safe way.
They will use special techniques to get your piano out of your home without damaging anything in the process. Your piano will be secured when it has made it onto the back of the moving truck.
This is done to avoid any damage while it is being transported. If you do hire someone other than a professional, there is no guarantee that they will use the correct methods when moving your instrument.
Even though there is still a slight risk of damage no matter who you hire to move your piano, choosing a professional to do the job will drastically reduce the risks. A really good mover will let you know if there is any chance of damage and they will give you the option to decide on whether to go ahead or not.
Are all Professional Movers Equal?
As with all types of businesses, each company will be different when it comes to the quality of their work and their experience in the field. Some companies will be better prepared than others, some will have more experience and some will act with more integrity than others. How you go about finding a good mover is entirely up to you, but visiting local stores, speaking to technicians and teachers is most likely the first step in the right direction.
Find out from these people who they would recommend and take it from there. People who own piano stores tend to make sure that they use quality movers and that the movers are reliable, registered and covered by the right insurance.
Are all Movers Insured in the Same Way?
The answer to that is unfortunately not! There are three different types of insurance that you need to take into consideration when you are looking to hire a professional piano mover.
- Automotive/commercial insurance. This covers the company for damage to vehicles and property
- Content/cartage insurance. This covers the company for damage to pianos
- Workers Safety insurance. This covers the company for workers injuries
Some of the companies have 1 or 2 of these, but not many are covered for all three. It is up to the buyer to make sure that their property is correctly insured, not the movers. Find out what insurance the moving companies have when you phone them and also make sure that you find out what amount your piano will be covered for.
A company that has the correct insurance will give you a Bill of lading (a legal document), which clearly states what will be moved, from where to where it will be moved, what amount your piano will be insured for and the names of all the parties included in the transaction.
This document is of vital importance, as it states that the moving company will fix any damages that might occur and it is the best piece of evidence, should you need to take legal action at any point.
Why is Worker Injury Important to me as an Individual?
It is important for you to make sure that the company you choose to hire does indeed have this type of insurance, but why? It is simple really!
Once you have decided on a company to use, they are considered to be your employees until the job has been completed. If you do choose to use a company that is not covered, you will then be accepting 100% responsibility for the safety of those people who are doing the moving for you.
If they do get injured while they are working for you, you will be liable for their medical costs as well as possible loss of income on their part. Companies that are covered by this type of insurance will be able to sort out most of the problems for you.
There have been times where companies have not paid their premiums which means that they are not covered for all types of claims. It is advisable that you request the company provide you with proof that their premiums are up-to-date. If you want to be completely certain, you can contact your local Workman’s Compensation for additional proof that the company you wish to hire is in fact covered.
Can Moving a Piano Affect its Sound?
Moving your piano cannot actually affect the sound of it. In general, the sound of a piano can change due to variations in humidity and temperature, which causes the steel and wood parts in a piano to contract and expand.
Your piano will need to be tuned for a while after it has been moved. Additional factors that could cause your piano to sound different are the acoustics of the room that it is in and the piano’s size. You should be aware that hardwood floors reflect sound and carpets actually absorb sound.
The sound may seem louder if a piano is in a smaller space than it used to be, or it might sound a lot quieter if the piano is in a larger room than before the move. To get the best sound out of your piano read our guide on tuning a piano
How Much Notice does a Moving Company Need?
The amount of notice that is needed will depend on when you need the piano to be delivered and where it needs to be delivered to. It is common for a piano moving company to work on a first come, first served basis.
You may need to give certain companies up to a month’s notice, especially at busy times of the year. When it is not that busy, you might only need to give them a day or two’s notice. If you do need your piano to be moved on a certain day, you should let the moving company know well in advance if you wish to avoid disappointment.
Questions That Need to be Asked When Looking to Hire Professional Piano Movers
- Can you provide me with any references?
- Are your staff employed full-time and are they correctly trained?
- How long have you been in this business?
- Will you give me a bill of lading?
- What terms are involved with cartage? Will I get a copy?
- How do you work out your prices and what are the rates involved?
- What is your availability?
- How much will my piano be insured for?
- What types of insurance do you have? Are your premiums up-to-date?
- Can you give me a copy of the workers safety certificate?
Prepare the Following Before Booking Your Piano Move:
- Make sure that you know what type of piano you have. Grand or Upright?
- Find out the correct size of the piano. Get someone to measure it for you if you do not know how to.
- Ensure that you have the full address details of where the piano needs to be collected.
- Check how many stairs there are, if you have stairs. Are they spiral, curved or straight stairs? The information that you give to the moving company will help them to determine how many people they will need to send to do the job. If you fail to supply the movers with the correct information, your move might not happen when you need it to and you could be charged extra as well.
- Give the moving company the date that you would like to have your piano moved. Be sure that you know exactly when you want it to happen and have a few alternative dates readily available in case they cannot help you on the day you need them to.
- You need to let the movers know if you have any time restraints and you need to be prepared to pay much more if you are pressed for time.
- The more information you can provide the piano mover, the more accurate your quote will be. If you are vague and provide few details, do not be surprised if you incur extra charges for your move. A well-known piano mover will make everything that is involved with moving your piano as simple as possible and could just end up being the highlight of the entire experience. The most important thing to do is to ensure that the mover meets all of your needs and that you provide them with all the information they require.
Long Distance Piano Movers
How does it work?
Most of the companies that offer these services charge per 1000 lb (minimum weight). Long distance piano movers can cost slightly more, but most are worth the fees.
The price that they charge normally includes a certain amount of insurance. Most of the time they also offer house to house moves included in their quote. You must make sure that they are prepared to wrap the piano with blankets and secure it to the sides of the trailer.
If you are planning on only moving a piano, you will need to wait for “carrier convenience”. This means that your piano will not be shipped until the trailer being used has a full load. This procedure can take up to two weeks from the time you book.
Cartage fees are normally based on the distance and weight. The amount that you will end up paying will be less if the truck carrying your piano carries a heavier load. It is for this reason that it makes sense to move all the contents of your home at the same time. With the truck being filled to its capacity, your move can happen right away.
Good Moving Tips
Take pictures of your piano. Taking detailed pictures of your instrument will come in very handy in the event that damage is done during the move. Even professionals can make mistakes and it is important that you realize that a pro moving service(s) is still not a guarantee.
The Moving Contract
It is advisable that you do your best to have the following conditions included in your contract if you are doing a long distance move.
- The piano may not be transferred to any other truck while crossing the country and it may not be taken off the truck that it was initially loaded onto.
- The instrument will be strapped to the trailer and it must be blanket wrapped for protection.
- The trailer needs to be the type that has the ability to keep the air in it at a constant temperature. There are trailers that are specially made for transporting instruments, computers and so forth.
- The piano needs to be insured for the total replacement value.
When Your Piano Arrives at its Destination
Make sure that you take pictures of your piano as they are offloading it from the trailer. Thoroughly check the piano for any possible damage that may have been caused. If you do in fact find anything wrong, be sure to make a note on the delivery note before signing it.
More about Pianos and Moving a Piano
No piano should be rolled around on the castors, as the castors are there more for decoration and they can damage floors, especially floors that have hardwood finishes. Casters are fitted onto each leg of a piano in such a way that the entire weight of the piano is equally distributed.
When a piano is kept in one place for a long time, the castors will eventually deteriorate. This means that they can get jammed up if you try to push the piano.
Pushing piano’s around on their castors can actually cause the legs to break and in the case of an upright piano, pushing it around on the castors can cause both front legs to collapse. Should the castors get stuck in the place where they are, they will damage your flooring and tear your carpets.
Aside from the dangers associated with stuck castors or broken piano legs, they do not eliminate the weight of the piano when it needs to be moved. When a piano is moved, a 4 wheel piano dolly is usually used. There is no need to push a piano on its castors. All you need is a few people to help you lift the piano off the floor slightly in order to move it short distances. You just need to remember to lift up each corner to make sure that none of the castors are frozen.
The 4 Wheel Piano Dolly
The power needed by to move your pride and joy is drastically reduced when a 4 wheel piano dolly is used. When a dolly is used to move a piano, almost all of the weight is supported by the dolly.
Any piano that has been correctly balanced on a dolly becomes almost weightless and it is therefore very easy to move across flat surfaces. An upright piano can be mounted on a 4 wheel dolly and if it is done correctly, nobody needs to hold it in place – it can be placed on the dolly and left there on its own while the crew have other things they need to do.
Basically any piano can stand alone on a 4 wheel piano dolly if it is mounted correctly.
How much can it Cost to Move a Piano?
There are basically two ways that you could be billed for piano relocation.
- The household moving way — normally charged at an hourly rate (minimum of 3 hours).
- The professional moving way — normally a flat rate is charged according to the size, the type of piano you have, how far it needs to be moved, the difficulty involved in moving it, time restraints and any waiting time that may occur.
The main advantage of paying a flat rate is that you will know how much you will need to pay before the movers arrive and it can often turn out to cost less than the hourly rate.
A Basic Breakdown of the Cost Involved With Moving a Piano
It can be very exciting when you go out to buy a piano, but you are not going to feel the same way when you need to hire a company to move your instrument. Having a basic idea of how much money you will be expected to pay for moving your piano might be a shock to your system initially, but at least you will know what to expect and once your piano arrives, you will have loads of time to enjoy it.
- A local move can cost anywhere from $125 to $250 for an upright and as much as $600 for a baby grand or grand.
- Moving your piano a long distance can cost as little as $700 and as much as $2000. The distance your piano needs to travel will affect how much you will end up paying for your move.
- Most moving companies will bill your per stair that the piano needs to be carried up or down and the rate can be anywhere between $2 per stair to $12 per stair. There are times that piano movers will charge a flat rate per flight of stairs, which is normally around $100 per flight.
- The amount that you pay for insurance will be determined by the weight of the piano. The rates per pound are in the region of about $4. The rate that you pay will be more if you want to insure the value of your piano, in which case you will pay about $10 per $1000 of your pianos value.
- Senior citizens normally qualify for a discount of between 5 and 10 % of the total cost of the move.
For a full article on the cost of moving a piano visit this page.
Are you the Type of Person who just has to Do-It-Yourself?
If you are this type of person, you may want to take note of some of the negatives that come with trying to move your piano by yourself. Nobody is saying that it cannot be done, just that you should be well-informed before you take on this rather large task.
There must be many people out there who took a look at the costs listed above and decided that it would be better for them to move their piano by themselves, which will definitely cost less, but will it really?
The thought of only spending around $50 to hire a truck is appealing, but what about the fact that something can go wrong?
If your piano does get damaged, who is going to have to cover the costs of repairing or replacing it? Pianos are very heavy objects and they are not that easy to move, especially if you do not have the correct equipment and expertise.
You need to ask yourself if you and a few friends will really be able to safely move a 600 pound piano. Sure, you might not have that many issues moving it on a flat surface, but it will be considerably more difficult when it comes to getting your piano down stairs or down a ramp.
Even though the cost of hiring a professional piano mover will be higher than if you had to do it by yourself, you need to think about what could potentially go wrong before you decide to go this route.
The professional will not only get the job done faster, they will do so at the best of their ability because they understand how important your instrument is to you. If you choose a good piano moving company, you will have the peace of mind that your piano is insured and that if anything did go wrong while moving, you would not be liable for the cost of repairs or replacement, however if you did need to take on any repairs yourself read this first.
Moving a piano is definitely not an easy task for the regular everyday person to get right, which is why there are individuals and companies who specialize in this specific service. Making use of the services that professional piano Movers offer will give you more time to do the things that you really want to do like spend quality time with your family at the piano once it has arrived.
Piano dollys, piano dimensions, in transit protection, sufficient padding, having to dismantle a piano, long distance, stairs and so forth are words and phrases that the professionals should concentrate on! You, on the other hand should focus your attention on getting your home ready for when your piano arrives.
Think hard about where you will be placing your piano, because as you must have realized by now, they are extremely heavy objects. Measure the area where you wish to have your piano placed in advance so that you are full prepared when the movers arrive.