Piano Moving Costs
An investment as valuable as an upright or grand piano deserves to be treated with the best of care. Hiring a professional piano mover to transport your instrument smoothly and safely is well worth the piano moving cost.
Upright pianos can weigh as much as 800 pounds and grand pianos can exceed 1,000 pounds, depending on the make and model of your product. Entrusting your piano to anyone less than a specialty mover can put it at risk of serious damage. It can also put you and your DIY moving team at risk of injury for taking on such a difficult job.
Whether you’re moving your piano across town or across the country, it’s best to hire movers who specialize in this area. Even regular household movers may not have the training or experience to get the job done right.
Despite their heavy weight and large size, pianos are delicate musical instruments that require special handling and care.
Pro piano movers know what they’re doing and can minimize the risk of damage to your instrument (and home) during the moving process.
Table of contents
Choosing a speciality mover
Piano relocation specialists vary in level of experience and expertise. Choosing the right mover is key to getting quality services at affordable moving costs. One way to find a qualified mover is to call piano shops, technicians or teachers in your area and ask for a referral. If you live in a small city or rural town, chances are your mover choices will be limited to one or two professionals in this field. In large metropolitan areas, there may be more.
When possible, try to get estimates from various companies to get a better picture of piano movers cots where you live. This helps you prepare in advance for this financial investment.
You can also ask piano removal companies to provide you with references of satisfied customers to get a better idea of the standard of services they provide and cost.
Look for a mover with a reputation for providing quality services, even if the cost is a little higher. Such movers will appreciate the value of your merchandise and make a greater effort to see your piano is transported safe and sound to its new destination. You can count on a reputable piano mover to have the personnel and equipment needed for the job.
Insurance is yet another aspect to consider when selecting a professional piano mover. Although your homeowner’s insurance will cover your piano, your mover should also offer sufficient insurance coverage to cover accidental damage or replacement cost. Before hiring a specialty mover, take time to discuss insurance matters up front so you have a clear understanding of what kind of protection the company is offer in the event of damage. Your mover should also have coverage for worker’s comp to protect their employees in the event of injuries during your move.
Calculating Piano Movers Cost – how much does it cost to move a piano?
Piano removals companies generally bill their customers in two ways:
- By the hour, with an average minimum of 3 hours, or
- By set rate based on such factors as:
- the type of piano being moved
- distance of your move
- difficulty of the move (stairs, rough terrain to travel, limited space, etc.)
- number of employees engaged in the move
- time restrictions
- waiting time
The cost of moving a piano will vary depending on the company you hire. Most companies can provide you with a moving estimate over the phone. When calling a mover to get a quote, be sure to relay all the information he needs to give you an accurate moving estimate.
This information includes:
Piano Type and Size
In order to calculate the cost of moving a piano, your mover will need to know what type of piano you have, i.e. an Upright or Grand piano. If you describe your piano as “standard” or “regular,” it doesn’t provide your mover with sufficient information to give you an accurate quote.
The size of the piano is also important in calculating piano movers cost. To determine the size of your Upright piano, measure its height from the floor to its lid. Grand pianos are measured by their length, from one end of the keyboard all the way to the end of the piano’s bow (curve).
With this information, movers can decide how many workers are needed for the move as well as what equipment is required. Some movers may ask you for the make and model of your piano to help determine its weight and prospective value.
Move Distance and Destination
Make sure your mover knows where the piano is currently located and where you want to have it moved. Taking into consideration fuel and labor costs, distance will make a difference in the cost of your move. When providing this information, include the suburb and city where you live, suburb and city of your destination and the nearest main street for a more accurate quote.
Obstacles to Moving
The cost of moving a piano increases dramatically when there are obstacles in the moving path. Stairs, dirt or gravel paths and tight spaces are examples of obstacles that can complicate a move and increase its cost. Carrying an object as heavy and awkward as a piano up or down stairs, around trees, across grassy knolls, across gravel paths, etc. increases the risk of accidental damage to your merchandise and injury to the mover.
Before providing you with a moving quote, your movers need to know what to expect in the way of obstacles in their path. When it comes to stairs, be sure to specify:
- the number of steps
- whether they are indoor or outdoor steps
- what kind of stairs (straight, spiral)
- how accessible the steps are
- number of tight turns
and any other details you feel would help your mover get a better picture of how to handle the move. This helps your mover select the best team and equipment to conduct your move with the least amount of problems and stress.
Date and Time of Move
Like most household movers, piano relocators generally book their services on a “first come, first serve” basis. Therefore, it’s good to make your reservation in advance, especially if you’re on a tight schedule and need to move by a specific day.
The more flexible you are, the better, as it can help reduce the cost. Try to avoid placing a time limit on moving your instrument as it could result in paying double for your move.
Time commitments can be very costly for a piano mover as he has to absorb the cost of labor, fuel and trucking service. After booking your date, most movers require that you be available all day to accommodate your actual move. This enables them to organize their moving schedule in such a way as to reduce labor and fuel expenses.
Less expense on their end could result in savings on yours. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to be flexible in your timings.
If your mover has to wait on you for pickup or delivery of your merchandise, you can expect to pay more for wasting his time. The quote you were given for the move does not include dead trips or waiting time. Make sure you are fully prepared for the move on the date or time you specified.
Most movers can accommodate picking up the piano on one day and delivering it the next, if these arrangements are made in advance. However, having to wait on delivery or re-book a delivery due to you not having your house keys or not being prepared on your end will incur extra charges. You may find your piano relocation cost growing exponentially due to carelessness on your part.
Affordable piano movers are not difficult to come by if you do your part. They count on you providing them with accurate information in order to give you an accurate quote. By working closely with your movers, you can help facilitate the moving process. A reputable moving company will be upfront with the prices it charges, so you can plan your finances accordingly. A good mover will also do its best to streamline your move to reduce time, cost and stress in the process.
Moving a Piano Yourself vs Professional Services
Before attempting to move a piano on your own, count the cost. Pianos are delicate instruments that can damage easily when not handled with care.
The sheer weight of a piano requires the right equipment and manpower to move safely without risking bodily harm. Unless you have a team of specialty movers as friends, you’re better off leaving the move to those qualified for the job. By paying the cost of moving a piano, you stand a better chance of protecting your prized possession.
Professional piano movers understand the intricate workings of pianos and know how to transport them safely and securely to minimize the risk of accidents. An experienced mover will know the proper technique of lifting and carrying your Upright, console or spinet piano through narrow doorways so as not to incur damage to your instrument or home in the process.
A professional mover will also know the proper method of disassembling, packing and loading your concert or Grand piano for safe transport to your new destination.
He’ll make sure the piano’s parts are wrapped in blankets for safe keeping and fastened securely on a special board with straps. Your mover will also take measures to protect your instrument’s beautiful finish and preserve the keys from harm. If for any reason you move and you do damage your piano you’ll need to know what to do next. To find out about piano repair read this page.
Taking into consideration the high cost of most pianos today – ranging into the thousands of dollars – it only makes sense to do what you can to protect your investment to avoid damage during a major move. Hiring a specialty mover gives you greater assurance that the job will be handled with greater precision and care, despite the extra expense.
A DIY move may be tempting to reduce moving costs, however, it could cost you more in the long run if your merchandise is damaged in the process or you sustain an injury as a result. Furthermore, after paying to rent the proper equipment for the move along with a moving truck, you may find your savings was not worth the trouble.
Typical Moving Costs
Most pianos require the services of 2-5 movers, depending on the instrument’s weight and size. Your mover will provide all the equipment for your move to include a specialized dolly, moving straps, skid boards and cinder blocks, a floor jack if necessary for removing piano legs and a sturdy ramp for moving your piano along.
Once inside the truck, movers will ensure your instrument is properly strapped down to avoid shifting en route to its new destination. Specialist movers take great care to ensure the safety and protection of your property during delivery and are well worth their price.
Although costs may vary depending on your mover and part of the country where you live, the following breakdown gives you an idea of what to expect from typical moving costs, not counting a senior citizen discount, if offered by your mover.
- Local moves may cost anywhere between $125 to $600, depending on the piano type and size and the amount of stairs or other obstacles involved
- Long distance national moves average between $700 to $2,000, depending on distance and difficulty of moving.
- Overseas piano moves may cost as high as $3,500, not counting moving costs to or from place of shipment
- An alternative to a full service professional piano mover, you may be able to hire a mover for packing, loading and unloading your instrument only, with you taking responsibility for driving your piano to your new location. This may reduce moving costs to between $275 and $400.
For difficult moves, your company may charge additional expenses as follows:
- $2.00-$10.00 per step for carrying the piano up or down stairs
- $50.00-$60.00 monthly for storing your piano in a climate controlled facility
- $750.00-$2,000 for lifting a piano by crane through your home’s window
Breakdown of Moving Costs by Piano Type
For some people, it may be easier to estimate their relocation cost by piano type. The following breakdown gives you a general idea of the cost of moving a piano locally according to the type of piano you own. These prices, however, are only estimates. For more accurate figures, you’ll need to factor in some of the variables mentioned above for your particular situation.
Studio Upright Piano
Although the studio upright is the smallest full size piano you can buy, it can weigh as much as 300-400 pounds. Many apartment dwellers choose this piano due to its compact size. When transporting this instrument within an apartment complex, movers use elevators and stairs. Transport requires a minimum of two movers and moving cost may range from $195 to $315.
Standard Upright Piano
The conventional Upright can best be described as the “older brother” to the studio piano. Some Upright piano models are almost 4 feet tall and weigh in between 600 and 800 pounds. It takes several people to move an Upright; for large models, movers may have to remove your door for sufficient space to maneuver the piano through. Moving costs range from $195 to approximately $320.
Player Upright Piano
This antique design has long gone out of style. However, if you do own such a model, moving it will be no easy task. Player Uprights can exceed a standard Upright in weight by almost 100 pounds. To move your Player, expect to invest between $195 and $315.
Baby Grand Piano
Although Baby Grand pianos occupy less space than their full size counterpart, they can still be difficult to move due to their unusual shape and size. Baby Grands require tall and wide openings to pass through safely. In conventional homes, this may mean owners hiring a contractor to remove existing walls and doors to make way for this product. General estimates for moving a Baby Grand range from $250 to approximately $400.
Studio Grand Piano
Used mostly in professional studios, Studio Grand pianos exceed Baby Grands in weight and size. As they’re quite difficult to move, most models remain in their studio setting long term. If moving is absolutely necessary, you can expect to pay from $255 to $415 for a local move.
Parlor Grand Piano
Ranging from 5½ to 7 feet long, Parlor Grands are known for producing vibrant tones. Its hefty weight of up to 900 pounds makes it challenging and expensive to move, with costs running from $415 to approximately $650.
Although professional piano moving may be costly, the risk of damage to your merchandise from hiring conventional movers or tackling the job yourself is much higher. If you have a piano that needs moving, your best bet is to research affordable piano moving companies in your area, compare cost and negotiate a deal that’s well within your financial means.
Lastly, upon moving it can be common for the piano to require tuning due to climate and humidity changes. To learn about piano tuning click here.