Piano Moving Cost

Cost to move a piano

This is one of the most common piano moving questions on the internet.  Unfortunately it cannot be answered by a simple X number of dollars as there are a number of factors that play into the cost.  To get the most accurate quote you need to have answers to the following questions.

What type of piano do you want moved?  You laugh at this but you would be amazed by how many people answer that they have a standard piano or a regular piano.  To a mover this does not tell him anything.  What he wants to know is do you have a Grand piano or an Upright piano?  Without this information, the mover will not bother to give you a quote.

What size of piano do you want moved?  Most people do not know the answer this question, but it is necessary for the mover to know what type of equipment and the number of movers he will require to move it with.  For grand pianos, the key measurement is the length.  This is the measurement from the keyboard to the futherest point on the curve (bow) of the piano.  For uprights it is all about the height.  This is the measurement from the top of the lid to the floor.  Knowing these key sizes of the piano gives the mover a really good idea of the type and weight of the piano.

What make is your piano?  This question is not as important as some of the others, but will give a true piano mover a good idea of what weight and value category your piano falls into.  You can have two pianos that look basically the same and have totally different weights and values.  For example  a Bell upright piano or Mason and Hamlin Grand Piano would weigh a couple hundred more pounds than there Yamaha counter parts.

Where are you moving your piano to and from? It always amazes me the number of people that ask for a quote a piano move without telling you where they are or where they are moving it too.  With todays fuel and labour costs, this is a really important piece of the puzzle for quoting.  You should always make sure you give the city/town/suburb or nearest main intersection and I stress the word MAIN.  No mover knows every little street in the city.

Is there any stairs or obstacles that the piano has to get around?  When you hear people complaining about surprise charges, 9 out of 10 times it is because of this.  Most people have no clue how many steps they have at their home or how to explain them.  If you do not believe me ask some of your family members and friends how many stairs they have outside your front door.  More than 50% are wrong or have no idea every time.  Now you have to appreciate that pianos are heavy and ackward to handle and to the guy that is moving it, every step matters.  The more steps to go up the greater the risk of something going wrong or an accident happening.  The next thing is how to describe the stairs:  Are they inside, outside or both?  Are they straight with lots of room to turn at the top and/or the bottom?  Are they spiral or do they curve at all?  Is there a tight turn involved at the top, middle or bottom of the stairs?  All these things matter to the piano mover in conjunction with the type and size of the piano you have.  I cannot stress this next point enough: Do not sugar coat the stair situation to the piano mover!  The people that do are the same people that get surprised charges or piano movers walking away saying I need more manpower to do this safely or they do not feel up to your job, find someone else (Yes this happens).  When moving day or house closings are involved advise the piano mover for the worst and hope for the best, it significantly will cut down your stress when you are moving.

Taking the piano around the house? When asking about stairs, lots of people will say do not worry about the stairs out front, you can move the piano out the back.  For some reason most people think that taking a piano out the back and around a house is easy and sometimes it is, but you have to ask the following questions:  Is it a paved walkway from the back to the front?  Does the piano have to go over grass?  Is there a grade or hill involved getting it from the back to the front?  Going over grass with a piano can be an absolute disaster, especially if it is not level.  Think about this: do you ever you anyone skateboard over grass?  In the winter time do you shovel the snow to the back of your house?  Most piano movers will charge the same money for going over grass as up or down a flight of stairs.  It is generally the same work and risk involved, but let the piano mover choose which is the safest way.  He is hulling a heavy piano and believe me, he doesn’t want to work any harder than he has too, so he’ll pick the easier method.

Waiting time and Dead Trips:  When getting a flat rate quote for piano moving, it is based on the piano mover getting in, doing his business and getting out.  The quote is not based on him waiting around for you or coming back another time because you have not got your keys yet.  Whatever you do make sure you are waiting for him and not the other way around, otherwise you will get the surprised charge of waiting time.  If you are not sure when you are going to get your keys, book it for pickup one day and deliver the next.  Most piano movers will not charge extra for this (or a nominal charge) as long as it is planned properly in advance.  If they go and cannot deliver and have to rebook for another day is what they call a dead trip and incurs a redelivery charge which could be as high as paying for a second move plus storage charges.

Time commitments:  There was a day when you wouldn’t get charged for this, because the piano mover could obsorb the cost into the piano move.  With the cost of inflation over the last number of years (labour, fuel and truck service) and an ecomony where every penny is squeezed out of companies; those days are virtually gone.  The new norm is:  The mover is giving the best rate he can (you don’t even have to ask for it), but you have to be available all day so that he can route his truck the most efficient way possible to help him reduce his fuel and labour expenses.  He’ll give you a better idea of timing on the actual delivery day, but you have to be available ALL DAY.  If you want a smaller time window, then be prepared to pay for it, because the piano mover is going to have to back track or do some sort of poor routing to meet your time commitment, which means more fuel to burn and longer work days.  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a big deal to the piano movers, even if they are not letting on to it.

So what does it cost to move a piano?  If you have not noticed yet, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the cost of piano moving and those cost are different in one part of the country to another part of the country.  A good piano mover will streamline this process to it’s most basic elements, but everything above plays into the cost of moving a piano.  I’ve seen some moves in some part of the country go for $100 and others for a couple thousand depending on the distance being travelled.  Right now, on average it will fall in the $200-500 range plus tax, but it all comes back to the variables of your specific move.

Pricing around piano movers: When it comes to piano movers or any mover for that matter, they are NOT all equal.  When you shop around do not think for a minute that you are comparing the same quality of service.  Generally you will find that the pricing is fairly close between them.  With that information in mind, stick with the most reputable.  It may cost a few extra dollars up front to go with the more reputable mover, but think of it like insurance.  The odds of a claim are that much less and if there is a claim; you are more likely going to get service.  There are a lot of the cheap movers say they are insured, but do not stand behind there workmanship when things go wrong.  I cannot stress this enough: Use a reputable piano mover!