Moving a house full of furniture is difficult enough, but when there’s a piano in the mix, it’s not a good idea to work with amateurs. Pianos, both upright and grand, demand a lot of attention even from knowledgeable and reputable movers. There’s no easy way to do it, and everyone involved has to be ready to sweat. Still, the allure of saving money can tempt do-it-yourselfers into going it alone, but this would be a major gamble. Any mistake during the process can leave a valuable instrument scuffed up, or worse, and the risk of injury is significant. The only reliable alternative is to find a moving firm that has experience in this area, and even then, it’s best to locate several options for further review.
Music to a Homeowner’s Ears
Pianos are among the heaviest instruments available, and some ornate pipe organs are, in fact, the heaviest instruments in the world. And though most homeowners aren’t moving a massive pipe organ, even a standard upright piano can weigh up to 800 pounds. Some grand pianos are even larger, clocking in at a scale-busting 1,200 pounds. That’s some heavy music.
The piano’s sheer bulk is the limiting factor for most do-it-yourselfers, as it’s not something that can be done with just a few pairs of hands. And even if someone has a truckload of friends who are willing to help out, someone is bound to wrench their back or twist a knee without the proper training in handling these instruments. If stairs are involved, it can be a complete nightmare.
This is where professional piano movers should be allowed to take over, especially if there are special considerations regarding the layout of the property. Experienced piano movers have seen it all, so they have the equipment solution for even the most challenging situations. Specifically, though, this is how a reputable piano mover can make the job easier:
- Professional movers can navigate challenging obstacles – Stairs can make this task difficult, forcing people into precarious positions and increasing the chances of injury. But there are even worse situations, like getting the piano out of a confined upstairs apartment, or even out of a high rise. It is in these settings where experienced piano movers really shine, as they have the equipment and experience to get the instrument out of some tough spots. If necessary, professional movers can even employ cranes to get the piano out of the building.
- Professional movers can ensure the piano’s safety – A piano is usually one of the most prized possessions someone owns, so it has to be treated as such. That’s easier said than done, though. Both the piano and everything around it are at risk of sustaining damage during a move. One slip, and 1,000 pounds of instrument will rip through the wall, or take out a banister. And if the piano is dropped or slammed against something, the resulting repairs may cost hundreds, or even thousands. That’s why experienced piano movers work hard to protect the instrument from harm, using dollies, hump straps and skidboards to guard every side of the piano and to keep it under control while lifting.
- Professional movers carry insurance – The mere act of lifting a piano can throw out a back, and is something to avoid without the proper training. But even among experienced professionals, injuries can happen. When they do, it’s the moving firm’s insurance that will assist the hurt worker. If the moving firm is not insured, the property owner may be responsible for the worker’s medical expenses – a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Insurance is an extremely important thing to have, and is something that piano owners should inquire about before entrusting their instrument to a crew. In general, experienced, reputable firms will have all the insurance they need. It’s the less professional outfits that need to be regarded with caution in this respect.
- Professional movers know how to transport a piano – It’s not enough just to get the piano onto the truck. In some respects, that’s the easy part. Transporting it, even locally, has to be done with expert care or the piano will smash against the truck’s walls or tumble over. This frustrating scenario is more likely if the instrument is to be moved long distance or internationally. But no matter how far the piano is going, it needs to be handled by an experienced truck driver, and secured by an experienced crew.
By the Numbers
There isn’t really a set price for moving a piano, as the final tally will depend on a number of factors. Some of those factors include the size and weight of the piano, the layout of the property, the distance the piano is to be moved, the kind of equipment that is needed to complete the job and the time of the year. Assuming no particularly challenging conditions exist, costs usually range from $250, for an upright piano, to $650, for a parlor grand piano. If the piano has to be carried over a longer distance or downstairs, there may be an extra fee. And if a crane is required to pull the piano out of a window, then an extra fee will be tacked on as well. The best way to get a firm price is to get an in-home estimate from a reputable moving company that can survey the situation first-hand.
If needed, many reputable movers can also store the instrument in a climate controlled facility. By combining moving and storage services, the piano’s owner may be able to get a better deal, so it’s worth considering if space is an issue.
It helps to shop around a bit as well to nail down an attractive price. A common approach is to ask piano shop owners for a referral, as they have to work with movers all the time. And like with any owner, it’s best to secure multiple estimates and have representatives come out to the property. That way, they can provide insight into the moving process, as well as paperwork relevant to the move.
It takes an impressive combination of expertise, technology and manpower to safely move a piano. Only an experienced firm can offer all that, and make sure their clients don’t have to play the blues over how to move their piano.