How Much Does it Cost to Move a Piano?

Cost to move a piano - Grand piano with blankets on a dolly

It costs between $150 and $550 dollars to move a piano. The cost varies depending on your location, transportation distance, and type/size of piano among other factors. For example transporting a piano across the country and into a second floor building could easily cost thousands of dollars. Transporting an old piano of little value locally might even cost you less than $150.

In this article we discuss:

  • The cost and cost factors of moving a piano
  • Hiring the right piano moving company
  • Other FAQ’s about piano moving

Side Note: Thumbtack.com, homeguide.com, and homeadvisor.com are three great websites that connect people to services. They each give nationwide averages on the cost of services based off of actual service providers and customer reviews, however their estimates for piano moving are several hundred dollars apart!

In this article I will give averages of averages. Wherever you see a cost estimate I will attribute the estimate to one of the websites if it was only found on one website. I will attribute the number to no website if it is an average of the three websites or if all three websites agreed with each other. You can find these resources in the “sources” section at the bottom of the page.

Cost to Move a Piano

Again moving a piano costs in the $150 -$550 range. However, depending on a number of factors it can cost much more than that. Let’s review the cost factors.

Factor 1: Size and Type

The height, length, width, weight along with the type (grand, baby grand, upright) change the challenge of moving the instrument.

How much does it cost to move an upright piano?

Upright pianos cost $100-$300 to transport. Lighter spinnet pianos weigh 300 lbs and will be on the lower side of that estimate while heavier uprights weighing 500+ lbs will be on the upper end of that estimate.

How much does it cost to move a grand piano?

Grand pianos cost $250 to $550+ to move. On top of that, grand pianos need to have their legs and other parts removed before the move. This is called “dismantling” and may cost around $100. Grands may also need to be crated for extra protection which can cost $500 – $1000.

Factor 2: Distance

Distance really influences the cost to move a piano. Long distance piano movers often charge $2-$3 per mile. Homeadvisor.com estimated that a local move would cost $250 – $650 for a grand piano, while a distance move would cost $1000-$2000. Similarly, a local upright piano move would cost $150 – $300 while a distance move would cost $500 – $800.

How Much Does it Cost To Move a Piano Across Country?

According to TSI Shipping it costs $950 – $2500 to ship a piano across country using consolidated freight, a service that ships multiple people’s items if they are headed in the same direction.

According to moving.com, it costs $4000 on average to make a long distance (1000 mile) move to a new house. In this case you may be able to load the piano yourself into the shipping truck with your other house items.

Factor 3: Obstacles

Stairs, doorways, tight turns, or other obstacles can increase the cost of the move. Stairs often cost $5+ per step which could come out to about $50-$100 per flight of stairs.

If it is too challenging to move the piano up a flight of stairs, you may have to use a crane, which drastically increases the cost of the move.

Movers move a piano up a step (which increases the cost)
Moving a piano up steps is challenging and often costs more.
Image Source
Creative Commons License

Factor 4: Location

Self -explanatory – your city’s cost of living affects moving costs. If you are so rural, however, you may need to pay more to have piano movers come out to you.

Factor 5: Equipment Required

In a tricky move, the movers may need to have more equipment on hand, which could cost some (especially if you need a crane). Piano moving equipment includes:

  • Moving truck
  • Specially designed dollies
  • locking piano belt
  • pads/blankets
  • skid boards
  • hoist
  • ramps
  • slings
  • packing tape

Factor 6: Insurance

Insurance is likely included in the move; definitely discuss this piece beforehand. The moving company may charge $15 insurance for every $1000 of your piano’s worth.

Factor 7: Tipping

In the moving industry tips are expected. Try to tip at least 10%. You can tip more if they provide excellent service as mentioned in the following scenarios:

  • They were particularly careful moving the piano up stairs, through doorways and around corners.
  • They didn’t charge you a transportation cost on a move of 30 min or more.
  • They were responsive to specific requests.

Factor 8: Post-Move Tuning

A hidden cost of moving a piano is tuning it. The going rate for tuning a piano is $100-$200. Pianos take several weeks to acclimate to their new environment, so don’t tune the piano right away.

Hiring the Right Piano Moving Company

When hiring a piano moving company, you’ll want to ensure the safety of your instrument, and estimate the cost of the move.

Ensuring Your Piano’s Safety

Insurance. Gain clarity on the types of insurance offered by the moving company. Ask for a bill of lading for details on their policy.

Hopefully they provide the following:

  • Workers compensation insurance – in case a worker is injured in the move.
  • Commercial automotive insurance – if they will transport the piano in a vehicle.
  • Cartage insurance – which covers any damages that may happen to the instrument itself.

Piano moving company’s experience. The more expensive your piano, the more experienced movers you will want to keep it safe. Here are some probing questions that help gauge the experience of the movers:

  • Is this a general moving company or specifically a piano moving company? A piano is the most sophisticated household item for its weight. While a general moving company may be experienced moving similarly heavy items, they may not be experienced moving with as much care as a piano needs.
  • How often do you move my type of piano? Moving a grand piano requires more steps and precautions than moving an spinet piano.
  • Are the workers trained? How much previous experience do they have with piano moving?
  • Do your vehicles have climate control? This is especially relevant on particularly hot, cold, or humid days.
  • How old is the company? How long have they moved pianos for? These last questions you might find online.

Additionally you may want to look up reviews online (websites such as thumbtack.com, homeguide.com, and homeadvisors.com are great resources).

By understanding the company’s insurance policy and gauging the experience of the movers, you will be able to ensure the safety of your piano.

Estimate the Cost of the Move

It’s nice to not be slapped with unforseen expenses. Here are some tips for getting an estimate on the cost:

  • Ask if they offer a flat rate, or hourly pay. If it’s a really easy move, you may appreciate an hourly rate, but if it’s a challenging move you may want a flat rate.
  • Communicate all obstacles. Ask if they charge for stairs and tight turns. If so let them know the number of sharp turns, doorways (and their dimensions), number of stairs, gravel or grassy patches, and any other obstacles you are aware of.
  • Ask for a quote.

It is tempting to go for the cheapest piano movers, just be careful. If your piano is expensive the risks of inexperienced movers may not outweigh the benefit of price reduction

Piano Moving FAQ’s

Is it Possible to Move a Piano Without Professional Help?

Yes you can move a piano without a professional company. I remember moving an upright piano down around the back of my house, over 200 feet of grass. It required 6 of us and a special moving strap that slung over two peoples’ shoulders and under the piano.

That said, you should be very careful. You need the right equipment, and could damage the piano, or even worse, hurt yourself in the process. It is especially challenging to move a piano upstairs. If you aren’t comfortable doing it, then leave it to the professionals.

How Long Does it Take to Move a Piano?

If it is a local move, your piano will be moved within a day. It might just take an hour, if the move is from one floor of your house to another floor.

For long distance shipping services, walterpianotransport.com estimates it would take them 30 – 45 days to complete a transport. Alternatively you can use consolidated freight services, or rent a moving truck yourself (with professional help to get it in the truck if necessary) for distance moves.

Can Regular Movers Move a Piano?

If you have an expensive piano, then you want to find a company that specializes in moving pianos. Again, pianos are the most complicated item for their weight in a house; you don’t want to damage it!

If a general moving company said they have moved pianos before, it’s an easy move, they have the right equipment, and the piano only costs $500, then I would be comfortable letting them move my piano. Ultimately, the choice is yours!

Conclusion

It will cost you between $150-$550 to move a piano. The greatest cost factors are the type of piano, the distance it will travel, the number of stairs, and the cost of tuning the piano after the fact.

When you hire a piano moving company, ensure the safety of your instrument by gauging their experience and looking into the insurance details. Communicate any obstacles, and ask for a quote so that you aren’t hit with unexpected fines.

I hope this helps make what could be a stressful day straightforward and easy instead!

Sources

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