Moving a piano is unlike any other type of moving. It can’t be compared with any other type of furniture, nor can it be compared with any other type of musical instrument. Many people successfully move their upright pianos by themselves, but there are also many pitfalls and many reasons to hire a professional – particularly if you have a grand piano. Prices vary widely across the country, and depending on logistical details at each location, but upright piano moving prices may range from $150-400 for typical local or regional moves, while similar grand piano moves may range at least $100 more due to the break-down and setup that is required.
The smallest upright pianos still weigh in at around 400 pounds, while baby grands may easily weigh 600-700 pounds, and larger grands even more. Full length concert grands can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds.
The weight of a piano is mostly in its plate – a cast iron frame inside the piano (usually painted gold/bronze) that essentially holds the entire piano together and allows the thousands of pounds of tension in the strings to remain stable. For this reason, there is really no effective way to make a piano lighter for moving. Removing cabinet parts, hardware, even keys and action, makes almost no discernible weight difference. The weight has to be dealt with . . . and carefully.
Why is piano moving so expensive?
Many people are surprised by the cost of piano moving. It doesn’t seem complicated – maybe you’ve even moved your piano yourself before with reasonable success. There are a lot of factors, but here’s a quick break-down:
- Travel time: a piano moving crew will be 2-4 people, who are all on the clock for the entirety of the piano moving job, including all travel time to, from, and between.
- Liability: there is an immense amount of liability in piano moving, and not just for the piano – as you can surely imagine, a piano falling on or crashing into things (or people) can cause a lot of damage. Good piano movers carry good liability insurance, but work even harder to never have to use it.
- Equipment: moving anything well and safely requires good equipment, and pianos even more so. This goes for everything from piano boards and dollies, to the trucks and trailers being used for transport.
- Business overhead: this goes for every type of business, and especially any in-home service. Remember, the hourly rate you’re being charged is not anyone’s hourly wage. That hourly rate has to cover all expenses of running the entire business before it even begins to pay anyone’s salary or benefits.
In conclusion, the more you care about your piano, the more you should consider having it professionally moved. Some general movers have significant experience with pianos and carry all the needed equipment – but in most cases, if you are going to pay to have your piano moved, you would be best to hire piano moving specialists. You might be surprised to find one nearer than you think. Start by asking your piano technician. Or do a Google search in your area. And of course, if your move is in southern New Jersey, well, you can start right here.