How to Move a Piano: Professional Move vs. DIY Move

Last updated on October 22 2020, M. Rodríguez

Have you been wracking your brain trying to figure out how to move a piano? If yes, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you figure it all out! Read our handy how-to guide below!

If you’re planning on taking your piano along with you on the big move, it’s very likely that you’re facing the hiring professionals vs. DIY move dilemma. Of course, both these options have their own pros and cons. So, at the end of the day you should go for the option that fits your needs and budget the best.

To help you get out of this seemingly never-ending dilemma, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about how to move a piano with the help of a professional moving company and or by yourself.

Tip!: Accompany this light reading with the well-fitted classical music playlist below!

Moving a Piano With a Professional Moving Company

Luckily, most moving companies nowadays offer piano moves as part of their services. And, even though moving a piano with a moving company can cost you a pretty penny, it’s probably the best option when it comes to making sure that your piano arrives safely to its destination.

Keep in mind that, at the end of the day, what you invest on this service will probably be less than what replacing an entire piano will cost you. 😉

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Piano?

First things first, let’s talk about costs. When it comes to how much it will cost you to move a piano, this will heavily depend on the following points:

  • The type of piano –moving upright pianos typically costs less than, for example, baby grand pianos;
  • The weight of the piano –heavier pianos require more movers, resulting on higher costs;
  • Complexity of the move –mainly the amount of stairs movers will have to go through (~$40 – $100 per flight of stairs);
  • Distance of the move.

On average, you can expect the costs of moving a piano to vary a lot. The ballpark estimate is between $150 – $800 for local moves and between $500 – $2,000 for long distance movesyup, quite a range.

Tip!: Unsure where to find a moving company that offers piano moving services? Fill out our quote form by clicking the banner below so we can connect with you up to 5 different movers!

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How Are These Costs Calculated?

Curious about where exactly your money is going to when you decide to get help from a professional moving company? We got your back. Typically, there are two main ways in which piano moving costs are calculated:

  • Hourly Rate: It’s very common that professional movers with base the costs of their piano moving services based on an hourly rate. Roughly, moving companies tend to charge (on average) $60 to $80 an hour per mover. If you multiply this by the amount of movers needed (which will vary depending on the type of piano!), you get your estimate!
  • Flat Rate: If you’re performing a long distance move, it’s very likely that the mover will base their price on the distance and complexity of the move.

Unfortunately, there are additional factors added to these rates that can quickly rack up your final bill. To give you an idea what to expect, the table below briefly lists some of these factors and their average costs.

FactorAverage Cost
Insurance
  • Free insurance up to $5,000
  • Extra $10 to $15 for every additional $1,000 of value
Moving Equipment
  • Moving dolly — $200
  • Skid board — $125
  • Locking belt — $25
  • Hump strap — $25
  • Tape — $3 per roll
  • Protective blankets — $30 to 35
  • Crane — $750 to $2,000
Special Packaging$100 – $1,200
Additional Items (e.g. bench)$1 per pound (minimum of $20 per item)
Storage$50 – $75 a month
Retuning$100 – $175

Wrapping Up

We know that remembering all this information can be tricky even for the most agile minds. And, since our goal is to make your life easier, we briefly summarized the key points in the handy infographic below.

Key aspects about moving a piano with the help of a moving company

DIY Piano Move

If you have some serious strength (or a lot of great friends!) and are looking to save a few bucks, then you always have the option of performing a DIY move. We do give you a fair warning, though, this won’t be an easy task. Keep in mind that, unless you’re a professional, by moving the piano yourself you run the risk of detuning your piano –or even worse, actually damaging it!

Necessary Items

Moving your piano into your new home will probably require you to purchase (or rent!) a few special items. Because of this, it’s crucial that you ensure you have the following:

  • Four-wheel piano dollies (Tip!: These can be rented from multiple moving companies and home improvement retailers like Home Depot!);
  • Piano skid board (specially important for grand pianos);
  • Hump strap;
  • Shoulder harness or belt;
  • Few moving blankets (Tip!: Have thick blankets at home? These could serve as dupes for moving blankets!);
  • Rolls of tape (quite a few depending on the size of your piano);
  • Stretch wrap.

Depiction of a black piano next to a leather recliner chain in a cozy apartment

How to Move a Piano By Yourself: Main Steps

Still convinced on learning how to move a piano by yourself? Then we recommend following the highlighted steps to ensure you not only protect your piano during the move, but also yourself!

1. Right Equipment

Make sure you purchase or rent the necessary equipment on time! Keep in mind that you might need specific supplies depending on the type of piano you own.

2. Ask for Help

No matter how brave and strong you are, it’s very likely that you will need the help of a few trusty friends to move the piano. Given that the weight of a piano can range from 300 to 1,000 pounds (and counting!), the more the merrier. 😉

3. Measure the Space

Of course, before starting with any hard labor, you should make sure that you measure the room where you want to place the piano (and the path to it –e.g.: stairways and hallways!) to ensure that it will fit.

4. Rent the Right Moving Truck

Make sure you verify the size of your piano so you can rent a moving truck (early in advance) that will be able to transport it.

5. Start Wrapping

Begin wrapping your piano with the protective moving blankets and packing tape –pay special attention to the corners. Make sure that you don’t forget to protect the keyboard too!

6. Verify if the Legs Need to Be Removed

Certain pianos, like baby grand pianos, require the legs to be removed before moving. If you must remove them, make sure you strongly secure the piano the the skid board.

7. Lift Piano

Make sure you never, and I repeat, never lift up the piano by its legs –they’re extremely delicate! The easiest way to go around this is to position two people at each end of the piano and secure the moving straps to the ends. Then simply (well… not so simply) lift up the instrument and place it on top of the dolly –don’t forget to secure the piano to it!

8. Secure Piano to the Truck

Always load your piano into the moving truck in an upright position. As well, make sure that you load it all the way at the back of the moving truck and that you secure it with straps to prevent movement during the transport.

9. Retune Piano in Your New Home

Giving the sensitive inner mechanisms of a piano, no matter how smoothly everything runs, it’s super likely that your piano will get out of tune. Keep this in mind so you can retune it as soon as you move it into your new home –don’t want a hefty surprise when you start playing!

What’s Next?

And there you go! We hope that after reading this blog post you’re finally out of the DIY vs. professional piano move dilemma. 😉 In case you’re moving more than a piano and need further assistance planning your move, we have the following articles and tools for ya’:

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