How much does it cost to move a piano?
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Piano Moving Cost Guide
Updated: Jan 01, 1970
Pianos are one of the most expensive instruments out there, as well as one of the biggest, so when it’s time to move one a professional hand is often needed to ensure the job is done properly. When you hire a professional to move a piano, they will use the right methods, equipment, trucks, and other transportation means to ensure it’s protected against potential road hazards and other sources of accidental damage.
The average price usually paid for this work is between $700 and $2,500, with most people paying around $1,000 to move a grand piano across town or to a nearby country. At the low end of the spectrum, however, you can have a spinet or console upright piano moved within your home for $150, while at the high end you can pay up to $5,000 to have a luxurious or collectible concert model thoroughly secured, insured, and moved to an overseas country inside temperature-controlled crating and then situated at the new location.
Cost to Move a Piano
|Professional Piano Movers Cost|
|National average cost||$1,000|
Cost to Move a Piano by Distance
The most common project when moving a piano is to move it from one house to a different one in the same town or to a different state or city, which has an average cost of $1,000. One of the things that most affects the cost to move a piano is the distance it needs to be moved. The equipment and transportation means that will be used will often depend on this, so moving companies ask for this information first along with information about the size and model of your instrument, as well as the timing of the moving (whether it’s urgent or not).
|Room to Room||$150 - $350|
|Across Town||$350 - $1,000|
|Cross Country||$700 - $2,500|
|International Shipping||$700 - $3,500|
|Shipping Overseas||$2,000 - $5,000|
Piano Room to Room Moving
The simplest move is of course from one room to another, and it typically costs between $150 and $350, depending on the size and type of piano, as well as the area or rooms being dealt with. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be cheap. Pianos are still relatively large instruments and can’t simply be dismantled, which means they have to be moved as they are, in one piece.
Move a Piano Across Town
The cost to move a piano locally usually ranges between $350 and $1,000 depending on the exact distance and model you have. To move the piano across town, movers will need to secure it first. If it’s not handled properly, the inside parts can break and the surface can get damaged, so the moving company will probably come with a truck to ensure the instrument is moved properly.
Cross Country Piano Moving
The price to move a piano to another state can start at $700 if you’re moving it to a neighboring state, but can go as high as $2,500 for more distant states (as long as there is no overseas travel). Regardless if your piano needs to be moved across one state or several, the moving company will have to take into consideration the added cost of gas, hiring a driver, vehicle amortization, and travel costs. In addition to this, proper care will require wrapping the instrument in protective pads to ensure no damage is done to the surface.
International Piano Shipping
The price to move a piano to another country ranges between $700 and $3,500 depending on the distance of the country and the model you’re moving. Similar to cross-country piano moving, international shipping will also require the moving company to take into consideration the additional costs that come with moving an instrument to a different country. The piano will need to be specially wrapped in protective pads and placed in the transport vehicle to ensure the instrument will be moved safely.
Shipping Piano Overseas
The overall cost to move a piano overseas can range from $2,000 to $5,000, or even higher if the model you have is from a luxury brand or a collectible. When you’re shipping a piano overseas, in addition to wrapping it in pads and securing it to a board, it will be bolted to a platform so it doesn't move around. Any empty space in the platform will be filled out with a stiff material that will ensure the piano will not shift during transit. Then, the crate where the instrument is packed will be closed and labeled accordingly so it can be moved safely using multiple means of transportation.
In addition to this, special documentation may be required to be able to move an instrument to a specific country. The special attention and tools required to handle the instrument are the main reasons why the price to move it to another country overseas is higher.
Average Cost to Move a Piano by Type
Typically, movers will ask you for the type of piano you want to transport. This is one of the main factors that impacts the overall cost as the weight and height vary by model, which means that the transportation approach will be different as well. The two main types are upright (vertical) and grand (horizontal) pianos, with each having several models under them. The common rates movers charge for short-distance moves are as follows:
|Upright Piano||$150 - $350|
|Grand Piano||$200 - $1,000|
Upright Piano Moving
The overall cost to move an upright piano ranges between $150 and $350 for local moves, but can go up to $1,000 for longer distances. Upright models are also known as vertical pianos and are relatively easier to move than grand ones. Because they are cheaper and smaller than grand pianos, they are more commonly found in homes across the US. There are four basic types of upright piano models: spinet upright, console upright, studio upright, and standard upright. Each varies in size and moving cost:
|Spinet Upright Piano||3’ - 3’3''||$150 - $200|
|Console Upright Piano||3’4'' - 3’7''||$150 - $300|
|Studio Upright Piano||3’8'' - 4’||$200 - $300|
|Standard Upright Piano||4’1'' - 5’||$250 - $350|
Grand Piano Moving
There are six grand piano models, of varying sizes, which is one of the main factors affecting the overall moving cost. You can expect to pay as low as $200 to $1,500 for local moving, but the total cost can go as high as $3,000 or more for international moving of a concert grand piano. Grand pianos are also referred to as horizontal. They are used more by professionals due to the better clarity of sound and responsive action. Because of this, it takes more than two movers to transport it safely, which is one reason why the moving costs are higher than moving an upright one.
|Petite Grand Piano||4’5-4’10||$200 - $300|
|Baby Grand Piano||4’11-5’6||$250 - $350|
|Medium Grand Piano||5’7-5’8||$300 - $400|
|Parlor Grand Piano||5’9-6’1||$350 - $600|
|Semi-concert Grand Piano||6’2-6’8||$350 - $700|
|Ballroom Grand Piano||6’9-8’||$400 - $800|
|Concert Grand Piano||8’-9’||$450 - $1,500|
Professional Piano Movers Cost
For any moving project, 2-5 workers may be needed depending on the weight and size of the instrument. Movers either charge by the hour (with a three-hour minimum in most cases) or give a fixed rate. The typical hourly rate ranges between $10 and $20 per hour for each person, while fixed rates are generally between $150 and $1,000 for a short distance move, and $700 to $2,500 for long distance moves. These costs usually include both tools and labor costs. So, the average cost of $1,000 to move a grand piano in another state or city would include around $600 in labor costs and $400 additional costs for tools and materials.
When transporting a grand piano long distances, movers may need to partially take it apart and reassemble it at the new location. Dismantling the parts costs around $100, while securely crating the instrument can cost anywhere between $800 for basic crating and $1,200 for heat-treated crating that keeps the instrument in the appropriate climate during transportation.
In addition to these costs, transporting pianos long distances also requires companies to calculate time spent on the road and fuel. Typically, the piano transport cost with these additions increases for around $150 to $200 for moves that are under 1,000 miles in distance, but can go over $250 for moving distances over 1,000 miles.
Do You Need a Piano Mover to Move a Piano?
While moving an instrument may seem like a simple task at first glance, it’s actually a complicated process that requires proper training and tools. This is why professional movers include the cost for using dismantling tools, specially-equipped trucks, ramps, moving dollies, skid boards, locking belts, and moving pads and blankets. Depending on the type of piano you have, movers may use additional tools and equipment. This is because small instruments are usually transported in one piece, while other, bigger models sometimes have to be transported in several pieces.
If you have an upright piano, movers will place pads on the sides of the instrument to ensure it won’t get damaged when they manipulate it. Then they will place it on a dolly and transport it to wherever it needs to be transported. On the other hand, if you want to move a bigger model, the movers may remove the legs, the music rack, and pedal box so they can be moved separately. Then, they will place the instrument onto a skid board and load it into the crate and then the truck.
Before you ship the piano, remember to close and lock the lid to protect the keys and cover the instrument with covers, pads, or blankets to protect the surface of it. To ensure that the cover won’t fall off during transport, you can secure it with tape.
Piano Moving Cost Factors
Moving prices often depend on the type, size, make, and model of the instrument, which is why movers often ask for this information first. They use it to calculate the total costs of moving the instrument and estimate the labor and tools required for the job, so make sure to specify the type and model correctly. When you measure your piano, tell them the size measuring from the floor to the lid for an upright model and from one end of the keyboard to the bow for a grand.
When moving the piano, some obstacles add to the difficulty of transportation in and out of a house, which greatly increases the total costs. For example, if your piano is located on the second floor of your house, be prepared to pay an additional $5 to $10 per step or $40 to$100 for every flight of stairs. In addition to this, every stairway turn can set you back by another $75, while other obstacles like difficult terrain (dirt, gravel, or trees in the moving path) and narrow spaces can also increase the overall cost by as much as $200.
If you live in a small town or area, chances are that there are not too many professional piano moving companies in your area, so you should plan your move in advance to be able to find a company for the right price. Rush jobs can increase your final costs by as much as $300 for short-distance moves and up to $700 for long-distance moves.
Movers vs Piano Removalists Cost
Pianos are expensive pieces of equipment with thousands of individual parts that need to be calibrated to help maintain proper sounds so that a piano can be effectively tuned. While even the most cautious movers can get your piano from point A to point B, they will likely treat it like any other large piece of furniture.
Pianos are complicated, heavy, and fragile. They require special packaging and equipment to transport properly. Piano movers specialize in these moves. They not only have the proper equipment, training, and packaging and are probably used to moving multiple pianos a day. Movers may see only one a month. Below you see the average cost to have a piano moved depending on whether you choose a mover or piano removalist.
|Mover||$550 - $2,000|
|Piano Removalist||$700 - $2,500|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
If your new home does not have enough space to accommodate a piano or the room where it will be located is not finished yet, you would need to find a temporary storage location. To ensure that the instrument is kept properly, you can arrange for it to be stored in a climate-controlled facility for $50 to $75 per month. The facility will keep the temperature and humidity at an ideal level to ensure the instrument is maintained well and in the right conditions.
Sometimes, piano moving conditions are not ideal. The piano may not fit through the doors or down the stairs, which means that it would have to be lifted and moved out of the property through the windows. This would require using a special crane. Hiring this specialized service can cost around $750 to $2,000.
Piano Moving Insurance
Most companies offer free insurance if the model you’re moving costs less than $5,000. This insurance typically includes protection against any damage done to the covers and surface, transportation guarantee, and the movers in case something happens to them during the process. If the cost of the instrument is higher than $5,000, you may want to purchase extra insurance which typically costs between $15 to $20 for every $1,000 worth of piano value.
Piano Tuning After Moving
You may need to retune the piano for a cost of $150 to $500 after moving to account for climate and humidity changes. High humidity can cause the wood to swell and expand, pulling the strings tight and creating sharper notes. On the other hand, if you move to a low-humidity area, the strings may go flat or form splits, causing buzzing. However, don’t tune your instrument immediately, but rather give it time to adjust to the humidity in the new place first.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. While it can be tempting to go the DIY route and try to save money on moving costs, going for this option may end up costing you more money if you move the piano the wrong way and end up hurting yourself or the instrument. Even regular movers may not be experienced enough in this area, which is why it’s best to hire a professional mover who has the knowledge and tools to safely and securely take it apart, move it, and reassemble it if necessary.
- Ivory. If the instrument you want to move internationally or overseas has a part made of ivory, you may have some problems with customs. There is an international ban on ivory production and sale, so some countries may require you to remove the ivory parts so they can let it through customs. If the piano is more than 100 years old, you can ship it internationally with an approval document from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the equivalent agency in the foreign country you're sending it to.
- Cancellation or rescheduling fee. Keep in mind that if you cancel the moving job or nobody is home when the movers come to transport the instrument, you may be charged a cancellation or rescheduling fee. This fee varies by company or worker, but can range anywhere from $100 to $400 depending on the planned work and cost. The bigger the job should’ve been, the bigger the fee.
- Casters. Never roll or push a piano around on its casters. They are mostly decorative and can cause damage to the floors, especially if you have carpets or hardwood finishes. Also, if you’ve kept the instrument in the same place for a long time, the casters may have deteriorated in strength and pushing can cause the legs to get jammed and snap.
- Possible damage and insurance claims. Remember to take pictures of the piano before it is packed and again before it is unloaded from the moving van to document any signs of possible damage. This can help you if you have to make any insurance claims later.
- How much does it cost to move a piano?
The cost to move a piano can start as low as $150, but can go as high as $5,000 depending on the model you want to move and the moving distance. However, the average cost to move pianos is $1,000.
- How much does it cost to move a piano across the country?
The average cost homeowners pay to move a piano cross country ranges between $700 and $2,000, with the average cost being $1,000.
- How heavy are pianos?
The average weight of a piano is 300 to 500 pounds. Upright models that are smaller than 48 inches can weigh as little as 300 pounds, however, the weight can go as high as 800 pounds. Grand pianos, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere between 500 and 1,200 pounds depending on the model.
- How to move a piano upstairs?
Movers use specialized dollies and straps to transport pianos from one place to another, including to upper floors. There are even new, automated dollies that allow movers to transport instruments upstairs without any physical labor.
- How to transport a piano?
You can transport a piano yourself or hire workers or a moving company to do the job for you. The transportation will be done by using specialized equipment and tools, using a van or a moving truck.
- How much to tip piano movers?
As in most industries, tips are optional and that’s true when it comes to piano moving as well. If the movers have done a good job, you can tip them as a sign of gratitude. Usually, tips are around 10% to 25% of the overall cost so each worker can receive a share.
- Can you move a piano in a pickup truck?
That depends on the size of your instrument. Spinet upright pianos would probably fit in one, but bigger pianos most likely will not.
- How much does it cost to move a piano locally?
Moving a piano across town will be cheaper than a long move. This move costs $350 to $1,000, depending on the size and type of piano.
- What is the best way to move a piano?
The best way to move a piano is to utilize professional piano removal services. They ensure that all parts are properly secured on the piano when it is moved and that it is fully protected. You can assist the movers by ensuring there is a clear pathway from the piano’s location to the most efficient exit.