• Moving a Piano Yourself vs Hiring a Piano Mover

    January 28, 2018 | blog
  • Are you moving to a new home and worried about moving your piano? Or do you need to relocate a piano to a new location?

    Whatever the reason you need to relocate your prized piano, this suddenly creates a huge hassle and worry for you. Whether you are moving your piano across town or across the country, you want it to be in safe hands.

    Piano moving can be part of a full house move or it could be a single-item job.

    Pianos are notoriously difficult to move, and we have all seen the cartoons and films where something goes wrong and the beautiful instrument is dropped and smashed into a thousand pieces. This certainly would provide no comedic element if it happened to your beautiful piano.

    So what is the verdict? Can you safely move your piano on your own or should you hire piano moving specialists for the job? In this article, we will talk about what you should consider in order to move a piano safely and efficiently plus what you will need if you decide to move a piano without professional help.

    If you do decide to hire a piano moving company you can usually get a free quote from companies in and around Calgary to compare costs. 

    Steps to Moving a Piano Yourself

    • Ask for help. Remember, pianos are not only heavy, they are awkward! Uprights carry all their weight in the top half and their legs and feet can be fragile, so you’re going to need a few extra hands to help.
    • Plan it out - There are so many logistics that have to be worked out. Things like narrow staircases, doorways, various levels of the building all need to be navigated all the while making sure that no damage comes to your piano. Moving a heavy piece of furniture is not an easy task and without training or the right tools, your musical instrument can be damaged.
    • Get the right equipment. Rent or purchase some heavy-duty straps that will provide a better hold on the piano itself. I also recommend using a furniture dolly, one that can support the weight of the piano. Straps can also be used to secure the piano to the dolly. If in doubt, talk to a moving truck rental agency or a moving supply center; they’ll direct you to the right tools and make suggestions depending on the type of piano you’ll be moving. You’ll also need to rent or purchase padding or blankets to protect the piano from bumps. This will also help protect walls from cracks and scrapes.
    • Protect the keyboard lid. First, close and lock the keyboard lid to prevent it from opening during the move. The keys are fragile and need to be protected. If the keyboard lid does not lock, then make sure that when you wrap the piano the keyboard lid is closed. Don’t use tape to keep the lid closed as this will damage the wood surface.
    • Wrap the piano. With the blankets or padding, wrap the piano, in particular, the corners, securing it with packing tape. Keep the tape from contact with the piano’s surface. Make sure that the blanket/padding is thick enough that it’ll keep the piano protected from any bumps.
    • Lifting the piano. When lifting the piano into position, whether that’s onto the furniture dolly, onto the truck or to move it to another location with the house, remember to not lift it by its legs. The legs are extremely vulnerable. Also, keep the piano in the upright position. Laying it on its side is not good for the inner mechanics. With two people on each end of the piano, place the moving straps under the piano’s bottom, with a strap on each end. With one person holding one end of the strap (you should now have four people helping, each supporting the four corners), lift the piano onto the furniture dolly. Now secure it, ensuring that the piano legs are sitting flat on the dolly. If the piano has casters, either lock the casters in place (if possible) or ensures that the piano is well secured.
    • Securing the piano in the truck. The piano should be put at the back of the moving truck, next to the back wall – the wall that separates the truck’s interior cab from the space in back. Many piano movers suggest using wood planks to ensure a level flooring for the piano since most truck spaces are not level. This helps to relieve pressure on the casters and piano legs which will strain to stabilize during the move. If you use planks, lay them along the back wall. Lift the piano from the dolly onto the planks, then using the moving straps, secure the piano to the truck wall. Check to make sure that the piano is unable to roll around while the truck is moving.
    • Moving in. Before you move the piano into your new home, makes sure you know exactly where it’s going to stand. It should be against a wall and preferably, an inside wall where it will be protected from the cold and damp. Reverse the steps outlined above. Again, if you have to negotiate stairs or elevators or a tight space, call a professional.
    • Once the piano is in place. Each time a piano is moved, it will need to be tuned. While pianos are heavy objects and seem pretty solid, their inner workings are sensitive to movements and bumps. A professional tuner will have it sounding perfect again.

    Piano movers generally use two types of moving equipment for moving a piano.  A dolly and hump strap are required during piano moving preparation.  These are absolutely necessary to ensure balance and to protect the piano’s bottom from scuffs or scratches.  For an upright piano, a locking piano belt is needed to the instrument securely while for a grand piano will require 2 locking piano belts.  A piano skidboard is also needed for securing the flat side of a grand piano.

    To give you an idea, the cost for the equipment to move your piano is listed below:

    • 4 wheel piano moving dolly – $125
    • hump strap – $25
    • locking piano belt – $25
    • piano skidboard – $125

    You will also need moving pads and blankets and packing tape for the move.

    As you can see moving a piano requires training, muscle, and teamwork. There are so many steps to the process that require careful problem-solving. How do you get through the doorway, for example? Is your piano on the second floor of a house with a staircase? Maneuvering a piano down the stairs, as you can imagine, is a huge hurdle in which many things could go wrong. If you do not have the required expertise to carry out an operation like this, there are dangers not only to you but to anyone trying to help you, as well as to the piano itself. It's also important to consider the costs of a DIY piano move.  You will need to rent a truck, obtain the basic piano moving equipment and supplies to ensure you successfully relocate a piano. You could spend anywhere from $200 to $400 for a short distance move and more if it is long distance.  For this estimate, you will do all the hard work and would probably have to get additional men to help you, further moving up your cost.

    For moving any type of piano, it is highly recommended that you obtain a professional piano moving service.

    Hiring a Piano Moving Company

    Piano moving specialists are better equipped to transport delicate objects such as pianos without damage. Many professional moving companies offer piano moving services at affordable rates. These companies have the equipment and experience to do the job so that not even one tuning key will be lost during transport.

    When you hire a professional moving company to move a piano, you take out the stress and prevent injury to yourself or damage to this valuable musical instrument. The moving team has the full responsibility for the task and relevant insurance can cover any possible damage. Your contract with your selected movers should specify the insurance cover for the make and model of your piano so you can have peace of mind that it can be restored to its original state should the unexpected occur.

    If you own a grand piano and you need to move your household, it is important that you hire a professional moving company that specializes in piano moving.

    The cost of moving your piano will depend on many things such as current location, weight, and distance of the move. Moving a small upright piano across town could cost you as little as $180 but if it involves stairs, bends in the stairs and other obstacles it could cost more. A valuable concert grand piano to be moved long distance could cost well over $1500.00

    In general, piano moving companies calculate moving costs in 2 ways:

    1) Hourly rate

    Most movers will have a minimum number of hours (example, 3 hours) which takes into consideration the time it takes to move a piano from its location inside your home and safely into the truck plus travel time and unloading at the new address.

    2) Fixed rate

    Most movers consider what type of piano is being relocated, the distance of the move, and difficulties foreseen such as stairs and narrow spaces. They will also consider how many movers are needed for lifting and moving the piano.

    Piano moving companies will offer different rates.  It is important to provide the moving company with specific details in order to receive the best and most accurate moving quote.

    To calculate the moving cost, inform the mover what type of piano you own (upright or grand piano).  It is better if you measure the size of the piano.   It doesn’t help the mover if you describe a piano as being average, standard, or regular.

    For upright pianos, measure the height from the floor to the lid.  For grand pianos, measure the length from one end of the keyboard to its bow.  This information will allow the moving company to estimate how many movers are needed and what equipment they will need.  You may also be asked for the make and model of your piano.

    The foremost question you want to ask is “How much does it cost to move a piano?” Unfortunately, there is no quick answer since piano moving rates are estimated based on several factors. Piano moving companies want to know if you are moving an upright piano or a grand piano. Movers would also want to know the size of the piano so they know what is needed for the job – equipment required and how many men.

    We understand that your Piano is precious..

    Well, it is a universally accepted fact that pianos are clunky, heavy, big, and, generally, hard to move. And yet, despite all these inconveniences that come with owning a grand piano, musicians and collectors around the world want to have such a marvelous instrument in their own home. A piano is really a treasured possession in a household, setting the home apart and giving it a truly distinguished character. Even if your piano is not grand and beautiful, if it belonged to a family member, it may still have great sentimental value. Whatever the reason may be, people often become deeply attached to their pianos. They carry great value, sentimental or monetary, and for that reason, moving a piano really is a science that takes careful planning and an expert operation.

    There is a story of a woman who, half a century ago, dragged her piano from Japan to America on board a ship. Clearly, people will go to desperate lengths for their precious piano. However, we have come a long way in the last 500 years.  You now have the internet at your fingertips and access to innovative companies like PMC to help you overcome such hurdles in life like the transport of an old and beloved piano from one location to another at the most competitive price ever.

    In addition, they may also need to know the make of the piano as this gives them an idea of the size and value of the instrument and the pick-up location and destination.

    Piano moving is just one of specialty moving services offered by experienced moving companies throughout Canada.  These companies vary in terms of expertise and experience. 

    Call us today to get your free qoute to move your piano today!

  • 3 comments

    To hire a professional Piano mover is the best because they help us out solve the problems easily. They do their work in the time and does not harm any part of the stuffs. Keep Sharing!

    Reply

    Looking for a quote to move an apartment sized piano from Wentworth to Crestmont, both on main floor, next Friday afternoon around 2PM if possible. Thanks

    Reply

    I am of the opinion that you should always hire proper professionals if you want to avoid the hassle of moving pianos.

    Reply