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How Much Does it Cost to Move a Piano? | COACH HOUSE PIANOS

By Lucy Maddox - December 08, 2021

How much does it cost to move a piano?


Table of contents:




Do I need a piano mover?


The first question you might ask yourself when contemplating moving your piano is: “Do I need a professional to move my piano?” 


Whether you have a small upright or a large grand piano, it’s important to remember that a piano is not just like any piece of furniture, it’s also an expensive and delicate musical instrument.


You must take care when moving your piano to a new home, whether locally or a long distance. Pianos are extremely heavy and the various components such as keys, pedals, strings, and other internal action parts are neither easy to source, nor cheap to replace should they incur any damage.


There are various factors to consider when moving your piano, not least of which is the fact that they weigh upwards of 150kg, so hiring professional piano movers recommended by Coach House Pianos is the best way to protect yourself and your piano. 


A piano can have high monetary and/or sentimental value, so eliminating the risk for damage by opting for a specialist piano mover is likely to give you much more peace of mind. 


Can pianos be easily damaged in a move?


Pianos are extremely delicate, containing 1000s of moving parts that can be damaged quite easily if not moved with care.


The most serious and costly type of damage a piano can incur while being moved is to its internal action parts. However, exterior cabinet damage can also be costly and difficult to repair. 


Your piano’s castors (wheels) are, in the main, not designed for moving your piano more than a few feet, so professional movers will not rely on these to move your instrument and will instead use additional piano trolleys to safely manoeuvre your piano. 


Hiring quality piano movers will help eliminate any chance of superficial or irreparable damage, such as scratches, dents or cracks along the piano casing.


Equipment needed to move a piano


For moving a piano, either a long or short distance, you will need a piano dolly, straps and padding.


However, the specific supplies you’ll need can vary based on the type of piano - obviously the padded covers are not a one size fits all!


For an upright piano you will need piano dollies and for a baby grand piano or grand piano you will need specialised equipment called a piano transit shoe board or piano skid board. 


This board requires additional strapping and padding, and needs to be the right size for your grand piano. It will be strapped to the flat side of your grand piano and enables it to travel safely on its side.


Do standard moving companies use specialist equipment?


A professional standard moving company can offer extra services with a moving truck such as temperature controlled vehicles and storage facilities that may have heat treated crating with the perfect humidity levels required for a concert grand piano. 


They will be able to keep you informed of additional costs of the specialist equipment required for different pianos.


Why should I hire a professional moving service?


Hiring professional piano movers gives you the assurance and peace of mind that your piano is in the hands of someone knowledgeable and experienced, who knows how to use the specific equipment needed to move your piano.


They will also have the skills to take apart and reassemble the piano if required. 


You can find professional piano movers from an online search, or word of mouth from your pianist friends.


What do you need to look for in a piano moving company?


When hiring a specialist piano moving service, it’s always a good idea to check out references beforehand. There may be reviews  and testimonials online from past customers. 


Always ask questions before you hire a professional:


  • Do you have the appropriate equipment to safely move a grand piano securely, such as transit skids, padded covers etc?
  • Do you have references or past testimonials?
  • Can you safely take the piano apart and reassemble it if needed?
  • What type of guarantee do you offer?
  • Are you fully insured?
  • What are your base rates for moving an upright or grand piano locally?
  • At what size, weight, and moving distance do your rates increase?
  • Will I incur any additional costs for steps or stairs? Is there an extra cost for grand pianos?

Once you’ve made a decision, you will need a full, detailed contract in writing, as well as an agreed final price clearly stated so that it is not subject to vague add-ons or hidden clauses. 


It would be sensible to ensure you have details and pictures of the piano’s current condition to protect yourself if anything goes wrong.


How do I choose the best piano moving company?


Once you have made the decision to use a professional piano moving company, your next question may be: “How expensive is it to move a piano?”


Finding the right company to move your piano involves checking their previous experience and it is a good idea to browse their website to view picture or video galleries of past completed jobs.


It would also be beneficial to compare costs with competitive companies (remember, cheapest is not always the best!), and flexibility in terms of the time-frame and schedule that best suits you, as well as choosing the company with the best guarantee. 


How much does it cost to move a piano professionally?


Your piano mover should give a detailed breakdown of costs, with an amount that you’ll pay upon completion of the move. 


This detailed breakdown should take into account:


  • Size and type of the piano
  • Distance of the move
  • Any additional piano moving costs (for more abnormal moves) 
  • Where the piano is situated - ground floor or upstairs
  • Date and time of move

Hourly rate or set fee?


The cost of moving your piano depends on whether the moving company uses an hourly rate or a set fee. Each moving company will have its own way of calculating prices, which can make comparing quotes and exact prices difficult. 


In general, piano removal companies have two ways of generating a quote:


  • An hourly rate, with a minimum charge of 2 or 3 hours
  • A set fee, determined by the factors mentioned above

The most accurate way to find the cost of piano movers is to contact companies directly, and our advice would be to try and ascertain a fixed, total cost for the whole job upfront so you know where you stand. 


However, the chart below will give you an idea of the national average costs:


Piano type

Average price

Upright piano locally

£90 - £200

Upright piano long distance moves

£200 - £450

Grand piano local

£200 - £300

Grand piano long distance moves

£350 - £650


How is the piano shipping cost calculated?


In order to get an accurate final cost for moving a piano, you will need to provide the type of piano you require transport for, along with its size.


To find the size of your upright piano, measure its overall height from the floor to the top of the lid or for a grand piano by its overall length from one end of the keyboard to the end of the piano’s curve.


Providing the exact address for both collection and delivery allows the specialist piano moving company to provide a quote for an appropriate moving fee. Fuel and labour costs will make a difference to the cost of moving your piano.


Providing accurate information about your piano move


The cost of moving your piano will potentially increase dramatically if there are obstacles or challenges in the moving path, such as narrow doorways, short steps, narrow hallways or tight spaces.


Before providing an accurate moving quote, moving companies will need to know what to expect in the way of other obstacles throughout the moving path. When it comes to stairs, be sure to specify:


  • The number of steps
  • Indoor or outdoor stairs
  • Type of stairs (straight or spiral)
  • The number of tight corners

Moving a piano becomes more complicated when traversing more than four or five consecutive steps, depending on their depth.


Providing the moving company with accurate information will enable them to give you an accurate quote. By working closely with your moving company, you can help facilitate the moving process efficiently and effortlessly.


It is also worth bearing in mind that some companies will be able to provide a more favourable price if they carry out your piano moving job on a ‘part-run’ basis.


This means they may collect your piano on a day when they are in your area, take it to their storage facility and re-deliver on a different day when in the area your piano is moving to. This is common practice for longer-distance jobs.


Adequate insurance


Most companies have adequate insurance cover, but it’s important to obtain the full details in writing, outlining the limits and what it covers. There's really no point getting a competitive piano removal price if they aren’t fully covered for your property too, ie. don’t cover walls, floors or steps.


You don’t want to have to replace your wooden flooring because it has been scratched, or repaint your walls because they have been scuffed!


Compare quotes from piano movers


To achieve the best price or value for money, compare the prices of multiple companies. Services that you hire can differ in price depending on where they are from so by looking at various companies, you will be able to find the average piano moving cost nationwide.


Additionally, providing images of the piano, and any details (such as staircases) that would help them get a better understanding on how to handle the move, will assist in getting the most accurate quote upfront.


Once your piano is in its new home


Once the piano is safely installed in your new home, it is your responsibility to ensure your piano is situated in an environment that has the right climatic conditions, i.e. it does not have too much humidity, and will not experience temperature fluctuations. 


If you are unsure of the suitability of your room’s climate, then you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer to give you this valuable data. If the piano is too close to a fireplace, under a vent, or in direct sunlight it could be negatively affected.  


Once your instrument is safe in its new home, you will need to have your piano tuned because the moving of the instrument and change in climatic conditions in its new home will have caused the strings (which are under immense tension) to have become unsettled. 


It is best to let the piano settle for 4-8 weeks before having it tuned, otherwise it will go back out of tune again as it adjusts to its new environment. 

Are piano movers worth it?


With all that information in mind, the answer to your question, “Are piano movers worth it?”  must surely be, yes! 


A person who elects to move a piano locally or a long distance by themselves often believes they are saving money, when in reality the opposite is true. The specialist equipment needed to move a piano is expensive, and the move itself is difficult and time-consuming.


Pianos are complicated and incredibly heavy objects that are difficult to handle; professional piano movers are specially trained, extremely careful and equipped to handle moving a piano safely.


Coach House Pianos has good relationships with several reputable and trust-worthy piano moving companies, so to save you time and ensure complete peace of mind, do get in touch for a recommendation. 


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