Cost of moving a piano?
August 29, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever had a piano moved professionally? About how much did it cost? I'll be calling around for estimates as soon as I get out of work, but am trying to find a ballpark figure before I do.

Like I said, I have every intention of contacting piano movers when I'm out of the office for the day, but in the meantime, I'd like to figure out whether or not it's a lost cause for someone short on funds to save her parents' gorgeous old mahogany upright. It wouldn't be going up or down stairs, or over grass, or around tricky corners--just down the driveway and into a storage unit.

posted by corey flood to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I called piano movers to move an upright of mine because I figured it was worth the extra price to have someone who knows what they're doing. Two guys showed up with a flat dolly, and with NO elegance, jimmied it onto the dolly, and threw it on a truck.

I could and would have done better with a couple of friends and a pickup. If I need to move it again, I would try again to find a decent piano mover, but I'll certainly be more cautious. This was in Vancouver, BC, btw. Cost around $90.
posted by nitor at 11:58 AM on August 29, 2008

Where do you live? That might help people estimate.
posted by Toto_tot at 11:59 AM on August 29, 2008

I'm in Los Angeles, if that helps. :)
posted by corey flood at 12:14 PM on August 29, 2008

If you don't get a response here, you could mefi mail a certain user...
posted by Mike1024 at 12:16 PM on August 29, 2008

I don't know the prices in L.A. but I do know that I've had a piano moved twice.
The first time I called professional movers and they basically floated it up a flight of stairs and into my house. It looked effortless. Two guys. It was $125.00.
The second time I was way broke and I called just general movers. They showed up with three guys who reeked of pot and one of them said, "sh*t, a piano" - I kid you not. It took them a lot of time and effort. That was, I think $90.00.

PS. I couldn't send those second guys away because I live in a "boom town" and movers were hard to come by.
posted by Toto_tot at 12:54 PM on August 29, 2008

Oops - should say, professional piano movers - in the first example.
posted by Toto_tot at 12:55 PM on August 29, 2008

You should probably budget for a piano tuner. Pianos that get moved nearly always go out of tune.
posted by Class Goat at 12:58 PM on August 29, 2008

A friend of mine had his piano moved professionally in the bay area. I think it cost around 200 or so, the guys were real pros. We watched, and it was one of the few times I thought, man, these guys know exactly what they are doing and earned every penny. It was almost worth the money just to see how good they were at their jobs. They even checked the tuning as they moved it to make sure it was doing ok. From what my friend said these guys pretty much had the market over most of the bay area, so look on yelp or something, you should be able to find one or two who are well referenced and go with them.

Bonus points, they made piano jokes throughout the move.
posted by Large Marge at 1:26 PM on August 29, 2008

I had a baby grand piano moved from my house in rural Vermont to a shipping dock in Norway (where my friend came to get it) for about $3500. This was about five years ago.
posted by jessamyn at 1:44 PM on August 29, 2008

I would also recommend calling local piano/organ stores. Our local place will hire out their guys to move a piano.
posted by suki at 2:17 PM on August 29, 2008

I've had my piano moved 4 times. once cross country - I really need to stop moving.

The first piano move was in Portland, OR by piano moving specialists - about 2 miles - it cost ~$200.
The 2nd move was from Portland, OR to Chicago - as part of moving all my furniture through non-piano moving specialists. ~$2000.
The 3rd move was from 2 miles within Chicago using piano moving specialists, ~$400 - but it was up 2 flights of stairs.
The 4th move was part of a larger move (again moving all my furniture along with another person's furniture) 2 miles within Chicago ~$850.

The moral of this story - I need to stop moving.

I 2nd suki's recommendation for calling piano/organ stores. Also, ask any piano players/teachers you know in your area.
posted by baxter_ilion at 2:50 PM on August 29, 2008

oh, yeah... the number of stairs the movers have to go up and down affects the price.
posted by baxter_ilion at 2:50 PM on August 29, 2008

If it's just going into storage, I think any professional movers would be fine. In Chicago professional piano movers, including tuning, runs $600 to $1200 for a baby grand/grand. I wouldn't hire the kids from down the block, but I don't think you need piano specialists (I have lots of experience hiring piano movers, as I've worked in the classical and education music industries my whole life).
posted by nax at 3:05 PM on August 29, 2008

Well in my opinion, of course you should hire a professional piano mover.
Your main question though seems to be the value of your parents gorgeous old mahogany upright, versus the cost of moving it.
Old upright pianos are a testament to a time gone forever, 60 to 100 years old and still functional some still viable as musical instruments, no modern made piano compares. 20 years now moving pianos and at first we never junked these instruments, but as of late they are giving up the ghost and to the trash heap they go.
Contact a local tuner / technician and ask for a fair assessment of the pianos condition in its current state and an estimate to restore it. Kind of like the modern health system's treatment of our aging family members.
I have several hundred pianos in storage many of them kept solely for their sentimental value, which at the current rate ads up.
Mike1024, you make me feel like I belong now gosh.
posted by pianomover at 12:38 AM on August 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

Dear piano mover, I always thought you belonged, and thank you for always moving all our belongings with such assurance and efficiency. (So much for my never very secret identity here or anywhere!) And Toto_Tot, just out of curiosity, can you name the professional piano moving co. that so impressed you? Your description sounds mighty familiar.
posted by emhutchinson at 8:51 AM on August 30, 2008

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