Moving a baby grand piano 90 miles on a budget
July 24, 2016 8:46 AM   Subscribe

I need to move a baby grand piano about 90 miles. It is the only thing moving. If you have done this, will you share your tips? Would it be cost effective to rent a truck, hire movers to load the piano, drive the truck myself the 90 miles, and hire different movers to unload the piano?

The piano is on the ground floor on one home and will be moved to the ground floor of another home. My thought is that I would hire piano movers on both ends of the trip.

One clear alternative is to hire a mover to take care of the entire process, truck and all. I may be wrong, but I suspect that the mileage makes that more expensive. If you can think of other alternatives, I'd love to hear them.
posted by starkraven to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Similar question I asked previously, albeit with an upright. In the end, we paid a professional house moving company to do it, which took care of the trickiness of piano moving.

The useful thing I found out in the process was that removal companies offered a "part load" service for things you don't need straight away, which was cheaper than regular house removals. If you have less than a vanful, they can pick your stuff up, store it in a warehouse until they have more stuff going the same way, then put it all in together and move it then. This was in the UK so YMMV, but worth asking about.
posted by penguin pie at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2016

Craters and Freighters will quote a residential move.
posted by smashface at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2016

We did that with a pickup truck and a bunch of friends. Take out the keyboard-hammer action-combo and the music desk to make the instrument somewhat lighter, obviously take off the legs. Use sturdy gloves and lifting belts. Use ratchet straps in the truck so if you have an accident you're not hit by a flying piano. Talk through every step, measure doorways etc., before actually lifting.

If you're not comfortable disassembling the instrument by yourself, or have no good lifters at hand, call a bunch of movers and compare the price tags for your two alternatives--there's really nothing else to it.
posted by Namlit at 9:13 AM on July 24, 2016

Best answer: Our baby grand weighs 800 pounds. Hire professionals, even if yours is lighter. Do you really want to be responsible if it drops on your friends foot? Around here it would only cost around $250. The mileage is probably the small padt of the cost.
posted by postel's law at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I hired movers to move my baby grand 25 feet across the front room of the house because the time we did it ourselves, we broke two floorboards. It cost the same as it cost to move the piano two miles from my sister's (mileage did not accrue until after 5 miles): $250. It was well worth it to me. I think it would be cheaper to hire one crew to move it than to hire two crews to load/unload/disassemble/reassemble.

*If* you know how to disassemble/reassemble the piano without damaging it; if you have several folks who know how to lift properly and in tandem; if you have the right straps, blankets, & various equipment to secure it in the truck, you could do it. I would not.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:16 AM on July 24, 2016

Best answer: We hired professional piano movers specifically to move our 6 ft grand ~60 miles, ~2 miles, and from one part of our house to another. None of these moves cost a huge amount of money, though there seems to be a floor for cost - most of the work is taking off the legs and loading/unloading the main part of the piano onto their special dolly. I want to say it was on the scale of like, $250, $150, $100. Grand pianos are a weird shape and highly specialized to move. Please at least call a piano mover for a quote. They are used to arranging the actual transport part if it's too far for them to handle both ends themselves. You could ask for comparison quotes for just loading vs the whole thing, but I'm not sure piano-specific movers would want to load onto someone else's truck. FWIW when we had a (good quality) upright, we did it ourselves and with regular movers with no regrets - grand pianos are a different ballgame.
posted by pekala at 10:16 AM on July 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take it from someone who's moved pianos on his own and also hired movers: just hire the movers. There's a reason that this is a specialty profession all its own. Pianos are insanely heavy and unwieldy and quite fragile. It takes special tools (lifting straps, adjustable dolleys, etc.) and special knowledge to move even a tiny spinnet piano right, and by the time you're talking about a baby grand piano you're talking about disassembly and reassembly too...

And I'm not just talking about hiring movers for the lifting; you should hire them for the transportation as well. Your piano is going to have to have its legs removed and be tipped upright to travel, and failing to pack it correctly is going to greatly increase the likelihood of damage during transit. As others have mentioned, the cost for all of this shouldn't be ruinous, especially if, as you say, there won't be any significant stairs involved. Pretty much anywhere in America it'll cost you something like $100-250.
posted by saladin at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2016

Best answer: I have moved probably 90 grands and baby grands and uprights in my lifetime. You need a professional moving company for loading, unloading and transport because you need a specialist piano dolly, and a tuner on hand on the other end to tune, ideally in under a week. Book the tuner early because a good tuner books out way in advance of any moving company!
posted by DarlingBri at 5:09 PM on July 24, 2016

Response by poster: For those of you interested in what I've learned, three piano movers have quoted me $675, $670, and $945 to move a baby grand piano from point A to point B 90 miles away.
posted by starkraven at 6:25 PM on July 25, 2016

« Older Nalgene Bottles & BPA   |   How does one break up a dog fight? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.