How to transport a piano cheaply and safely?
June 17, 2004 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I find myself in a Run Lola Run-esque situation: I can get a piano free (and it's pretty nice, and (!!!) well-tuned) if I can transport it. I have, however, (1) a small japanese car and (2) no money and (3) a cool liberal nonconformist circle of friends with nary a pickup truck among them. If I don't take the piano before the next-week deadline it gets destroyed. (No, really. That's not a Lola embellishment .) Brainstorms?
posted by Tlogmer to Home & Garden (22 answers total)
Not even enough $$$ for a 2 hour UHAUL rental?
posted by gen at 6:51 PM on June 17, 2004

1) If you can play it
2) If you can carry it to a place where lots of people walk by
3) Busk until you have the money to rent a truck. A "save this piano" cardboard sign will do well, I'm sure.
posted by scarabic at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2004

If it makes you feel any better/worse, it won't be well-tuned after it's been moved. (I guess that's something genuinely worth factoring into your calculations.)
posted by redfoxtail at 7:01 PM on June 17, 2004

I was going to say the exact same thing, redfoxtail. How far do you have to move it?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:02 PM on June 17, 2004

ask at work, and everywhere--and put notices up all over that you'll pay someone 100 or 200 to drive over with you, stick it in their truck/van/whatever, and drive it to your house.

I'd try those "man with van" listings all over first tho, myself.
posted by amberglow at 7:02 PM on June 17, 2004

call your parents or promise someone lessons to get the money.
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on June 17, 2004

I don't know where you live, but people give away free pianos here every week. A pickup truck/uhaul rental will cost you $40 max and I'd recommend that. Alternately, consult your local craigslist or whatever your community information center is and offer to 1) sell your MeFi login for money/transport 2) offer to trade something else useful if someone will move a piano for you. Alternately, go meeting people with pickup trucks. Scarabic's solution sounds as good as any of them, based on what we know which is not much.
posted by jessamyn at 7:07 PM on June 17, 2004

Thanks, redfoxtail; it is worth considering. How out of tune will it be?

Wasn't aware the UHaul rental was that cheap; I'll probably go with that. (I'd heard piano movers cost around $200 and had assumed something in the same range.) I'm actually totally broke right now -- no money whatsoever until I get several paychecks that should be coming (ack) next week. But I might be able to promise one of my friends piano lessons; good idea. I'll do the busking thing if I'm desperate; the piano's in a residential area that, while much higher in elevation than downtown, is pretty far from it.)
posted by Tlogmer at 7:15 PM on June 17, 2004

The car ride from the piano house to mine is less than 10 minutes.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:18 PM on June 17, 2004

It won't go out of tune much if it's a short distance and you don't bounce it around too much. Really, weather will affect the tuning more than a short move.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:21 PM on June 17, 2004

Be sure to check ALL the fine print on the U-Haul deal though. A few months ago my "$19.99 special" rental totaled up to close to $70 after mileage, insurance (required), odd taxes I'd never heard of before and a few other random fees. Still, though, $70 for a piano ain't bad. Just try to find out exactly what you're going to pay. One of the "man with a van" services might be cheaper and easier in the end.
posted by arco at 7:23 PM on June 17, 2004

Home Depot rents pickup trucks for $20 for 2 hours. Corral all of your friends to help you move it. Then, feed them pizza and beer when the job is done. Worked for us about 10 years ago.
posted by whatnot at 7:29 PM on June 17, 2004

Thanks, whatnot; that sounds like the best solution (though I did already make a Craigslist post).
posted by Tlogmer at 7:36 PM on June 17, 2004

If you or a friend has/can get a trailer hitch, i'm sure you could rent a trailer for much cheaper than a truck. the advantage of this is that you get no mileage fees and no insurance costs. I occasionally rent big-ass trailers here in Austin from an out-of-the-way place called Top Gunn for $25 plus tax.

Unless you're driving a tiny car up hills, I wouldn't worry about a 10-minute haul being too much for your vehicle to handle.
posted by Jonasio at 7:58 PM on June 17, 2004

Oh, and pick a day when it's not raining. I just had to say that.
posted by Jonasio at 7:59 PM on June 17, 2004

Sell it to Harvey Keitel and let him take it back to his place; then earn it back from him with "lessons."

Sorry. I never snark here. I don't know what came over me.
posted by coelecanth at 8:58 PM on June 17, 2004


My job just unexpectedly paid me $120 in back wages. Heh.
posted by Tlogmer at 4:28 AM on June 18, 2004

Hey, that's the solution I was just about to suggest.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:41 AM on June 18, 2004

people give away free pianos here every week

Please tell me this is true in Madison, WI and where I should start looking.

We have gotten two very nice Schwinn exercise bikes from the curb; perhaps a piano will be next?
posted by mimi at 8:50 AM on June 18, 2004

(1) check for (butch) lesbians in your cool liberal nonconformist circle of friends. They are usually the keepers of the pickup truck in liberal circles.

(2) you will need to tune your new piano every six months to keep it in tune. Keep that in mind while budgeting.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2004

And pick your 6 month interval well: a month after you turn on the heat and a month after you turn it off. It may not be exactly 6 months, but it does account for some of the biggest humidity changes which mess up tuning.
posted by plinth at 6:19 PM on June 18, 2004

I had my piano moved a few months ago and it was much cheaper than I expected - just under a hundred bucks, actually. Try calling around a bit - professional movers may be more practical than you think.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:16 PM on June 22, 2004

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