The national average cost for hiring a piano mover is $240, with prices typically ranging between $180-$280. Prices can vary depending on the type of piano you have and how many stairs are involved in the move. Long-distance moving, your zip code, the number of stairs you have, and narrow doorways are all examples of factors that can increase cost.
Unless you have piano moving equipment and several strong people at your disposal, you can damage your piano—or even worse, your back—moving your piano yourself. Here's the lowdown on what it will cost to protect your piano and your hamstrings by hiring professional piano movers.
What's in This Cost Guide?
- What Affects the Cost of Piano Moving?
- Piano Movers Hourly rate
- Moving Cost by Piano Type
- How to Hire Reliable Piano Movers
- How Much Does Tuning a Piano Cost?
- Should I tip my Piano Movers?
What Affects the Cost of Piano Moving?
The cost to hire a professional piano mover is affected by the type of piano you have, your zip code, if you are moving a piano to a new location, the number of stairs there are at each location, and other accessibility considerations. There may be an hourly rate for moving services or the piano movers may have a flat rate they quote once they determine the size and weight of your piano, how far they have to move it, and how difficult it will be.
Your zip code will definitely factor into your total cost. As an example, everyone knows that things cost more in New York City and that includes piano moving. If you live in a major metropolis like Manhattan that has congestion, a higher cost of living, and transportation challenges you'll pay more to hire piano movers than if you live in a rural area with a lower cost of living.
Long-distance piano moving costs more than a local move for a piano, because the moving company needs to account for driver time and fuel in addition to the actual moving costs. When it comes to local moves, factors such as bridge tolls, parking fees, and distance to the front door can all cause your piano moving cost to increase.
Type of Piano
Whether you have an upright piano, a spinet, a baby grand, or a concert grand piano will impact your piano moving costs. Different pianos have different weights and different move requirements. A concert grand piano requires far more technical expertise when moving than an upright piano, so the cost is therefore higher.
Stairs mean more work and higher risk for piano movers when it comes to safely transporting pianos. Companies often charge by the individual stair as opposed to charging for complete flights of stairs because flights have a varying number of stairs and some can have as many as 20 steps or more. As an example, Potter Piano Movers, Inc. charges an additional $7 per step or stair on top of their flat rate for piano moving. When discussing cost with your moving company, be sure to include the number of stairs at the piano's current location as well as the new location to receive an accurate quote.
Additional fees are also applied for sharp turns; narrow doorways; moving a piano over grass, flagstone or brick walks; as well as for long distance moving. All of these factors represent additional challenges to safely moving a piano.
Piano Moving Equipment Required
Professional piano movers need the appropriate tools to disassemble, package and safely move instruments whether its within a house, just a short distance across town or over state lines in a moving truck. Part of the cost to the customer reflects the capital costs to the company of owning and maintaining the right equipment. Tools might include the following, among other items:
- Moving truck
- Four-wheel dolly
- Pads and blankets
- Locking piano belt
- Skid boards
- Crane—in specialty cases when a piano cannot fit down the stairs
Piano Movers Hourly rate
Some piano movers charge an hourly rate for their services. Hourly rates cover the cost of labor as well as the equipment used. Hourly rates are sometimes applied in conjunction with a per-worker rate (larger concert pianos take multiple people to safely move), or they could apply to the piano entire moving team. Travel fees may be included in the hourly rate, or they could be extra.
Moving Cost by Piano Type
Some piano moving companies charge a fixed rate for moving pianos. Based on experience, the company can determine approximate costs for moving pianos of various sizes and weights for local moves. Costs are based on location in the home or building, obstacles to moving the piano and other extenuating circumstances. Here are some examples of average piano moving costs from Potter Piano Movers, Inc. in Fairfax Station, Virginia:
|Type of Piano||Moving Cost|
|Concert grand piano||$425|
|Baby grand piano||$275|
|Spinet or console piano||$185|
How to Hire Reliable Piano Movers
- Hire the right movers. Make sure the moving company is experienced with your type of piano, especially if you're moving a grand piano
- Confirm they have the proper insurance. There are three types of insurance to look for in a professional moving company. These include, commercial automotive insurance if they are transporting your piano for you, cartage insurance--which covers damage that may occur to your piano while in transit, and workers compensation insurance to protect you financially in case someone is injured moving pianos. For more tips on smart hiring, read our safety tips.
- Know your piano movers. Before moving day comes, get phone numbers so you can field calls about parking and logistics.
- Communicate clearly about stairs, narrow halls, narrow doorways and other obstacles
- Be prepared. Clear all passageways of furniture and clutter to make piano transport as seamless as possible in both the current piano location and your new home
- Get clear on cost. Based on your area and any additional fees that will impact your total cost, determine reasonable prices for your hiring professional help.
- Ask for a Bill of Lading. This is an official receipt which outlines the details of your piano moving services
How Much Does Tuning a Piano Cost?
The national average cost to tune a piano is $110. Most professionals recommend having a piano tuned after it has been moved. No matter how careful a moving company is, the instrument will sound best once it has been professionally re-tuned. Wait several weeks after the move so the piano has time to acclimate and settle in its new environment. Some piano moving companies offer piano tuning in addition to moving services, which would affect the total cost of services.
Should I tip my Piano Movers?
You should tip your piano movers for a job well done, as gratuities are always welcome in the moving industry. If your piano movers treated your baby grand with exquisite care and were careful to prevent dings and dents on walls and floors, a flat amount per mover is a kind gesture. Depending if this was a long distance move or a short distance move across town can vary your price. Another factor in tip is the effort required to move the piano. An upright piano is often wrapped and put on a skid board or a dolly, while a grand must be disassembled and laid on its side. The lower end might be 10-15 percent of the total cost split between movers while the higher end might be 20-25 percent of the total cost split between mover.