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How Much Does It Cost To Move A Piano?

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
A man from a moving company moving a piano.
Moving a piano is a job that's better left to the professionals - and all that expertise doesn't come cheap. Ready your budget to hit all the right notes.

As a relocation expert who has assisted clients with moves around the world, I have substantial experience arranging piano transports with professional moving companies.

Transporting pianos requires specialized techniques and equipment, unlike most furniture. You also need to consider the cost of the services, the piano type, and how complex your move is.

I'll use my decades of experience in high-end relocations to give you an insider's look at realistic piano moving costs. Properly preparing and understanding typical costs guarantees your piano's safe arrival and keeps your move on budget.

» Master your relocation with the ultimate moving checklist + tips.

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Piano, and What Can Impact the Price?

If you're looking to move a piano, the cost can vary significantly based on several factors. Generally, the prices range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of piano and the distance of the move. Here are some key factors that influence piano moving costs.

Type of Piano

There are two kinds of pianos: horizontal and vertical.

Vertical pianos are more compact and lighter, often with wheels for easy movement. Horizontal pianos, like grand pianos, are larger and range from small to concert-sized.

For moving a challenging piano, try local piano stores. They often employ specialized movers who can move pianos both locally and internationally. For more straightforward moves, like with an upright piano, more affordable options are available from regular moving companies.

Moving companies usually have a set fee, sometimes as low as $150. Extra costs might apply for stairs or outdoor steps. When planning for the move, they'll ask about the pickup and drop-off locations, including details like stairs, corners, or elevators, which can add to the cost.

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Local Piano Moves

For local moves, the cost can be relatively lower. For example, moving an upright piano might cost around $275 on average, while a grand piano can cost about $450.

These are typical flat rates for moves within a certain radius, often around 20 to 30 miles from the moving company's hub. However, additional charges may apply if the move involves navigating stairs, tight corners, or difficult terrain​​.

Long-Distance Moves

Long-distance moves are more expensive as the cost can range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the distance and the type of piano. Due to their size and the need for special handling, Grand pianos are at the higher end of this range. For example, moving a grand piano across several states could cost as much as $2,500​​​​.

International Relocations

International moves are the most costly. Transporting a piano overseas involves special packaging, additional insurance, and secure handling, leading to prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. This high cost is due to the need for temperature-controlled environments, secure packaging, and complex logistics​​.

Hourly Rates vs. Flat Rates

When hiring a moving company to transport your piano, you'll generally have to choose between two pricing options: hourly rates and flat rates.

Hourly Rates

  • Common with general moving companies.
  • Typically around $50 per hour (varies by location).
  • Clarify if it's charged per worker or for the entire team.
  • Check if the rate includes moving equipment costs.
  • Be aware: The final cost may exceed the initial estimate due to unforeseen challenges.

Flat Rates

  • Usually offered by specialized piano moving companies.
  • Provides total cost upfront.
  • Ideal for longer or more complex moves.
  • Factors in piano type, move distance, and special requirements like stairs or narrow spaces.

Choose the Right Moving Company Based

Colonial Van Lines specializes in long-distance relocations and offers various packing options, from single-item packs to complete packing services. They also provide storage services in climate-controlled facilities, which can be particularly useful if you temporarily store your piano.

Consider the range of services these companies offer, their expertise in moving pianos, customer reviews, and customer support level. A company like American Van Lines could be a great fit based on their experience in relocating pianos.

Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best when moving something as delicate and expensive as a piano. It's about finding the right balance between cost, service quality, and the company's expertise in handling pianos.

Other Cost Factors to Consider

The Number of People and Equipment Needed

Upright pianos can be easier to move since they often have wheels and can be rolled. Grand pianos are trickier because they're wider and might need to be tipped on their side.

Since grand pianos are so big and heavy, having several movers helps to avoid damage or accidents. Companies like International Van Lines use special dollies, lifting gear, and straps for moving. Movers usually bring blankets and padding to protect the piano, and these usually don't cost extra.

Last Minute Moves

Moving companies typically charge an additional fee to the regular moving cost for a last-minute job when moving a piano. This fee can vary depending on the company and the specifics of the move. For local moves, it can be around $300; for long-distance moves, this fee can increase from $400 to $700.

These extra charges reflect the added effort and resource allocation required by the moving company to accommodate the piano transport into their schedule at short notice​​.

Moving Insurance

If you own an expensive piano, it's ideal if your homeowner's policy covers it, including transportation and potential damages up to replacement. If it's covered, consider adding it to your policy before moving. Alternatively, separate musical instrument insurance is available with varying costs based on piano type, size, construction, and age.

When hiring a moving company, ensure they have liability insurance to cover injuries or property damage during the move. A company like Allied Van Lines has got you covered here.

Storage Needs

If storage is needed before, during, or after the move, verify if the company offers climate-controlled storage facilities suitable for pianos. A company like Eagle Moving Group has this option to ensure the safety of your piano. Additionally, you can check out our best storage companies and choose the one that fits your needs.

Tuning and Post-Move Services

When you move your piano, it might go out of tune due to environmental changes and vibrations. It's a good idea to get it professionally tuned after the move. Some piano movers offer tuning and other services for an extra cost, making it easy to get your piano sounding right again.

How to Reduce Piano Moving Costs

  • Compare quotes: Get quotes from several piano moving companies. This allows you to compare prices and services to find the best deal.
  • Move during off-peak times: If possible, schedule your move during a less busy time for movers, like mid-week or off-season. Rates may be lower compared to peak times.
  • Prepare the piano and path: Reduce the movers' workload by preparing the piano and clearing the path they will take. This can speed up the process and potentially lower costs.
  • Consider partial DIY: If you have a small, manageable piano, you might move it closer to the exit point yourself, reducing the distance movers need to cover.
  • Group moving services: If you're also moving other items, see if you can get a bundled service discount using the same company for all your moving needs.

Navigating Piano Moving Costs

Moving a piano is no simple task. The costs can quickly rise based on the piano's size and weight. The distance of the move, timing, and any particular handling factors also drive the price upward.

With so much on the line, it pays to hire professional piano movers with specialized equipment. Choosing the right moving company is the key to ensuring your instrument transitions to its new home with no false notes.

» Don't break the bank. Check out these 10 tips for saving money when you move.

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
Emily Calorino-Sipe holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, focusing on international communication. She is a relocation expert that helps clients through each stage of their journey worldwide. Her writing is a clear, informative, and reliable resource for anyone planning a move.