The piano is a tricky instrument. It is both highly expensive and difficult to move, which is not the best combination once you need to move it to another apartment. Therefore, one of the primary questions is how much does it cost to move a piano.
That information will help you set the moving budget appropriately. The national average cost for this task is approximately $405, but the final number will depend on a few crucial factors, including the type and weight of the model you own. Let’s see.
Factors That Influence the Cost to Move the Piano
Movers will calculate the piano shipping cost depending on:
Hourly rate – Some highly professional piano movers charge an hourly rate for services. So, they include factors such as:
- Number of movers
- The time required to move the piano from one place to another
- The type of used equipment
- The travel fees
In such a case, you should calculate at least three hours of labor for a local move. It includes packing, carrying, loading, delivering the piano to the new address, unloading, and getting it inside.
|Rate per hour|
Flat rate – For a long-distance moving, you will get a flat rate that includes piano type, move distance, and obstacles. In most cases, they start with a base rate of $50 plus travel fees, barriers, and moving costs. The minimal price is $1.50 per mile for local transportation and $3 per mile for a long-distance move.
All in all, be prepared to pay $250 to $1000 to move a piano locally and $500 to $2,500 for a long-distance trip. Plus, it is customary to add a tip of $20 to $40 per mover.
The piano’s type, size, and weight
As you can expect, the price for moving a piano depends primarily on its size and weight. You can find information on the Net that moving your upright piano can cost only $200, which doesn’t sound realistic.
Keep in mind that you need to know the exact dimensions of your piano if you want to get an accurate moving cost estimate.
Another crucial factor is the length of the way. Therefore, you will probably pay only $250 for a local move if you have a small, 48 inches (1.2 m) high upright piano. On the other hand, you should calculate at least $500 to $750 for the same model if you want to move it on a long-distance.
Keep in mind that movers usually charge per mile, and the average price for a local move is $1.50 to $3 per mile. For a longer distance move, you need to pay from $1.50 to $8 per mile. Some companies will add a ‘hardships’ category when they need to transport your piano across rough terrain.
No matter which moving company you hire, be aware that they will charge you more if there are any obstacles that movers need to overcome. Since stairs are a crucial problem when moving a piano, you will probably pay from $5 to $10 per step and at least $40 to $100 per staircase. Light corners, narrow doorways, gravel paths, and tight spaces are also included in the list of obstacles.
Always keep in mind that moving companies advertise a flat base rate for moving the piano on their websites. As I have already mentioned, you should always ask for the precise calculation with charges for staircases and distance. Also, they can include possible extra services, such as:
Partial disassembly – In most cases, especially if you have a grand piano, movers need to disassemble it partially before even start carrying. As you can expect, this job is paid extra, and the usual rate is $100 for removing the piano’s leg, music rack, and pedal box.
Crating – If your piano is precious and requires perfect protection, the moving company will provide a customized wooden crate for the safest possible transportation. Piano crating fees are usually $800 to $1,000, but some movers charge even more for this service.
Heat-treated crating – The heat-treated crating is highly recommended for moving the valuable grand piano on long-distance, especially overseas. That way, your instrument will be protected from temperature and moisture variations during the long journey. It will cost you approximately $1,200.
Hoisting – If there is no way to carry your piano through narrow doors or hallways, movers need to hoist it with specialized equipment and take it out through a window or a balcony. This service will cost you at least $700 to $1,000.
Insurance – Professional piano mover companies usually offer basic insurance at no cost up to $5,000. Any extra insurance will cost you $15 to $20 per every $1,000 of piano value.
Emergency moving – When you need to move your piano in an emergency, most moving companies will charge a double price than regularly. For the last-minute move, you should pay an extra fee of $300 for a local move and about $400 to $600 for long-distance transportation.
Re-tuning – You probably know that your piano should be re-tuned after the move. The reasons are various, but the most common ones are unavoidable shocks and vibrations on the road and variations in temperatures and humidity. Post-move piano tuning usually cost $100 to $150.
If you have an ordinary piano, you can hire a general moving company to transport it with other furniture.
However, you should look for a specialized company if your instrument is particularly valuable, antique, or of an unusual shape. They will charge approximately 30% to 50% more, but their professionalism and knowledge are worth every cent.
You can also move the piano by yourself, but it can be a highly challenging and even dangerous task. On the other hand, you can do it and save money if you have a small piano, the right assistance, and necessary equipment.