Planning a Long Distance Piano Move? It’s Easy with This Checklist!

Posted by Gordon Bolton

Pianos are expensive, sensitive, and extraordinarily heavy musical instruments. Moving a piano from one place to another is a daunting endeavor, one that becomes more difficult depending upon the size, weight, and location of the piano. The following checklist provides a comprehensive list of everything a piano owner must consider to successfully move their piano from point A to point B.

  1. Plan ahead. Perhaps the most important part of moving a piano is to properly assess the task at hand and to plan meticulously so that everything actually goes according to plan!
  2. Decide if the piano is to be moved as a DIY effort or whether a piano moving company is to be hired for the job. Some smaller pianos, such as a spinet piano are capable of surviving a DIY move, whereas nobody but experts should attempt to move a large piano of value.
  3. Determine the measurements of your piano as well as its approximate weight. Piano moving firms need this information. Upright pianos come in a variety of sizes and so their weight differs according to size. As a general rule, a full-sized upright piano is apt to weigh in somewhere between 300 to 500 pounds. Grand piano sizes vary as well, and their weight ranges from as little as 500 pounds for a small baby grand to as much as 1,300 pounds for a concert grand. Measure the height, length, and width at the piano’s widest point so that accurate information can be relayed to the removal company.
  4. Determine if the piano is actually worth moving. Many pianos are essentially sentimental possessions that have been handed down from one generation to another. Pianos are like cars in that their performance has improved with technology over the years. That beautiful pre-civil war cabinet grand might still look beautiful, but the chances are great that it neither plays as well as a more modern piano or has much value as an antique. The cost of moving such a piano might not be worth the expense. Only the piano’s owner can determine its sentimental value.
  5. Do not allow regular household movers to move the piano as this is one of the mistakes most regretted after the fact. It cannot be emphasized enough that piano moving is a specialty! If the piano needing to be moved is of value to one financially and personally, then it is worth hiring a specialist removal firm that deals specifically with pianos. Check to ensure that the removal firm you choose specializes in piano moving.
  6. Home safety as well as piano safety is crucial. Piano moving is all about getting the piano safely in and out of home spaces without damage to the piano or home. Professional piano movers not only ensure the safety of your piano, but also of the spaces from which it is removed and installed. This includes the removal and replacement of doors and jams, the safety of floor surfaces, walls, window removal and replacement (when required) and more.
  7. Hiring a professional means there is no need to reinvent the means of piano moving. Those who choose the DIY route usually do not have to navigate stairs, elevators, or other tight spots. However, pro-piano movers not only have the training to get past such obstacles, but they also have the experience to determine what each individual circumstance requires for a particular piano’s safe move. Pro-movers have everything required for a safe move: trained movers, the required equipment, such as wraps padding, security straps, piano dollies, cranes, and the like.
  8. Professionals understand pianos. The person who owns a piano generally knows how to play it and perhaps how to take care of it, in terms of tuning, room humidity, and the like. It is unlikely that the average piano owner understands how their piano is constructed, however, and this information is important to a successful move. Knowing how and where a piano’s weight is distributed is essential information when it comes to lifting and rolling it. They also understand how the piano comes apart and are qualified to orchestrate such an undertaking should it be needed. Furthermore, they can put it back together again … something the average piano owner is unlikely to be qualified to do.
  9. Make sure that the piano removal company you hire has good reviews. There are many piano moving disaster stories, and nobody wants to be the next in line for that. A careful reading of company reviews is the best way to get a feel for whether the company in question is the one best qualified to move your piano to its new location. When a company has successfully moved hundreds or even thousands of pianos then the piano owner can relax, knowing they’ve chosen well.
  10. Finally, just as it is important to consider all of the obstacles one faces when moving a piano out of a dwelling, it is equally important to know what obstacles one might face when moving the piano into its new home. Be ready to provide this information to your piano mover in advance. Will the piano be on the ground floor or up a set of stairs? What are the dimensions of the doorways, stairways, and the like where the piano will need to travel? Is there a service elevator? What is the floor surface in the new location? Anything pertinent should be relayed in advance in writing to the company charged with moving the piano.

Moving a piano is always additional to moving the rest of one’s belongings from one home to another. Failure to mention to your moving crew that a piano is to be moved is to throw a monkey wrench into your whole moving process. Pianos, despite and perhaps because of their size are delicate instruments and their moving must be managed with special considerations and great care. Expect to pay extra if you have a piano to move and do not fail to inform your household movers in advance!

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