How To Move A Piano

how to move a piano

Everyone who fancies their strength will want to move large and bulky items themselves. After all hiring a moving company costs money, and if you can do it yourself, you will save yourself some coin. Moving your piano may fall into this category, although you should think twice before moving such a valuable instrument.

Pianos have more than 10,000 individual parts, so moving the item can’t be done with brute force alone. Moving a piano must be done with the utmost care and planning to ensure that none of those parts get dislodged during the moving process. It is possible to move a piano yourself, but professional piano removalists have the equipment and know-how to do the job correctly.

Preparing To Move A Piano

Before you move a piano, you will need to make a thoughtful plan to ensure the move goes smoothly. Some of these steps may seem simple, but they can spell trouble if you miss any. These steps include knowing the piano’s weight, how many people will be needed to lift the piano, what route you will take, whether you have the correct equipment, and what size truck you need, to name just a few.

You will find a more detailed description for correctly planning to move a piano in the below checklist.

1. Equipment

Make sure you have the correct equipment and that it is in good working order. The equipment needed to move a piano will vary depending on the size and location of the piano, but generally, the equipment you will need includes:

  • Packing Tape
  • Thick removals blankets
  • Quality Ratchet Straps (to secure to the truck while in transport)
  • Shoulder harness moving straps
  • Piano Trolly

The Piano Trolly

It is worth noting that moving a piano requires a select type of trolly designed for moving a piano.

An upright piano can use a standard piano dolly such as shown in the image below.

A Grand Piano will require a piano skid board or piano lift. A piano lift is a hydraulic lift device that can even climb stairs such as pictured below.

How Much Does A Piano Costs?

A standard piano trolly (suitable for an upright piano) that can lift around 400KG will cost approximately $500, where a piano skid board or hydraulic lift will set you back thousands of dollars. The equipment costs alone will likely be hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you wish to move your piano yourself.

With such expense, it is worth looking at why it costs so much to move a piano? The answer is simple when you look at the costs of pianos.

Concert Grand – $100,000 – $200,000 (+600KG 7-10ft)

Parlour Grand – $50,000 – $100,000 (+450KG 6-7ft)

Baby Grand – $20,000 – $50,000 (+350KG 5-6ft)

Upright Piano – $4,500 – $20,000 (+300KG)

The piano prices listed above are for new pianos, although secondhand pianos’ costs won’t differ much. When you factor in the cost of a piano, it is clear that moving a piano should only be done by professionals who have the experience, insurance, and all the best equipment.

2. Plan the route

Make sure you know the intended route to the truck. Think carefully about alternatives as the shortest course may not be the easiest.

3. Measure the spaces

Before you begin moving a piano, get the tape measure out and start measuring. It is essential that you know the length, width & height of the piano, the doorways, the passages, the truck, and the piano’s new space.

4. Ensure You Have A Big Enough Truck

It may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake. Likely, you will not just be moving a piano and have lots of other bulky items. Plan how you will pack the truck and ensure you have space to accommodate the cubic meters required. Repacking the truck or making two trips will be costly. A size guide for trucks is as follows:

  • 3 Tonne Truck – 18m3
  • 5 Tonne Truck – 30m3
  • 8 Tonne Truck – 40m3
  • 10 Tonne Truck – 50m3
  • 12 Tonne Truck – 65m3

To understand how big a cubic meter is, watch this video

5. Clear The Path

After you have planed which path you will take, make sure you clear the way of any obstacles. Open doors and put door stops in place to make sure nothing will stand in your path.

6. How many people are needed to move a piano?

The number of people required to move a piano will vary based on the size and access to the property. Remember, pianos are heavy, and while the piano trolly will do most of the heavy lifting, it is important to know the weight before moving.

Average weights of pianos

  • Upright Piano (weight 140kgs – 230kgs)
  • Baby Grand Piano (weight 230kgs – 300kgs)
  • Grand Piano (weight 320kgs – 635kgs)

When you factor in the immense weight of a piano, an accurate guide to the number of people needed to move a piano would be as follows:

People needed to move a piano

  • Upright Piano (2 to 3 people)
  • Baby Grand Piano (2 to 3 people)
  • Grand Piano (3 to 4 people)

With a baby grand and grand piano, you will remove certain pieces such as the legs, pedals, lyre, fallboard, music shelf, and music desk. Unscrewing a few screws is all it takes to remove most items, decreasing the weight significantly.

Moving The Piano

After you have performed the setup — planned the route, cleared the way, measured the spaces, and checked your equipment, you are ready to disassemble in preparation for moving.

Can you lay a piano down to move it?

A common question is, can I lay the piano down to move it, and the short answer is yes, you can. Often, laying down a piano on one side will be the only way to get it out of a room or through a door. Laying down a piano must be done correctly to ensure the surfaces don’t get scratched or damaged.

lay a piano down to move it?

The correct process for laying down a piano is as follows:

  • Wrap thick removals blankets over each exposed surface of the piano.
  • Use proper removals tape or shrink-wrap to hold the blankets in place firmly.

Disassembling A Piano For Travel

How To Remove The Music Shelf & Music Desk.

One of the first pieces to remove is the music shelf and music deck. These pieces are found above the keys and hold the sheet music for the player. They are typically attached with a set of screws and are simple to detach with a screwdriver.

How To Remove The Piano’s Lyre & Pedals

The lyre is the legs that are attached to the foot pedals. Removing the lyre and pedals is a straightforward task, involving unscrewing and removing the lyre-pedal from the piano’s underside.

How To Remove The Piano’s Legs.

Remove The Piano's Legs

The legs are a more difficult part to remove because once you remove a leg, the piano will become unbalanced and no longer stand on its own.

Start by removing the front left leg of the piano. To do this, have one or two people lift the piano while another person moves the piano trolly under the left side to support the weight.

The trolly will elevate the left end of the piano up so that the leg can be removed. Ensure the trolly only slightly elevates the left side, so excess weight isn’t put on the other two legs. The trolly will need to be straddled and held steady while the leg gets removed.

A piano leg is typically attached with long screws and possibly a coupler underneath the leg. You need to remove the screws to uncouple it and take the leg off. Dislodging the leg from the coupler can be done by hand. If the coupler is stiff, cover the leg with a cloth and hit it with a rubber mallet to avoid damage to the woods finished.

Mark the legs with a stick-it note to indicate which leg is which – such as Left Front. Once the first leg gets removed, lower the piano onto the piano trolly. Wrap the piano in blankets, so it appropriately cushioned before being lowered. Once lowered, you can lift the piano up to lie flat on its side on the piano trolly. When the piano is safely on its side, you can remove the other two legs.

Putting The Piano On The Truck.

how to move a piano

The piano should be the first item put on the truck. The piano should be covered entirely in removals blankets and shrink wrapped to keep the blankets in place. Place the piano against one of the truck walls, such as the back wall, and secure the piano tightly with ratchet straps so that it won’t move during transit.

Does A Piano Need Tuning After Moving?

Even if the moving process gets executed perfectly, the movement and rattle of transporting can cause the piano to go out of tune.

You should factor in the cost of tuning your piano into your budget.

The average price for tuning a piano is $200 – $250.

How Much Does It Cost To Move A Piano?

Multiple factors determine the cost of moving a piano, such as:

  • Piano type, upright, baby grand or grand piano.
  • Access, how close can the truck get to the piano.
  • Are there and steps to traverse?
  • The distance the piano has to be transported.
  • Hourly charge of the removalists (some may offer lower prices but may not have appropriate experience or insurance.)
  • What else will get moved with the piano?
  • How many people are needed for the move?
  • How large is the truck you need?

An approximate guide on costs to move a piano is as follows:

Short Local Move (No Stairs & Good Access)

Upright Piano – ($250 – $350)

Baby Grand Piano – ($350 – $550)

Grand Piano – ($500 – $600)

Interstate Move (No Stairs & Good Access)

Upright Piano – ($700 – $900)

Baby Grand Piano – ($800 -$1,200)

Grand Piano – ($1,000 -$1,300)

Note: Moving interstate usually involves moving multiple items and not only a piano.

When evaluating the costs, consider all the charges that will apply, such as:

  • Fuel
  • labour
  • Equipment
  • Truck rental
  • Insurance
  • Piano Tuning

For competitive quotes on moving a piano from a highly qualified piano removals specialist, submit a quote today.

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