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Piano movers cost & DIY tips to move it safely.

Piano & Heavy Moves

With the help of friends and rellies, you are going to move this beautiful and expensive instrument which incidentally has 10,000+ moving parts that are all finely synchronised and produce the most exquisite sounds. Or you are going to find out what piano movers cost and make the decision on who to trust with your piano. 

So before you find yourself wondering why your piano won't keep its tune any longer, first enquire about the cost of having professionals move your piano for you. Always a good choice as you watch this very heavy item go out the door without you lifting a finger. An enquiry with professional piano movers won’t cost you a cent and may prove worthwhile in the long run. We have also included some average piano moving prices below

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If however, you are intent on doing it yourself let’s help you ensure that the job is done as carefully as possible. 

So how much does it cost to move my piano?

For an accurate cost on your piano move, this question is best answered by getting a quote from the piano movers themselves but it’s worthwhile keeping in mind the below variables that might apply to such a single item move. We have also included below some average piano moving prices for both suburb to suburb and interstate moves. 

Variables that impact the price of your piano move:

  • Weight and size of piano
  • Accessibility and especially stairs, lifts, docks or other obstacles to be overcome
  • Distance of travel to the new location. If you are wanting to move long distance read our blog on how to move a piano long distance>>
  • Closeness to both locations for mover’s truck
  • Time of year (Holiday times are usually more costly)
  • Insurance cover provided
  • It is preferable to get an all-up quote so that you are aware of the cost to you rather than hourly rate or incurring additional costs for maybe degree-of-difficulty or other factors 

Some average prices for moving a piano

Type  Location Average Distance Average Price
Organ Suburb to Suburb 45 - 70 km $150 - $200*
Upright Piano Suburb to Suburb 45 - 70 km $180 - $220*
Baby Grand Piano Suburb to Suburb 45 - 70 km $300 - $400*
Grand Piano Suburb to Suburb 45 - 70 km $500 - $800*
Organ Interstate 600 - 900 km $300 - $500*
Upright Piano Interstate 600 - 900 km $600 - $700*
Baby Grand Piano Interstate 600 - 900 km $800 - $1000*
Grand Piano Interstate 600 - 900 km $1100 - $1500*

*Note: steps and difficulty of move/location will impact your price. 

What weight are we talking about?

A grand piano can weigh as much as 650kg down to 220kg, whereas an upright can weigh from 375kg to 130kg. Keep in mind these weights vary from brand to brand and type to type.

So if you’re going ahead despite the weight and awkwardness of the move then you might first consider:

The Preparation Phase 

  • Enlist help, preferable no less than 4 helpers, 2 as lifters and another two as guides to assist with maintaining balance.
  • Make sure you and the lifters are aware of the weight involved and if you have to negotiate steps or any such hazard get professional piano movers to do the job. A damaged or broken back may be with you for a lot longer than the piano. 
  • Measure doorways and clear the intended path from the old location and into the new along with the new placement position for the piano.
  • If there are steps or ramps to negotiate, ensure they are strong enough to take the added weight.

What you’ll need

  • You will need 2 furniture dollies and a piano skid board which can be hired along with at least 2 heavy duty shoulder harnesses and furniture straps, furniture wrapping blankets, securing straps for travel and a suitable size vehicle for the move.
  • Ensure your dollies are heavy-duty, able to take the weight and that the wheels move smoothly. Strap the piano securely to the dolly and get the guides to walk beside it as it is moved to assist with maintaining proper balance especially on corners or tight areas.
  • Do not try to move the piano on its castors as these are not meant to travel any further than a few centimetres.

Do the piano wrap

  • If the piano is a grand or baby grand remove the legs and carefully puddle them (wrap them in a furniture blanket) to be carried separately from the housing/case of the piano
  • The legs are removed by ½ the crew lifting the left front corner of the piano so that the leg can be removed
  • At the same time, the other ½ of the crew lift and hold the other opposite corner of the piano to minimise the excess weight on the other two legs
  • The piano is then lowered onto the long side preferably onto a well-padded piano board and secured with furniture straps to the board
  • Pad and secure the lid of the piano for in transit 
  • The other two legs are removed and the piano on the board lifted carefully onto a dolly
  • Keep the piano well-padded throughout the process of securing to the board
  • The piano now being vertical can be moved slowly through doorways
  • For an upright piano wrap the housing of the piano in a furniture blanket and also secure the lid in a blanket taped down to restrict movement in transit
  • Lift your piano carefully at one end and place one of the dollies along its length to enable it to be firmly balanced move slowly, remembering to strap it securely to the dollies
  • Don’t forget to wrap and carry the piano stool also 

On with the move 

  • Don’t drop the piano as this can be disastrous for the instrument. Get your helper guides to walk with the load to ensure it does not overbalance at both locations.
  • Take your time walking the piano through both locations. Don’t hurry and remember safety first - for yourselves, your helpers and the piano too.
  • Ensure the piano once removed from the old location is placed in the truck against the back centre of the truck pantech and securely strapped in place. 
  • First load on and last load off so that the excessive weight does not cause an unbalanced load. 
  • Ensure it is also fully covered in furniture blankets to avoid damage to the housing and other accessories.
  • Ensure that you minimise severe bumps or movement in transit in the truck. Drive slowly, thoughtfully and carefully. Look out for speed bumps and take them very slowly and carefully.

After the move

  • Make sure that the piano is retuned about a month after the move. It will need that time to adjust to the new environment as variations in humidity and temperature can affect the piano’s tuning.
  • For a professional retune contact the Australasian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association.
  • Use mothballs throughout the piano to discourage insects that can eat the felts thus destroying the internals of your precious instrument and ensure that you replace them regularly.
  • Choose carefully where you intend to relocate your piano; for instance, not close to outside walls or in direct breezeways.
  • Monitor temperature and humidity levels for a time after the move.
  • Ensure the piano is not in direct sunlight or breeze.
  • Purchase and place castor cups if the piano is to be located on timber floors.

Piano being showcased In large living area

Are there any risks with a DIY move?

Before you decide on how you’re going to move your piano, it is important to understand your risks. 

As pianos are large and heavy, if you are not properly prepared you do risk damaging it, the area it is being moved to or from and even the vehicle it is being transported in. So keep this in mind and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What happens if I damage the piano?
  • How much care do you need to take in the location the piano is now and will be moved to? What happens if I damage walls or corners?
  • Are there any stairs or tight corners I need to navigate and how will I do that?
  • Which vehicle / trailer will I use to move this piano? What happens if I damage the vehicle or trailer?
  • What am I prepared to pay in terms of replacement or repair costs?

Going into a DIY with your eyes open and having a plan in place for if something goes wrong is really important. No one wants things to go wrong but just thinking about this may help you plan better and more carefully. 

Take care with personal safety

A key issue with moving a piano is personal safety and doing your best to make sure no one gets hurt. When moving a piano yourself, make sure you have enough people on hand to move it. You don’t want to rely on one strong person. Make sure you balance the load between a variety of people. 

Having the proper equipment is essential. Remember that pianos are heavy and unpredictable. You want to make sure everyone is safe and looked after. 

Tips for reducing moving costs

If you are going to work with a removalist to move your piano, there are a few potential ways to save money.

You can:

  • Look for early booking discounts
  • Move in the off-season and not on a weekend
  • Bundle moving services - move additional things at the same time
  • Compare quotes between different removalists

One thing to keep in mind, pianos are precious and important to their owners. So be sure you find a removalist that has insurance, experience and the right equipment if you are to hire out. You want to find a good deal but in this case, the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best option. 

Piano movers cost FAQ

Q1: Why is moving a piano more expensive than moving other furniture? 

A: Moving a piano requires specialised skills, equipment, and often more manpower due to its weight and delicate nature. Pianos are not only heavy but also awkwardly shaped and have sensitive internal parts. Damaging a piano can be costly, so professionals take extra care and precautions, which may contribute to a higher cost.

Q2: How much does it typically cost to move a piano locally? 

A: The cost varies based on factors such as the piano size, distance, and accessibility of the locations. On average, local moves can range from $150 to $700 for upright pianos and $1100 to $1500 for grand pianos.

Q3: What about long-distance piano moves? 

A: For long-distance moves, the cost usually depends on the weight of the piano and distance traveled. Prices can range from $500 to $2,000 or more. It's best to get a detailed quote from the moving company.

Q4: Does the type or size of the piano affect the cost? 

A: Yes, it does! Larger pianos, like grand pianos, often require more manpower and specialized equipment, leading to higher moving costs compared to smaller upright pianos.

Q5: How do stairs or tight spaces impact the moving cost? 

A: Stairs, elevators, or tight hallways can increase the complexity of the move. Many movers charge an extra fee for each flight of stairs or for challenging environments that require additional time and care.

Q6: Does the moving cost include tuning the piano afterwards? 

A: Typically, no. Moving costs and tuning services are billed separately. It's common for pianos to require tuning after being moved due to jostling and changes in the environment.

Q7: Can I move the piano myself to save costs? 

A: While it's technically possible, moving a piano without the proper equipment and expertise can result in damage to the instrument, your property, or even personal injury. Hiring professionals is recommended for the safety of everyone and everything involved.

Q8: Are there any hidden fees I should be aware of when moving a piano? 

A: Always ask movers for a detailed estimate. Some might charge extra for insurance, travel time, fuel surcharges, or other unforeseen challenges on the moving day.

Q9: Do piano movers also offer storage services? 

A: Many do! If you need temporary storage for your piano, ask your mover about their storage facilities or recommendations. Ensure the storage environment is climate-controlled to protect your instrument.

So play it again, Sam

Well, there you have it. The upshot of it is that if you choose to use professional piano removalists the whole job is in the hands of professionals who are experienced in handling your beloved instrument with the dignity and care that it and you deserve. A piano movers cost is worth it. 

If however, you choose to DIY, then take care with your and your friend’s backs. And particularly if you have to negotiate stairs or difficult obstacles, then really consider your options carefully.


Additional resources:

Piano move top tips: Piano removalists Brisbane share their secrets

How to move a piano: the dos & don’ts from the pros

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