How much does it cost to move a piano?
Expect to spend $275 for an upright and $450 for a grand piano (locally)
If you own a piano, it’s likely one of the heaviest and most delicate pieces of furniture in your home — and moving it from place to place takes planning, specialized equipment and at least two strong people. Although you may be able to do this on your own, many people find it necessary (or just easier) to hire professionals. The total cost of this service will depend on the type and size of piano, how far it needs to go and how difficult the move is.
- Almost all piano movers charge a flat rate for local services, but you’ll likely see extra charges for more complicated moves.
- The average cost to move a piano locally ranges from $200 to $550.
- Shipping a piano far away costs significantly more, but general movers are more affordable than piano movers.
Average cost of moving a piano
To give you the most accurate estimates, we surveyed 13 professional piano movers from across the country about their pricing and what factors go into their rates. The cost to move a piano is highly dependent on the size of the piano, the distance it’s moving and what obstacles the movers will encounter, such as stairs, tight corners or uneven terrain. It’s helpful to break down these estimates by local versus long-distance moves.
|Type of piano||Average local cost (flat rate)||Average long-distance cost (depends on mileage)|
|Upright||$275||$500 to $2,000|
|Grand||$450||$500 to $2,000|
Estimating the cost for a local move is much easier than for long-distance moves. All but one of the piano movers we surveyed charges a flat rate for local moves within a certain radius, whether that’s based on city limits or distance from the company’s hub (20 to 30 miles is typical). The average flat rate we received for moving an upright piano locally is $275; for a grand piano it’s $450.
All the movers we spoke with pointed out their flat rate was contingent on a few factors that can make a move more difficult. The most cited obstacle: stairs. In general, a few steps leading up to the front door don’t affect the overall price, but if a piano is going to the second or third level of a home, the total price increases by an average of $100. If the staircase has a landing, tight corners or narrow hallways or is particularly steep, the price will likely increase.
Most moves can be done with a two-person team, but complications like these may require a third mover, which adds to the cost. Another factor that can increase your cost is terrain. Usually, a dolly or a specialized piano board is used to move a piano — and the piano should be rolled, not lifted and carried. If there are hills, large grassy areas or other obstacles in the yard to maneuver around, this could result in an upcharge.
If you’re shipping a piano over a long distance, you’ll see much higher rates (usually based on your mileage), but this varies based on whether you’re moving the piano on its own or along with the rest of your household belongings.
General moving services
If you’re moving a piano over a long distance with a general mover, you can expect to spend $75 to $150 to transport an upright and $200 to $1,000 for a grand.
Of the long-distance movers we spoke with, many said adding an upright piano to a full-house move would cost more, but only $75 to $150 more on average. However, grand pianos require more care and specialized equipment, which could result in an upcharge of $200 to $1,000. You may also have to purchase a piano board yourself, especially if you’re moving from one state to another.
If you use a general mover instead of a piano mover, make sure to thoroughly vet the company. If not, you could end up like a reviewer from Texas on our site: “When I first called … the agent said it would be no problem to move my piano and get it up some stairs. It came to moving day, the driver had no knowledge of having to move my baby grand, let alone get it upstairs. They tried three times to get it up the stairs … It sat in the garage for three weeks before it was moved.”
Professional piano movers
If you need to ship a piano alone, consider using a professional piano mover. The catch: Many of these companies are licensed to transport goods within one state and can only provide long-distance services by subcontracting with an interstate mover. This is an option, but you may prefer to use a nationwide piano transportation service, especially if you have an expensive piano.
Professional piano movers who specialize in long-distance moves typically have two- to three-month timelines for delivery. You’ll first need to schedule a pickup at your home, then your piano will be delivered to and stored at the company’s nearest hub. You’ll have to wait for the company to schedule another truck to take it to your final destination.
Because the drivers are trained to safely transport pianos and each truck is outfitted with specialized equipment, it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days to schedule each leg of the move. Though this service is the safest and most reliable, it’s costly, usually from $500 to over $2,000 for a cross-country move with a grand piano.
Piano moving cost factors
Your cost will depend mostly on how far you’re moving, any factors that complicate the move for the moving team and what kind of licensing the company has.
Distance: Unless you’re shipping locally, the farther your destination, the more expensive it will be. The only exception to this may be if you’re shipping from one major city to another, which typically makes it easier and more cost-effective to book a truck. If you’re shipping from one small town to another that’s miles from a major city, it will likely cost more.
Obstacles: Some companies have restrictions regarding where they’ll deliver. For example, a company may only move pianos to locations with fewer than three stairs to navigate or may not take jobs where a piano needs to be moved from a higher-level floor. For those willing to take on the work, stairs and other obstacles almost always increase the price.
Ideally, pianos are loaded and rolled on a dolly or piano board. However, if the piano has to be lifted over grass or up a set of stairs, you may need another mover or a specialized dolly with pneumatic wheels.
Licensing: Local movers may not be licensed to move pianos from one state to another, and while they still may be able to provide this service, they’ll often have to subcontract with a long-distance moving company.
What’s the cheapest way to move a piano?
The cheapest way to move a piano is by yourself (hopefully with a couple of friends), but even this option will cost you. You’ll need to rent or purchase equipment like heavy-duty straps, a dolly or piano board, a harness for lifting and furniture padding. Plus, you’ll likely want to rent a trailer or truck.
Next to the DIY method, shipping with a general moving company will be less expensive than going with a professional piano mover. However, if your piano is valuable (either monetarily or sentimentally), you may want to think twice — the average moving company may not have the experience or training to safely transport, take apart or load the instrument.
Are piano movers worth it?
If you’d be upset if something happened to your piano — and you can afford it — hiring movers may be worth the cost. However, because this service can be so expensive, it’s good to seriously evaluate the worth of your piano before shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a mover.
Bill Jones of Knoxville Piano Movers, who’s been in the business since 1973, advises his customers to ask themselves if their piano is really worth moving: “By far and away, the greatest number of moving calls we get are from people who have found a very inexpensive, or even free piano from an online marketplace. They spend several hundred dollars getting the piano moved, only to find out it isn’t tunable or may need many hundreds of dollars of work to become a useful musical instrument.”
In these cases, it may be worth the initial investment to hire a reputable piano technician to evaluate the piano before you spend the money to have it moved.
Can you move a piano yourself?
You can move a piano yourself, but you will need to get certain equipment to help you. Moving an upright piano is easier than moving a grand, but both can be done without professional movers.
Can I hire a general moving company to move a piano?
Almost all general moving companies will move your piano with your other household goods, but you should be cautious of this service, especially if you’re moving a grand piano. A moving company may claim to have experience moving pianos, but when the team shows up they might not know how to take the legs off or how to properly protect the instrument during transport.
How much does moving insurance cost for a piano?
All moving companies are required to provide a minimum amount of coverage for interstate moves, but this is typically only 60 cents per pound. For example, if your baby grand weighs 500 pounds and is damaged during transport, you’ll only receive $300, which is far less than its actual value. You can purchase more comprehensive insurance from your movers to increase how much you receive in reimbursement, though premiums for this coverage depend on how high your valuation is.
Because of their weight and bulk, pianos are one of the more expensive household items to ship, whether that’s across the city or across the country. It’s often best to rely on professional piano movers over a general moving company, but it’s important to compare the cost of this service with how valuable your piano actually is — sometimes it doesn’t make sense to pay to move the instrument at all.
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “Liability & Protection.” Accessed October 27, 2022.
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