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Piano Move FAQ

If you have a question that is not in this section, please contact us.

Provided & Sponsored by: Big Al’s Specialty Movers, Inc.

  • Why Do I Need A Piano Mover?

    Piano moving, like all trades, is a specialty to itself. The average upright piano weighs anywhere between 400 and 900 pounds. Grand pianos start at 650 pounds and can go all the way up to 1300 pounds. The value of a piano can vary from a couple hundred dollars to half a million dollars depending on make, model, age and condition of the piano. For most people, their piano is one of their most prized possessions and getting it moved without damage is one of the most important things to them during moving time. This is why household movers do not include the piano in their general household pricing. You want movers who know what they are doing, who are going to move your piano with the care it deserves, and who will not damage your home or injury anyone in the process of moving. Moving a piano almost always requires it to be moved through a space that has a tight squeeze (i.e. a door frame, staircase, etc.). I will never tell a person that they can not move their piano themselves. The question every person who wants their piano moved has to ask is, "Do I feel lucky?" and "What risks am I willing to take?". Anyperson who has had an accident with their piano knows that when something goes wrong, it happens fast and when you least expect it. The repercussions of moving a piano by yourself or with an inexperienced person can cost you a small fortune or more stress than most people can take. The reason you need a piano mover is simple: you want someone who is able to anticipate every part of your move before the move has started.

  • How Are Pianos Moved?

    Pianos are moved in one of two ways. The first way, which is commonly used by the general public and a number of household movers, is by brute force. Manhandle the piano with 4 to 8 people from one location into a vehicle. If you are lucky someone might consider trying to secure it into the vehicle. Then complete the move by manhandling it into place at the new location. The second way is used by professional piano movers and some household movers. They use 2 or 3 people to move the piano and are equipped with piano skids, moving pads, ramps, slings and the knowledge of how to move a piano safely. They use special techniques to manipulate the piano through the move and only require 4 to 6 people in the most difficult moves. The first way has an extremely high damage rate and can take 2 to 20 times longer than the second way. I personally am a professional piano mover. You can not imagine the number of times people's jaws hit the floor when they see a professional move a piano after they have attempted it themselves in the past. They almost always say the exact same thing "Never again will I attempt to move my own piano, I will let the professionals handle it from now on".

  • If I Hire A Professional Piano Mover, Does It Mean That My Piano Will Not Be Damaged?

    No. As in any move, there is always an element of risk. Any mover that tells you he has never damaged anything is either lying or extremely new to the profession (there could be an exception out there, but anyone who gambles would never take that bet). The reason you should hire a professional piano mover is the same reason you hire a professional in any other trade or buy insurance: To protect yourself from injury liabilities and reduce the odds of your piano or home being damaged. We will tell you if there is a chance of damage in the move before we touch anything and will give you the option of proceeding.

  • How Do I Find The Best Piano Mover?

    Call the local stores, technicians, teachers (people in the industry) and find out who they would use. After a couple of inquiries it will become clear who the piano mover of choice is.

  • Are All Companies Similarly Insured?

    No. The true answer to this question will shock a lot of people. It is the buyer's responsibility to make sure that he/she is properly insured, not the moving company. Just because the company says they are insured does not mean they are fully insuring your merchandise and move or telling you what their maximum liability is. On top of this, there are three types of insurance to consider when people refer to insurance.

    1. Is the company insured against damage to property and or vehicles (commercial/automotive insurance)?

    2. Is the company insured against damage to the piano (cartage/content insurance)?

    3. Is the company insuring its workers against injury (Workman's Compensation)? When you ask the question, are they answering 1 & 2, 2 & 3, all of them, one of them, insuring for a single dollar or the full value of the item being moved? Never assume that all of these are being covered (unfortunately most people do and sometimes pay a dear price for it). Is there a legal document to show that the customer is insured? (Another important question that is almost never asked.) Make sure you know the company's "Terms of Cartage" before you book your move (ask them for a copy). Is the mover providing a proper "Bill of Lading" with all the "Terms of Cartage" and insured values for your piano move? Most people do not realize that without a proper "Bill of Lading" they are NOT fully insured and fall under local cartage laws, which are never more than a maximum of $2.00 per pound, do NOT cover their home and do NOT cover the workers. Just because a piano mover says they are fully insured does not mean you are properly covered; unless there is a "Bill of Lading" provided with the full declared value (insured value) written on it you are exposed and definitely not covered. Using a REPUTABLE piano mover is extremely important, because they take care of all these things for you. I should also mention that if you do not give an insured value to the mover prior to the move, you default to the local cartage amounts automatically. It is not the mover's responsibility to make sure you have the right amount of insurance, it is YOUR job. I should also note that most movers will charge extra for additional insurance.

    The MOST IMPORTANT reason to use a REPUTABLE piano mover, has to do with insurance. These days, insurance has become an extremely touchy issue, whether it be car, home or business insurance. Most people do not claim insurance with their insurance companies anymore due to rising premium rates. This same fact holds true with businesses, especially movers and piano movers. They have insurance policies to cover worst case scenarios, but like you and most businesses, piano movers are self-insuring their smaller day to day claims. You want someone who will provide you with a "Bill of Lading" (legal document) at the beginning of the move so that you know where you stand, and that the piano mover will stand behind any damages that they might have incurred and repair those problems. Everyone has heard moving company nightmares at one time or another. No "Bill of Lading" and No "Reputable Mover" is a recipe for your own nightmare and can cost you a fortune.

  • Why Is Worker Injury Important To Me? After All It Is The Company's Problem. Isn't It?

    It is extremely important for you to know the answer to this question. It is your responsibility to make sur as an individual or business that the company (a piano mover) you are hiring is covered by Workman's Compensation. If you hire a company (a piano mover) that is not covered you are accepting FULL LIABILITY for any employees who are injured doing your job, because the local authority will consider them your employee while they are working for you. This includes medical bills and lost wages and a possible civil law suit. A piano moving company covered by Workman’s Compensation will take care of these issues for you. Unfortunately, not all companies pay their required premiums and like all insurance companies, Workman’s Compensation will cut off or not cover all claims from delinquent companies. Big Al’s Specialty Movers has Workman’s Compensation and we are always current on all premiums. To find out more information on our company, you can use the link below.

    Washington State Department Labor and Industry

  • Does Moving The Piano Affect The Sound Of My Piano?

    This is a commonly asked question for which you may hear many different answers. This question is asked because lots of people say that their piano sounds different in its new location. The answer to the question may or may not surprise you. No, not directly. The moving does NOT affect the sound of the piano directly at all. If it is not the moving then what makes it sound different here versus there? and why does it not hold tune or does hold tune better here? The answer lies with the piano technicians and furniture makers. A piano is made of wood and steel. Wood is directly affected by two things: "Temperature" and "Humidity". Steel is directly affected by temperature. When these two elements change, so does your piano. The more these two elements change, the more frequently you need to regulate and tune your piano. It does not take a big change to change your piano, and you should consult your manufacture's web site to see what type of environment is best for your piano. I will never forget a story from one of our customers for whom we were moving a pre-tuned piano from a piano store to a concert hall on one of the coldest days in winter. When we delivered his piano it was cold and obviously out of tune due to the temperature outside. When the piano warmed up again, it came back into tune. Another reason why your piano may sound different is due to size of room and its acoustics. Carpet absorbs sound, hardwood reflects sound. Sound reinforces in small spaces, seeming louder, and gets lost in larger spaces, seeming quieter.

  • How Much Does It Cost To Move A Piano?

    Piano moving is billed in one of two ways: Hourly rate, with a minimum number of hours (usually min. = 2 hours) Flat rate based on following factors The cost of moving a piano can vary due to the following factors:

    1. Type of Piano
    2. Distance being moved
    3. Difficulty level due to stairs, grass pulls, tight turns, etc.
    4. Number of people required to move piano due to difficulty level.
    5. Time restraints placed on move during the daytime of year (season)
    6. Waiting time that you might incur.

    To request a moving quote, please use our “Piano Move Estimate” forms on our front page of this website

  • How Much Notice Do I Need To Give The Piano Mover?

    This depends greatly on when you need to have your piano moved and where you are located. We usually will book on a first come, first serve basis. If it is an in demand day, you could require over a month's notice. If it is not, your move could be booked as quickly as tomorrow. If you need a specific day, I would recommend booking well in advance. On average in the Greater Portland Vancouver Area, the average booking time is a couple days to two weeks assuming you have some flexibility as to which day your piano can be moved.

  • What Information Do I Need To Have Before I Call A Piano Mover?

    It constantly amazes me how many people call to get a quote or book a piano move and do not have any of the important information required to do so. I am constantly getting people calling me asking for our flat rate for moving a piano. My first question is what type of piano do you want moved. They answer a standard size piano. This type of answer tells the piano mover absolutely nothing. All pianos are standard for there type and class. The piano movers have only two choices here. Push you for the right information or quote you the most expensive rate he has to cover the worst case scenario. The next question you will be asked is where it will be moved to and from so we can calculate mileage. Following this you will than be asked whether there are any stairs involved. We are constantly shocked how many people have no clue as to how many stairs are in or outside their house or just don't know how to count them. If you do not want to get surprised by extra stair charges, make sure you know the answer to this question. Over 80% of people guess totally wrong and usually have 2 to 6 steps more than what they remember. The way we count stairs is simple, our lead man will stand at the bottom of the stairs and counts how many times he has to lift his foot until he is standing on top of the landing (Yes the landing counts as a step). Knowing how we count steps is very important to remove any misunderstandings. We should also note that we count the stairs outside the house as well as inside the house. It is possible to have more than one flight of stairs at one location (one or more flights of stairs outside and one or more flights of stairs inside). To get an accurate quote, here is a list of items you should know before you make the phone call.

    • What type of piano is it that you required moved? (Upright or Grand Piano)
    • What size of piano is it? (Upright are measured by height [floor to lid], Grand's are measured by longest length [keyboard to curve in bow end])
    • Where is it being picked up from? (Have full address including zip code)
    • Where is it being delivered to? (Have full address including zip code)
    • Are there any stairs that the piano needs to go over? (inside or outside, does not matter where) If there are stairs, how many? (Yes, the top landing step counts too, after all you had to lift your foot to get over it) Are they straight, spiraled, curved? Is there any turns getting on, in the middle or getting off the stairs? (To us: A tight turn at the top or bottom of the staircase does NOT constitute a straight staircase even if the steps themselves are straight. It is considered a flight with a turn) Based on what you tell us, we will tell you how many people we believe it will take to accomplish your move. Missing important details or difficulties or miss-estimating your move based on the information you provided could mean your piano move might not happen the day you have it booked and could incur more charges.
    • When are you looking to have it moved?
    • Are there any time restraints involved? (Remember that placing a time restraint on your move could result in extra charges)
    • Inform us of any problems that you can foresee ahead of time. For example, it has to go around my house across the grass. (We consider going across grass the same pushing a piano up a flight of stairs and charge accordingly for it). "I don't have my keys to my new place until..." (waiting charges could apply), "I have to be out of my old place by..." (emergency move charges may apply) Try to have only one person responsible for getting a quote and arranging your move. The more people involved, the more likely a miscommunication could occur in your move

    The more information you can provide the more accurate your quote will be. If you are vague and provide few details, there is a chance that there will be extra charges. We are very specific about what we charge. Remember we can only quote you based on the information you provide. We always try to make the process as painless as possible and it is our goal to have this part of your move the highlight and most stress-free part of your whole moving process. The key is providing us with the information we need to help you properly.