What is the Average Cost to Move a Piano?
The national average to move a piano is between $250 and $575, with the average single figure sitting at $400. From these numbers, we can conclude that most pianos moved in the US are upright pianos—these are cheaper to move than grand pianos of any type because there are less awkward parts, and they are lighter than grand pianos.
On the lower end, moving a piano can cost between $150 to $200. This is for local moving processes. A local piano move can be as short as moving to a house across the street or as long as about 100 miles. You can expect to pay about $1.50 to $2.50 per mile for a local move (on top of hourly disassembly, loading, unloading, and assembly costs).
When you move a piano hundreds of miles, even across the country, the cost per mile goes up to between $2.50 and $10. The professionals still have to perform proper protection and packing procedures whether the piano is going up the road or to the other side of the country, so that’s why the long-distance cost per mile starts at the same price as some local moves per mile.
Average Piano Shipping Costs by Type
Different pianos require different expertise, tools, and moving strategies. The two main types are grand (or baby grand) pianos and upright pianos. The type of piano you’re moving will play a major role in your final price.
Grand or Baby Grand
Grand pianos begin at between 400 and 500 pounds, and they can reach up to 1,200 pounds. Because of their shape, size, and weight, the average cost to move a grand or baby grand is more than the cost to move an upright piano. On average, moving a grand piano costs anywhere between $250 (for a local move) to $650, but on the higher end (long distance), it can be between $1,000 to $2,000. Compared to paying for repairs on a broken grand piano that you tried to move yourself, hiring movers is a much more cost-effective option.
Upright pianos are lighter and smaller than grand pianos, with starting weights of 200 to 300 pounds; however, they can weigh up to 800 pounds if it’s a professional upright. The average national cost to move upright pianos locally is $150 to $300. Moving an upright piano long distance can be anywhere from $500 to $800. This is definitely a more affordable piano all around than a grand piano. However, fixing an upright piano is still costly, so you should hire professionals to move it without damage.
Factors that Affect the Price of Your Piano Move
How does a piano mover determine the price of your move? These are the factors that they examine and take into consideration when pricing your move.
Type of Piano
Is the piano an upright or a (baby) grand? What size is it? Is it an antique? The type of piano will determine the weight, size, and steps to moving it. A grand piano requires disassembly before it can be moved. First, the legs must be removed, even though this may not be necessary in all cases. Then, the lid must be taped down, padded, and secured throughout the move. The keys need to be padded and protected, and the foot pedals must be removed. Once the disassembly has taken place, the piano must be tipped onto its side, loaded onto a dolly, secured in the moving vehicle, and transported. Once the grand piano arrives at its destination, assembly is required.
As for upright pianos, typically, no disassembly is required at the outset unless the piano has casters—these are best removed before anything else is done. Then the protruding parts must be padded and protected (keys and pedals), although the pedals should not require removal. Two people can maneuver an average household upright piano onto a piano dolly and then load it into the moving vehicle. After it is secured within the vehicle, the upright piano can be transported, and then no assembly is required at the destination.
The cost variation in moving these two types of pianos is because grand pianos are heavier, more unwieldy, and require disassembly before moving. In contrast, upright pianos are a more regular shape, almost always lighter than grands, and do not require disassembly and reassembly. You’ll always pay more to move a grand piano than an upright piano.
Of course, short-distance moves are cheaper than long-distance moves. However, the average cost per mile tends to be cheaper for local piano moves. You can expect to start with a base price of around $50, with costs added to your estimate based on the mileage and other factors mentioned below. The average cost for moving a piano locally (less than 100 miles) is between $1.50 and $2.50 per mile. The long-distance cost for moving a piano has much wider variation, accounting for fuel costs and traveling time. The range for a long-distance piano move is typically $2.50 to $10 per mile.
Most companies provide free insurance with their piano moves. However, many pianos cost more than the amount you’ll be insured for with basic coverage. In order to fully insure your piano, the moving company will usually charge you an extra $10 to $15 per $1,000 worth of protection you add to your move.
Any Steps in Your Home
Stairs both at the origin and destination of your piano can affect the cost of moving it. Most moving companies charge between $5 and $10 per stair their workers have to climb up or down. They are experienced movers with specialized equipment, and these prices reflect their expertise and training. Some companies charge by staircase, with a range of $40 to $100 per staircase.
Specialty Packing Services
Grand pianos will require what is referred to as “specialty packing services,” which would include the disassembly and packing up of the legs and pedals. Dismantling the instrument alone costs $100 in most circumstances. Some companies will opt to crate your grand piano when moving it, and that can cost around $800—but add another $400 if you prefer heated crating (for wintertime moves). Not all companies use crating, but it is the safest way to move your grand piano.
Humidity-Controlled Transit and Storage
Climate-controlled accommodations for moving and storage will always increase the price of any move. Although storage isn’t technically part of the move from origin to final destination, some companies offer piano storage if you can’t get to your destination at the same time as the piano or if you need storage for any reason. As for humidity-controlled vehicles, this is typically included in piano moves because of the sensitive nature of the instruments—that’s why the cost per mile is pricier than if you were paying for a regular moving truck.
Last-Minute Move Fees
If you change the schedule of your piano move, it can result in quite a penalty. It can cost you up to $400 if you are not where you say you will be when a mover arrives or if you change the moving plans at the last minute. The mover has to work with you to reschedule a move in between their other clients, and this inconvenience will be costly to you. This is a deterrent on the mover’s part so that they can keep things running smoothly and avoid these last-minute reschedules.
Every piano will need to be retuned after it arrives at its destination. However, you should wait three (or even four) weeks before having the piano retuned. This is because pianos are highly responsive to changes in humidity and temperature, and your piano needs time for its strings to settle and get used to its new environment.
Tuning costs can be anywhere from $150 to $300, depending on where you are and which company you hire to retune. Most piano movers will offer this service, so when your piano settles after a month at your new place, the same professionals can return and retune your piano.
Why Hire a Professional Piano Moving Company?
Can I move a piano myself? Technically, yes. However, it’s inadvisable for many reasons. Not only are pianos delicate, but they are also extremely heavy and require precision to move. You can pack and load up your other belongings yourself, but leave the piano moves to the professionals. Here are a few benefits of leaving piano moving to the pros.
Moving pianos requires special equipment that you as an everyday homeowner may not have on hand, such as piano dollies, a piano skid board, ratchet and hump straps, and tools to disassemble and reassemble your piano if you have a grand. You would first have to acquire these accouterments to move your piano yourself, whereas a moving company already has tried-and-true moving equipment and the knowledge of how to use it.
Weight and size
Pianos are heavy. Their weight begins at over 200 pounds, and the largest pianos can weigh over half a ton. This weight presents safety issues to you and your helpers, but it can also prove extremely risky to the instrument. What if one of you drops your end? There are innumerable unpleasant scenarios resulting from non-professionals moving your piano because it’s such a heavy object. Pianos are also large and awkwardly shaped, so if you’re not experienced moving them, it’s best to leave awkward locations, like sharp corners and staircases, to the pros.
Risk of damage
The possibility of damage to your piano goes up exponentially if you try to move it yourself rather than using professional movers. The professionals know exactly what techniques and how many people to use to move each model of household piano. They have experience moving all types of pianos over a range of locations—they will likely have a ready-made plan for moving your piano based on the attributes of your piano, origin, and destination.
If you attempt this, your inexperience could lead to drops or bumps, which is the main way pianos get damaged. The costs you could incur from damaging your piano can be more threatening than paying movers to relocate your instrument, especially if your piano has historical or sentimental value. Though you can handle some piano repairs on your own, most will require a trained (and costly) professional. Avoid damage to yourself or your instrument by going with a piano mover.
Our Recommended Moving Service Providers
From avoiding damage to an expensive piano to a faster disassembly process, you’ll want to choose a professional team to move your piano. However, not every piano moving team is created equal. Browse a few of our recommended piano movers below.
American Van Lines
American Van Lines (AVL) can be an excellent choice for your upcoming piano move if you live within the continental United States and are looking for the most experienced team possible to tackle your move. AVL employs certified piano movers, which means that their employees have been specifically trained in the unique process required to disassemble, move, and reassemble pianos without damaging them. This can make AVL an excellent choice for fragile or antique pianos.
AVL doesn’t only offer certified piano movers—they also hire and train all of their employees in-house instead of relying on third-party moving labor services. This ensures that all employees have been background-checked and have passed a drug test before they’re sent on any move. With well-trained employees and a thorough piano moving process, AVL can be a smart choice for any household move.
Best Moving Add-ons
- Local, Long-Distance & International Moves
- Direct Carrier to All 48 Continental US States
- Storage Options Available
International Van Lines
International Van Lines (IVL) is another well-known name within the moving industry, having built a reputation for top-of-the-line customer service. IVL is a full-service moving company, which means that you can hire them to provide everything from household packing services to crating for large items like pianos.
If you’ve never moved in the past and you’re nervous about taking on the moving process, IVL might be the right choice for your needs, thanks to their comprehensive customer service team. IVL’s customer service members are trained to provide you with answers to any questions you might have before, during, or after your move. IVL’s customer service has even been recognized by nationwide publications like Newsweek, thanks to their thorough training. If you’re looking for the easiest possible move, consider International Van Lines.
Best Full-Service Mover
- Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
- Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
- Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service
If you aren’t moving an entire household, you might want to consider working with uShip. uShip is not itself a moving company. Instead, it operates a moving marketplace that allows you to list individual items and connect with local moving companies that can complete your job. You have two options when listing an item that you want to move:
- List a specific price and only accept offers from movers within your price range
- Set a listing with an unspecified price and request bids from competing moving companies
In addition to providing you with a safe way to connect with local moving companies that have the capabilities to move a piano, you can also review testimonials from previous customers. This allows you to balance costs and ensure that your moving team is legitimate and experienced.
Best for Single-Item Shipping
- Provides Shipping Services for Furniture, Cars, Boats, etc.
- Easy Mobile App for Tracking
- Ships for Residential and Commercial Moving
Finding an Affordable Piano Move
Before you book your moving date, it’s important to know and explore all of your options for piano movers. We recommend getting a quote from all three of our recommended movers before choosing which company to go with. Remember—you can’t know that you’ve got the best price on your move until you know exactly what’s out there.
Piano Moving FAQ
What is the cheapest way to move a piano?
If you’re looking for cheap, the cheapest way to move a piano is to do it yourself. You need at least two other people to help you, no matter what kind of piano you have. You also have to make sure you have the correct equipment for the move. While free, we do not recommend moving a piano on your own due to the risk of damage and injury.
Can you move a piano by yourself?
You can do it without hiring a mover, but you need to have at least two other people help you. There is no way to move a piano more than a few inches or feet if you’re alone. While you can move a piano with the help of friends, you run a serious risk of damaging the instrument by doing so.
How heavy is a small upright piano?
Upright pianos start at 200 pounds at the lightest, but they’re usually between 200 pounds and 300 pounds. However, if your piano is a digital upright, it can be as light as 100 pounds.
How long does it take to move a piano?
It normally takes about an hour to pack up and secure a piano into a moving vehicle, although some grand pianos may take slightly longer. As for the entire shipping and transport process, that can take a few weeks. Expect your piano to arrive at its destination within a month, but confirm these details with your mover.