How to Move a Piano Without the Help of Professional Movers

Packing Tips Prepare for the Move

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Moving a piano is a strenuous task, usually best left to professional Philadelphia movers. But, if you want to know how to move a piano yourself, there are certain steps you should take to avoid damaging the valuable instrument or hurting yourself. And, today, we lay out all the things you should do and what steps to take to ensure this endeavor ends safely and smoothly. So give this article a read to prepare yourself to take on this task.

Does Moving a Piano Damage It?

Pianos are valuable instruments for their owners – not only are they really expensive, but they can often hold a significant emotional value, too. Some families have them for generations, or they can be the owner’s treasured relic from youth. Either way, preserving the instrument throughout the relocation process is the top priority of people. If you take all the precautionary steps to protect your instruments and yourself, you won’t end up damaging it. While moving a piano by yourself is hard – it’s not impossible. So if you’re preparing to relocate around Philadelphia neighborhoods, just follow our tips, and you’ll be OK.

Can You Move a Piano by Yourself?

Whether you are relocating to South Philadelphia neighborhoods or some of the vibrant West neighborhoods – packing for a move won’t be an easy task. More so if you own this valuable but heavy instrument. But, it’s doable if you read all the instructions from our professional movers in Philadelphia and follow them through. Pianos can weigh between 300 lbs to 1000 lbs, making them hard to move, especially when you consider how delicate they are. No one wants to risk damage to the instrument, especially when they’re in the middle of a move and have a long relocating expenses checklist.

Also, people can get hurt and even break body parts if they get into this task without proper preparation, tools, and assistance. That’s why there are companies that specialize only in this task – and it’s a thriving industry. But, there are people who successfully do it without professional help. And you will be able to do it, too, if you follow our guidance and all the steps. Here are the moving hacks that took us years to perfect, and we’ve decided to share them with you.

Mover lifting an instrument
While this task is better left to professionals – you can do it on your own, too

How to Move a Piano? Plan First

Before you undertake such a complicated task – you will have to do a lot of prep work. Put this on top of your to-do list, as it is one of the first things you will want to be sent to storage or put into a relocating truck. But, you can’t just get into it – you have to think it through, get the right equipment and map out the way. Here’s what you should do and what kind of tools you should get before you start with manual labor.

Find the Equipment You Need for Moving a Piano

First things first – get the necessary tools and equipment. There’s no way possible to move such a big instrument without the proper tools, especially if you are moving a grand piano. That’s where dollies and boards come in. Also, you will want to avoid scratches or worse damages to your beloved instrument, so you will need to cover it in blankets. And, you’ll have to disassemble it and fasten it securely, so there are some other things you will use. Here’s the equipment you should get for each type of instrument.

For upright pianos, you should get:

  • A dolly,
  • Blankets or towels,
  • Tape.

For grand pianos, you should get:

  • Piano board,
  • Blankets,
  • Tape,
  • Straps,
  • Screwdriver.

Carve Out a Path and Place

Now you’ll have to figure out the best way for your instrument to go out of your home. Don’t start with the heavy lifting before you’ve carved out the path. That also includes your new home. You won’t want to have to lift it again, so find a place for it in your new house. Measure to see if it will fit, and make sure everything you plan to put in its surroundings will also fit nicely together. There’s nothing worse than bringing such a bulky and heavy object to a room only to realize it won’t fit along with the other furniture and to have to move it again. So, do the prep work before you start carrying. As they say – work smart, not hard.

Don’t Forget to Measure Doorways, Staircases, and Hallways

When you get the right equipment, it’s time for some measuring. As you’ve already measured your instrument to get the right board, you have that one task out of the way. The next thing to do so you can move efficiently is to measure the way your instrument will go towards the truck and on its way to storage or your new home. That means all doorways and hallways should be measured. If you are lucky, you won’t have to deal with stairs, but if you are not – better measure them. Put baby protection or towels over all sharper corners so you don’t risk damage. The same goes for your new home.

Relocating van
Clear the path to the relocation vehicle

You Can’t Do It Alone – Get Help

Even if you decide against using the services of Philadelphia moving companies – you will still require some sort of assistance. DIY doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. And, with instruments weighing so much – you won’t be able to. So, let your friends know you will be relocating in advance and ask them to help you out with this task. We are sure all of them would be more than happy to give you a hand. Choose those who are strong and already have some experience with carrying heavy objects. Make sure they come in appropriate clothing and wear sneakers with good traction. When you are all done, you can treat them or host an amazing going-away party to show your appreciation.

People barbecuing
Ask your friends for a helping hand and treat them to a barbecue afterward

How to Move an Upright Piano?

Moving an upright piano is easier because the instrument itself is lighter, less delicate, and you don’t have to disassemble it first. But, still – it’s a job you don’t want to do alone. Start by covering the whole instrument in blankets on the front, back, and sides. You don’t want to forget about the keys and pedals either. Cover the instrument completely and secure it with tape. Tape over the blankets to keep them in place. Then have someone on each side of the instrument and hoist it onto the dolly. When doing so, make sure all your helpers adopt the proper lifting technique – bend at the knees, not the back. This will prevent you all from injuring your backs. When you have the instrument on the dolly, carefully carry it to the vehicle.

A musical instrument
While this version of the instrument is easier to move, you should still have assistance

How to Move a Grand Piano?

This kind of instrument is heavier and more delicate than the upright version, so you will want to pay more attention and have more assistance. The first thing you will want to do is disassemble it. Protect the key slip with blankets and lower the lid over another layer of blanket. Remove the leg of one side, bring the dolly and the board and tilt it gently on that side. Then remove the remaining legs and the pedal lyre. Cover the legs and the pedal lyre in blankets and pack them separately. Then cover the whole instrument with blankets, tape them over, and secure it onto the board with straps. When you place it inside a truck, leave it on the board, and secure it onto the side of the truck with straps. For this task, we recommend you have several people helping you to prevent the damage to the instrument, but also to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

Trying to move such a large instrument is a challenge, but with our tips, you can do it successfully 

How to Load It on a Truck?

When loading the instrument on the truck, you will need to make sure that the path is clear and protected, especially if you are relocating with pets. Nothing and no one should be on the way to the van. If you have any stairs on the way, they should be able to handle the weight of the instrument and the people carrying it. The vehicle should be of the right size for the instrument and any other load you plan to put inside it. The instrument should go first inside the vehicle, before anything else. Slide it gently to the vehicle and inside it. Leave the instrument on the board – it shouldn’t touch the floor of the vehicle at any point. Tie it with straps to the side of the vehicle. This will prevent any movement during the transport, no matter how long the road is.

Professionals on duty
Pay attention to these things when loading your instrument

When to Retune the Instrument?

A common misconception about the pianos is that moving the object itself is what causes the instrument to go out of tune. It’s actually not the case – pianos are very durable, and the physical change of location is not the cause for them to go out of tune. What actually causes this is the change in temperature and conditions. Even more so when it’s sudden, like when relocating, your instrument will be outside in a matter of minutes before it’s in a van or a storage unit and then, finally, in your new home.

Depending on the time of year and location, different temperatures, humidity, and conditions can affect your instrument. If this is the case and the temperature and the humidity of the places vary significantly, we recommend tuning the instrument two weeks after the move. If the conditions of your old home, van, and your new one are not significantly different, you can wait another six months when it would be time to retune it regularly.

Know when to retune your instrument

Is It Expensive to Move a Piano?

The national average cost for moving a piano is $405. The exact price can vary depending on many factors like the size of your instrument and the distance of your move. For local moves, it can cost between $200 and $400. Considering that the price covers the equipment, vehicle, and manual labor – it’s safe to say that the price is reasonable. Especially considering the alternative – if you are to move it by yourself, you would have to get the equipment, hire the right kind of vehicle, and get people to assist you, which would include costs for either paying them or treating them. Not to mention the risk of damage or injury if not done properly, which can require more costs. All in all, hiring professionals for the job may not only end up being easier but also cheaper.

How Much Does It Cost to Move an Upright Piano?

Relocating this version of the instrument is cheaper due to its size and the fact that it is less complicated to move. Another factor that comes into play is the distance of the move itself. When relocating locally, expect the price to be between $150 and $300.

Pianist's room
Relying on professionals could pay off

The Best Way to Move a Piano Is to Hire Professional Movers in Philadelphia

If all of this sounds too difficult – it’s because it is. That’s why it’s always best to leave it to a professional Philadelphia moving company. Pianos are usually not among the items movers won’t move. However, it all depends on their size and value. As one of the trustworthy moving companies in Philadelphia, we provide residential relocation services in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. If you are thinking of keeping your instrument in a storage facility for a while, contact us if you require in and out of storage relocation. Or if you don’t feel like packing books or other fragile items like packing plates – contact us and choose our packing service. We will make sure everything you want to be packed is professionally packed and delivered safely to your new home. Just contact us and request a free quote.