The most difficult move I ever organized was one that involved a piano. I must have moved a dozen times and the only time a mover stopped in his tracks before offering me a price quote was when I was going through my list of belongings and said, “one upright piano.” Even though I had spent 10 minutes explaining my move, the mover said simply, “we don’t do pianos.” When I asked who does, he told me that a lot of movers may offer piano moving services, but I should find a professional.
After just a little research, I learned that I could have ended up with hundreds of dollars of damage to my instrument and property. Also, under certain circumstances, I could have been liable for an injury to my movers.
Finding the Right Piano Moving Service
Ask people who have a piano what service they used for a move. After, ask friends, call your tuner, contact a piano store and a piano teacher. What I’m trying to say is to get several suggestions and go with the piano moving company whose name keeps coming up. Consulting websites that rate and review moving companies, such as the Better Business Bureau, is also useful.
What could go wrong?
If your mover shows up with two crew members, a dolly and a few padded blankets, cancel the job. One experienced piano moving professional I spoke with said that an experienced mover will have about six crew members, piano skids, a dolly and cargo straps. You know you’re in good hands if you see a piano stair roller, rough terrain dolly and claw buckles – even if the moving team doesn’t need them.
Any other red flags?
If you see the movers attempt to roll your piano on their metal casters, stop the move immediately. For the most part, casters are decorative. Even if they could hold your piano’s weight, casters deteriorate over time. The key to moving a piano correctly is all about its center of gravity. For the lightest upright piano, the center of gravity is at the back of the cabinet. If your mover attempts to roll the instrument by pushing from the front, it will tip over, causing extensive damage at best.
How do I know I found the right mover?
If your mover does not ask questions, I would be concerned. He should ask how many stairs you have – including the landing and doorstep. The service needs to know if there is grass, gravel or any non-flat surface, narrow doorways or tight turns.
On the other hand, you need to know if your mover has insurance and what the policy covers. Your mover has every right to tell you that the business carries an insurance policy without mentioning that it’s not responsible for repairing a splintered piano leg. And specifically find out what happens if a crew member gets injured on your job.
Any more surprises?
Moving your piano does not necessarily cause your instrument go out of tune. While it can happen – especially if it bounces around in the bed of the truck without proper padding — it’s more likely to occur from weather fluctuations. If you move on a cold day, it’s possible that your piano will be out of tune when it arrives at the new location. The instrument can also sound different if it was housed in a carpeted room and moved to one with hardwood floors or high ceilings. Humid conditions in your new home could loosen strings and warp the wood.
While you won’t be able to eliminate every moving hazard, by educating yourself about how a piano should be transported, you’re less likely to have problems. At the end of the day, you have to put your full trust in your mover, which is why it’s crucial to find a reliable piano moving company.