FAQ – Why hire a piano mover instead of using a household mover that says they can move your piano?
These are some very common question that people ask when they are moving their house.
- Can’t the household movers move my piano?
- Why would I want a second mover to come in and only move my piano?
- Why would I want to spend more money on move to do this?
These are great questions and deserve a good answer. Let’s apply some common sense and see what we come up with.
Can household movers move your piano?
Yes, anyone can move your piano, including you. The real question is: “Should you use someone else like a household mover to move your piano?” But, before we do, let’s first start with you. If you can technically do it, “why are you hiring it out to someone else?” The reason usually is, the piano is too heavy and awkward for you to do safely and/or you do not have the equipment to do it. You will most likely damage the piano, your house or yourself if you do try, so you are hiring someone stronger and more experienced then you to do it safely without breaking things. Both household movers and piano movers generally have the strength part covered. So, the next real question is, “Do the household movers have the equipment and experience to do it safely?” While some household movers SALESPEOPLE would answer this question “Yes”, the majority of REAL household movers that are doing the real grunt work would answer this question “No”. Notice the focus on household salesperson vs real household mover. Everyone knows that salespeople are notorious in ANY industry for to telling you what you want to hear for getting the sale/job, in this case, moving your house. Industry secret: Most household movers, the guys doing the actual work, hate and/or dread moving pianos. Most piano moving disasters done by household movers are due to lack of proper equipment, training and skill at moving pianos. Personally, if you own a grand piano, I would never even consider allowing a household mover to move it, unless they were the only viable option available and/or I had a recommendation from someone that I trusted.
True story: I personally received a call from a customer, requesting that we come to move their grand piano and special request: “bring a saw with us”. Yes, I said a “SAW”. I was told by this customer to be prepared to cut the pedals off her grand piano to get it out of the house. The household movers she hired, salesperson said they could move her grand piano, but when they showed up, they tried removing every screw under the piano in the area of the pedals that they could see and failed to get the pedals/lyre off. They convinced the customer that the only way to remove pedals at this point, was to physically cut it off with a saw. There are very, very, very few rare instants where this might be true, so I had to see this piano move for myself. I went in the house, saw the piano lid off to the side and screws lying around the piano they had removed. Then I looked under the piano at the pedals, did not see anything unusual and removed the pedals in less than 30 seconds, no saw required. I then reassembled the piano with all the pieces that the household movers unnecessarily removed off the piano. Then I continued to move the piano properly like I normally would, without a problem. I was out the front door in under 15 minutes. So what was the difference? I’ve moved this particular brand of grand piano more times then any household mover has seen pianos in their entire lifetime. To me, it was obvious, they did not have a clue what they were doing, and were just giving it their best guess. It wasn’t a bad guess, but it definitely was not the right guess and could have lead to a horror story if we had not stepped in.
True story: This is a very common call for piano movers to receive. Household movers moved a tiny apartment size upright piano for this customer and left it on the main floor of the delivery location (another common spot they leave it from other calls we receive, is that the piano was left in the garage). They could not take it down the stairs which on this move, which had a turn in the middle. They gave it a try and ran the piano down the stairs and into the wall leaving a huge hole in the wall for the customer to deal with. They then pushed the piano back up the stairs, because it did not make the turn in the staircase and left it on the main floor saying it is not possible to do. Piano movers come in, after a quick look at the staircase and from their experience knew that there is only one way to do this move safely and make it fit. Obviously, the household movers did not have the experience or have any real idea how to do. The piano movers took it down in less than 15 minutes without a scratch on the piano or the walls.
True story: A long hull household mover pulls up to our warehouse to bring us a customer grand piano from the other side of the country, so we can do the local piano delivery into their customers house. The household mover opens the doors to his trailer and I see the grand piano on its side, poorly strapped to the wall, with the flat side of the grand piano lying directly on the trailer floor, with no piano skid or padding in between the piano and the floor. Would you like to guess what the side of the piano must have looked like after rubbing against the floor all the way across Canada? Not to mention the rest of the piano from other things bumping against it.
True story: We hired a new mover/helper to learn the trade of piano moving with us. It did not work out, he was not piano moving material and he went to work for a household mover that was a better fit for him. The household moving company he now worked for, decided to move an upright piano for one of their customers. It was a very difficult piano move, having worked with us and seeing some of things we can do, talked his team into fully dismantling this customers upright piano to get it out of the house. While the dismantling was required for this job, we never trained this individual to do this and you can imagine where I am going with this. The customers upright piano is now in pieces and the piano is not coming out of this house with this household mover. He calls us up, explains what he did and asked if there is anyway we can come take over the move for their customer. They are way in over their heads with this piano move and are in real trouble. Just because you have seen how it’s done, does not mean you can do it yourself. Real experienced piano movers came in to save the day, get the piano out and put the piano back together.
I have many stories like this, as does EVERY piano mover out there across the country, so does your local piano store. I am sure you have heard a few of these stories too, from friends and family members who lived the experience or nightmare. Once people get past the trauma they went through, they don’t mind sharing their experiences with others as a warning to those they know. I picked these illustrations because these stories are all very common experiences in the moving industry and you can literally hear variations of these exact stories, done by many different household movers in different cities all across North America. It is not the same story being retold, it is the same story happening over and over again by totally unrelated household movers across the continent. The answer to the original question is always, yes they could move it, but at what cost, risk and stress to you? Any mover can try and move your piano. The real question: “Is it a good idea to let them?” Do you really want to take the chance of one of these stories happening to you?
Why hire a second mover for the piano?
Piano moving is a separate profession from household moving for a really good reason: experience.
While I will never say that you or a household mover cannot move your piano successfully, I will say that your odds of success are vastly higher with a professional piano mover. I cannot count the number of people that have told me over the years, how they tried it when they were “young” and would never again attempt such a silly thing. I cannot tell you the number of customers that have compared our piano moving service to the household mover they tried last time and said there is no comparison between the two. “Real piano movers make piano moving look to easy.” I cannot tell you how many young household movers have mocked piano movers, saying haha, you have to move the piano, while they are dripping sweat carry boxes of books and who knows what else up and down the stairs. While the piano mover is thinking, haha I’m not going to break a sweat getting this piano out of this home. I cannot tell you the number of household mover crew leaders and owners that have asked if they can refer their clients to us because the risk and cost of damage claims are getting too high when moving a piano. The reason I cannot tell you, is because I’ve lost count, the number is too high.
Quality does matter! If you want it done right, hire the right pro to do it right.
Customer: “I don’t care, the movers have insurance to cover any problems or damages.”
I really hate to say this, but most people are clueless how moving insurance really works. Most times your move is NOT insured for what you think it is insured for. That is another whole article in itself. On top of that, there are certain things insurance cannot fix and you will have to live with however it ends up after the move. Grandma’s piano cannot be replaced. Nobody is willing to come and repair whatever the item or part of your house is, that got damaged. The replacement part is a slightly different colour shade, due to age difference between replacement and the original part. The moving insurance coverage you ended up having, only covered a part of your claim and you had to come up with the rest of the repair bill. This is the reality that most people choose to ignore until they get caught. Don’t get caught, play to win, not lose.
The best insurance coverage out there, is preventative. Spending a little more up front, to improve your odds of success and prevent the accident from ever occurring. It is like buying winter tires on your car, you can drive without them in the winter, but it is a lot easier if you have them and less likely to slide off the road and have a car accident. The thing with accidents, it is like playing the lottery. The more tickets you buy, the greater your chance of winning. The less tickets you buy, the more likely you are to lose. In this illustration, hiring a professional piano mover is like buying extra lottery tickets, you are more likely to win and have a successful piano move.
Why would I want to spend more money on my move by getting a piano mover?
What makes you think that you are spending more money?
For some people, hiring a piano mover is actually cheaper. This of course, will depend on how a household mover quotes the piano. Pianos are almost always a separate item on the household movers quote and can be even more expensive then hiring a professional piano mover. Why you ask? Because a lot of them have no real interest in moving pianos and the risk of damage is too great, which is factored into the quotation.
On top of that, most people forget about the intangible costs and about their personal stress. While on paper, it might look cheaper, you are making a BIG assumption that everything goes right on your move. What about when the piano move goes wrong because you have the wrong person doing it? When you start factoring repairs to your piano or home after an accident occurs, was it really cheaper? Do you really want that stress? How much do you think it costs to repair a chip on your piano, a hole in your wall, or a scratch on your floor. Is it even repairable? Was it really worth the stress of having to deal with these things afterwards? We are not saying that piano movers do not make mistakes and never damage anything, far from it, everyone makes mistakes and has accidents. Every experienced mover has made some mistakes in the past while they were learning their trade. If anyone tells you that they have not damaged anything, I would immediately find someone else to do it. They are either lying straight to your face or so new to the moving industry that they have not had a chance to make a real mistake yet. Either way, probably not who you are looking for.
Customers like yourself tell us regularly: Good piano movers make piano moving look easy. Customers like yourself, have told us many times in the past that piano movers make it look a lot easier then other people doing it and that there is no real comparison between who is better at it. If piano movers are making it look easy, it most likely means they know what they are doing. If they know what they are doing, the odds of them doing something wrong or damaging anything goes down significantly. At the end of the day, a damage free move, is the cheapest move.
Now forget about the money for a moment and factor in: “What reducing your stress worth to you?” That’s a whole other conversation…
I want to stress that this page is not a knock on household movers and how bad they are at moving things. On the contrary, household movers are very good at what they do best: moving your house. That includes standard household furniture like couches, chairs, tables, bedroom sets and lots of boxes. They handle these items everyday and have a lot of experience doing exactly that. That is why you and everyone else, hires them. Where they struggle is with items that are NOT standard in every household or require more specialized equipment and technic to do it. Those items are the ones you would want a specialist to handle, like a piano. This is why piano movers exist.
Lastly, lets apply some basic common sense. If household movers across the moving industry were known for being good at moving pianos, I guarantee you that piano movers would cease to exist. The fact that they have not, and that piano movers have existed for decades; I think that tells you all you really need to know for making a good decision and answers your original question.