Of all the things to have to move a piano is amongst the most feared. They are heavy, really heavy, even the small ones! Most pianos will have wheels fitted but even this doesn’t always make them easy to manoeuver.
I would say we complete a house move where a piano is listed on the inventory at least once a week so we have got pretty good at working out the best way to get a piano in and out of a house on removal day. Here are a few tips we have picked up which could help you if you ever need to move a small upright piano.
Moving a piano the easy way
1. Honestly, if you’ve never done it before then just hire a good reliable Man and Van service to help you. To move a piano safely you are going to need the correct equipment and a van. If you don’t have a van you are going to probably need to hire one and if you don’t have the correct moving equipment you are probably going to need to buy it. If you are only moving a short distance then by the time you have paid for the van rental and the moving equipment it would have probably been just as easy or cost effective to have hired a Man and Van service to do the job for you.
2. OK, so you decided to do the job yourself. The first thing you will need is a piano trolley. You can pick up a new one on eBay for around £200 or you can occasionally find a second hand one but to be honest they don’t seem to come up very often.
3. Next you will need to enlist the help of at least one strong friend but if you have never done this before it would probably be wise to have 4 people available to help on the day you are moving the piano, assigning one to each corner.
4. The key to moving the piano is getting it up on to the piano trolley. Once the piano is on the trolley it will make it easier to manoeuver it around inside the house and out to the van. To get the piano up on to the trolley you will need to place the trolley in front of the piano inline with the piano peddles. Once the trolley is in place you will then need to lift the piano up onto the trolley. Most small upright piano’s can be lifted on the trolley by two people but beware, the piano is going to be heavy and correct lifting technique will need to be applied to avoid injury. Lift placing one hand in the handles in the back of the piano and one hand underneath the piano at the front. Never hold the legs when lifting as they could easily break.
5. Once the piano is up on to the trolley it should be relatively easy to move it around the house and through doorways. The next major obstacle most people encounter will be a step from the front door leading out of the house. The person at the rear of the piano will need to push while the person leading the piano will need to take the weight of the piano as the front trolley wheel goes down the step, then apply the same technique to get the second wheel over the step.
You’ve moved the piano half way, don’t give up now!
6. Once over any steps the piano will need to be carefully pushed along uneven ground on the way to the van. To make the next part of the job easier we recommend hiring a van with a tail lift.
7. If you have a van with a tail lift, lower the lift and move the piano on to the lift and raise it up to the floor level of the van. If your van doesn’t have a lift then you will probably need a ramp. A wide ramp used for moving items in and out of a van can be bought online for around £400.
8. Once the piano it will need to be taken off the trolley by lifting the piano off in the same way it was lifted on to the trolley. Position the piano at the front of the loading area and place removal blankets over the piano to ensure it doesn’t get scratched or damaged. The van will need to have anchor rails running around the storage area so that the piano can be secured safely to stop it moving around during transit.
9. Secure the piano to the anchor rails using webbing straps. The webbing can be bought online and comes in a big roll and can be cut to any size. Tie one end of the webbing to an anchor rail and wrap the webbing around the piano and then tie it off on an adjacent anchor rail. We usually use two webbing straps when securing a piano in place on a van just to make sure it is really secure and doesn’t move around and get damaged.
10. Drive carefully to your destination and then follow the same steps listed above when getting the piano into its new home.
Jon Lamming writes on various topics about Cambridge Man and Van removal services, house clearance, storage and packing. Here he writes about moving a piano. Besides writing for blogs Jon enjoys surfing all over the world, Thai Boxing and riding his motorbike. The most important things in the world to Jon are his lovely Polish wife Magda and his two girls, Emily and Olivia. www.cambridgevanman.co.uk