Logistical problem: need to move a piano and pool table 300 miles

My mom is moving out of her house. She has a piano in the living room and a pool table in the basement, and has told me that if I can get them out of there, I can have them. I am trying to figure out a cost-effective way to move them approximately 300 miles.

The piano is an upright and the pool table has a slate top made up of three 200-lb slabs. I can take the pool table apart but still have to worry about how to transport the slabs without breaking them.

I’ve checked rental truck prices. Unfortunately the smallest rental trucks (about 10’ or 12’) don’t come with ramps, and I’ve moved a piano in a truck without a ramp before and it wasn’t fun. So, the smallest truck I could rent with a ramp, even though it is more truck than I need, is going to run me close to $500 for a one-way trip.

My wife has suggested contacting a moving company to see if we could piggyback these items on a larger load going our way. I wasn’t even aware that was an option but might be worth looking into.

Any other options I should consider? If this was a cross-town move, it would be a piece of cake, but a cross-state move is a completely different story.

Hire movers.

You’re going to spend money on a not adequate van and use unexperienced people to move two difficult pieces. The potential for damage to items, people and vehicles is quite high. It’s really not going to be worth it in the long run, I think.

Bite the bullet and lay out the money, even if it means eating top Ramen for a few weeks!:smiley:

$500 seems pretty reasonable to move both a slate pool table and a piano.

What they ^^^ said. If I tried something on my own with that stuff, odds are it would get broken within five miles of the destination! :mad:

Unless they are very good items they are probably not worth moving. If they are very good items it is probably worth paying to have them moved by pros.

Check your local craigslist – betcha you find pianos and pool tables people are giving away to anyone willing to move them. Keep in mind that even if you get a super duper bargain you’ll still have the expense of a piano tuner and, if you want it done even halfway right, another few hundred for a pro to install the pool table.

Get a quote from:

Both these items are extraordinarly heavy, prone to damage while being moved and once installed do not get used nearly as much as the acquiring party would hope especially the piano and then it becomes your problem to move it.

One possibility is to check with the truck rental places and see if you can rent a set of ramps separately from the truck rental.

This is not the time to save money. You WILL need a good solid truck or van for a piano! When I took a piano class in college the professor told us you need professional movers “or six very strong friends! Pianos are ‘heavy as the dickens!’” She knew her pianos. You have quite a task ahead of you. And the pool table won’t be an easy matter either.

I’m curious why this would be the case. Wouldn’t you need the same size truck, and to load and unload it? Why would it be more difficult if there was 300 miles of driving between loading and unloading?

No, really, the hard part is getting them out of the basement and onto the truck.

I have moved both a piano and a pool table (not at the same time). The piano move was so fun that ever since I have hired professional piano movers (an outfit called Keyboard Carriers, there’s probably a similar one where you live) to move it. But when I did it it took six friends and a pickup truck and I moved it 800 miles. (One of my friends jumped in the back and played the piano for a few miles a la Five Easy Pieces.)

The pool table had to come out of a basement, which seems very typical of pool tables for some reason, but it was a walk-out basement which made it a lot easier. Five friends and a pickup. It was acquired “free” by my cousin and moving it and then getting it situated was such a pain that, even though he did use it, when he moved again, he once again offered the pool table “free” to the first person willing to pick it up. And no takers.

Pro movers move a piano.
6 guys move a piano

In the last one they didnt apply force at the right points and didnt use heavy moving blankets and such that make it easier to slide it.

Also something I learned. I moved 2 pianos with just 2 guys and a f150 pickup. I had a dolly plus I laid out a entry rug over any door thresholds which lie flat and allow you to basically roll the piano over them.

I’d forget the pool table.

I’ve moved many, many pool tables, and I don’t see any reason you can’t do this, with 2 or 3 fairly strong guys.

Getting the slate pieces up the stairs is the hardest part (just be glad it’s a three-piece, instead of a 1-piece), but once you’re on the truck, you can either:

A) Gently lay the pieces flat on the deck of the truck such that they can’t slide around much (they won’t anyway, barring the unforeseen; but you don’t want them to bump each other, as slate is a surprisingly flexible material up to a point, but very brittle). Picking them back up may be a problem; if you can’t slide them to an edge, then you may want to stow them on top of some some 1x1 wood strips, or - in a pinch - even some rope which you can use to pull them aloft enough to get a grip on.

B) Better yet, get a few pieces of 2x4, and lay those on the floor perpendicular to the side wall of the truck, then lay the (broader) edge of the slate down on the 2x4s, parallel to the wall of the truck, and strap in place (since you were wise enough to rent a truck with wall cleats). I like to stow a piece of 2x4 between the bottom of the slate and the wall, so that the slate is leaning just slightly starboard, and can’t walk toward the wall, off your 2x4 supports.

Then just drive carefully. :slight_smile:


Use professional movers.

I moved a piano about 2500 miles, using professional movers. It was an antique upright, and they wrapped the piano in movers’ blankets. Big, beefy guys loaded it onto a skid, attached it with straps to the skid, and carried it, via ramps, into the truck, where it was secured via ropes, to the truck’s sides.

At the offloading point, more big, beefy guys took it off the truck (still on its skid) and into my house; again using ramps. The big guys lifted up, the skid came out, and my piano was in its place.

No scratches to the finish, no problems to the playability. I wouldn’t have trusted friends with a pickup truck to my piano–so, I’d recommend using professional movers.

The thing I never understood is that any movement of a piano at all is supposed to put it out of tune.

I will definitely check into this. I see that they even have special categories for both pianos and pool tables. I wonder if I can get a single quote for both, or if I have to get separate bids?

Also, my wife did send off some emails to a few moving companies about piggybacking on another load, so we’ll see what she hears back.

The cost for a 2-day one-way truck rental is going to be a lot higher than a one day local rental. For a local move I would only have to arrange one set of “muscle” to help me at both ends, rather than arranging and coordinating a set of helpers at each end. Then there is the question of how do I get there, or how do I get my car back here? There are just more complications with a long distance move than with a local one.

Not necessarily ANY movement, but significant movement will definitely affect the piano’s tune. Each string in the piano has to be tightened to a very specific tension, using a screw mechanism. Movement can cause the screws to move, just a little – which is enough to put it out of tune.

A piano is that unholy trifecta of fragile, awkward, and heavy. So is a pool table. As astro said, mostly they don’t get as much use as the buyers think they will, so mostly they’re not worth it. Consider buying one locally, unless these are heirloom quality items.


Don’t forget changes in temperature and humidity as well. They certainly affect the tuning of my guitar. I’d wager piano’s are similarly affected.