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#2027793 - 02/06/13 12:41 AM how much does it cost to tune a piano
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
a upright, and a grand, and how often for each. trying to get an idea of the total cost of ownership for an acoutical piano.
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#2027799 - 02/06/13 12:47 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21526
Loc: Oakland
Costs vary according to local economics and the policies of the tuner. Usually grands and uprights will cost the same. Frequency will vary according to the temperature and humidity conditions, usage, pickiness of the person who makes the decision about when the piano is tuned, and the quality of the piano tuner.
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#2027802 - 02/06/13 12:56 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2027812 - 02/06/13 01:29 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


Edited by adak (02/06/13 01:30 AM)
_________________________
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#2027814 - 02/06/13 01:34 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: adak
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)

As far as what regular service to do for the piano, the Piano Technicians Guild website has information for piano owners. www.ptg.org
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2027837 - 02/06/13 02:33 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: kpembrook]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: adak
Originally Posted By: rxd
Google your local tuners. Some have prices on their website.

Those that don't, Contact them and ask.


i just googled, almost all don't have prices listed and i would have to contact. however there was one person who wrote they charge $100 for a tuning. not sure if that is reflective of everyone's prices.


The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)


This last paragraph is self contradictory. The Internet has websites and email. Is there an echoe in here?

Contact your local tuners the way you like best.

_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2027842 - 02/06/13 03:04 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1364
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: adak
a upright, and a grand, and how often for each. trying to get an idea of the total cost of ownership for an acoutical piano.


If you just want ballpark numbers, figure tuning will be $100 - 150, and you'd need to do it 3 or 4 times a year. This is for typical private home use.
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-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
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#2027844 - 02/06/13 03:11 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
What area are you in? maybe someone situated in your particular economy is on this forum.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2027938 - 02/06/13 08:00 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: JohnSprung]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
$100 - $150 per tuning IS a realistic range, BUT...

Many, many owners who play occasionally and casually get by tuning once per year. Many others get by with twice per year. In my area of moderate temps and tight budgets, this frequency of service seems much more common.

(However, I wish many of my customers would go four times a year!) grin
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Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2027981 - 02/06/13 09:39 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1309
Loc: Michigan
Quote:
The internet may not be a good place to find this out. Actually contacting real people might be better. (Your local tuner websites have contact information -- perhaps even email.)


This last paragraph is self contradictory. The Internet has websites and email. Is there an echoe in here?


I was indeed unclear. What I meant is "Forums like this on the internet may not b a good place to find out". crazy

Thanks for pointing this out. smile
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2027985 - 02/06/13 09:46 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Tooners and tuner/technicians all know what they are worth and each one charges accordingly.

In my area, crappy tooners charge around $60. Good Tuner/technicians charge including pitch raises which pianos like yours probably needs, closer to $150-$200, plus repairs.

But, seriously, plan on apending at least $1,000,000,000!
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2027989 - 02/06/13 10:00 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4190
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

That’s a lot of zeros there Jerry…

For a grand piano I would think $3-500.00 in maintenance annually depending upon the rate of use. For an upright probably similar figures maybe a little less.
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www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2027995 - 02/06/13 10:13 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
BenP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/12
Posts: 166
Loc: South Jersey
I think it is a little ironic that we complain in one thread that there are too few people using acoustic pianos, and then when someone wants to make the switch, we encourage them by saying they will need to shell out $100-200 multiple times per year.

I don't know where you live, adak. Prices depend a LOT on where you live. Particularly city vs. country, although even then there are anomalies. You also get what you pay for, like Jerry says. At least, usually you get what you pay for.

I live in a rural area of New Jersey, and most tuners charge under $100 for a basic tuning. In Philadelphia and Delaware things are higher.

It is also important to note that my customers in rural south Jersey are not shelling out $1,000 a year to maintain their piano, and are never going to. Sure, I'd love for them to, and yes, of course, it would be good for their piano. But I'm happy that they just HAVE the piano and USE it and keep it tuned even if it's just once a year. Most of my customers would laugh (seriously) if I told them their piano needed to be tuned every 2-3 months like many manufacturers and technicians recommend (I didn't say it's a bad recommendation). They don't have that kind of money, not for their 10-year-old daughter to take beginning piano lessons. Or for that retired grandmother who just likes to sit down and play once in awhile.

I believe even an average upright piano tuned once a year is a FAR better instrument than the digital piano that would be their other alternative if they couldn't afford the maintenance.

/stepping down from soapbox
_________________________
Ben Patterson
Part-time Piano Tech
Rural South Jersey

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#2028028 - 02/06/13 11:26 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Most people that have decent pianos can afford to tune it once or twice a year. Fortunately, I live in an area where I can, and I have, built up my cliente on those kinds of people that can and will take care of their pianos. Especially my churches, schools and my college. Most tune them more often than twice a year because they use them with other instruments. They are designed to be tuned because of weather changes, at least twice a year and that's what they should do if they can.

Most people piddle away that much money on fast food, cigarettes, pop, beer, movies, movie rentals, iPads, iPods, junk food, you name it. If they want to maintain it, they really could in most cases. They choose to spend it in other areas. We're all guilty of doing that. So be it.

As techs, what many are not taking into realization and consideration at all is why are they asking how much it costs? It is because in most cases, they haven't had the piano tuned in eons. Or, they just acquired the used piano. Otherwise, they would have some sort of general idea.

So, today's cost with a pitch raise of say, a total of $150 divided by 10 years is $15 a year on a 10 month year. (10 months - easier figuring) Not having it tuned in 20 years is about $7.50 a year give or take if that's what it cost them now. (right? If I figured right)

Well, horror of horrors because it now costs them $150 or $200 to have the piano tuned? I don't think so... That's cheap..... Compared to what they saved! They just saved themselves at least $500 to $1,000 or more by not tuning it all of those years.

Now, in cases such as this one, your basic fee probably no longer applies because there will more than likely be a fairly large pitch raise involved, possibly keys that are not working or sticking and that too, will more than likely all cost more.

Plus, many people figure that a tuning includes everything. Repairs, whatever. Minor things maybe, but many things are not included and we, as self employed persons do deserve to make a nice living like anyone else does.

Sooooo like I said. $1,000,000,000 outta cover it! I'll split it with ya Dan! hehe. smile smile smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028030 - 02/06/13 11:28 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: JohnSprung]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
If you just want ballpark numbers, figure tuning will be $100 - 150, and you'd need to do it 3 or 4 times a year. This is for typical private home use.
3 or 4 times a year is absolutely not typical. Simply not true.
Originally Posted By: BenP
... Most of my customers would laugh (seriously) if I told them their piano needed to be tuned every 2-3 months like many manufacturers and technicians recommend (I didn't say it's a bad recommendation)....
Can you please show us "many" manufacturers who recommend 4 to 6 tunings per year (with the possible exception of the first two years after purchase)? Again: not true.

All this is way off the mark. If each one of my clients would have their pianos tuned even 2 - 3 times per year, I would have to work nights and weekends. Yearly is more the norm, in some instances less frequently. Much depends on the instrument and the area's climate. In my case, the climate is very forgiving.

Much also depends on the tuner.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2028113 - 02/06/13 01:30 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 394
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

That’s a lot of zeros there Jerry…

For a grand piano I would think $3-500.00 in maintenance annually depending upon the rate of use. For an upright probably similar figures maybe a little less.


It's in Binary. That's $512 to us base-10 folks.

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2028175 - 02/06/13 03:18 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
There was a time when 4 times a year was the norm, it has only died out here in the past 30 years. My first job in pianos was like that. Company car, 6 high quality pianos a day in the city, 4 might be in the same street, somebody was home all day, the company ran 15-20 tuners covering the whole country and 2-3 technicians. The piano could be kept in first class shape in 25 minutes, the rest of the time was a social call or a quick cup of tea with the servants, we were instructed. Ever to use the tradesmens entrance, always the front door.
We were gentlemen of leisure. it had been that way since old John Broadwoods' days. The work was probably not quite so easy in his days, the pianos probably did need attention 4 times a year. Although some of the pianos were. Dry old and didn't need anything extra.

A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.

When I moved to the states, i told all my clients," give me a call when your good n ready, try not to leave it longer than a year". I could still be a gentleman of leisure and keep everything at or above pitch by always tuning a piano with the ease of the next tuning in mind. I grew a business quickly every time I moved. The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2028213 - 02/06/13 04:11 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3866
So the new business model to aim for is tuning one piano per year, and charging $1,000,000,000 to tune it. I'd be willing to give up my company car for that.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2028221 - 02/06/13 04:24 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7436
Loc: Rochester MN
I once considered hiring Jerry to tune one of my pianos.

When I heard the cost of the tooning, the requirement of the chartered jet, his valet, his tool carrier, the limo, aaaaand the catered dinner prepared by Emeril Lagasse, I called my mechanic to come and hammer it! He toons-up my car, so why not?

_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2028224 - 02/06/13 04:34 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.


I've never heard of anyone here in the states that got the private use of a car for tuning pianos for a store.

Milk wasn't the expense that it is now either, nor was coffee, or sugar, or candy, or gasoline or the cost of health insurance or anything else.

Quote:
The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).


Some probably do bully people. There's a bully in every bunch. However, most technicians that I personally know, do not do that at all.

If you're talking the "average home" once a year is fine. If you want your "average home piano" on pitch and in tune more often than that, then once a year is not enough.

So, yeah!!!, what am I talking bout Willis? Pay up dudes specially you Marty!!! The price is going up by the second!!! SO HURRY HURRY HURRY HURRY!!!! smile To late.. Marty, it just cost you an extra 0.... smile



Edited by Jerry Groot RPT (02/06/13 04:39 PM)
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028323 - 02/06/13 07:28 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
David, Las Vegas Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 211
Loc: Las Vegas, Nevada
A lot depends on the placement situation. I tune for a Cirque show twice a week. It is parked under the stage next to a A/C vent, brought up on the elevator under the warm lights at showtime for a while and back down in front of the A/C vent. Twice per show two shows a night. I always do a full tuning. The pianist is very particular as he plays with the live band listening through a ear bud and pitch has to be right on. I charge under 100 but more than 50. String breakage is a bit extra.
_________________________
David Chadwick RPT
Las Vegas, Nevada
1923 Steinway "M"
1931 Mason Hamlin AA

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#2028352 - 02/06/13 08:32 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1261
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: rxd
There was a time when 4 times a year was the norm, it has only died out here in the past 30 years. My first job in pianos was like that. Company car, 6 high quality pianos a day in the city, 4 might be in the same street, somebody was home all day, the company ran 15-20 tuners covering the whole country and 2-3 technicians. The piano could be kept in first class shape in 25 minutes, the rest of the time was a social call or a quick cup of tea with the servants, we were instructed. Ever to use the tradesmens entrance, always the front door.
We were gentlemen of leisure. it had been that way since old John Broadwoods' days. The work was probably not quite so easy in his days, the pianos probably did need attention 4 times a year. Although some of the pianos were. Dry old and didn't need anything extra.

A tuning was not the expense it is now but we still made a comfortable lIving with as much overtime as we wanted and private use of the car.

When I moved to the states, i told all my clients," give me a call when your good n ready, try not to leave it longer than a year". I could still be a gentleman of leisure and keep everything at or above pitch by always tuning a piano with the ease of the next tuning in mind. I grew a business quickly every time I moved. The other tuners were bullying their clients into frequent tuning.... Peopl don't like that. (most of em).


Listen to this fascinating interview with Ted Sambell, who received the Golden Hammer award in 2012. He tuned for Glenn Gould, but started his career in war time England. Listen to how he describes the life of a tuner in those days. Just fascinating. I know those days are gone but it is still interesting to hear him speak about it. Maybe I should get a real job, like playing on a cruise ship or something.

http://youtu.be/1Wmp2X7lgvA
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2028422 - 02/06/13 10:38 PM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
Thanks posting Teds' interview, Mark, a legendary tuner, fascinating life.

The soft pedal story reminded me of the value of having players talk about their piano before doing anything other than tuning. One piano had a magical sounding shift pedal. Not really a true piano sound, nevertheless, magical. This was because the hammers were very worn. In the normal position the piano didn't sound too good. What do you do without destroying the one aspect of the piano people loved it for. I looked after that piano for the 10 years I was there. Was I going to be the one who goes down in history for destroying the magic??? Just have to give people what they want......sometimes.
By giving people the choice of how often they get their piano tuned works out fine. Most will call every few months, some every few years. The amount of work to be done varies, so does the price. I am very insistent on pitch, knowing its value to students and musicians and how professional musicians use it. After some regular conciencious tunings, the annual pitch variation decreases over time in most pianos. Now, I rarely have to move the pitch of a piano more than a Hz or two either way every now and again. I figure I've paid my dues and earned it. Of course it took a lifetime of experience and carefully chosen circumstances to get it that way.

I refered to 4 times a year as " the wisdom of the ages". Plus stories about the 2-3 times a day for important concerts. It leaves an idea in the clients mind about ideals. It is possible to educate people with anecdotes and still give them their basic human freedoms to do as they please. Ultimately, it's their piano, not mine. I am more than willing to give them the best service they want or can afford as and when it suits them. The reason for not leaving the piano more than a year is , if I have raised the pitch, if it is tuned within a year I won't have to do it again, with the accompanying extra expense. Thats a quiet incentive, too.
I used to hear stories of tuners telling their clients off for not being more regular. What's all that about? Hopefully the world is more enlightened now

Funny you should mention real jobs and cruise ships, Mark, I gave up that company car job to play on a cruise ship.

There is still one.company here that still provides a company car for all its outside tuners. I gave that job up, too for something else that I wanted to do.


Edited by rxd (02/06/13 11:54 PM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2028472 - 02/07/13 12:24 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
One thing that has not been mentioned in this thread yet is that tuning is not maintenance. From time to time I come across pianos that have received lots of tunings over the years but no maintenance and they play/sound lousy. The owner claims that they have taken terrific care of the instrument and have it tuned regularly.

We don't sell tunings. We sell maintenance appointments. A first appointment usually runs $228 and often includes some amount of cleaning, friction reduction, voicing, and regulating. The worse off the tuning is the less time I have to service the whole instrument.

At least once in your life hire a real piano technician so you can at least get a sense of your pianos potential. Life's to short to put up with a poorly playing instrument.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2028548 - 02/07/13 05:16 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1711
Loc: London, England
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2028582 - 02/07/13 07:51 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1162
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: rxd
Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained.,

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.
Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


Greetings,
The keywords here are "Including action maintenance with tuning", "minute", and " nickle and dime". I sell my time, and encapsulating "tuning" as a stand-alone sale helps in selling it most efficiently. An adjustment here and there is a minute here and there is a dollar here and there, I am loathe to toss them away.
It is more of a marketing decision, in that the beginning tuner has to demonstrate their abilities if they hope to get work, and those of us that have been swamped for a number of years can feed our tool kit the whole action at once.

I do better selling complete regulations if I haven't gradually removed the most egregious impediments to response. If there are several notes failing, and a general dilapidation, yes, I will make sure all notes play, but I sell them a regulation after I do the band-aid repair to get it playing. It isn't difficult, since I tell them that if there is not a night and day difference in the way their piano plays, they don't have to pay. I do have to pick my customers for this to work, but practiced professionals know the difference between night and day and I have never had to eat a job. (well, there was one 30 years ago,but I deserved it).

It is easy for any of us tuners to fall into the habit of "giving" work away. It is more difficult to make sure that it pays.
Regards,

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#2028594 - 02/07/13 08:08 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: rxd]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


I agree with Ed and Ryan. How foolish can we be to give away a service that only a FEW of us can provide properly to our customers? Oh, that only took 10 minutes, no charge... X 100 times of doing that.... Adds up to a lot of no charge time. Ever set down and figure it out? Try it once, you'll be amazed at how much you're giving away for free.

Another thing I wonder, is how much time does one have on his hands to set at one piano for possibly hours at a time anyway adjusting this, adjusting that, oh and, no charge...? Personally Ed, Ryan and I are all booked weeks and months ahead at a time just for tunings only. What does that include? I'm not going to get into that because that isn't my point. But I will say that I most certainly did not study my butt off and I did not get into this business to give away my time for nothing.

Most piano technicians, tuners/tooners whatever you wish to call them have NO CLUE whatsoever about how to properly run a business. Those are the ones that are generally barely making a living of around $25,000 to $35,000 a year if that! They think giving away services makes them look like some kind a hero to everyone in here. To a good business owner, it makes them look the opposite.

I wish to be paid for the tens of thousands of dollars that I have personally spent out of my own pocket learning this trade, attending classes, attending PTG functions and other things.

Those of us who have built up a huge clientele like Ed, Ryan, myself and many others don't have the time, we do not have the desire, not do we have the need to give it away. People want us. Why? Because they know when they call us, we will always be honest with them and give them good quality work. They are not calling us because we toss in a bunch of free stuff.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#2028600 - 02/07/13 08:20 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7542
Loc: France
How much doe sit cost to have my car put in good condition ?

This is a similar question.

A good question could be : "what is a tuning" ?

How much a piano technician charge by the hour

What time window is necessary to optimize my instrument at a musical level that correspond to :

Its possibilities
My pianistic level
My budget

My first visit to a new customer will be 4 hours minimum for a decent vertical

If the customer want an ideal tone, he can call me for a second tuning in the year.

Most dont unless they are professionals.

Once enough regular tunings have been done, a piano in a decent place can stay "playeable" for a year (or much more)

Then it should be the technician job to send a reminder to the customer. The customer must be aware that the technician visit is what allow his instrument to stay in shape for decades, and that is because some time is spend out of tuning.


I for one dont worry if a customer call me after 2 years, or even 3, he will pay for the extra work, it is just known from the start, and he have a price once I see the instrument condition.
On old pianos I can even spend 4 hours every 3 or 4 years and keep the piano in shape until we decide to really repair it.

FOr instance I have seen a small Vertical build in 1955, the first time 3 years ago :
Pitch raise, tuning, all screws tightened, a few hammers placed in front of strings, the capstan screw turned, a few balance punchings, some rough regulation. took me 3 hours. (vacuuming also)

I have seen the same instrument now :
Again pitch raise (only a few Hertz that time)
No need to tighten the screw or change regulation
I sanded the hammers (they have to be changed but it will not be done since a few years)
Tuning
hammer mating
Voiced (prevoicing and evening of tone)

Took me 4 hours all in all for a good musical result.

The same situation occur with many customers. They know that beforehand, if they want "only" a tuning we agree on that before I work.

Some also have called a tuner, a colleague, and call me back because they noticed the tuning does not stay put as long.

The cost is between 2x and 3x a tuning cost. I am sure I could call any of those customers at tuning time just to remind them, they would accept to have more tunings , but I am enough occupied as it is, so I dont provide them that service, (but I am so perfect in other ways that I can support that flaw in my organisation wink












Edited by Olek (02/07/13 08:22 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2028613 - 02/07/13 08:48 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Originally Posted By: rxd
Maintenance is a very important part and, like tuning, falls within clearly defined parameters. It can be just as seasonal as tuning and I treat it as such for stability reasons.

Some tuners include action maintenance with the tuning so that it never becomes a big issue. Others I hear of will prefer to nickel and dime clients to death charging separately for every turn of the screwdriver.

If a piano is tuned regularly, no tuner could leave a low hammer line, for example, or something out of line when just a few minutes will keep it maintained., planning to refine let off and drop next time if it is tuned soon enough. Time saved on a tuning that was last done only a few months ago can be profitably spent this way. A pianos needs are self- evident at every visit.

The more often the Piano is tuned, the better service I can give. The ball stays in the customers court.

Am I foolishly giving away my hard earned skills or am I giving full service?.

It's all included in a fair price anyway, as Ryan says.

Of course, if a piano has been so neglected that full regulation has become necessary, that becomes the subject of a separate quote. But still, I will, if time allows, make an appropriate start.


I agree with Ed and Ryan. How foolish can we be to give away a service that only a FEW of us can provide properly to our customers? Oh, that only took 10 minutes, no charge... X 100 times of doing that.... Adds up to a lot of no charge time. Ever set down and figure it out? Try it once, you'll be amazed at how much you're giving away for free.

Another thing I wonder, is how much time does one have on his hands to set at one piano for possibly hours at a time anyway adjusting this, adjusting that, oh and, no charge...? Personally Ed, Ryan and I are all booked weeks and months ahead at a time just for tunings only. What does that include? I'm not going to get into that because that isn't my point. But I will say that I most certainly did not study my butt off and I did not get into this business to give away my time for nothing.

Most piano technicians, tuners/tooners whatever you wish to call them have NO CLUE whatsoever about how to properly run a business. Those are the ones that are generally barely making a living of around $25,000 to $35,000 a year if that! They think giving away services makes them look like some kind a hero to everyone in here. To a good business owner, it makes them look the opposite.

I wish to be paid for the tens of thousands of dollars that I have personally spent out of my own pocket learning this trade, attending classes, attending PTG functions and other things.

Those of us who have built up a huge clientele like Ed, Ryan, myself and many others don't have the time, we do not have the desire, not do we have the need to give it away. People want us. Why? Because they know when they call us, we will always be honest with them and give them good quality work. They are not calling us because we toss in a bunch of free stuff.


Both of you have invoked in image of an imagined 'typical' technician here. rxd describes a penny-pinching "nickel and dime" technician always looking to extract as much money as possible. Jerry talks of the clueless businessman who doesn't know how to value his own time.

I'd invite both of you to look at the caricature pictures you are drawing. You're using these extreme examples to paint other, reasonable, skilled and competent technicians who happen to take a different approach to their business from yourselves in a very bad light. Both examples you give are of bad technicians, but they are extremes, and do not represent the majority. There are obviously two philosophies at work here, both seem valid, there's only really a cultural difference between them. Both probably make about the same money in the long run. But in painting the opposite view in such emotive and exaggerated language does nothing to further the profession as a whole.


Edited by Phil D (02/07/13 08:49 AM)
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2028627 - 02/07/13 09:10 AM Re: how much does it cost to tune a piano [Re: adak]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7542
Loc: France
On a regular tuning, you charge 1;00 to 1:15 for tuning that leaves 15 minutes paid to do elsewhere on a 1:30 time frame window.

But then don't try to compete with the Japanese techs , they spend 3 hours on a visit , globally (doing some unnecessary things also, just because that is the official procedure they are supposed to follow. )

PS As a result I rarely have seen Japanese pianos with hammers all around the place or uneven wear.


Edited by Olek (02/07/13 10:07 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


Top
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