When I first took over the William C Huff Moving and Storage Company, over 30 years ago, it was basically “2 men and a truck” (long before that became the actual name of a moving company franchise). Back in the 70’s and into the 90’s, many small local moving companies just did the local moves of larger items that could not be easily be moved by friends and family members over a weekend with free beer and pizza . Many of the items that were moved by these local moving companies were the “upright” pianos. These dastardly beasts often weighed over 700 lbs and were difficult to move without scratching floors, ruining backs and getting pretty banged up themselves.
My first experience with the William C Huff Company actually involved the moving of one of these “beasts”. I remember it as if it was just yesterday but, it was November 21, 1988. William C Huff (Bill) and his brother, Clyde and another fellow Paul (all of 6 ft. 6 inches of him) asked if I’d like to help with a piano move so that I’d know a little bit about it before taking over. Having never moved a piano, I jumped at the opportunity and told them I would meet them at the home where the piano was at.
It was a cold drizzly evening and when I arrived, the three men had already backed the 14’ box truck up to the living room door, put a ramp down to the door and, were inside getting the piano on a 4 wheel dolly. I watched intently as the men got the 750 pound behemoth up onto the dolly (although I believe Paul, the big guy, could have probably done it by himself…Bill and Clyde were not much more than about 5 and ½ feet tall and maybe weighed 135 pounds each).
After wrangling the piano on its’ dolly and throwing a couple of straps on it, they proceeded to roll it out into the truck. Once into the truck, an argument about how to strap it to the wall broke out and the three stood in the truck, cursing and mumbling words which I dare not repeat. Meanwhile, the 750 pound piano had taken a back seat to this fuss and had not been properly secured. The three men, standing on one side of the truck, gave just enough tilt so the piano was leaning towards them (Paul probably weighed in at over 300 pounds). As I stood at the edge of the ramp, peering into the back of the truck, I noticed the piano leaning more and more toward the 3 men who, by this time, were not remotely thinking about the piano. Suddenly, the piano, a full upright player, came crashing down, face first, just inches from the three men.
With considerably more cursing going on now, the three quickly up-righted the old piano, strapped it onto the wall, shoved the ramp into the back of the truck and drove off, leaving me standing in the cold drizzle on the steps to the clients’ porch. I remember thinking, “Well, if this company has been in business for almost 80 years and that’s the way they get things done, I guess there may be a market for someone who actually does not move like them!”
Well, it’s been almost 30 years since then and we have successfully done over 50,000 individual moves and probably have moved over 4,000 pianos. I can truthfully say that not once have we had an incident like the one I witnessed on my first day on the job. In fact, just last year we had the privilege to move one of the world’s most expensive grand pianos up to a 23rd story penthouse. Valued at over $750,000, we stored this piece of art, in our solar powered, climate controlled warehouse, for several months and then orchestrated the crane service and the entire process of getting it from the ground and into the home where we assisted in setting up this incredible, rare piece of art.
Here’s a YouTube clip taken by the company who sold this piano.
In conclusion, do not hire “the three stooges” when moving your piano or organ. Make sure the company you hire has a great reputation and, knows what they are doing! Let us help you move your piano!