The piano mover’s lot in Singapore is a tough one:
- About 87% of the population live in high-rise housing.
- Some of the blocks have surprisingly poor access from the road or from the nearest carpark.
- Some of the blocks have lifts into which you can’t fit an upright piano standing on its end.
- Many blocks have lifts that do not stop on every floor (although that’s slowly changing with the HDB’s progressive Lift Upgrading Programme).
So every piano mover employs a gang of strong lads to do the heavy lifting, in particular the hefting of pianos up and down multiple flights of stairs. They charge around S$150 dollars (sometimes more) per floor. The craziest move I know of is the hauling of PW member Wzkit’s Sauter Delta 185 up 24 floors to his flat. Read all about it here and here.
The use of manual labour to haul pianos incurs two risks: Injury to the guys doing the heavy lifting, and damage to the piano if it is accidentally dropped. These are rare occurrences, but the probability of either or both happening is most definitely non-zero.
But what if the piano mover had that sensationally brilliant invention called a Klavier-Roller?
They don’t come cheap of course. The estimated minimum investment is some number upwards of EUR20,000, depending on the size of Klavier-Roller and the accessories you get to go with it. However, a clever piano mover could still charge the same rates as before, and then use the “safer for the piano” marketing line to reel in the customers. He could do more jobs per day, and reduce his labour costs significantly. A quick back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests that the cost of a single Klavier-Roller can be recouped in about six months.