HOW TO SELL OR DONATE YOUR PIANO

Are you moving and want your old piano to go to a good home?
Are you looking for some advice on how to sell it?
Are you in the Chicago or Milwaukee area?

Then we can help find the best solution for you!

While we can’t take in every piano that’s offered to us, we can at least give you tips for selling it privately or refer you to a different stores that might be interested!

PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTACTING US

If selling: we can only take pianos in on consignment. And to be upfront: you’ll make the most cash selling the piano privately!

It’s not always just about the piano! We also have to consider our current inventory, space, tech team availability, etc. 

If donating: we can’t offer tax-deductible letters We can point you towards someone that can if you’d prefer though.

Moving isn’t as expensive as you might think! It doesn’t hurt to get a quote. We want to be sure you considered all your options.

We don’t usually take in digital pianos (unless on trade-in). Honestly, they just take us a lot of work and time to sell.

Double-check that your friends or neighbors aren’t interested in the piano — and that your family won’t be offended if we take it in!

Note: We DON’T take any pianos from outside of the Chicago-Milwaukee area!

Step 1 – Contact Us

Email brendan@familypianoco.com with all the information you have on the piano! He’ll follow up with any other questions needed. Here’s a list of some ideas to start:

  • Brand – Usually found just above the keys. Steinway, Yamaha, Kimball, Baldwin, etc.
  • Model – Helpful if applicable, but not every piano has a model name. Typically looks like G157 or U121 for Young Changs, “M” or “L” for Steinways, etc. Usually found under the lid, near the tuning pins.
  • Serial Number – Very important for figuring out when and where the piano was built! Usually a 5-7 digit number, but exactly what it looks like and where it’s located varies. Please try your best! And please note any issues, like if you can’t tell if a particular digit is a 1 or 7, for example.
    For help, watch LivingPiano’s video, How to Find the Serial Number of Your Piano.
  • Size – To the closest inch. The most important measurement is the height in upright pianos (from the top of the lid to the floor), and length of grands (from rounded end, up to and including keys). We’ve added PianoMart’s measurement graphics below for help.
  • History – When was it last tuned? Do you remember the tuner’s name? How long have you owned it? Do you know how many other owners it’s had? 
  • Pictures – Simple cell phone shots are fine! We’re looking for a couple photos of the outside of the piano (including the back of an upright or the underside of a grand, as possible), and a few of the inside. Please send photos of any damage you notice — we’ll definitely notice when it comes in! 
  • Contact Info – Name, email, number(s), etc.
  • Location – Not just the city, but also where the piano is within the house. Any steps, staircases or tight turns to get it outside? It’ll affect our moving cost so it is relevant!
    Note: we DON’T take pianos outside of the Chicago-Milwaukee area! 

  • Expectations – Do you prefer to sell the piano? How much are you hoping to get? Are you interested in trading in your piano? Is donation an option? Does your piano need to be moved out quickly? Please let us know — it helps speed up the process!

Step 2 – Discussion

Once we iron out a win-win arrangement over the phone, we’ll put together a sales or consignment agreement for your signature, usually via email or physical mail. We will also make any arrangements for payment, as appropriate.

Advantages of a Direct Sale

  • Typically for lower-valued instruments, especially for most used uprights
  • We typically pay with a check or a direct PayPal deposit into your account before pick-up
  • Very quick, simple process
A grand piano in satin mahogany sitting in the Family Piano showroom with sunlight on it.

Advantages of Consignment

  • Typically the only option for higher-end instruments, especially for grands pianos
  • Can be 3-9+ months before piano is sold and you’re paid – depending on consumer tastes
  • Often times, you net more for your wait

Step 3 – Pick Up the Piano

We pay Kevin’s Piano Moving to safely and professionally pick up your piano.
To keep things simple and safe, on any piano that we purchase or accept as a donation, we do pay for professional movers to pick up the piano!

Piano movers carefully moving a covered up piano on it's side down stairs.

Kevin’s Piano Moving is out of Antioch IL. They have two trucks and a well-trained team that travels all over the Kenosha County, Lake County, and Cook County area, sometimes beyond. Ultimately, because they’re a separate company, they will be the ones to schedule the move directly with you; we have no control over their calendar. They can usually schedule pick-up within 7 moving days, often less, depending on how many other moves they need to accomodate. They usually do Monday through Friday and usually offer a 2 hour moving window – for example, Tuesday morning, from 9 am to 11 am. The piano is then promptly delivered to our showroom, so we can start working on it.

The Best Reviewed Piano Store in Chicagoland

Our valued clients have given us the most 5-Star Reviews of any piano retailer in the greater Chicagoland area!

Once The Piano Gets Here. . .

What our refurbishing process looks like

A walnut piano on Family Piano's dock with it's action exposed, ready to undergo our piano refurbishing process.

Look Its Best

Clean & Repair The Case

Overseen by our shop manager Julie Dodds, one of the best case touch-up experts in the Midwest, we make sure our pianos are not only clean inside & out, but look the best they can be.

  • Dissemble piano as much as possible
  • Blow out all the dust, wipe down all the parts
  • Vacuum under the keys and in the action
  • Polish metal pedals, knobs, hinges, etc.
  • Buff out minor scratches and case imperfections
  • Repair any and all chips, especially at corners
  • Color-match any necessary fills for signficant scratches
  • Inspect for any remaining possible flaws to fix
A close-up of a piano's action.

Feel Its Best

Regulate the Mechanical Action

Adjusting the mechanical action for all 88 keys improves the feel of the piano. Students have more control for playing softly and loudly, so they can develop proper technique. We have a roughly 30-point checklist for each piano. A few highlights:

  • Tighten up screws throughout the action
  • Level the key height & dip (how far down it goes)
  • Lubricate pivot points for reduced friction
  • Shape the hammers by gentling sanding away worn-in grooves
  • Fine-tuning the timing of dampers
  • Standardize distance of hammers from strings
  • Adjust back-checking, lost motion, let-off & other subtle mechanisms
Andrew Warden, a tuner at Family Piano, tuning a Kawai piano.

Sound Its Best

Tune the Piano Multiple Times

There are over 200 strings on each piano for us to tune. Our expert tuners use the best of their ears and tuning software to efficiently give our customers a quality tuning that will last.

Every Piano Tuned - We work hard to have every piano in stock tuned & regulated, so that when you try out different pianos, you really know if you’re going to like it or not.

Final Inspection - Once you pick out your piano, we do a final tuning and inspection right before delivery, so you can enjoy your piano from Day 1.

Free Tuning - With every piano, you get a credit for a free tuning from us. When you're ready, we'll send one of our expert tuners to your home to make sure your piano is sounding and playing it's best.