Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times about how many used pianos are actually hitting the dumpster these days. No surprise over here. I’d say that a quarter of the used pianos that people are trying to SELL privately unfortunately belong in a dumpster. I’d like to add two comments to this article:
1) I don’t think the article did a good job indicating that many used pianos ARE worth restoring and that the used piano industry is exponentially bigger than the new piano industry so buying a restored used piano is definitely a viable option for many piano buyers.
2) Stories like this can easily lead one to believe that if used pianos are getting thrown away, then a functioning one might only cost a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Pianos are a lot like cars in the sense that cars often times go to the junkyard and get crushed, but it doesn’t mean that a good used car can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. Heck, even a good used piano bench often fetches $200-300 at flea markets. Moving a piano usually costs upwards of $300 and tuning is at least $100. We’re up to $600 and we haven’t even mentioned a piano yet. Add that to the countless hours of work that most of these pianos need ($75-100/hr. in-home service rates) plus replacement parts to take on new students and may have yourself a money pit. Don’t get us wrong, we’re in the piano restoration business and love all that hourly labor work — but we also sell new & used pianos and offer sound advice to people who are wrestling with restoring a piano or buying a different one from us.