By Mark Cerisano, RPT, Mech.Eng.

If you are hoping to sell your piano, there are some things that you need to know before you start. The used piano market is swamped with used pianos for sale. There were so many quality pianos built long ago that are still working, plus there are not as many people looking. That is why, if you want to sell your piano and get a fair price for it, you have to be smart. Here are some things you should do that will help you sell your piano with a minimum of stress, hassle, and worry.

Find out how much your piano is worth? Do you know? $200? $2,000? No matter what you think you know, or how much you paid for your piano, there is no way you can know for sure what is a fair price to ask for your piano without a professional inspection. They are not expensive and you can make hundreds of dollars more than just by guessing. Also, you can avoid selling an over-priced piano with major flaws to an unsuspecting buyer. Most people are honest and would not want to rip someone off unknowingly. Also, how are you going to react when a buyer brings their own technician and starts listing off what he calls 'serious problems' with your piano. (Remember, he is working for the buyer, not you.) Wouldn't it be nice to have your own inspection that lists those same problems as 'not so serious' after all. Unfortunately, it does happen, I've seen it.

Also, you need to get all those annoying problems fixed. Most people think that a piano with notes that don't work right has serious problems and won't buy it. Not when there are so many other pianos, probably worse than yours, but with all the notes working. What they don't know is that for a few hundred dollars (if that) you can get all those annoying problems fixed. You won't be able to improve the overall tone and feel much, but a working note has ultimately better tone and feel than a dead one, doesn't it? Most old pianos have at least one annoying problem. Get that fixed and your piano goes to the top of someone's buying list.

Now that you have your piano with all the notes working and an idea what the fair price to ask is, what next? It has been our experience with selling used pianos that it takes on average six months of advertising to get a fair price for your piano. That is because, as I said, there are so many used pianos for sale out there and not that many buyers. You need to wait for the right buyer for your piano. Of course, if you are in a hurry, you can ask less than the fair price to hurry the sale. But at least you will know that it is less than the fair price and someone won't be taking advantage of you.

There are many places to advertise your piano for sale. There are free web sites like Kijiji and Craigslist that have sections for each city. You can buy ads in newspapers. You can put up ads at local grocery stores. Don't forget to ask friends, family, and co-workers if they know of anyone looking for a used piano. Note that with the inspection/evaluation already done, you can confidently describe the piano to others without that nagging feeling that maybe you are over-representing it.

Some people find that all the work and money involved in printing ads, posting ads, taking digital photographs, answering calls from 'shoppers', etc, is just too much, so they may just sell the piano for a low price or even give it away. We offer a service where the seller does nothing but answer a few calls from serious buyers and usually sells their piano for a fair price to the first or second caller. We are proud to have helped people get top dollar for their pianos and they are often very grateful to us for being able to help them through this when they didn't have any idea where to turn. We can do the same for you if you have a piano you want to sell but don't know where to start or don't want to be bothered with all the hassle.

We can send a technician to your home who will inspect and evaluate your piano. They can even do minor repairs and tune the piano if you wish. At this point you can take the inspection/evaluation and try to sell the piano yourself, but most people choose to advertise with our service. We will take a digital photograph of your piano and list it on our website as well as many free websites in your city. If we don't have a qualified technician in your city, we will find one for you. Another headache taken care of. Also, we will field all the calls from your ads. Many calls from piano ads are time wasters from people who are not serious buyers. We take these and all calls and answer all the technical questions they may have. Then we pass them on to you. At this point, it is usually just a matter of negotiating the price. We can help you with that too, if you wish. We can also arrange for the piano move when you finally sell it. Not only all this, but when a buyer buys your piano through an ad that we've placed, they will be entitled to a free piano tuning after the piano is moved.

What does all this cost? Well, a lot less than six months of newspaper advertising plus all your time to list, photograph, answer calls, etc. The initial inspection/ evaluation is less than the price of a tuning. And as I said, after that you can take your inspection/evaluation and confidently try to sell the piano on your own. If you decide to use our advertising service, it will cost you nothing to list the piano and have us list it on other websites. You only pay when we find you a buyer, and not a cent before. Our commission rates are 10% of the originally listed price, minimum $200. (negotiable are higher priced pianos)

We are so confident that you will be able to sell your piano through our service that we will list your piano until it sells! And we will continue to give you sales advice and do our best to help you sell your piano until it sells or you decide to keep it.

If this sounds like something you would like to try out, or if you have any other questions about selling your piano or how our service works, please call me personally, at 1-866-MR-TUNER(678-8637) or email me at mark@mrtuner.com.
I would welcome the opportunity to help you sell your piano. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and good luck with your piano sale.

Mark Cerisano, RPT, Mech.Eng
President, Senior Technician
Mr. Tuner Piano Service