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Interview: Mr. Julian Rout, manager at Piano Logistics

Mr. Julian Rout, manager of Piano Logistics accepted to answer a few questions and to share his experience of the profession :

arrow interview On your website, you write "we moved over 15 000 pianos per year”; can you briefly tell about the beginnings of your company as well as how you have reached such a level of quality?
From the very outset, quality was at the top of our list. I'm a perfectionist, and this filters down through the rest of the company. When I looked to start a piano moving company, there were a few piano-moving companies around, but they were all under-funded and under-equipped. Anyone can move a piano, but to do it well, and on a large scale, it’s another matter. We train our staff continually, and the good ones stay for many years. I have strived to make moving a piano as safe as possible. It’s a fact that the piano must be one of the only products to leave a factory without any protection so, it's our job to protect the piano to ensure it arrives at it’s final destination in the same condition which it left the factory. My company treats every piano as if it is brand new. We also take great care when building and designing our trucks: these vehicles are temperature controlled and are kept at a constant 19c all year round. They all have load-area air conditioning, extra large tail lifts and full air ride suspension. Therefore we offer, I think, an extremely high quality service to our customers.

arrow interview Can you give a few good reasons why it would be interesting or profitable for a person living in Edinburgh, Dublin or Plymouth and owning a grand piano, to appeal to Piano Logistics that is located in London?
In the past five years there have been more piano movers listed on the Internet than there are actual pianos to move. As, unfortunately, anyone can buy a piano moving domain name?
Piano Logistics is based in London, but some of our crews are away all week. So they may be in Edinburgh, Plymouth or Dublin, all day, delivering new pianos to retail outlets or moving pianos locally for customers, from one house to another. Our local move price is the same wherever it is in the country. We move pianos day in and day out. For instance, you will not find a company in Plymouth, say, doing this, as there is simply not enough pianos to move for one day let along the whole week. We pride ourselves on being a Nationwide company serving the whole of the UK.

arrow interview You write on your website "Try our weekly road service throughout the UK, Belgium, Holland & Germany" - Have you got any plans for France, Spain or Italy?
We go to Germany, mainly because this is where the piano factories are. However, we also go to France every month, and Spain every second month. Next month we have a trip to France, Italy and Switzerland lined up.

arrow interview a few of your trucks are equipped with cranes; up to which height can they be used?
We can reach up to 35metres, which equates approximately to an 8th floor. But, as you can probably imagine, it's not a simple operation. It involves a lot of paperwork, and there are strict lifting laws, which we must abide by. We employ an appointed person to plan and oversee the lifts, crane supervisors, crane operators, and qualified slingers. This has become a business in itself. Craning a piano can be potentially very hazardous, yet people can, and do, take serious risks when doing it. I have seen photos on the Internet of other companies, and cringe because I know one day someone will be injured.

arrow interview Have you got two or three anecdotes concerning funny or unexpected events that happened in your working environment?
We are often asked this, but our planning is so tight we cannot have unexpected events, the only unexpected event that may occur, is we are late for a delivery and that's never funny. Thankfully we have never had any serious injuries or pianos written off.

arrow interview Five important questions you should ask a piano mover:
1) Do you only move pianos? If the answer is Yes carry on if its no try someone else, remember you are looking for a piano moving company
2) Are you insured? If the answer is Yes, ask for a copy of insurance and check to see if it covers the piano and your property and to what value
3) Are you VAT registered? If no be very suspicious because the VAT level is quite low and any proper operator will be VAT registered.
4) How long will it take to move my piano on a part load service? Within ten days is acceptable anything over that is far too long to wait.
5) Who do you move pianos for? Check the trade references it only takes seconds to phone and check

Published online January 2014

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