How much does a piano tuner make?
Updated: Jun 25
A tuner never reveals his secrets ;)
Piano tuning is a rich fulfilling work but it's not for everyone. If you are thinking about becoming a piano tuner there are a few things you should know:
With DIY on the rise, many people will try and take it upon themselves to tune their own piano. I understand this urge being a homesteader and having remolded my own home. But when it comes to piano tuning it's just not a good idea. Check out this article for more details. So that being said you need to have some formal training and education to help you. There are only a few schools that still teach piano tuning. I started piano tuning after I had a family and was unable to relocate my family just for school so I went with an online course, there are multiple options but I choose the piano technician academy. They were super helpful and helped me get some formal structured training. Added to that, join the Piano Technician Guild and find a mentor. This was the most important professional relationship I have made. Having a mentor is an invaluable relationship as your grow your piano tuning skills. They will help you get connected with some more formal education and help you with a least the basics of piano tuning.
There are a couple of ways a piano tuner makes money. You can either go the self-employment route or university work. There may be other options that I'm am unaware of but these are going to the be main options. As I don't have any experience on the university side I will tackle the self-employment side. You have to be motivated! It can take a long time to build a business so you will need to stick with it. If you are more introverted this may be hard for you but if you want to do it you have to get over the hump of making phone calls. Call everyone you know who has a piano. Call all the churches and schools. They may have tuners but still try. I made a list of every church in a 60-mile radius and cold-called over 100 churches. I think I got 10 tunings from that work but it was a start and my name started to spread. You have to start somewhere. I have seen too many really great piano tuners fail because they lacked the tenacity and courage to make a simple phone call. If you want to succeed at being a tuner you MUST have people skills. You are literally going into their homes. Make small talk, if you forget people's names easily write their names down. You can do this!
There will be busy seasons and light seasons. This will depend on where you live but typically everyone is traveling in the summer where I live so I'm usually busiest when the furnace turns on and when it turns off.
In conclusion, I can't tell you what a piano tuner makes. It depends on you! How much do you want it? This industry isn't for the faint of heart but if you put the work in you will be successful.
If you want to learn how to become a piano tuner, get in touch - I'd be happy to help point you in the right direction.