Lately it’s struck me that clients have no real understanding of what things are acceptable when tuning a piano. I’ve found that even teachers and experienced pianists are doing things that i would never consider doing when it’s time to tune. Since tuning is a listening process, it’s obvious (to me) that a certain amount of quiet is necessary. What i find when tuning however is quite the opposite. Regularly i compete with vacuums, dishwashers, radios and TV’s. Think about when you’re in a noisy restaurant and you’re trying to listen to a conversation but the ambient noise level is too high. It’s a struggle right? Same thing when it comes to tuning. Tuners listen for vibrations called beats. All of the extraneous noise competes then with tuning. In addition to this, distractions such as constant conversation, kids doing kid thangs and pets who feel the need to be part of the job all detract from doing a good job. This one time… this made me laugh… I was tuning a grand piano and this big fluff ball of a cat came and sat on the strings of the piano…lol… so instead of getting this long resonating tone, i would just get a ‘thump’ sound from the piano because the cat was damping the sound. The owner said that it was pretty rare to see that seeing as how this cat didn’t like guys. I must be a cat whisperer (they like me and i like them). Anywhoooo… i ended up just moving the cat over to a different section of strings and then purrriodically i would move her to a new set of strings while i tuned in a different area.
All that to say, be mindful of the task at hand, you’re paying good money for a tuning and if the environment is loud, the resulting tuning will undoubtedly be substandard.

Hints:
1. Keep noise to a minimum
2. After pleasantries are said, let the tuner do his/her work
3. Best to keep kids and animals out of the area (i removed an action from a grand one time and their baby snapped a hammer off when the father and i were talking..UGH!)
4. Make sure the temperature is comfortable (i’ve tuned in homes and institutions where i could have been wearing gloves!)
5. Offering coffee, tea or water isn’t necessary but is a nice gesture :)
Hope this helps.