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Military Moving


Moving is part of the job description when you’re in the military. Perhaps no Americans move more than the esteemed members of our armed forces. When you’re moving so frequently, it can be a challenge to get acquainted anywhere - but moving itself becomes a bit more of a reflex. Oz reached out to members of the military to get their advice to fellow service people on relocating while in the military.



When they join the service, many people leave many of their belongings behind and lead a bare-bones lifestyle. Moving gets tougher the more you have to move, so minimization can help reduce stress and make the moving process easier. Sometimes, that means minimizing inventory before the move, by donating, selling or trading superfluous or unnecessary items.

“The first thing I would do once my spouse or I received orders would be go thru the whole house and determined what needed to be packed. Other items were either given away,donated or sold in yard sales” Carol Gee, who retired from the Air Force, tells us about her experience. Nowadays, a moving member of the military could use Craigslist, Facebook, Amazon, or another choice of a huge selection of online resources to sell things to others. Even more resources are out there for people looking to donate items (like GoodWill or

Having a small inventory is great for keeping track of all your items, another way to save stress and prevent any moving day mishaps. “Good organization before the movers come is critical and saved both our sanity and insured our items arrived safely,” Carol says. “For stateside assignments I selected items we would need to get by before furniture was delivered. Things like pots and pans,bed an other linens, clothing items, meds Mr.Coffee etc.”



Military members have a choice as to who handles their move when the time comes around to relocate to their next base. There used to only be a single choice, as Carol told me: have the military handle the move. This is referred to as a “Permanent Change of Service” (PCS), though some use that term to refer to the military moving process more generally. Nowadays, the military offers their members the opportunity to procure the move themselves. This is called a “Personally Procured Move” (PPM), though it is sometimes referred to as a Do It Yourself Move (DITY). More comfortable service men and women will often opt for the PCS move, while younger and thriftier service men and women will try to save a few bucks with a PPM. We compared and contrasted the pros and cons to these moving methods to see which you should pick.


 PCS and Governmental Moves



PCS Moves, where service members arrange their move with a government-contracted mover, are a fairly seamless process for military members who go through a change in station. The government may take care of the moving process, but service members still need to arrange their move. Most of the process can be completed on the military moving online hub There service members will schedule a pickup and delivery window for their belongings based on availability. Depending on the time of year, availability may be limited, so it always pays to book in advance whenever possible.

The military will generally contract these jobs out to van lines, so in essence, these are normal movers that can be vetted on Google, Yelp, and other consumer awareness sites. Ryan Guiana’s Tips for a Smooth PCS at The Military Wallet are good advice for almost anyone who will be dealing with movers. Guiana advises an on-site appointment to establish a proper inventory list for the move, so military moving estimators can gauge how much time the job will require. This detailed inventory will be helpful in case something goes wrong during the move. “The DoD now offers full replacement value for personal property that is lost or damaged.

Though the van lines are not themselves military employees, they will be familiar with the military move’s set up more often than a normer mover would be, as Carol tells us she’s learned from her experience. Military members undergoing PCS can contact this van line to discuss any of the questions they have about their move to understand how they can best handle the inventory - and in the case that items that may be tough to move, the van line can be prepared to handle them. As Carol tells us, it’s easy to accumulate artefacts from military tours of duty - she has a large piece of furniture she found while deployed in Asia (a wall unit of sorts) that American movers likely would have difficulty dealing with. The military movers have “always been reliable” in moving Carol’s wall unit over several years and moves, so Carol recommends any military members dealing with moving exotic items - maybe Korean stereo equipment for those deployed in Asia, or other esoteric German furniture pieces.



With PPM moves, military members are given the flexibility to plan all the parts of their move, from packing, labor, shipment, and et cetera. Military members actually get additional TDY (temporary duty, which is essentially time off) to handle their move. When you are in control of the move, you can determine when your household goods will arrive in your housing. You are not on the military mover’s schedule, so you don’t have to worry about schedule conflicts with fellow service members.

During a PPM/DITY move, service members may actually be able to earn a little extra money, if they keep their costs down. “Your reimbursement from the government is based on the Government Constructive Cost (GCC), how much it would cost the government to move you. You are entitled to 95% of the GCC.” Kiki Rupert, whose husband has been in the military for 7 years, tells us. If you can move at a lower rate than that 95%, you have a chance to earn some cash. “While you can’t alter that, you do have control over your expenses.”

While a PPM/DITY move can avoid some of the pitfalls of a PCS/government move, a lot of those are simply normal moving pitfalls. In some cases, PCS cycles can create demand within these companies that doesn’t exist in the moving industry otherwise, but generally there is symmetry between the availability and pricing among regular movers and the military-hired movers. DIY moving tools like U-haul trucks are also likely to have similar demand patterns, but utilizing these tools will still offer a moving service member flexibility and savings - if they’re willing to bare the brunt of the moving labor.

Unfortunately, as Rupert tells us, the PPM reimbursement process is far from simple. “At the end of your move you will have to submit a claim that includes receipts for moving expenses and weight tickets. In order to get a weight ticket you must go to a weigh station to weigh your moving truck both unloaded and fully loaded with your belongings,” Rupert says. “Not only is that a time and labor intensive ordeal; the nearest weigh station could be a great distance from you. PPM-ers will often need to pay for their move out of pocket, too; Rupert notes this happened during his last move. Clearly the military isn’t writing a blank check to PCS-ers, so military members should consider whether or not PPM is worth the additional labor before opting out of a government PCS relocation. (The Military Wallet’s Ryan Guina sent over this PCS reimbursement guide that details all the necessary paperwork and parts of the process.)


Military Moving Discounts

Oz Moving & Storage is honored to serve our distinguished military and its veterans. Learn about our military discount to esteemed members of the armed forces, veterans and their families. 




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