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PCS Season

Where Do I Start?

It’s PCS season. For military families, a summer PCS move can prove to be a hectic time if not planned properly. A recent study¹ conducted by the Department of Defense shows from the 520,000 service members who moved in 2013, over 40% moved during the “peak season” (May 15 – August 15).

The summer move is not just a military phenomenon, however, as most families in the civilian sector choose to wait until their children are out of school to pick up and relocate to their new home. As military families finally get their PCS orders in hand, they will find themselves competing for moving services with thousands of others. Simply put, there is a limited number of quality movers available to accommodate everyone’s ideal schedule, and your best bet is to start planning your move as soon as possible.

So where do we start? The first thing to decide once you receive your PCS orders is HOW you want to manage your move. Service members are given a few options by the government for the big move, with their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • A Government-Controlled Move in which the movers pack, load, transport, and unload all of their goods. With this option, the government pays for everything, BUT the service member has zero control over their move. Because of this, roughly 70% of government managed moves result in lost or damaged property².
  • A Do It Yourself (DITY) Move/Personally Procured Move (PPM) allows service members to do their own packing and transport their belongings themselves. They receive a moving allowance which equates to 95% of what the government factors the moving costs would be. The service member will only be paid to transport 1 vehicle, in addition to other limitations such as total weight allowances, etc.
    (**Note** The government is not always efficient at procuring prices, which allows for the opportunity to pocket money from Uncle Sam).
  • A DITY/PPM Assisted Move is the most flexible, in which the service member is paid a flat fee to hire a Transportation Service Provider (TSP) of their choosing. The TSP does all the heavy lifting for the service member according to the customized timeline and schedule they are given. This is why we created uShip For Military– to redefine what “Do it yourself” really means. This can save you time, money, and a few headaches, as well as allowing you to pocket the remaining money from the moving allowance.

To help educate service members and their families, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command who manage DoD’s Personal Property Program, have compiled a list of helpful information for families that can ensure a smoother transition to your next duty location.

Remember, just like you would carefully organize and stay engaged in your military career, it’s just as important to plan and coordinate your next PCS. Get ahead of the crowd and weigh your options early. Having a plan, adjusting the right timeline and seeking out the right prices will do wonders in making your next move as enjoyable and as efficient as possible.