How to Hire Your Own Movers for Your Next PCS

woman carrying a box out of a house
(Jonathan Whitely/DVIDS)

One of the most common questions about Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves is "Should we do a Personally Procured Move (formerly known as a Do It Yourself Move) or should we let the government move us?"

It's a great question, and the answer depends on a variety of factors that are unique to you and your move. But what you may not have considered is that a Personally Procured Move doesn't have to be Do It Yourself - that's one of the reasons that the name changed.

But, wait, Kate, what do you mean?

There's no rule that you have to do your PPM. It just means that you're not using the government-contracted movers. You can pay someone to do part, or all of it - packing, loading, driving, unloading, unpacking. You can even contract your own movers to do the whole shebang.

So why doesn't everyone just hire their own moving company to move their stuff? As with so many things, it's all about the money. Well, and a little bit of paperwork.

You are compensated for a PPM at a portion of the rate that it would cost the Department of Defense to move you using their contracted movers. That rate is usually 95%, though there has been a temporary increase to 100% through Dec. 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DoD movers have been through a competitive process to get those contracts, and so they've gotten the price down pretty low. You may not be as successful in finding a mover who is willing to do the whole job (packing, loading, driving, unloading and unpacking) for the amount that the government will pay you.

But maybe you don't want someone to do it all. Maybe you just want help with part of it, such as the loading and unloading, or the driving, or whatever. Lots of people would prefer to pack their own things, or have a helpful unit that would be glad to fill a truck or self-pack container. In that case, a PPM where you pay another company to do part of the work might be perfect for you. There are resources to hire out any or all parts of the job, while you do the parts that work for you.

The other issue is paperwork. Compensation for a PPM is based on having the right weight receipts. (Details vary between the branches, and change. Be sure you know exactly what weight receipts that you need for your branch and the specific time that you move.) There is a feeling of control that comes from driving that truck to the weigh station yourself, and physically holding on to those weight slips. There can be the possibility for something to go wrong if you're counting on an outside party to get those slips for you. If you decide to have someone else do the driving, be sure that you have a process for guaranteeing that you get your weight slips.

Whether you're facing a PCS move in the near future, or just thinking back on how you would do your last move differently, be sure to consider the option of a PPM where you don't do it all yourself. It just might be the choice that you're looking to find. Check with your service's household goods movement office for classes or more details on how this works for you and your specific situation.

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