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Tips for a DIY Military Move

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Military moves can be stressful and exhausting prepare for and execute successfully, which is why most people choose to have the military help them along with the process. This is usually recommended for families who are moving for the first time and are unfamiliar with the moving process. However, if you have some experience with military moves and want to handle things yourself this time around, there are plenty of options for you.

Types of Personally Procured Moves (PPM)

In the world of military PCS moves, do-it-yourself (DIY) moves are commonly referred to as Personally Procured Moves, or PPMs for short. When you receive your PCS orders, there are several different resources offered to service members who wish to handle the move themselves. Here are the four main options available for you if you choose to do a PPM:
  • Renting a truck or trailer: This is one of more common forms of PPMs, in which you will rent a truck or trailer to load your belongings and move them from your old home to your new home. Typically, when you rent a moving vehicle for your PPM, you will receive an advanced operating allowance based on the mileage required and the estimated weight of your shipment. You will be responsible for mostly everything that comes with the move, such as packing your belongings, loading the truck, driving to the destination, unloading the truck and unpacking at your new home.

  • Using a commercial moving van: Renting a commercial moving van for your military relocation is also known as "you load/they drive". Essentially, this type of PPM involves you hiring a moving company to transport your belongings from point A to point B using one of their moving trucks, however you will still be required to pack your belongings and load the moving truck on your own, as well as unloading and unpacking when you reach your destination.

  • Using your own vehicle: This form of military DIY move is perhaps the purest form of DIY, as it entails the use of your own personal vehicle or POV. If you choose this type of PPM, there will be no advance operating allowance provided to you by the government and the vehicle you use for the move must be a cargo-type vehicle and not a vehicle used for passenger transportation. Also, if you choose to borrow a truck for this move, you must obtain written permission from the vehicle's owner.

  • Using the Government Arranged Mobile Home Shipment: If you have a mobile home that you are relocating, this program will allow you to authorize the shipment of your household goods at government expense. However, you must remove certain belongings from the home prior to the move, such as large appliances, furniture, air conditioners and other heavy items.

Advantages of a PPM

While initially it may seem like a lot of trouble to carry out a move on your own rather than letting the military do it for you , there are numerous advantages to choosing a PPM over a regular PCS military move.
  • You can actually make money off the move. When you move using the PPM program, the government will reimburse you for 95 percent of what it would have cost them to move you. If the total cost of your PPM move ends up coming in below this figure, you'll still get to keep the excess money. What this means is that if you can move economically and find some good deals on moving supplies and rental trucks, you can end up actually making money from the move, which can be a huge benefit for families with tight budgets.

  • You'll get more time to plan your move. When you receive your PCS orders, the military will allow you some time off to handle your travel arrangements and other moving-related tasks. However, when you choose to go the PPM route, you will be allotted more time off, extra time that you can use to your advantage if you can plan your move efficiently.

  • You control all of the details. By allowing the government to take care of your move for you, you'll avoid all of the usual headaches that come with planning the details of a move. But if you're the kind of person that likes to be in charge of the details and planning, then a PPM might be the way to go. You'll get to decide which moving services you want, as well as how much of the actual move you want to take care of yourself.

What you need to know about a PPM

Of course, even if you're experienced with moving and want to tackle the move on your own without outside help from the government, there are still a few things you should know about a PPM that will help things go smoothly:
  • Save all your receipts for moving expenses. As previously mentioned, the government will reimburse you for up to 95 percent of your moving cost. However, you'll need to keep track of your expenses and organize all of your receipts for moving-related purchases and rentals so you can maximize your profits-- and for tax purposes.

  • Make sure your goods are properly insured. Before you move, it's always a good idea to double-check your insurance coverage on your car and make sure you're fully covered as far as home insurance and accident insurance in case of any unfortunate incidents. If you feel like you need extra protection for your valuables during the move, you can always take out another policy.

  • Know how to calculate the total weight of your shipment. The allowance you receive from the government for your PPM will be based on the weight of your shipment. Weighing everything once you've loaded up your moving truck and knowing how to properly obtain the net weight and total loaded weight of your shipment is very important. Also, don't forget to save all of your weigh tickets.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on February 28, 2014

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