Station changes and their attendant moves are a fact of life for military families. Depending on your personal preferences and the nature of your move, you may wish to work with a military contractor or move your belongings yourself. So long as your move qualifies, you can receive government assistance to help cover the costs of transporting your possessions from one location to another. It’s important that you carefully weigh your options before you decide if you’ll work with a government contractor or will pursue a do-it-yourself (DITY) move. Remember that it’s also important to speak with your transportation office liaison before deciding how you’ll move your possessions to your new station.
Do-It-Yourself vs. Government-Managed Moves
Moving your belongings from station to station is a reality of military life. For many years, service members relied on military contractors to move their household goods for them. Today, service members can also complete a do-it-yourself move and receive a reimbursement for their expenses. When thinking through the type of move you’d like to pursue, keep the following in mind:
• You are eligible for a DITY move reimbursement if you complete a move related to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), Temporary Duty (TDY) or Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) transfer.
• You are eligible for a DITY move reimbursement if you retire, separate from the military or have orders to move out of a government facility.
• When you complete a DITY move, you are able to either move the possessions yourself or hire a professional to complete some or all of the work.
• You can complete a partial DITY move by using a Government Bill of Landing (GBL) to ship some of your household goods.
• While a DITY move is more time consuming than a move completed by a contractor, you may be able to secure more funding than needed to make the move and realize a small profit.
• In some situations, funds are available for DITY moves in advance. However, many individuals must await a reimbursement of their personal funds when completing a DITY move.
• You may receive additional time to travel to your new post if you complete a DITY move.
Preparing for the DITY Move Process
Preparing for a DITY military move can be challenging. You’ll need to carefully weigh your options and decide if you want to complete the entire move yourself or if you want to work with a private contractor who can move some of your goods. Remember that a DITY move will provide you with the most flexible options so long as you have the time to properly prepare and are willing to do some physical work.
Before you begin the DITY move, you’ll need to evaluate the possessions that you’re taking to your new station. You’ll have to estimate the total weight of your belongings in order to file for a move-related reimbursement. If you need to move vehicles or a mobile home, you may want to complete a partial DITY move and have a military contractor transport larger items on your behalf.
Making the Most of Your Move
You can make the most of your military move by gathering bids for private moving contractors and comparing the services that they provide to those that would be provided by a military contractor. Talk to your transportation office representative before you make a final decision so that you know if you’ll qualify for funds in advance or if you can complete a partial DITY move. While completing a DITY move will require a lot of planning and a moderate amount of physical effort, the benefits you stand to gain from taking care of moving tasks on your own can be substantial.