So you are up for a PCS and you have to decide how to move all your stuff to your new base. Well, you really have three options:
- You can have the military move everything for you
- You can have the military move some of your stuff and you move some of your stuff
- Or you can move it all yourself
Generally, here’s when it makes sense to do each:
Full military move
- You have a lot of stuff (4000+ lbs)
- You want to do as little work as possible
- You want time to do house hunting before your things arrive
Partial DITY move
- You want the military to move just the big stuff
- You want to get reimbursed for moving what you can fit in your car
Full DITY move
- You don’t have that much stuff (under 4000 lbs)
- You want to potentially make a profit for moving your own stuff
- You are a DIY’er
- You’re not comfortable with the military movers potentially breaking your things
- You have a truck/trailer or don’t mind renting one
If you are like me, you chose to do it all yourself. If you play your cards right you can make money doing a full DITY move. However, it’s not for everyone and there are a few downsides.
Remember, you will have to pack everything yourself, procure a moving truck or trailer of some kind if you have a good amount of stuff, load everything yourself, procure empty and loaded weight tickets, unload everything yourself, and fill out the necessary paperwork at your gaining based so you can get reimbursed.
Doing all this can induce quite a bit of stress and may not be worth it if you only make a few hundred bucks. You should definitely factor in your time and efforts when deciding between a full military move and full DITY move.
If you find that doing everything yourself will be too much of a headache, doing a partial DITY move may be right for you. This way you can still get reimbursed for the things you do move yourself and you can let the military movers worry about the big stuff.
No matter what you chose to do, do your research and carefully plan out each step of the move so you know what to expect. The more planning you do the higher chances of a successful PCS.
When you do a DITY or Partial DITY move, you will need to weigh your household goods so you can show TMO how much stuff you actually moved.
You can weigh your vehicle, rental truck and/or trailer at many different scales throughout the U.S. to obtain these weight tickets. In my experience, CAT scales are the most convenient and user friendly. There are a ton of them around the U.S. so it should be easy to find one. If you want more options, Penske has made this awesome scale locator that includes most certified public scales.
At the conclusion of your move, you will need to have obtained a weight ticket for each empty vehicle or vehicle/trailer combination and one weight ticket with the vehicle fully loaded. At the TMO at your gaining base, the empty weight ticket will be subtracted from the full weight ticket to obtain the weight of your household goods.
There are a couple different ways you can obtain your weight tickets. One way is to weigh your vehicle(s) empty before loading your stuff, then weigh it after it is full, either at your current base, gaining base, or somewhere on the road. The other way is to load your stuff, weigh your vehicle(s) with all of your stuff and then get the empty weight ticket at your destination after you unload everything. Either way works.
The weight stations will charge a fee (usually like $10) but you will be reimbursed for them. Be sure to get each of the following on all DITY move weight tickets:
- Your name, grade, and social security number (I just put my last 4 down)
- The weigh master’s signature
- Legible weights
- Vehicle/trailer identification
- Date of weighing
- Scale name and location
It is also a good idea to have a full tank of gas and be standing outside of the vehicle when being weighed to keep things consistent. If you follow these tips you’re sure to be accurately reimbursed for moving your household goods.
If you are moving all or any of your own stuff (Household Goods aka HHG), whether using your own vehicle or using a rental vehicle, you are entitled to HHG reimbursement. You will get reimbursed at 95% of what it would cost the government to move that stuff for you. What it would cost the government to move that stuff for you is highly dependent on how much a contracted moving company would charge. DITY move weight rates for household goods also change quarterly. For this reason, it’s difficult to get an accurate estimation.
In any case, DPS (Defense Personal Property System) should be used prior to PCS to get an “official” estimate. TMO will help you with the DPS process before you move. Note DPS does not take eligible expenses into account. Another way you can get estimates is by going to moving companies websites, getting a couple quotes and then calculating 95% of that for HHG reimbursement before tax.
- For my 2015 PCS move from Hill AFB, UT to Vandenberg AFB, CA I received approximately $1058 (after tax of 25%) for moving ~2300 lbs of stuff. This comes out to about $0.46/lb. If you don’t take into account the tax deduction from the ~$520 of eligible expenses (rental truck and boxes) I had, the rate would then be ~$0.40/lb. In my case, DPS estimated I’d receive $1725 for 2200 lbs (my initial weight estimate) before tax. That comes out to $1293.75 if you assume a 25% tax rate, which comes out to about $0.59/lb.
- My friend, who PCS’d from Hill to Schriever AFB, CO around the same time frame received approximately $815 for moving ~1260 lbs of stuff (with no eligible expenses). This comes out to about $0.65/lb after tax, a significantly higher payout rate than what I received.
- Recently (April 2016) a coworker of mine went through DPS and came up with a rate of $0.95/lb. He is moving ~13,000 lbs of HHG. This says to me that rates, for whatever reason, have recently increased pretty dramatically.
For the purposes of this calculator, I used $0.40/lb for the low end of the range and $1/lb for the high end. This number is then multiplied by the weight entered in the “HHG weight” box. The eligible expenses entered in the “Expenses” form are then subtracted to take into account the tax deduction. This remaining amount is then multiplied by 0.75 to take into account a 25% tax rate. This final numbers are what you see in the “Reimbursement for movement of HHG” boxes in the “Allowances” form.