About Personally Procured Moves

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With Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season in full swing, the internet is full of families talking about their moving experiences and their moving plans.  I’ve recently seem several conversations about the pros and cons of Personally Procured Moves (PPM), formerly known as Do It Yourself (DITY) moves.

A PPM move is where a military service member chooses to be responsible for moving their own household goods during a PCS move.  The service member is reimbursed based upon the weight of the shipment.   The service member gets to decide whether to do all the packing, loading, driving, and unloading themself, or to hire help for any portion of the move.

Is a PPM a good choice for your next PCS?  Consider the positives and negatives before making a decision.

Pros:

You are in control of the entire situation.  You get to decide how to pack your things, how to have them transported, and when they will be picked up and delivered.  You can purge as you pack, and you won’t find your screwdrivers in the box labelled guest bedroom linens unless you put them there.

The potential to have your reimbursement exceed your expenses.  While the rules have changed in the last few years, some readers are still reporting making money off of PPM.  The longer the distance, the more likely that your reimbursement will exceed your expenses.

Cons:

It is a LOT of work.

You are responsible for any damage that occurs during the move.

You have to provide all the supplies, including boxes, paper, tape, blankets, etc.

You will have to find your own short-term storage if you don’t have a place ready for delivery at the other end.  This may mean moving everything into a storage unit, then moving it back to a truck and then to your new home.

It is absolutely possible to spend more than the amount of your reimbursement.  Even if you keep your expenses low, messed up paperwork or missing weight tickets could mean no reimbursement at all.

If you choose to drive a moving truck yourself, you’ll have to either tow your car or find a way to get it to your new home.

The Partial PPM Option

In addition to a full PPM, there is also the option to do a partial PPM.  With a partial PPM, you pack and move only some of your things.  This can be a good compromise for someone who doesn’t want to handle moving the big stuff but still wants to have some control and maybe make a little money.

Don’t Forget The Taxes!

One overlooked fact is that government reimbursement for a PPM is considered taxable income.  If you do a PPM, you will receive an additional W-2 at the end of the year.  The expenses for the move can be deducted, so it is important to hold on to your receipts.

It’s been years since we’ve done a move within the United States, so a PPM move hasn’t been an option for us recently.  For the moves prior, we skipped the PPM route because we had four little kids and couldn’t handle any additional responsibilities.  We did a partial PPM many years ago and maybe made a few hundred dollars.

I’m not a huge PPM fan, probably because we have a large family and a lot of heavy furniture.  However, it is an option that works out well for many people.

What is your PPM experience?  Have you done many?  Any tips, tricks, or things we should know?

 

Image courtesy of www.sunsetremovalsnewcastle.com.au under the Creative Commons license.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • 4M

    Partial all the way!

    My last PCS was coast to coast, and nothing I priced checked would have me breaking even on the move.

    PODS, U-Pack, 1800Packrat, and uhaul all ended up costing more than what Uncle Sam was offering (moving allowance-cost of shipping-cost of boxes-cost of labor-cost of two months of storage).

    I think many people out there clump together DLA/PerDiem/MALT and the move allowance to get “how much they made on a move” but you get DLA/PerDiem/MALT anyways, so it skews the data.

    Profits aside I’m not a fan of my things being unwrapped when switching from carrier to carrier, nor am I thrilled about things getting lost, so unless I’m going overseas next it’s PODS/UPACK/1800packrat for me, and I’ll hire some guys from the barracks to help with the lifting (win-win, they get paid in cash (not pizza and beer, and I don’t have to move 10,000 pounds myself).

    • Kate

      4M, I think you are absolutely right about people lumping together their various allowances when they figure out how much profit they have on their DITY move.

      Our packers come in two days, and I’m not sure I have it in me to do a whole PPM move myself. Just prepping for the packers about does me in!

      If you do a PPM move anytime soon, please come back and let us know all about it. I’d love a guest post!

  • Gonzo41

    I’ve used ABF as my transport for my previous 2 PCS moves and it’s perfect. You schedule the drop-off/pick-up time for 1 or 2 trailers and you pack it. You only pay for how much of the trailer you use (ex: 15ft of the 21ft trailer). You also schedule the drop-off at your next location and have a few days to unload before they come to pick up the trailers. You are reimbursed for all the packing supplies (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.). ABF also gives military discounts (ex: no charge for the weight tickets) which helps even more. My reimbursements far exceeded my expenses. Yes you have to pack your things, but in this case I’m more comfortable knowing when my things leave (ex: 2 days before I sign out and hit the road) and when they get there (ex: 2 days before I arrive) and if anything breaks it’s my fault. I’ve always done the DITY (or PPM now).

  • The potential to have your reimbursement exceed your expenses. While the rules have changed in the last few years, some readers are still Truck Lettering Bronx reporting making money off of PPM. The longer the distance, the more likely that your reimbursement will exceed your expenses.

  • You also schedule the drop-off at your next location and have a few days to unload before they come to pick up the trailers. You are reimbursed for all the packing supplies (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.). ABF also gives military discounts (ex: no charge for the weight tickets) which helps even more.