Most military members move between six and eight times during their career. Each move is accompanied by many emotions but also requires the decision whether to allow movers paid by the military to pack and move all your stuff or pack it and move it yourself. The military will pay military members 95% of what they would have paid a moving company to pack and move themselves. Obviously packing and moving you own stuff requires a lot of time and you can earn a few thousand dollars, but the question is if a personally procured move (PPM, formerly called a Do-It-Yourself “DITY” Move) is worth it? As a military member I have chosen both options, and here are a few things that you should consider before deciding whether a Personally Procured Move is right for you.
Nobody enjoys packing and moving all their stuff if they don’t have to, so in some ways its all about the money. Use this PPM Estimator to see how much money you can make form doing a PPM. Keep in mind, though, that if you move your own stuff, you are responsible for any possible damages to your possessions. In contrast, if you allow a moving company to move your stuff, you can claim compensation for damages. This process for compensation can be lengthy, but it is another financial consideration to have. In addition to how much you get paid, you will be reimbursed for your acceptable costs such as moving supplies and the moving truck.
The largest cost driver for how much you can receive for your PPM is how much your stuff weighs. The more weight you move, the more you can get paid. In general, they say that 1000 pounds/room is a good rough estimate. Keep in mind that there are weight limits for how much the military will pay you to move depending on rank, dependents, destination, and military branch. Typically, for officers that weight limit starts at approximately 14,000 pounds.
Distance and Location
How far you move your stuff has less impact on how much you can get paid than the weight of your stuff. Driving across the country in a large moving truck may be a lot more of a pain than driving a few hours, but the financial compensation will likely be relatively similar. Also, driving to a base in the middle of a city to unload your stuff into an apartment several stories up is much more difficult than a house near a rural base, but none of that difficulty entitles you to more compensation from the military.
Some people are naturally clean and organized. Moving their stuff is simply a matter of transferring it to boxes and then a truck. Others choose to live a more joyful existence (personal bias may be included) and must organize possessions before packing and moving it. Keep in mind though that regardless of whether professional packers move your stuff, you will be organizing your next home and it might be simpler to pack all the stuff yourself.
Personally Procured Moves offer a lot more flexibility with your possessions. When you get them, where you store them, and when you pack them up are all under your complete control with PPMs. The military tries to be flexible, but ultimately you are operating on somebody else’s timeline.
The first time we did a Personally Procured Move, my spouse set new goals for how much stuff we accumulate. There is probably nothing better to fight our human tendency to hoard than to pack up everything you own and move it yourself. Some people look at Personally Procured Moves as being paid to catalog and purge your possessions to live a better life.
With all these factors in mind you are ready to decide whether you want to move everything yourself. If you have decided to do a PPM check out our blog post on How to Do a PPM, and if you still have questions feel free to leave a comment below. As always, please check out or other moving resources.