To DITY or Not to DITY 

Frequent relocation is a "normal" part of military life, but it is hardly something that any military family would say is "easy". Adapt and overcome is our motto though and when it comes to moving, most military families have figured out a system that works well for them. But maybe it is time to explore all of your options.

While the government will provide packers and movers, you do have the option to choose a Do-It-Yourself (DITY) or Personally Procured Move (PPM). If you are ambitious, you can choose to do a full DITY, moving all of your worldly possessions. Or you can opt for a partial DITY, moving only a portion of your household goods. And why would you want to do something crazy like this, you ask? 

There are several advantages to considering a move of this nature. First and most importantly is that it can be financially beneficial. The government will pay you 95 percent of what it would cost them to pay a contracted mover to move the authorized weight of your household goods. Meaning, if you are able to do your move in an economical manner, the difference between what the government pays you and what it costs you, is yours to keep. The government will also reimburse you for items such as: 

  • Truck/trailer/portable storage units costs

  • Packing materials

  • Furniture pads and packing blankets

  • Hand truck rental

  • Gas, oil and any tolls paid along your route.

To begin the process, you must meet with a representative at your installations Transportation Office to submit an application for a DITY move. The representative will walk you through the process, supplying you with all of the necessary details and documents. 

When you apply for a DITY move, you may also request an Advanced Operating Allowance. This will give you money up front for the expenses involved in executing your move yourself. While there are several documents you must submit and keep track of, there is none more important that the Certified Weight Tickets. You will need one ticket for your Tare (empty weight) and one for your Gross (loaded weight) and NO claim will be paid without these tickets, so be sure to keep all of your documents and receipts together in an organized fashion that won’t get lost in the shuffle.

Time is on your side when you procure your own move. You are allotted travel time during your PCS and if you choose to do a DITY move, you’ll receive additional permissive TDY to make your move. This could mean a more leisurely trip across country and a unique opportunity to pay a visit to family or friends along the way.

Another advantage of a DITY move is the control you have over your household goods. We all have horror stories of items that were lost or damaged in a move and there is no better way to insure the safety of your goods than to transport them yourself. A partial DITY is a good alternative to a full DITY in that you can opt to pack and transport only those items that are irreplaceable. 

There are a couple of options for DITY moves, to include renting a truck/trailer, you load/they drive, moving items in your own POV, or you can utilize a self-packing portable storage container.

Whether you rent a full size truck, attach a trailer to your car or pack your car to its gills, it is a good idea to survey the items you plan to transport and estimate the space you will need for packing. Speaking from experience, there is nothing worse than packing up your U-Haul once the moving trucks have left and realizing you don't have enough room to transport the boxes left behind.

If the idea of being able to pack your items into boxes that are organized and clearly labeled appeals to you, then choosing the "You Load, They Drive" option may e the perfect answer. Some commercial movers offer this option, which allows you to do your own packing, loading and unloading, and they provide the truck and driver. 

Another relatively new option is the use of portable storage containers. Choose from a variety of sizes, have it delivered right to your driveway, and pack it at your leisure. This eliminates the need to drive that U-Haul across the country, or your POV that is so packed you aren't sure if you will have room for the kids. Plus, if you decide to take an extended trip across country, or your home isn't ready when you arrive at your destination, you can opt to have your box stored for you. Once you are ready to unpack your belongings, just call and have the box delivered to your new home.

While PODS was the first company to offer portable storage containers, several companies now offer this service. The following companies also offer a military discount: PODS, Units, Moving Containers by United Mayflower, Door to Door Storage and CubeSmart.  Military discounts are also offered from many of national truck rental companies such as Penske and Budget. It is important to remember to ask about military discounts as this can yield a larger profit for you in the end.

Once you arrive at your new duty station, you must submit your claim with the transportation office within 45 days of completing your move. Your claim should include DD Form 2278DD Form 1351-2, certified weight tickets (empty and full), PCS orders, receipts for rental equipment, fuel, tolls and fees for weight tickets. Reimbursement for personal travel (food and lodging), pay and allowances is completely separate from the claim for a DITY move. 

For the regulations regarding Permanent Duty Travel and what portion of a DITY move the government will reimburse you for, we have included a link to the Joint Federal Travel Regulations (Chapter 5, Permanent Duty Travel), posted on the Defense Travel Management Office website. 

However you choose to embark on your next PCS move, we hope that it will be an organized and easy transition.

 Click here for your DITY checklist!