Getting Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders can be an exciting moment. It may be something you have already hoped for or a complete and unexpected surprise. If you are an experienced soldier, moving bases may be very familiar. However, if you haven’t moved a lot during your military years, moving may seem like a big task. To help with your move, we have created a list of suggestions you may find helpful. Moving can be stressful, but a little bit of preparation can avoid most of the unnecessary anxiety. Permanent Change of Station orders can either be CONUS (moves inside the continental United States) or OCONUS (moves outside of the continental US). These are the steps you should follow to ensure a smooth move when you receive CONUS orders.
1. Schedule a meeting with the transportation office
As soon as you receive your orders, you should schedule an appointment with your base transportation office. Getting in touch with the office in advance will ensure that you can quickly work on the paperwork. The military branch you belong to determines the government office you need to visit:
|Military Branch||Office name|
|Department of Defense||Joint Personal Property Shipping Office|
|Air Force||Traffic Management Office|
|Navy and Marine Corps||Personal Property Shipping Office.|
|Coast Guards||Household Goods Shipping Office.|
2. Evaluate your budget
The government will cover the bulk of your move. The government sets a budget that they think will cover the move’s expenses. If your move costs more than this allocated budget – you will need to pay out of your own pocket. The finance office on your current base will help you understand your moving options, budget, and any relocation benefits that you are eligible for.
Consider moving yourself
The military allows you to choose between letting them organize your move or you managing it yourself. This is known as a Personally Procured Move (PPM, formerly known as Do It Yourself – DITY Move). You may think that PPM sounds like an unnecessary hustle, but if you are good at making plans, researching moving companies, and saving receipts – this way of moving may mean you get to save some money! If you opt for PPM, the government will reimburse 95% of what it would cost them to move you. This means that if you’re skillful at keeping a budget and can spend less than what the government would provide for your move, you get to keep the change.
PPM also means you have much more control over the move – which is excellent if you have precious items like motorbikes or pets that need to be transported. Apply for a PPM move with your base transportation office, which will provide you with all necessary forms and instructions.
Organizing your PPM
If you are organizing a PPM, you need to make sure your move costs stay lower than what has been budgeted for you. The shipping marketplace CitizenShipper is a great place to get multiple quotes on shipping services at once. Simply post your shipping requirements on the page, and qualified, experienced drivers, will contact you with quotes. Many of the drivers are ex-servicemen themselves and understand what a move between bases is like. Many drivers have the necessary equipment and experience to move items such as boats, ATVs, motorbikes, and of course, pets. Read more about how to get started on CitizenShipper here.
3. Call ahead about housing
Now that you have planned how you will move, you should contact your new base to learn more about the area. There are several options for finding a home, such as private military installation housing, government-owned military installation housing, single military installation housing, rent a home off-installation, or buy a home off-installation. Choose the one that meets your and your family’s needs and budget.
4. Contact the Family Center at your new base
Most military locations have a Family Center that can provide you with a wide range of assistance. The family Center can help you out with all of the deployment cycle phases, starting with the relocation assistance. You can also get additional information about support for your family, including the possibility of further education for your spouse or options for their employment in the local area.
Furthermore, you will get to know more about the local schools your children can attend and other programs designed to help your family make a strong start in a new place.
5. Plan your move
If you are moving out of government quarters, make sure that the housing office is aware of your move date and that you are also familiar with the regulations regarding cleaning your current home before you move out.
Planning ahead is the most important element of every move, protecting you from any last-minute stress or expense. There are some great moving checklists out there designed specifically for the military to help you make sure everything has been covered.
No matter if you have your move organized or opted for PPM, rest assured that you will be provided with lots of assistance from your base.
Good luck with your move!