Should We PPM or Let the Military Move Us?

Should military members opt out of using a professional moving company’s services and do a Personally Procured Move, or PPM? Here are some factors to consider before making your decision.
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Military PPM Move
Table of Contents
  1. The Benefits of PPM aka Moving Yourselves
    1. You’ll Save Money
    2. You Make Your Own Timeline
    3. Less Chance of Broken or Stolen Things
    4. You Won’t Accidentally Pack Trash or Pets
  2. The Problems with PPMs
    1. It’s a Lot of Work
    2. You’ll Need Friends to Help
    3. You Aren’t a Moving Professional
    4. You Have to Drive a Moving Van…Everywhere

Once you get orders to PCS to a new duty station, one of the first decisions you must make is whether you will move yourselves in a PPM or let the military move you. Whenever a service member moves on PCS orders, the military will pay for a professional moving company to pack, move, and unpack all your goods. Each service member has a weight allowance based on rank and whether they have dependents.

A service member may choose to opt-out of the professional moving company’s services if they decide to move themselves. This was formerly called a Do-it-Yourself (or DITY) move. It is now referred to as a Personally Procured Move, or PPM. Some servicemembers and their families may also choose to do a partial-PPM move, in which you opt to move some of your belongings, but have the military-provided moving company move everything else.

On one hand, a PPM gives military families an opportunity to save lots of money and have more control over their moving process. On the other hand, allowing the military to move you takes a lot of work and stress off the family, which can be particularly helpful during a deployment or a pregnancy. Different moves may be better for you at different times in your career, depending on your family size, children’s ages, and the amount of stuff you need to move.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of moving yourself as a military family.

The Benefits of PPM aka Moving Yourselves

You’ll Save Money

When you do the work yourselves instead of hiring a moving company, the military lets you keep most of the funds. Many people pocket a large amount of cash when they move themselves. However, you will need to take some steps to maximize your profits. Be sure to save all your receipts from buying moving boxes, renting a moving van, or buying gas. You will be reimbursed by the weight and by the miles between duty stations.

You Make Your Own Timeline

Taking charge of your move means you don’t waste time waiting for movers to arrive. You can start packing weeks ahead of time, if you wish. You will have all your goods with you when you arrive at the next duty station, so you won’t have to wait weeks for them to arrive.

Less Chance of Broken or Stolen Things

No one is going to take better care of your things than you are. If you’re worried about theft or damage, then moving yourself allows you to keep everything in your sight the entire time. With that said, you should read up on professional moving tips, so you don’t accidentally break all your china or let the TV fall over!

You Won’t Accidentally Pack Trash or Pets

We have all heard horror stories of movers who packed up dirty pizza boxes, bags of trash, or even live pets into the moving boxes! When you move yourself, you know what not to pack. You don’t need to place signs on the baby saying, “Do not pack!”

The Problems with PPMs

It’s a Lot of Work

There’s nothing like a move to make you realize how much stuff you own! If you’re moving out of your first apartment, it might not be so bad. If you have several young children, however, moving yourself is a nightmare. If you live in a building with no elevator and tight staircases… you might want to hire a moving company.

You’ll Need Friends to Help

Moving furniture requires strength and patience. It helps if you have some equipment like a dolly and moving straps. It also helps if you can convince friends to lend a hand. You may need to bribe them with a beer, home-cooked meal, or even cash. But bribing friends is still cheaper than hiring professionals! If you plan to do it all on your own or with your spouse, you may soon discover that you aren’t up to the challenge.

You Aren’t a Moving Professional

There’s a reason people pay for professional moving companies. They work fast, they are strong, and they take apart or dissemble furniture all day long. They know a few tricks about how to safely pack breakable items like dishes, picture frames, and keepsakes. They also know what size box to use for different items, so the boxes don’t get too heavy. And watching them selectively load a truck is like watching a game of Tetris. Yes, you may be able to learn some of these things by reading articles online or through basic trial and error. But that’s a risk you take when you move yourself.

You Have to Drive a Moving Van…Everywhere

You don’t need a special license to drive a rental moving truck. However, they are large and can be very inconvenient in certain situations—gas stations, fast food restaurants, parking garages, suburban neighborhoods, etc. If you were planning to do some sight-seeing while you move to the next location, having a moving van is a huge inconvenience. Also, if you plan to split up while one person drives the moving truck and the other person drives your personal vehicle, then realize that one of you will be driving alone with the kids and/or pets for the entire trip.

Now that you know the pros and cons of PPMs, you should be able to decide which style of move is best for you and your family.

Pros

  • Save Money
  • Move on your timeline
  • You have more control over your belongings
  • You know what to pack and what to leave behind

Cons

  • It’s a massive amount of work!
  • You may need help from friends or coworkers
  • Moving supplies can be expensive
  • You may need to hire help for large, heavy, or bulky items
  • You have to drive the moving van.
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About Lizann Lightfoot

Lizann Lightfoot is a military spouse who has been following her Marine around the world for 15 years. A mom of 4 young children, she loves military resources, and anything free. Lizann is a published author, and the voice behind The Seasoned Spouse blog.

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