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PCSing and Do It Yourself Moves - Everything You Need to Know

PCSing and Do It Yourself Moves - Everything You Need to Know


Reading time - 4 minutes, 47 seconds


Because of the long wait times that many military families are experiencing relating to their summer Permanent Change of Station (PCS) plans, the Department of Defense (DoD) strongly urges service members to explore alternative options for this summer’s moving season. No matter if you’re moving from “out in town” or base housing, this PCS season is going to be a little different than season’s past. 

Military relocation can be tough and the demand for movers, trucks, and moving containers is at an all-time high, so senior leaders across the DoD’s Personnel and Logistics communities are encouraging all Service Members to explore the Personally Procured Move (PPM) option for your PCS. 

What is a PPM?

You might know it as a Do It Yourself (DITY) move, or maybe you’re used to calling it a PPM. No matter what you call it, this kind of PCS gives you the opportunity to get paid to pack and move your belongings yourself instead of relying on a contracted moving company. Service members can move HHG themselves, using rented equipment, personally owned vehicles, or by hiring a moving company. If driving across the country on an epic summer road trip sounds like a lot of fun, you might really enjoy completing a PPM for your next PCS. But it’s also a big undertaking since you’ll be required to pack and move all of your Household Goods (HHG), just like with a typical PCS. The upside? Aside from that road trip, you might end up making some money from the move. 

The Government Constructive Cost (GCC) is the amount of money it would cost the DoD to move you and your family. If it would cost the DoD $10,000 to move from your losing installation to your gaining installation, then the GCC is $10,000. If you make a PPM, you are entitled to 95-100% of the GCC, even if you don’t spend that amount to move. The exact calculation rations for the GCC are not known; however, we know that the DoD considers the distance you’ll be traveling, the weight allowance and actual weight of your HHG, and the Service Member’s rank. 

If your family chooses to do a PPM, you will receive reimbursement up to 100% of the GCC if you hire your own carrier or an incentive payment of 95% of the GCC if you move your HHG on your own.

How to do a PPM/DITY Move

When you choose to do a PPM/DITY, it’s up to you to plan all of the details of your move, including pack-outs and the trek across the country. 

An important point to consider is that you’re not required to do a full PPM. That is, you can choose to do a partial move, which allows you to transport a portion of your HHG and allow a DoD contracted moving company to move the rest. Your weight allowance is split between your partial PPM and your DoD move. You might consider asking your Transportation Office for a moving calculator to help you anticipate what your expenses will be and how much you might be entitled to in your travel claim. Or, you can use an online calculator like this one

You have three options for how your HHG will get from your losing installation to your gaining installation.

  • Using your car: The DoD authorizes you to use your personally owned vehicle to complete your PPM. 

  • Rental: You’re also authorized to rent a moving truck or any other accessories you might need to complete your move. Rentals must come from authentic rental vendors like U-Haul.

  • Commercial: You can contract commercial carriers; however, you might run into the same challenges the DoD is having in finding available trucks, packers, and drivers. 

No matter if you choose to drive your own vehicle, rent a moving truck, or hire a moving company for your PPM, you’ll need empty and full certified weight tickets. Make sure your vehicle is weighed at a certified weigh station - otherwise, the DoD is not obligated to pay you. When you have your vehicle weighed, you’ll need to have the imprint or official stamp of the weigh station with the name and location clearly marked, along with the signature and title of the official certifying the weight. Additionally, your weight information needs to include the following information:

  • A legible imprint of the weight and the date the weight was taken 

  • Service members name, rank, and social security number

  • Identification markers of the vehicle weighed

It is important to keep a copy of each ticket for your records. This weight must be as accurate as possible. Otherwise, you might end up with a lower reimbursement rate. 

Verify Renters Insurance and Auto Insurance before PPM

The DoD isn’t liable for any damages or losses that occur during your PPM. Since you’re doing everything yourself, you’re responsible for any damage that happens along the way. You might consider checking with your Renters Insurance carrier to see if there are additional short-term plans or policies you can purchase ahead of your PPM. Additionally, make sure that your auto insurance covers you if you’re driving a rental truck.

If you decide to hire a commercial HHG carrier, make sure the carrier provides insurance on the shipment in accordance with all laws. 

Temporary Storage

Temporary storage is authorized up to 90 days at the DoD’s expense while you wait for housing. However, reimbursement is based on the DoD’s cost to store a like item of similar weight and won’t include an incentive payment. 

Funding a PPM 

In most cases, your Transportation Service Provider (TSP) is authorized to provide an advanced operating allowance to help offset the cost of moving. However, before you jump on board the PPM move, make sure it’s going to be effective for you and your family. Keep in mind that your TSP will need to authorize the PPM. Given the current PCS conditions, it shouldn’t be challenging to get that authorization.

When you in-process, you have to submit a claim for the balance of your reimbursement or incentive to the TSP on your new installation within 45 days of your move date. It’s imperative you file the claim within this window; otherwise, the DoD won’t reimburse you for your move. Your claim will include DD Form 2278 (Application for Do It Yourself Move), DD Form 1351-2 (Travel Voucher), certified weight tickets of your empty and full vehicle, and a copy of your orders. 

A PPM Made Easy

Remember that Service Members aren’t obligated to PCS via a PPM. If you choose to PPM, you and your family could have a fantastic experience driving across the country and create lifetime memories. 

Looking for more tips to help navigate this PCS season? Check out our other resources in our Moving Series - How to File an Inconvenience Claim and Your Guide to Understanding Entitlements. Find out more about PPMs on’s tutorial page. 

If you are experiencing financial hardship relating to your PCS, you are encouraged to contact your branch military relief society for assistance.

Army Relief Society

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society 

Related: Confused by all the acronyms associated with a PCS? We’ve got you covered with this simple glossary! 


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