When my coworkers found out my husband and I decided to do a personal procured moved (PPM) – or “a FULL DITY” move for you old school folks – from Northern Virginia all the way to southern Arizona, their reactions ranged from a simple, “Wow, good luck!” to speechless laughter (think: the ‘you have got to be kidding me… you must be insane!’).
We were fortunate this time around. This PCS didn’t come as a shock to us. We practically knew when it was coming. And we knew exactly where we were heading for our next career course: good ol’ Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
I started organizing way before we started packing, cleaning out junk drawers, purging closets, and things of that nature. Being organized really helped when we started filling the boxes. I scored free boxes from Craigslist, and made several runs to Home Depot for packing supplies like tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap because they have a 10% military discount!
Moving along, (get it? The pun was totally intended) we notified landlords, canceled utilities, submitted change of address, and requested necessary medical records, including our dog’s. A tip to remember: a month after the move, check back with the old utilities companies and make sure your accounts are closed out and have no remaining balance.
Once our cars were weighed, sans stuff, we convinced a few friends to help us load everything onto the trailer we purchased for the move. Our awesome crew happily accepted payment in the form of pizza and smiles!
All packed and ready to go, we stopped at the weigh station outside of town to get our full weight (loaded cars and trailer), and then we were off! The first leg of the trip was drama free. We stayed at a LaQuinta Inn in Nashville – they are inexpensive, super dog and pet friendly, and have military discounts! Score!
Then, our truck lost its brakes between Memphis and Dallas. Try driving through downtown Dallas without brakes… actually, no, don’t try it! My husband managed to make it, thanks to the trailer hand brake.
We stopped in Dallas for a few days, stayed with family, fixed the truck and hit the road, again. Our poor pup was sick of the car by this point. I swear he rolled his eyes whenever it was time to go.
We crossed into Arizona as the sun was setting – a terrific way to welcome us to our new state. A few days of permissive temporary duty (TDY) was all it took for us to find a house to rent. The bonus was that we didn’t have to wait for any household goods to arrive! With keys in hand, we unloaded our boxes, filled the fridge and poured the wine.
Doing a PPM is not for everyone. But it can be done, and it can be worth it. We had it EASY, with only one furry ‘kid’ in tow.
Most people are weary of a PPM move because of the cost. Not every service member will receive the same amount money for moving expenses, which can end up costing a substantial amount upfront, and this may not work for your family.
We chose to put the expenses on a credit card with reward points, and paid it off along the way. In some branches, service members are able to get a cash advance from the military. So, don’t write the PPM option off immediately!
Here’s a glance at our breakdown of expenses:
Total Out of Pocket Expenses: $7,180
- Trailer (we bought instead of renting): $5,000
- Moving Supply Expenses: Roughly $200
- Total fuel for two cars (one hybrid SUV, one diesel truck hauling a trailer): $1,100
- Food for the trip: Roughly $350
- Fix for truck brakes: $50 – an inexpensive fix thanks to a savvy father-in-law
- Lodging while traveling: $80, LaQuinta Inn Nashville
- Lodging during permissive TDY: $400, Holiday Inn Express Sierra Vista
Total Amount Collected + sale of trailer: $18,000 (after Taxes)
- Trailer (sold it for the purchase cost): $5,000
- Per Diem Pay, Dislocation Allowance, Mileage: $5,700
- Pay per weight of move: $7,300
Total Profit: $10,820
This move ended up being a win for us, and a win for the Army, since they only pay us 95% of what they would pay professional movers.
So, would I do it again? Let me get back to you on that…
Has your family ever done a PPM (fully DITY) move? What were some of the challenges you faced?
Posted by Allie Jones, Program Manager, Spouse Education + Professional Support