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Consumer Watch: PCS in 12 easy steps

May. 12, 2011 - 10:47AM   |   Last Updated: May. 12, 2011 - 10:47AM  |  
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Last updated May 20, 2014.

Here are some steps to follow in your PCS move.

1. Get on good terms with your landlord

It helps to have a good relationship with your landlord. One Army wife said when her move was delayed, as officials scrambled to find a company to pack and truck their goods, the housing privatization company on base extended their lease for a few days.

2. Make arrangements ASAP

The most important thing to do is to get to your transportation and personal property office to arrange your move as soon as you get your orders and figure out the dates. You can also "self-counsel" online to set up your move at

3. Request the correct type of delivery

If you're moving "door to door," your household goods are not put into temporary storage but are delivered right off the truck.

If you know you won't be moving door-to-door, don't request a direct delivery. Problems arise when you request a direct delivery and are not there to receive it.

4. Be flexible with dates

Try to target a range of dates because some moving companies will "black out" certain times, refusing military shipments on those dates.

5. Be wide open on moving days

Packing, pickup and delivery dates are scheduled on weekdays. Make sure you or your designated representative is at your home between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the scheduled days.

6. Schedule a pre-move survey

Ideally, this is done at least a week ahead of pickup. The mover will assess types and number of boxes and special packing needed, for example. But sometimes schedules don't allow for a week of lead time, so prepare to be flexible.

7. Follow up to confirm dates

Once you request your moving dates, don't assume the dates are set. Contact your transportation and personal property office if you haven't heard from the moving company. Requested pickup and delivery dates are not confirmed until you and the moving company agree on the pack and pickup dates.

8. Consider moving yourself

Service members and families can arrange for a "personally procured move" (formerly called a do-it-yourself move). You can rent your own truck or hire a commercial mover yourself. Check with your transportation and personal property office beforehand to get the rules and ensure proper reimbursement. While officials can't point people to a particular company, you may check with your base family center for starters.

9. Shoot for off-peak dates

Try to avoid moving between the last week of June and the first week of July. That's the "peak of the peak" season, when everyone wants to move not just military people, but anyone else across the nation who is moving this summer.

10. Go online for resources

Military OneSource offers tips, checklists and planners that can be customized to meet your family's needs. Under "Military Life Topics," click on "Moving."

The Defense Personal Property Program website provides instructions, phone numbers, tips and other information about moving your household goods.

11. Stay in contact during the move

Keep in touch with the moving company as you travel to your new duty station. Give them phone numbers where you can be reached. If your arrival dates change, tell the company immediately, and let the company know when you have your new address. If you want a direct delivery, you must keep in close contact with the company to arrange delivery and avoid having your household goods put into temporary storage.

12. Line up a point of contact

Find out in advance who to contact with problems or questions. Your first link is the transportation and personal property office. Once you're assigned a moving company, that's your contact. But if there are issues, contact the personal property shipping office. Phone numbers will be on the DD Form 1299 you are provided. Discuss contact information with the personal property office at that first appointment so that you know whom to call in the event of problems. Make sure you have the name and phone number of the local agent who will pack your goods, in addition to the moving company who is arranging it all.

A rule requires a moving company to note in the Defense Personal Property System the name of the local company that will handle the shipment.

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