This time of year, we see many service members and their families come down on orders and await their next PCS. If it is your first PCS, or if it has been a while you may be trying to figure out what comes next. Do movers just show up at my home or are there things that I need to do? Navigating the process of your PCS all starts with your orders and getting your household goods to your next location.
Congratulations on receiving orders on your next PCS adventures, now what?
Set Up Your Move
The first step of the process is setting up your move on the Defense Personal Property System (DPS), which is accessed through move.mil. You do need to have hard orders to start this process, but you do not need an address (you can update that later). As soon as you receive your orders you should set up your shipment to let the military know how you plan to move – military contracted move, personally procured move (PPM), or a partial PPM. If you are planning the military contracted move, setting up your move as soon as possible will give your assigned transportation service provider (TSP) time to plan and coordinate your move.
After setting up your move you will be contacted by your assigned TSP to perform the pre-move survey. Sometimes this even is done with a person showing up to your home, but many companies are moving to have it virtually done with an app and your smartphone. The purpose of this survey is so the company can see how much stuff you have so they can plan the amount of packing materials needed and how big the crew may need to be to complete the job. This is the time to speak up about any oversized items like couches or California king beds and to let them know if you have any unusual things (like that tractor tire for the cross fitters). This is also the time to request if you want a special crate made for anything such as the curved tv, an animal mount, or antique item. These surveys usually do not take more than 30 minutes to complete.
Prep Your Home and Inventory
After setting up your move, its always a good idea to start prepping your home for the move. The first step is what many call the “PCS Purge.” This is a general cleaning out of your home, room by room, to pull out anything that you no longer need or want. Doing this will help get rid of any unnecessary weight you may have towards your weight allotment and will also help you have less stuff to unpack on the other end. A good rule of thumb is that if you did not use it at your current location, know you will not use it at your next location, and is not sentimental then it may be a good time to get rid of the item. Take these items and have a good yard sale for some extra PCS cash.
Now that you have cleaned out your home, you should create a good inventory of your items. Having a more detailed inventory of your household goods will come in handy if you have a box that goes missing or have a catastrophic loss. At that time, you will be required to itemize what you can for reimbursement. If you cannot itemize then the company can pay you based on the liability amount of $6 per pound up to $75,000. If you have the inventory ahead of time, it makes that process much smoother.
Another way that you can prep your home is by doing what many calls “pre-packing”. What this means is that you are prepping or staging your home for the movers to come pack. Many will put trash bags over their hanging clothes, place folded clothes, linens, and towels into zip lock flex totes, and use other bags for toys, office supplies, craft items, and other small things. Doing so helps ensure your items are easily protected, helps make packing and unpacking easier. Of course, pre-packing is not at all required. Do keep in mind if you have any packed storage totes or boxes, the company does have the right to repack items, as necessary.
Check Insurance Policies
Before your move happens, it is a great time to check your insurance policies. Make sure your renters/homeowners/personal property policies cover your household goods while in transit and in storage. If your policy covers those criteria, you should not cancel your policies, and only update with address after you move. If your policy does not cover in transit or storage, you should consider shopping around for another policy. These policies come in handy again if you happen to have a catastrophic loss. The moving company is only liable up to $75,000. If it would cost more than that to replenish your home, then you will need to file with your private insurance who would pay secondary to the moving company. Bonus is that if you have that inventory already completed as mentioned earlier, it will make this process go that much smoother.
Now that your move is set up and your home is prepped its time to wait for the pack and load days!