Coldwell Banker Advantage Blog

I’m making a military move. What do I do? PPM / DITY or movers? Other tips?

Posted: March 12, 2015 by Laurie Donofrio

Moving is just one of those things you accept as part of the military life. There are special things to consider and know when making a military move. Should I go with the PPM program or should I just let them move us? What special steps does the military have for my family?  Below is a short list to help you with your move.


  1. You’ll need 30 copies of your orders. Everyone asks for them, seriously.
  2. PPM vs. Movers is really Money vs. Time and Effort. There are a lot of calculators to help you figure out how much money and to help figure out reimbursements. Many of them are still called DITY rather than PPM. Figuring out your cost first is key. You’ll get 95% of what the government would pay. This will help tell you if you need to have a yard sale now in order to make a move. To find out the weight that the military will move, go the Military Move Calculator. They’ll tell you based on branch, Pay Grade and Years of Service, your weight allowance and even what you can expect in income.
  3. Schedule an appointment with your base Personal Property Transportation office (PTO). They’ll help you with the forms and help answer questions and give tips.
  4. Get all the forms. It’s the military, so there are plenty of forms:
    1. DD Form 2278: Application for Move and Counseling Checklist
    2. Standard Form 1038
    3. Original DD Form 1351-2 Travel Voucher or Subvoucher – more questions about this one than almost any others.
  5. If you choose PPM: Decide on your type of move. Will you do all the packing yourself, but pay for the movers? Will you pay for someone to load the truck for you? Will you do it all yourself?
  6. Confirm your insurance coverage: Whether you are having the military move or moving yourself, you’ll want to check on your insurance. If you are moving yourself, make sure you also check car and accident insurance.
  7. Make sure you know when you can pick up your operating allowance from your local disbursing office.
  8. For PPMs you’ll need two certificates (2 copies each):
    1. Certified empty weight ticket for each shipment
    2. Certified loaded weight ticket for each shipment
    3. Each certificate should have the following:
      1. Name, grade, Social Security number
      2. Name/location of scales
      3. Vehicle/trailer identification
      4. Date of weighing
      5. Weigh Master’s signature
      6. Legible of weights
  9. Get receipts for all moving expenses. All costs associated with the move are not taxable. These will be deducted from your allowance when calculating your actual financial profit. Authorized expenses include:
    1. Payment for rental vehicles/trailers
    2. Packing materials
    3. Moving equipment (including hand trucks and dollies)
    4. Gas and oil expenses
    5. Highway tolls, weight tickets and any other transportation expense directly related to the PPM move
  10. If you can, pay the cleaning fee when you are leaving housing. Cleaning yourself for the inspection on top of everything else is a huge stressor.
  11. If someone is packing for you, still pack your essentials yourself – before they get there – and put them in your car or in a closet clearly marked – don’t pack.. Otherwise your coffee pot may be in parts in 3 different boxes.
  12. Don’t sign the inventory sheet until you’ve actually inspected every piece. Really, when they handed to you and tell you where to sign, take it and say “Thank you”. Then continue to look everything over.
  13. Pack and move or ship all important, valuable and irreplaceable items yourself.
  14. Take pictures of every room and every piece of furniture the day the movers come. You can even video them.
  15. Take pictures of the old place when you leave and the new place when you get there, so you can prove damage wasn’t done by you.
  16. Call ahead to your next base for information about family centers, lending lockers and temporary housing. You may need to pack fewer “essentials” than you thought.
  17. Keep a copy of medical, dental and pet records with you.
  18. If you notice the movers doing a less than professional job, contact the PPO immediately and stay with them all the time.
  19. Ask the movers to pack one room at a time, so you can stay with them and label the boxes. Otherwise, they will all be labeled Misc.
  20. General tip that should be on every “having my house packed” list: Empty your trash cans and clean them, then pack them yourself with things like cleaned plungers, toilet brushes and garbage bags. Take your pets someplace else. They will pack them.Mi

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