A personally procured move (PPM) is a move that active-duty military members choose to arrange themselves rather than having the military set it up. The military member pays for the move out-of-pocket, and the military reimburses them after the move is over.
During a PPM (formerly called a do-it-yourself, or DITY, move), the government gives the military members a moving allowance to arrange the move themselves.
PPMs (formerly called do-it-yourself, or DITY, moves) take more effort, but they let you control the process and potentially save — or even make — money. (You can keep the difference if your move costs less than the government’s allowance).
Who are personally procured moves (PPMs) for?
PPMs are for military members and their families who are moving and want to coordinate the move themselves.
If you want more control over your move or even pack and move yourself, then a PPM move might be a good option. And if you can keep your move under the government’s allowance, you can keep the extra.
- Complete control over your moving timeline
- Less risk of someone else breaking your stuff
- Potential to pocket some cash at the end of the move
- You have to coordinate the move yourself
- Allowance from the military might not leave enough room to make a profit
Downsides of PPMs
PPMs can be time-consuming and stressful. During a typical permanent change of station (PCS) moves, the military organizes and carries out the move for the military member. If planning any portion of the move sounds overwhelming, consider leaving it to the military-vetted moving pros.
You also have to pay for a PPM move out-of-pocket. The government reimburses you after the move is over. The delayed reimbursement might be a dealbreaker if you don’t have much cash. And you wouldn’t have to pay for anything if the military directly coordinates your move.
Also, higher-ranking military members generally receive a larger allowance. So if you’re a lower-ranking military member, you might want to have the military arrange and pay for your move directly.
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Full vs. partial PPM
During a full PPM move, the military member handles 100% of the move, including packing and scheduling the moving truck or trailer.
People often choose a full PPM and do the work themselves to keep the leftover money from the moving allowance. Full PPMs make the most sense if you plan on packing, loading, unloading, and driving yourself. If you hire a full-service mover, you probably won’t have money left over.
A partial PPM move is a hybrid between traditional military moves and PPMs. You let the military handle part of the move, and then you move the rest of your stuff yourself.
Partial PPMs are an excellent option if you want some money left over from the moving allowance the military gives you but don’t want to do everything yourself. And they’re great for lower-ranking military members who might not have a high enough allowance to cover a full-service mover.
It’s also a great option if you have fragile items you’d prefer to keep close during the move.
How to prepare for a PPM
The details of the PPM moving process depend on which military branch you belong to, but we’ve outlined the general steps to prepare for a PPM move.
Contact your local transportation officer
Contact your local transportation office as soon as you decide to pursue a PPM move. If you aren’t sure who to contact, call the Department of Defense at 1-888-332-7411.
The military has to approve you for a PPM in order for you to receive reimbursement, so fill out the necessary forms ASAP. Your transportation officer can explain logistics, like your weight allowance and travel entitlements. They should be able to tell you exactly how much you can spend on the move.
Research your moving options
Consider the level of service you need and then research and compare moving companies that meet those needs.
Are you planning on doing a partial PPM or a full PPM? Which part of the process do you want professionals to handle? Do you plan on renting a moving truck?
Look at the company’s customer reviews and Better Business profile to help you understand a company’s real-life practices.
Get packing supplies
First, check which supplies you already have. Then go to stores with military discounts to get anything you don’t have.
One of the best ways to save money on a PPM is to use packing supplies you already have. Military members on blogs and forums recommend reusing boxes and packing supplies from other members who have made PPM moves.
If you have to buy some supplies, stores like Home Depot offer military members up to $400 in discounts per calendar year.
Crunch and re-crunch the numbers
Before you start your move, add up the potential costs. Then compare that cost to the government allowance.
The government bases its allowance for PPMs on what it would have paid military movers for the move. You’ll lose money if you spend more than that allowance. If you spend less, you might even make a small profit.
Save receipts and tally costs as you go so you can submit them for reimbursement later. Remember, the government won’t reimburse you for:
- Tow dollies
- Auto transportation
- All insurance fees
- Sales tax
- Meals and lodging
- Gas for a second vehicle
- Talk to your military transportation officer. You have to get military approval for a PPM to get your reimbursement. The application process varies depending on the military branch you or your family member belongs to. Ask your local transportation officer for details.
- Get truck rental quotes. Quotes from truck rental companies like U-Haul and Penske will help you know if a PPM move is worth the cost.
- Get organized. Once your PPM move is approved and you’ve chosen a mover or truck rental company, it’s time to organize your stuff. Make a labeling system, and put all your receipts and move documents into a folder you can keep on hand.
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FAQ about personally procured moves
How much will I get paid for a PPM?
There’s no good way to tell exactly how much you will get paid for a PPM, and there isn’t a standardized PPM move calculator. The government will pay you the amount it would have cost to hire a mover.
Your transportation officer should use the weight of your stuff (DITY move reimbursement rate per pound), the move distance, and your military rank to figure out how much you’ll get paid. Reach out to your local transportation office for a better idea.
How long does it take to get a DITY move reimbursement?
You must submit all PPM (or DITY) move documentation within 45 days of the move. According to the Defense Logistics Agency, the government can take up to two weeks to process your claim.
Why trust us?
Before writing this guide, we interviewed the following individuals about PPMs:
- Carissa Omps: A military spouse who completed full and partial PPMs when her husband relocated to different military bases around the country.
- Tywanquila Walker: Author of the Order Your Life Moving Guide and former military member who has completed several military moves.