How to Hire Professional Movers for a Domestic PCS

Asha Kennedy
Jul 19, 2022
Icon Time To Read3 min read

If you’ve got an upcoming domestic PCS, but don’t have the bandwidth to handle your move from start to finish, (or maybe you just don’t want to leave the heavy lifting to your spouse) we suggest hiring a professional mover with military moving experience to lend a hand.

Best moving companies for military moves

Use case
Company type
Military discounts review
Learn more
Best for tight schedules
4.7 out of 5 stars
Truck rental company
Icon Yes  Light10% military discount
Best for customizable pricing
4.1 out of 5 stars
Moving container company
Icon Yes  Light$50 military discount
Best for limited budgets
4 out of 5 stars
Moving container company
Icon Yes  Light10% military discount
Best for long-distance moves
4.5 out of 5 stars
Full-service moving company
Icon No  LightNo military discounts
Best for customizable service
4.6 out of 5 stars
Full-service moving company
Icon No  LightNo military discounts
Best for security standards
4.3 out of 5 stars
Full-service moving company
Icon Yes  Light$75,000 free moving coverage for military members

Why should I hire professional movers for my military move?

There are a couple of reasons why hiring professional movers may benefit you (even if you’ve chosen to go the DIY route):

  • It’ll save you time and energy. With a PPM, you can choose to hire movers for some—or all—of your moving needs. From help with packing and loading to shipping and delivery, hiring a professional mover will allow you to focus on moving your family, and not your stuff…especially if you’re on a restricted timeline.
  • You might make money. The Department of Defense will compensate military service members between 95–100% of the amount it would cost them to hire contracted movers. If you choose a lump sum in advance, you can choose which services to pay for, and pocket the additional money.

You can save even more money by asking your professional moving company if they offer military discounts. Many do, which can be especially helpful if you’re covering your own up-front moving costs (and waiting for reimbursement).

The government pays less for moves

There’s a good reason the Department of Defense is willing to pay out 95–100% of the costs of a PPM. That’s because it uses a competitive bidding process to develop contracts for multiple moves with professional moving companies—resulting in the lowest pricing available. So remember: it’s pretty rare that you’ll be able to beat their prices unless you do some of the move yourself, like packing.

So how do I use professional movers for my domestic PCS?

Hiring professional movers for your upcoming military move isn’t so hard, and we’ll break down the entire process in five straightforward steps:

  1. Visit your TMO. Once you’ve received your official PCS orders, you can visit your TMO or Training Military Office. There, you can choose between a Member-Elected PPM or an Actual Cost Reimbursement PPM—the first allows you to receive a one-time, lump-sum payment, while the service member pays the other lump sum upfront, which the military reimburses as a “dislocation allowance” (DLA).
  2. Choose a mover. As we’ve mentioned, you’ll want to select a mover with experience moving military members…especially if you need specialty services, like car shipping. For customizable, full-service moving, we recommend United Van Lines or Mayflower.
  3. Organize your receipts. Make sure you hang on to any sales paperwork from official contracts to receipts for renting vehicles and paying for moving supplies. All of them could come in handy, especially if you are waiting to get reimbursed until after your move.
  4. Get moving. During a PPM, you’re responsible for getting your moving truck weighed on a registered scale (think: truck stops)—both when it’s empty and when it’s full. If you’ve hired a professional mover, you’ll need to make sure they get those weights for you.
  5. Return to your TMO. While this step may not be necessary if you chose the lump-sum option, you would need to return all receipts and weigh tickets to your TMO if you elected the Department of Defense to reimburse you for your move. And the sooner, the better because it could still take several weeks to receive payment once you’ve submitted your paperwork.

Remember: if you’ve got any questions along the way, please make sure to reach out to your resources—whether you contact your local TSP (or transportation office) or other military families stationed with you—there’s always a place to go for more information!

What should I look for in a moving company for a military move?

Picking a professional moving company for a move can be tricky, especially for military families who may or may not need full-service moving. So we’ve put together a short list of qualities a great mover will offer:

  • GSA-approved
  • Customizable moving services
  • Interstate and international moving experience
  • Background-checked employees
  • Shipment tracking
  • Safety compliance
  • Storage in Transit (SIT) and Non-temporary storage (NTS)

Bottom line

Relocating for a military move can be stressful, but hiring professional movers to help you can save time, energy, and even money if you’re savvy. The real key is to stay organized, keep accurate records, and follow the directions given by your local officials. If you can, you’ll finish PCSing in no time.

Asha Kennedy
Written by
Asha Kennedy
Asha Kennedy is a researcher and content writer who brings almost 5 years of experience working directly with multiple carriers as a Move Coordinator, including Mayflower, United, and Allied International. During her career, she has successfully partnered with diverse clientele to coordinate Military, International, Interstate and Corporate relocations—and uses this experience to create meaningful and educational content for future movers! Asha graduated from Hampton University with honors in English. Asha enjoys being in nature, reading books, and learning new things.