Two moves done in one year, and 19 more years to go. Our first move was my first real insight into how the rest could go. My husband was away at training and we had only a couple weeks to find a new place to live and to arrange moving services. We knew months ahead of time when and where we would be moving, we just would not receive orders until a mere two weeks before moving. So I decided I would need to try my hand at a DITY (now called PPM) move due to timing restrictions. We had tenants coming into our house August 1st and ordered arrived July 12th.
Our second move was also fairly quick, however, we were not under quite the same time crunch as the previous move. The second move we decided to have the Navy come pack and move us. Our move was only about 350 miles away and we were able to go back and forth between bases for a few weeks before movers came. We were able to take 2 trips back and forth with both cars and filled them to the brim with our more valuable items. After reading dozens of horror stories about movers breaking and losing things, I was nervous for our own move. I felt much better being able to drive my valuable items to our new home and not rely on the packing abilities of the movers.
Now that we have done both a DITY move and a Navy move, I have a much better idea of what we may do in the future. Here are some of the pros, cons and just general comparisons of the two.
1. DITY moves give you freedom. Are you somewhat of a control freak like I am? A DITY move gives you so much more control. You get to pick and interview different companies and solutions for your move. You get to pick when you move. For our DITY move I interviewed 4 different moving companies. And let me tell you, it really feels like a lot of their sales staff just do not care. Only about half of the companies I interviewed even showed up to our meeting. My thinking on that is… if your sales staff can’t even show up to talk about my move, how am I supposed to believe they will be available to help during my move? They automatically got crossed off my list for that. I decided I was not about to drive a Uhaul across the country, so that was also automatically off the board. I ended up deciding on Upack/ABF shipping pods. They were a little more expensive than just getting a truck, but I felt more comfortable knowing no one could go through my belongings- they were locked in a pod and the whole pod would be transported place to place. I also liked that they left them in my driveway and I could load at my leisure.
2. DITY moves are stressful. Let’s talk about packing up your entire house in 2 days and loading the pods in 1. I could not pack up our house early because we did not get tenants in to our house until last minute. I didn’t want to have piles of boxes everywhere while having showings and random people walking through the house. It is stressful to interview several moving companies and have to deal with getting enough boxes, paper, etc. Sure you can still hire people to load up your truck/pods but that costs money and in a DITY move you get paid back by weight.. not your cost. I was a huge ball of stress during this move for weeks trying to do everything myself in such a short amount of time.
3. It is not that easy to profit off a DITY move. I always hear stories about people making tons of money from DITY moves. I do not really know how this happens. In the military, you get reimbursed by your move weight. There is a certain dollar amount per pound, with a limit based on your rank. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for your move, you get what you get and that’s it. Granted, I know that pods are a little more expensive than a regular truck trailer. That being said, even if we had used a trailer, we would have only made a few hundred dollars. Not worth it in my perspective for that type of move. Maybe if you rent a Uhaul you can make more, I’m not sure. All I’m saying is that you should not go into doing a DITY move thinking you will make a lot of money.
4. To trust or not trust your moving company? This is probably the hardest part for me about having the military move us. I do not like other people touching my stuff. I feel uneasy knowing my belongings are on a truck somewhere with people I’ve never met and who knows if they packed the boxes well and loaded my furniture nicely. What will be broken? Something always breaks, it’s just a matter of what and how attached to it I am. We were lucky with this last move and only had a workbench and a few small items damaged and nothing missing. I tried to follow the unspoken “rules” about tipping and feeding your moving team, both on the load and unload. I tried to pay attention to what they did without watching too closely or nagging about how they packed. I tried to have a little faith in their abilities, and for the most part it worked out. Now I know this is not how it will be every move, but it gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
5. Claims. The move.mil and DPS sites are horrible. They barely work at all on my computer and are not the easiest to navigate. We just submitted our claim for the workbench, so I do not have the wonderful experience of dealing with that just yet.
Overall we have had good moves so far. I think we will continue to do military moves for a while though. I just feel less stress doing these moves, mainly because I have had to do both moves so far without help. Part of me still wants to do DITY moves because I would have more control over my belongings, but it just may not be doable for a while (especially moving from a third floor apartment). Every move is different and everyone’s experiences are different. By the end of the next 19 years I may be singing a different tune, but for now, we’ve been pretty happy with our moves.