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Find Out: DITY Move Vs. Full Service – Which Is Best For You?

Relocating is an integral part of military life, and every service member faces the decision of how to approach their move. With the myriad of options available, two stand out prominently: the Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move and the full-service move provided by the military.

While both have their merits, the choice often boils down to individual preferences, circumstances, and the potential financial implications. This comprehensive guide delves deep into the pros and cons of both options, offering insights from real-life experiences and expert advice.

Whether you’re a seasoned service member familiar with the relocation process or a newbie just receiving your first set of PCS orders, this article will equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision. Dive in to discover which moving option aligns best with your needs and how to ensure a smooth transition to your new station.

Understanding DITY Move

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DITY moves, also known as Personally Procured Moves, have become increasingly popular among military families. They offer a unique approach to the relocation process, allowing service members more control over their move.

1. What is a DITY Move?

A DITY move, short for “Do It Yourself” move, is officially termed as a “Personally Procured Move (PPM).” In this type of move, military members take full responsibility for relocating their household goods rather than relying on a professional moving company assigned by the military. This allows for more flexibility and often the chance to earn a profit if the move is executed under budget.

The concept behind a DITY move is simple: the military allocates a certain budget for the move based on weight and distance. If service members can execute the move for less than this allocated amount, they pocket the difference. However, it’s essential to keep track of all moving expenses, from hiring a moving truck to purchasing packing materials.

2. Benefits of Opting for a DITY Move

Many military families opt for a DITY move because of the potential financial benefits. If planned correctly, service members can make a profit from the reimbursement provided by the military. Additionally, having control over the moving process ensures that household goods are handled with care, reducing the risk of damage.

Another significant advantage is the flexibility it offers. Unlike traditional military moves where dates are fixed, a DITY move allows service members to choose their moving dates, which can be especially beneficial if coordinating with family schedules or other commitments.

3. Potential Challenges and Drawbacks

While the idea of managing one’s own move and potentially making a profit sounds appealing, there are challenges. One of the primary concerns is the physical effort required. Packing, loading, and unloading a moving truck can be strenuous, especially for larger households.

Additionally, there’s the stress of coordinating the move. From renting a moving truck to ensuring all household goods are packed securely, the responsibility lies solely on the service member. Any damage to items during the move will not be covered by the military, unlike a professional moving company’s services.

4. Financial Implications and Reimbursements

The financial aspect of a DITY move is twofold. On one hand, there’s the potential to make a profit if the move is executed under the allocated budget. On the other hand, there’s a risk of overspending, especially if unexpected costs arise.

It’s crucial to understand the reimbursement process. Service members need to submit weight tickets, receipts for packing materials, and other relevant documents to their local transportation office for reimbursement. Any amount received over the actual cost of the move is considered taxable income.

5. Preparing for a DITY Move: Essential Steps

Preparation is key to a successful DITY move. Start by contacting the personal property office to understand the entitlements and reimbursement process specific to your branch. Next, gather essential packing materials and consider hiring help for packing and loading, especially for heavier items.

It’s also crucial to keep all receipts and weight tickets organized. Many military families recommend taking photos of each receipt and storing them digitally to ensure they’re easily accessible when needed.

6. Real-life Experiences: Stories From Service Members

Every DITY move is unique, and the experiences vary widely among service members. Some have shared stories of smooth transitions, where meticulous planning resulted in a hassle-free move and a decent profit. Others have faced challenges, from damaged goods to unexpected expenses, emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation.

One common sentiment among military members is the sense of control a DITY move offers. Being in charge of the moving process, from selecting a moving truck to choosing the moving date, provides a level of comfort and flexibility not always present in traditional military moves.

7. Tips for a Successful DITY Move

For a successful DITY move, planning is paramount. Start by creating a detailed budget, factoring in all potential expenses, from renting a moving truck to purchasing packing materials. Next, research and compare prices for moving services, and consider seeking recommendations from other military families who’ve undertaken a DITY move.

Another essential tip is to declutter before the move. Reducing the number of items to transport can significantly cut down on costs. Lastly, ensure all essential documents, from weight tickets to receipts, are organized and easily accessible.

8. Variations of DITY Move: Full vs. Partial

While a full DITY move involves relocating all household goods independently, a partial DITY move offers a hybrid approach. In a partial DITY, service members can choose to move specific items themselves, while the rest are handled by a professional moving company assigned by the military.

This approach provides a balance, allowing service members to move essential or valuable items personally while leaving the bulk of the move to professionals.

Read More: Pre-Move Home Organization Tips for Military Families

Delving Into Full-Service Moves

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Full-service moves are the traditional approach to military relocations. In this setup, the military coordinates the move, assigning a professional moving company to handle the transportation of household goods.

1. The Basics of a Full-Service Move

In a full-service move, the military takes charge of the relocation process. Once service members receive their PCS orders, they contact their local transportation office, which then coordinates with a professional moving company. This company is responsible for packing, loading, transporting, and unloading all household goods.

The primary advantage of this approach is the reduced physical and mental effort required from the service member. The moving company handles all aspects of the move, ensuring household goods reach the new location safely.

2. Advantages of a Full-Service Move

One of the primary benefits of a full-service move is the convenience it offers. Service members don’t have to worry about the logistics of the move, from renting a moving truck to purchasing packing materials. Additionally, there’s a level of assurance that comes with knowing professionals are handling your belongings.

Another significant advantage is the coverage for damaged goods. If any items are damaged during the move, the moving company, under the military’s contract, is liable for repairs or replacements.

3. Common Concerns and How to Address Them

While full-service moves offer numerous advantages, there are common concerns among military families. One of the primary issues is the potential for damaged or lost items. To address this, it’s essential to maintain an inventory of all household goods and highlight any valuable or fragile items to the moving company.

Another concern is the lack of control over the moving date. Since the military coordinates the move, service members have limited flexibility in choosing their moving dates. Communication with the transportation office can help address any scheduling concerns.

4. The Financial Aspect: Costs and Coverages

In a full-service move, the military covers all expenses. Service members don’t have to worry about budgeting for the move or seeking reimbursements. However, it’s essential to understand the coverages provided, especially concerning damaged goods.

In case of any damage, the moving company is liable, but there might be limits to the coverage. It’s advisable to review the terms and conditions and consider additional insurance if transporting valuable items.

5. Pre-move Preparations: What to Expect

Before the moving day, the assigned moving company will schedule a pre-move survey. This survey assesses the number of household goods and any special requirements and provides an estimate of the move’s weight. It’s an opportunity for service members to highlight any concerns, from valuable items to specific packing needs.

On the moving day, the company will pack, label, and inventory all items. Service members should be present during this process to oversee the packing and address any concerns.

6. Real-life Testimonials: Experiences Shared

Full-service moves, like DITY moves, come with a range of experiences. Many military families appreciate the convenience and reduced stress of having professionals handle their move. Stories of smooth transitions, with all items reaching the new location in perfect condition, are common.

However, there are also tales of challenges, from scheduling conflicts to damaged goods. These stories emphasize the importance of communication, both with the transportation office and the moving company, to ensure a hassle-free move.

7. Handling Valuables and Special Items

While professional movers are trained to handle all items with care, there are always concerns when it comes to valuables or special items. It’s advisable for service members to transport essential documents, jewelry, and other valuable items personally. For larger valuable items, like artwork or antiques, ensure they’re adequately insured and highlighted to the moving company for special handling.

Comparing DITY Move vs. Full Service

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Choosing between a DITY move and a full-service move is a significant decision for military families. Both options come with their advantages and challenges, and the choice often boils down to individual preferences and circumstances.

1. Financial Comparison: Potential Earnings vs. Costs

From a financial perspective, DITY moves offer the potential to earn a profit if executed under budget. Service members receive a set reimbursement based on the estimated weight and distance of the move. If the actual costs are lower than this reimbursement, the difference is pocketed as profit. However, there’s also the risk of overspending, especially if unexpected costs arise.

In contrast, full-service moves come with no financial implications for the service member. The military covers all costs, and there’s no potential for profit or loss.

2. Time and Effort: Which is More Demanding?

DITY moves are undoubtedly more demanding in terms of time and effort. Service members are responsible for all aspects of the move, from planning and packing to loading and unloading. It requires significant physical and mental effort, especially for larger households.

Full-service moves, on the other hand, are less demanding. The military and the assigned moving company handle all logistics, allowing service members to focus on other aspects of the relocation.

3. Flexibility and Control: Which Offers More?

DITY moves to offer more flexibility and control. Service members can choose their moving dates, select their moving services, and handle their belongings personally. This level of control can be especially beneficial for those with specific requirements or concerns about their household goods.

Full-service moves offer less flexibility in terms of scheduling, but they come with the assurance of professional handling and reduced responsibility.

4. Safety and Security of Belongings

Both DITY and full-service moves come with their safety and security concerns. In a DITY move, the safety of belongings rests solely on the service member. Any damage during the move is not covered by the military. In contrast, full-service moves come with coverage for damaged goods, providing an added layer of security.

5. Impact on Families and Dependents

Relocations can be especially challenging for families and dependents. DITY moves, with their increased responsibilities, can add to the stress, especially if the entire family is involved in the packing and moving process. Full-service moves, with their reduced responsibilities, can be less stressful for families, allowing them to focus on settling into their new location.

6. Final Verdict: Which is Right for You?

The choice between a DITY move and a full-service move is deeply personal. It depends on individual preferences, the potential financial implications, and the level of control desired over the moving process. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option, consider the unique circumstances, and make an informed decision.

Read More: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Military Moves: Things to Watch Out For

Additional Resources and Support

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Relocating, whether through a DITY move or a full-service move, is a significant undertaking. Fortunately, there are numerous resources and support systems in place to assist military families during this transition.

1. Tools and Apps to Assist in Your Move

Several tools and apps are designed specifically to assist military families during their relocation. From budgeting tools to moving checklists, these resources can simplify the moving process and ensure all essential tasks are completed.

2. Seeking Advice: Forums and Military Communities

Military communities, both online and offline, are invaluable resources. Service members can seek advice, share their experiences, and learn from others who’ve undergone similar relocations. Forums and community groups offer a platform for discussions, addressing common concerns, and sharing tips for a successful move.

3. Checklist for a Hassle-free Move

A detailed moving checklist can be a lifesaver during a relocation. It ensures all essential tasks, from notifying the personal property office to finalizing utility connections at the new location, are completed in a timely manner.

4. Military Discounts and Offers to Avail

Many moving services and related businesses offer special discounts for military members. From renting a moving truck to purchasing packing materials, it’s worth researching available military discounts to reduce the overall cost of the move.

5. Important Contacts and Helplines

Having a list of essential contacts and helplines can be invaluable during a move. From the local transportation office to helplines for specific moving services, ensure all important numbers are easily accessible.

Why Choose Our Services at Military Movers?

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At Military Movers, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive suite of services tailored to the unique needs of military families. Our decades of experience in the industry have equipped us with the expertise to handle all aspects of military relocations, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for our clients.

1. Tailored Moving Solutions

  • Customized Plans: Every move is unique, and we work closely with our clients to develop a moving plan tailored to their specific needs.
  • Expertise Across Branches: Whether you’re in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, our team understands the intricacies of each branch’s relocation requirements.

2. Advanced Tracking Technology

  • Real-time Monitoring: Our state-of-the-art satellite tracking technology allows clients to monitor their shipments in real-time, offering peace of mind.
  • Secure Transits: We prioritize the safety and security of your belongings, ensuring they reach their destination in pristine condition.

3. Comprehensive Moving Services

  • Local and Long-Distance: Whether you’re relocating within the same city or across continents, we’ve got you covered.
  • Packing and Unpacking: Our team of experts ensures your belongings are packed securely and unpacked with care at your new location.
  • Storage Solutions: From temporary storage during a move to long-term solutions, we offer climate-controlled facilities to keep your items safe.

4. Client-Centric Approach

  • Transparent Pricing: No hidden fees or surprise costs. We believe in clear communication and honest pricing.
  • Dedicated Support: Our team is available round the clock to address any queries or concerns, ensuring a seamless moving experience.

5. Serving Beyond the Military

While our primary focus is on serving military families, we extend our top-notch services to non-military clients as well. Our commitment to excellence remains unwavering, regardless of the client’s background.


Relocating, especially as a military family, comes with its set of challenges. From understanding the nuances of DITY moves to opting for full-service relocations, the choices can be overwhelming.

However, with the right resources, support, and a trusted moving partner like Military Movers, the process becomes significantly more manageable. We invite you to experience the difference of a move handled by experts who understand the unique demands of military life.

Take the first step towards a stress-free relocation. Contact Military Movers today and let us simplify your moving journey.


What is the primary difference between a DITY move and a full-service move?

A DITY (Do It Yourself) move, also known as a Personally Procured Move, allows service members to handle their relocation, potentially earning a profit if the move is executed under budget. In contrast, a full-service move is coordinated by the military, with a professional moving company handling the relocation.

How can I track my shipment with Military Movers?

Military Movers employs advanced satellite tracking technology, allowing clients to monitor their shipments in real time. Once your move is underway, you’ll receive access to our tracking platform for real-time updates.

Are there any hidden fees or costs with Military Movers?

No, at Military Movers, we operate on a transparent pricing model. We provide clear quotes without any hidden fees or surprise costs, ensuring our clients are well-informed throughout the process.

Do I need to be present during the packing and loading process?

While it’s not mandatory, we recommend clients be present during the packing and loading process. This ensures any specific instructions are followed and provides an opportunity to address any last-minute concerns.

Can Military Movers assist with overseas relocations?

Yes, Military Movers has extensive experience in both stateside and overseas relocations. Whether you’re moving to Alaska, Hawaii, or another country, we can handle the logistics, ensuring your belongings reach their destination safely.

Mia Miller

Mia Miller, a true wordsmith, documents the journey of Military Movers through her engaging blog posts. She ensures that our stories, mirroring our commitment and dedication to facilitating military moves, reach a broad audience.

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