You are currently viewing Full-service Vs. DIY Moving: Pros And Cons For Military Moves

Full-service Vs. DIY Moving: Pros And Cons For Military Moves

When it comes to the big decision of full service vs. DIY moving, military families often face a unique set of challenges. Moving is a significant part of military life, with service members and their families frequently having to relocate across the country or even overseas.

These moves can occur at short notice and often involve managing complex logistics and tight schedules. In such scenarios, the convenience of full-service moving companies can be a godsend, taking care of everything from packing to transportation.

On the other hand, DIY moving offers a level of control and can be more budget-friendly. However, it requires considerable planning, effort, and time, which can add to the stress of an already taxing situation. This blog post will explore the pros and cons of both options, helping you make an informed decision for your next military move.

Understanding the Options: Full-service vs. DIY Moving

full service vs diy moving, hire professional movers

Relocating to a new home, whether within the same city or across borders, is an event filled with excitement and anticipation. But it also brings along its fair share of stress and hard work. This is especially true for military families, who often face the added pressure of time constraints and frequent relocations.

Fortunately, there are two major avenues you can explore to make the move smoother – Full-Service and DIY Moving. Each comes with its unique features, benefits, and challenges. Let’s delve deeper into what each option entails.

Full-service Moving

This is the all-inclusive, stress-free option for those looking to make their move as smooth as possible. When you choose a full-service moving company, you’re essentially hiring professional movers who can efficiently and safely manage your entire moving process. Here’s what you can expect from a full-service move:

  • Professional Packing and Unpacking: The moving company takes care of packing all your belongings, big or small, delicate or sturdy, using quality packing materials and techniques. They also handle the unpacking at your new home, saving you significant time and effort.
  • Loading and Unloading: Heavy lifting is a major part of any move. When you hire movers from a full-service company, they handle all the loading and unloading, reducing the risk of injury or damage to your possessions.
  • Transportation: With a full-service move, you don’t have to worry about renting a moving truck or driving it yourself. When you opt for hiring a full-service moving company, they take responsibility for safely transporting your items to your new location.
  • Disassembly and Reassembly of Furniture: Many furniture items need to be disassembled for safe and efficient moving. Full-service movers will disassemble and reassemble these items for you.

DIY Moving

Do-It-Yourself or DIY moving is the go-to option for those who prefer having full control over their move or are moving on a budget. Here’s what a DIY move might look like:

  • Self-Packing: All the packing and unpacking is on you. This means you need to source packing materials and pack everything securely to prevent damage during the move.
  • Loading and Unloading: Be ready for some heavy lifting. You’ll need to load all your belongings onto the moving truck and unload them at your new home.
  • Self-Transport: You’ll need to hire a moving container from a reputable moving container company and drive it to your new location. This can be a considerable task, especially for long-distance moves.
  • Furniture Disassembly and Reassembly: You’ll be responsible for disassembling any large furniture items for the move and reassembling them at your new home.

Choosing between full-service and DIY moving is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It largely depends on your specific circumstances, preferences, and budget. As we delve further into the pros and cons of each, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of which option might be the best fit for your next move.

Pros and Cons of Full-service Moving for Military Moves

hiring movers, moving trucks, moving process

Military moves come with their own unique set of circumstances and challenges. Given the frequent relocations and stringent deadlines associated with military life, the decision to opt for full-service moving or a DIY approach can significantly impact your moving experience. Let’s begin by examining full-service moving.

Pros of Full-service Moving

For military families, hiring professional moving services can offer distinct advantages that ease the transition between bases or duty stations.

1. Professionalism and Experience

One of the primary benefits of full-service moving is the professional expertise brought to your doorstep. These movers are not just seasoned professionals, but they’re often familiar with the specific needs and protocols associated with military moves. Having conducted numerous military moves, they are well-versed with military rules, base regulations, and the paperwork required.

The experience of professional moving services ensures that your household goods are packed into a portable storage container, transported, and delivered with utmost care and efficiency. Their knowledge and understanding of the best practices of packing and moving can reduce the risk of damage to your belongings, a significant benefit when moving valuable or sentimental items.

2. Convenience

Moving is a significant endeavor, and for military personnel who already have a lot on their plates, the convenience provided by full-service movers can’t be overstated. Full-service movers handle everything from packing your belongings to unpacking them at your new location. They are equipped to disassemble and reassemble furniture, handle heavy items, and navigate the logistics of moving.

For military families, this convenience is particularly beneficial. The frequency of relocations, along with other military-related responsibilities, can make managing a move quite challenging. By handing over the physical process of moving to professionals, you can focus on other important aspects of your relocation, such as settling your family into a new community.

3. Reduced Stress

The stress associated with moving is well-known. For military moves, this stress can be exacerbated by short notice periods and the emotional strain of leaving a familiar base. Full-service movers can significantly reduce this stress by handling the most challenging aspects of the move.

Professional movers are adept at efficiently packing, loading, and unloading your belongings. They’re skilled at optimizing space in the moving truck, ensuring the safety of your belongings, and reducing the chances of damage. Having someone else handle these details allows you to focus on other crucial aspects of your move, providing a sense of relief and reducing overall stress.

4. Safety of Belongings

Professional movers are equipped with the skills, tools, and materials to ensure your belongings are safely packed and transported. They know how to properly pack fragile items, handle heavy furniture, and secure everything for transportation.

In contrast to a DIY move, where improperly packed items can be damaged in transit, a full-service move places the safety of your belongings in the hands of experienced professionals. This can be particularly important for military families who may have accumulated unique items or mementos from various postings.

5. Time-saving

A significant advantage of full-service moving is the time saved. Instead of spending days packing, loading, driving, and unloading, these tasks are taken care of by the moving company. This is particularly beneficial for military moves, which often occur on tight timelines. Having professionals handle these tasks can free up time for other moving-related responsibilities.

Cons of Full-service Moving

professional moving companies, hiring full service movers

While full-service moving offers considerable benefits, there are also potential drawbacks that military families should consider.

1. Higher Costs

Full-service moving typically comes with a higher price tag. These services cover not just transportation but also the labor costs of packing and unpacking your entire household. For military families on a budget, these costs may be a deterrent.

However, it’s essential to remember that the government may reimburse some or all of your moving costs for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. Understanding your entitlements and what services are covered can help offset this drawback.

2. Less Control

One downside to full-service moving is the reduced level of control. In a full-service move, you entrust your belongings to the movers. While they are professionals, they might not handle your belongings with the same personal attention that you would.

For military families, this can be particularly concerning as you may have valuable or sentimental items from various postings. If you prefer to personally handle such items, the lack of control in a full-service move could be a potential drawback.

3. Potential for Scams

Unfortunately, scams exist in the moving industry. Some moving companies might offer low initial quotes, only to inflate prices later with hidden fees. Researching your chosen moving company thoroughly, checking their licensing and insurance, and reading reviews can help you avoid this pitfall.

For military moves, ensure you select a company familiar with the military’s rules and reimbursements process. Remember, while it might be tempting to go with a low-cost provider, the old adage holds – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. Lack of Personal Touch

Full-service movers are experts in packing and moving items efficiently and safely. However, they may not understand the personal significance or emotional value attached to certain items. While they will pack items safely, they might not provide the extra care that some of your more cherished possessions require.

For military families who have items with sentimental value, such as souvenirs from different postings, this lack of a personal touch can be a disadvantage. It’s essential to communicate clearly about any items that require special care or handling.

5. Scheduling Limitations

Full-service moving companies operate on schedules that might not always align with your timing. This is especially true during peak moving seasons when their schedule might be booked months in advance. Military moves often come with little notice, and if a full-service mover can’t accommodate your timeline, it can be a significant drawback.

In such cases, early planning and communication with the moving company can help ensure you secure the services when you need them. Some moving companies also offer priority scheduling for military moves, so it’s worth asking about this when comparing providers.

Pros and Cons of DIY Moving for Military Moves

local moves, professional mover

While full-service moves are popular, many military families opt for DIY moves, also known as Personally Procured Moves (PPM), for the control and potential cost savings they offer. Here’s a more detailed look at the pros and cons of this approach.

Pros of DIY Moving

For some military families, the benefits of a DIY move far outweigh the potential challenges. Here are some of the most significant advantages.

1. Cost Savings

One of the most appealing aspects of a DIY move is the potential cost savings. By taking responsibility for packing, loading, and transporting your belongings, you may be able to save money, particularly if your move is local.

For military moves, the Department of Defense offers a reimbursement of 95% of what they estimate it would cost them to move you. If you can manage your move for less than this amount, you can pocket the difference. This incentive often makes a DIY move more financially attractive to many military families.

2. Total Control

A DIY move offers total control over every aspect of your move. You decide when to pack, how to pack, and how to load your moving vehicle. You’re also in charge of the route taken, where to stop along the way and the final unloading process at your new home.

This control can be particularly beneficial for military families with items that require special handling or those that hold significant sentimental value. In a DIY move, you can take the time and care required for these items, ensuring they’re moved exactly as you wish.

3. Flexibility

DIY moves can offer flexibility that full-service moves can’t match. You can pack at your own pace, organize your belongings in a way that makes sense to you, and adjust your schedule or plans as needed.

This flexibility can be invaluable for military families, especially when faced with unexpected changes in orders or timelines. If you’re a family that values the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, a DIY move might be a better fit for your needs.

4. Personal Satisfaction

There’s a sense of achievement in successfully managing a move from start to finish. Overcoming the challenges of packing, loading, driving, and unpacking can bring a sense of accomplishment.

For military personnel who are often faced with overcoming obstacles and achieving missions, this satisfaction can be a significant upside to a DIY move. Plus, it provides an opportunity to work together as a family, strengthening bonds and creating memories.

5. Privacy

If the thought of strangers handling your personal belongings makes you uncomfortable, a DIY move ensures your privacy. This can be particularly relevant for military families who may have sensitive or classified documents. In a DIY move, you control who has access to your belongings, providing peace of mind.

Cons of DIY Moving

truck rental companies, hire full service movers

While a DIY move offers control and potential cost savings, there are also potential downsides to consider. Here are the most significant ones.

1. Time-consuming

A DIY move is time-consuming. The process of packing, acquiring a moving vehicle, loading, driving, and unloading can take significant time and energy. When moving over long distances, this can span several days or even weeks.

For military personnel, time is often in short supply, especially when preparing for a new posting. The time demands of a DIY move can add to the pressure of the relocation process and may not be feasible for all families.

2. Physical Demands

DIY moves are physically demanding. Moving boxes and furniture, particularly large or heavy items, can be strenuous and potentially harmful if not done correctly.

For military families, this physical demand can be an unnecessary strain during an already stressful period. It can be particularly challenging if the military member is deployed and the family is left to handle the move.

3. High-stress Levels

A DIY move can be stressful. You’re responsible for each aspect of the move, from ensuring you have the right packing materials to securing a reliable moving vehicle, not to mention the physical act of moving itself.

For military families who are already dealing with the stress of changing schools, communities, and routines, a DIY move can add an additional layer of pressure. It’s crucial to consider your stress tolerance and available support before deciding on a DIY move.

4. Potential for Damage

Without professional packing and moving expertise, your belongings may be more susceptible to damage during a DIY move. The risk extends not only to your belongings but also to the rental truck and properties at both ends of the move.

While military families are often resilient and adaptable, the potential for damage and the associated costs can be a significant concern, especially when moving valuable or sentimental items.

5. Unexpected Costs

While a DIY move may initially appear to be a cost-effective option, there can be numerous unexpected costs that quickly add up. Truck rental, fuel, tolls, packing materials, equipment rental, and potential late return fees are just some of the costs you’ll need to consider.

For military families, these costs can be an unwelcome surprise, particularly if you’re trying to save money by handling the move yourself. It’s essential to thoroughly research and budget for these potential costs when planning a DIY move.

Read More: How to Find the Best Full-Service Moving Company for Military Members

Why Choose Military Movers for Military Relocations?

At Military Movers, we understand the unique challenges that come with military relocations. With years of experience in handling military moves, we offer tailored, comprehensive solutions to ensure a smooth transition for you and your family. 

Our commitment to excellence, punctuality, and respect is unwavering. Below, we detail our specialized services designed specifically for military families.

Full-service Moving

Professional Packing and Unpacking Services

Our team of expert movers provides professional packing and unpacking services designed to secure your belongings throughout the move. We understand the value of your possessions, from the largest piece of furniture to the smallest sentimental item. Our services include:

  • A thorough evaluation of all items to determine the best packing strategy.
  • Use high-quality packing materials to protect your belongings.
  • Specialized handling of fragile or valuable items.
  • Labeling and organization of boxes for easy unpacking.
  • Careful unpacking at your new location, ensuring everything is in its place.

Efficient Transportation

We handle all aspects of transportation, from carefully loading your belongings into our well-maintained trucks to safely delivering them to your new location. Our transportation services feature:

  • Expert loading and unloading of your items, ensuring maximum safety.
  • Modern, clean, and reliable moving vehicles equipped with GPS for real-time tracking.
  • Flexibility to handle moves of any distance, whether local or long-distance.
  • Punctual delivery, adhering strictly to timelines and schedules.

Furniture Disassembly and Reassembly

Our team is skilled in disassembling and reassembling furniture, making it easier and safer to move larger items. This service includes:

  • Disassembly of large furniture items for easy transportation.
  • Proper packing of disassembled items to prevent damage.
  • Reassembly of furniture at your new location.
  • Placement of furniture as per your directions.

Personally Procured Moves (PPM) Assistance

If you prefer to handle your move, we provide assistance tailored to your needs to ensure a successful PPM. We offer:

  • Rental of reliable moving vehicles of varying sizes to fit your needs.
  • Supply of quality packing materials, including boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper.
  • Provision of necessary equipment such as dollies and moving blankets.
  • Helpful moving advice and tips from our experienced team.

Storage Services

Understanding the uncertainty that can sometimes come with military moves, we offer secure storage solutions. Our storage services include:

  • Short-term and long-term storage options.
  • Climate-controlled units protect your belongings from environmental damage.
  • 24/7 security to ensure the safety of your belongings.
  • Easy access to your stored items.

Comprehensive Insurance

As part of our commitment to providing a stress-free moving experience, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage. This includes:

  • Full-value protection coverage for peace of mind.
  • Simple and straightforward claim process.
  • Prompt resolution of any claims, should the need arise.

At Military Movers, we understand the sacrifices military families make. Our goal is to make your move as effortless as possible, offering services that ease your transition into a new chapter of service. With Military Movers, you can trust that your move is in the hands of experts who care.


Whether you’re choosing full-service moving or DIY moving, the goal is to ensure a safe, efficient, and stress-free transition. While each option has its pros and cons, understanding these in detail is key to making the right choice for your circumstances. At Military Movers, we provide both full-service moving and assistance for DIY moves, offering comprehensive, tailored solutions to meet your unique needs.

Military moves can often be complex and demanding, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. With our professional expertise, commitment to excellence, and respect for your service, we’re here to make your move as smooth and straightforward as possible. So why not let us shoulder the burden?

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your next military move.


What factors should I consider when deciding between DIY moving and hiring a professional moving company?

Key factors include your budget, the size and complexity of your move, your physical ability to handle the move, your available time, and your personal preferences.

How far in advance should I book a moving company?

Booking a moving company at least four to eight weeks in advance is recommended. However, if you’re moving during peak times (such as summer or the end of the month), you might need to book even earlier.

Is it possible to do a partial DIY move?

Yes, many moving companies offer partial services where you can handle some aspects of the move (like packing), and they handle others (like transportation).

How can I make my DIY move more efficient?

Planning and organization are crucial. Start by decluttering, create a packing schedule, pack room by room, and clearly label your boxes. Also, ensure you have the right equipment and enough help on a moving day.

What’s included in full-service moving?

A full-service move typically includes packing, loading, transporting, unloading, and unpacking of your belongings. Additional services like furniture disassembly/assembly, storage, and disposal of packing materials may also be included or available at an extra cost.

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.