Most service members will stay at their current duty station for only three years. By the time they are finally settled, it is already time to start packing up for the next military PCS. While this can be frustrating, it can also be an opportunity to explore and travel as well. What many service members do not know though, is that it can also provide a chance to make some additional money on the side, and without even breaking a law.
Service members often find out 3-6 months before PCS time that it is time to go. Usually, they even know where. Accordingly, there are a couple of suave PCS techniques you can employ to get the best of the situation. Head down to your transportation office and let them know you want to do a full DITY move. DITY refers to “do it yourself” and differs from the traditional military move because the military lets you handle all coordination yourself. If you go with a standard move, the military will give you a date and a time, movers will show up, and when they leave all of your stuff is gone. Seems much simpler, but there is no money to be made this way.
In a DITY move, you can make a couple of choices depending on how adventurous you are feeling. You can literally pack up your house or apartment yourself, rent a moving van, and drive to your destination. You can also hire a moving company to pack and ship your stuff, and then you just drive, or you can simply choose to drive and let the military move your stuff for you.
Perks of a military PCS
- The military will pay you 95% of what they would pay a contractor to ship your household goods. Since contractors charge the government significantly more than they can charge you, in a DITY move you get to keep the difference.
- If you drive your personal vehicle, you will receive $0.24 per mile. If your spouse drives their vehicle, add an additional $0.24 per mile on top of your vehicle. Most bases have a standard mileage rate from one base to the next.
- Travel days are not only non-chargeable leave days, but you get paid TDY money during them, meaning more profit.
So let’s break it down:
Example A) You do a full DITY, pack your stuff yourself and rent a U-Haul with a trailer to drive. You get 95% of what the shippers would, mileage reimbursement, TDY money for your traveling days, and only pay for fuel and the cost of renting the U-Haul.
Example B) You do a full DITY, call a moving company to pack your household goods and ship it. Then you drive to your next duty station. You get 95% of what the shippers would charge the government, mileage reimbursement, and TDY. You pay the cost of the shippers (nearly always less than what the government pays) and you pocket the difference.
Example C) You do a partial DITY, have the military ship your household goods, and you drive to your next duty station. You weigh your vehicle empty, and weigh your vehicle with whatever items you are driving with (suitcase, mattress, etc.). You get paid the total weight of the household goods being shipped in your vehicle, mileage reimbursement, and TDY.
Example D) You have the military ship your household goods, car, and get you a plane ticket. You pay nothing, and arrive the next day at your duty station.
The choice is entirely yours. Just remember that a military move does not need to be stressful, but the amount of money that can be made from a PCS can often be anywhere from $5-$7,000. So consider what your priorities are as we transition into the next PCS season, and see if you cannot make a few extra dollars while saving the government money at the same time!
Bonus: Don’t forget to deduct your expenses!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.