VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
With the approach of PCS season, many Airmen have to ask themselves one important question, 'Should I move myself or let the government move me?'
Formerly known, and often still referred to as DITY moves, personally performed moves can result in huge payoffs; however, they also involve daunting tasks that can make even the most seasoned mover shudder.
"Moving in general can be a nightmare," said Tech. Sgt. Neil Spann, a 19-year Air Force veteran who just completed his own personally performed move. "Actually moving to a new base and experiencing something new can be exciting, but the physical act of moving is something that nobody looks forward to."
For Airmen, the aspect of making the money for moving themselves as opposed to someone else doing it can be tempting and possibly very lucrative.
"Depending on the weight being moved and the mileage traveled, an Airman has the opportunity to make a lot of money," said Senior Airman Kevin Hong, a personal property clerk with the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "For instance, a staff sergeant moving his or her max weight limit can make a few thousand dollars just for the pounds moved and miles traveled. If you add in the dislocation allowance, per diem and dependants, that figure can grow even more."
While this may seem great up front, some people can end deciding the money earned was not worth the trouble.
"Soon after I got started moving my stuff, I thought to myself, 'what did I get myself into,'" Sergeant Spann said. "Once you start taping up boxes and running up and down stairs, you start regret not letting the government do it for you. The money's nice, but my back still hurts from my move."
Another thing to remember is that the cost of the rental truck and gas comes out of the money Airmen earn for their moves. This cost can fluctuate significantly with rising fuel costs.
Having the government move household goods can be a tough decision as well. A government paid move requires complete strangers to enter the home and pack up all personal, fragile and valuable things. This can involve a huge level of trust on the part of the family being moved. This, when compared to the prospect of moving their own goods, is something many Airmen and their families are willing to give.
"We did our own personally performed move one time," said Gina McComb, a military spouse and huge proponent of government paid moves. "That was the only time we did it and we will never do it again."
Due to some of the unique circumstances military families endure, a government move may seem like the only option.
"Vandenberg was my husband's follow-on assignment," Mrs. McComb said. "So when I came here, I was all by myself. Having the movers deliver my stuff and empty all the boxes for me was a huge help. I couldn't imagine doing all of that with just my kids and me."
For those who feel that there are things they just simply don't feel comfortable having the movers handle, there is another option called the partial personally performed move. This allows families to move some of the personal items, including pictures, important paperwork, clothes and heirlooms that they just don't feel comfortable having out of their sight.
"A partial personally performed move is probably the most common for Airmen," Airman Hong said. "It can be a lot less overwhelming than a full personally performed move."
Whether doing personally performed, government paid or partially performed moves, Airmen have a variety of options at their disposal when facing the approach of the PCS season when trying to decide that one important question, 'Should I move myself or let the government move me?'
Personally performed moves require Airmen to ask themselves a few important questions to figure out if this is the option they want to try:
1. Do I have the money to put up front to move myself?
2. Can I physically move my stuff myself and if not, can I get enough people to help?
3. Do I want strangers to go through all my stuff and will any of it get lost in transit?
4. Is the money I will receive worth the effort?
5. If I have kids, will they be able to help; or just get in the way? Do I have somewhere to take them while I pack up my house?
6. What is the current cost of gas and rental trucks?
For a 60-day moving checklist, click here