Tips for a Smooth PCS Move

A servicemember carrying a box

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Each year, about 225,000 Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard household good shipments are slated for movement during the summer months. These shipments compete with private sector moves creating a phenomenon in the transportation industry called the "peak moving season."

Peak moving season runs May through August each year with the peak of the peak between Memorial Day and July 4.

The Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's Personal Property Directorate manages the Defense Personal Property Program, or DP3, for DOD.

SDDC officials want servicemembers, federal employees and their families to know a smooth move for household goods is possible during peak moving season with proper planning and attention to detail.

"As soon as you receive your permanent change of station orders, you should start your move process," said John Johnson, branch chief for SDDC's Personal Property Directorate Quality Assurance Division. "Requesting your pickup and delivery dates as soon as possible will ensure a better chance of getting the dates you want."

All DOD servicemembers and civilians, including their families, have two avenues to manage their move based on local policies.

The first is the traditional visit to the local installation transportation office or personal property shipping office to receive a relocation briefing and start the move process.

The alternative is to use the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS, which is accessed through the website, This website is the portal for DPS and the one-stop shop where members can completely manage their move process.

Members using for the first time will find online training videos and presentations explaining how to navigate through the move process.

SDDC provided moving tips - Create a personal moving calendar with checklists, phone numbers and links to critical moving processes and information

- Your Transportation Office (TO) or Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) is the primary point of contact for customer service. It is never too early to ask questions.

- Once you get your orders and know the dates you want to move, immediately start the moving process. Contact your TO/PPSO to learn all options available to you, including a Personally Procured Move. The sooner you start the better chance you have to lock in your preferred move date.

- Moving in the summer months (May through August) is extremely busy with Memorial Day to July 4 being the busiest moving time of the year. Since requested pickup and delivery dates may not be available during this time, flexibility is important and building extra time into your schedule for unforeseen circumstances is recommended.

- Once your move dates are requested, don't assume they are set. Move dates are not confirmed until you coordinate with your Transportation Service Provider (the company contracted to do your move).

- Pack, pickup and delivery dates are usually scheduled on weekdays. You or your designated representative must be available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You don't want to miss your move dates as this will cause unnecessary hardship on everyone and possibly extra expenses for you.

- Have a good estimated weight of your personal property. A quick method for estimating your weight is to calculate 1,000 pounds per room. A more accurate estimate can be made using the weight estimator found at (DOD Service Members and Federal Civilians (DOD) Tab > Weight Allowance Tab > Weight Estimator Tab. Keep in mind this is only an estimate and each individual shipment will vary.

- Moving is a good time to dispose of unnecessary items. This will help you avoid excess weight charges if your shipment is close to the authorized weight allowance. You don't want to ship and pay for something you don't want.

- You can request a reweigh of your personal property shipment at no cost to you. This is done when you are near or over your weight allowance.

- If you are making more than one shipment, make sure you clearly separate them at your residence. Packing and loading for multiple shipments should be scheduled on separate days to avoid confusion. You want the right items going to the right destination.

- places you in direct contact with your moving company to manage the movement of your personal property. It is extremely important to keep your contact information (phone number and e-mail address) updated in

- If you have a delivery address for your personal property and want direct delivery, it is important to work closely with your moving company to arrange delivery and avoid your personal property being placed in temporary storage

- You can find the "It's Your Move," "Shipping Your Privately Owned Vehicle" and "Storing Your POV" pamphlets on the website. These pamphlets provide explanations on responsibilities for personal property and POV shipments and are a great source for additional moving tips to help you prepare for the move.

"For questions or concerns about the moving process, the first stop for assistance should always be your local Personal Property Shipping Office or Installation Transportation Office," Johnson said. "However, if you experience any technical problems while using, the System Response Center help desk is there to help. Simply call (800) 462-2176 or 618-220-SDDC (DSN 770-7332) or send an email message to"

SDDC remains committed to providing a quality personal property moving experience for DOD's servicemembers, US Coast Guard, Federal employees, and their families.

SDDC is the Army Service Component Command of U.S. Transportation Command and is a major subordinate command to Army Materiel Command. The command partners with the commercial transportation industry as the coordinating link between DOD surface transportation requirements and the capability industry provides.

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