Our very first military PCS move was as an engaged couple and I had no idea how to DITY move. I flew down from school in Rochester New York to help my husband drive from Pensacola, FL to Corpus Christi, TX and then I went back to school.
It was crazy.
My husband decided to do a full military move. We were told they would show up between 8 am and 5 pm. So we were up at 6am for them to come at noon. Come to find out we were the second family.
This is at the time where all he had was a one bedroom apartment sparsely furnished. Did I mention that I wasn’t living with him yet?
So lets just say it was a couple hour job and we were done at 3pm. Of course back than we didn’t know what a Partial DITY was so we didn’t weigh our car or anything sensible.
Over the past 6 years and 4 moves later we got smarter, but we still ask ourselves the same question every move, do we do a DITY or a Partial DITY? As a married couple we have done 2 Partial DITYs and two full DITYs. Over the years we have learned to analyze both the worth of it to our family and how much we will truly make off the move.
The golden question: is a DITY move worth it?
The honest truth is that military moves don’t make as much as they used to. With all the new regulations (such as the limits to the trailer size, decreased payment per pounds, etc) one doesn’t make the tens of thousands that you hear “seasoned” DITY movers describe. Still for many, such as ourselves, doing a DITY still makes sense. Here’s why.
You get flexibility on move dates.
We love DITY moves because it allows us to be flexible and adapt as situations require. The best example is our current move. At the beginning we decided we wanted to leave April 12, since he had to report to the command April 15.
Then our house rented for an amazing price but we had to be out of the house April 1. Then my job decided to let me out two-and-a-half days earlier, so we left March 30th.
If we relied on movers, there was no way we could have stayed flexible or changed our minds so many times. So for us the flexibility and adaptability is pretty amazing
You get last minute orders.
When we moved in 2011 from Kingsville, TX to Virginia Beach, VA we completed a DITY because we knew there was no way we were going to get military movers in time. Since my husband was in training, we would only get orders about a week or so before we left.
We didn’t want to deal with the stress and decided to just move ourselves, making it much easier to leave on our time line.
You control the packing.
Most people don’t have a desire to build an Rental Empire or get by with refinished Goodwill furniture for the next decade and beyond. Instead, they have beautiful furniture and other belongings that they wish to protect.
These are the families who appreciate control over their belongings during a DITY move. It is true that we’ve had amazing luck with our military movers, but not everyone is so lucky. We know of many people who had such a bad experience that they now do it themselves. If you have priceless items, then moving yourself could be worth it.
You can forget about weight limits.
People love DITY moves to prevent paying thousands of dollars in fees from being overweight. The military only covers a specific weight allowance based on the military member rank (here’s the chart).
Every pound over the amount, you have to pay for it yourself. While some people do huge purges right before they move; others simply move themselves. If you move yourself there is no limit to the amount of pounds you are allowed to move. Only the amount they will pay.
For example, I have a friend that has over 30,000lbs. She always does a DITY move not to make money, but to not owe the government.
How much money can you make on a DITY move?
How much you will make off your move is determined by this equation:
(Profit – Expenses- Taxes = DITY Hazard Pay)
Profit- This is the amount that the you will earn before any expenses based on your weight and distance. This number will be provided to you when you fill out your paperwork on move.mil.
Expenses- This is how much you spend to move your stuff. This includes any packing material/supplies, the truck or trailer cost, gas uses on your truck, etc.
Tax– Unfortunately any profits from you move is consider to be taxable income. The military withholds 25% automatically of any profit you make off the move. They will than send you a W2 at tax time where you will either owe more taxes or less depending on your personal situation.
DITY Hazard Pay- This is your profit. After all your expenses it what you earn for all your hard work and stress.
How to know if the stress is worth it…
There is a reason I labeled the profit ” DITY hazard pay.” The personal reasons are important, and for some are enough to make a DITY move worth it, even with no profit.
For many people like my husband and myself, we kicked ourself after our TX to VA move for making only a couple of thousand dollars after weeks of hard work and extra stress during a stressful period. So know your numbers and personal situation ahead of time to prevent any surprise.
PS- ALWAYS ALWAYS do at least a partial DITY.
At a minimum weigh your car with all your stuff. My husband made that mistake the first time and we totally kicked ourself. Your already transporting it you might as well get paid for the weight. I don’t know about you but “free” extra money during a PCS move is always incredible helpful!
Elizabeth is a lover of buying houses, teaching people about landlording, living frugally, becoming a sailor, sharing her military adventure and blogging at reluctantlandlord.net. She would love to connect with you on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter!
Want more on military life?
- Best Overseas Moving Checklist for Military Families
- 10 Things You Forgot to Put on Your PCS Checklist
- The Biggest Mistake a Military Spouse Can Make
- What You Miss Most During Deployment