How to Book a PCS

My husband was deployed when we received orders for a change of homeport. This was the first permanent change of station (PCS) I ever booked.  Thankfully I had all my ducks in a row to be able to do it myself, but I was still a bit overwhelmed with the process. There are many websites that have checklists and information provided to help you in this tedious process. 

This is a jumping off point of information and links for PCSing stateside:

Personal Property Office

The Personal Property Office is the duty station’s coordination center for your PCS. Below are links and tips for the online counseling process, but if you do not feel comfortable doing it online you can go in person to make an appointment to complete the counseling in person. (Check with your duty station if they are doing in-person appointments as many offices are now working remotely due to COVID-19, however they are available by phone for assistance.) 

Total Military Management (TMM)

Total Military Management (TMM) is the national organization that coordinates between you and the moving companies. Once your application is processed by your personal property office, you will be assigned to a TMM agent. The TMM agent provides information regarding each agency included in your PCS such as the “packers/ movers” at departure, your shipping company, receiving storage location if applicable, and unloading “packers/ movers.” I highly recommend you flag the emails with the list of these agencies’ contact information!

Types of Moves

  • Household Goods (HHG). This is when the military moves all your stuff within the continental United States. 

  • Personal Procured Move (PPM). This is  also known as a Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move when you move your own stuff. 

  • Combination. You can do a PPM and HHG combo move as well. Typically, those who do a combination use their own vehicles as transport so the military pays for moving the weight in your vehicle. 

The Process for HHG

  1. First, decide with your spouse the type of move you require- HHG, PPM, or combination.

  2. Then, you’ll need to start the process on Your spouse will need to recall their login as in all likelihood they have accessed this site before. The password typically expires or is not recalled between moves (at least in our case) which is easily reset.

  3. Once logged in be sure to have your spouse’s order in hand. The BUPERS number is what is required to star. The tutorial section of the site provides screenshots of the process. I highly recommend browsing through the tutorial before you begin. (Tip: Turn off your pop-up blocker. The website utilizes pop-ups and therefore does not work if you have turned them off. )

  4. You do not have to have your new address in order to book a move. You can book the move utilizing the town or city only and once you have secured a house the address can be updated. ( Tip: if you are PCSing during peak summer months, the sooner you submit the move application the more likely you are to get the dates you are hoping for).

  5. If your spouse will be underway at all during this process, I highly recommend putting yourself down as the primary contact agent, so you receive all phone calls and emails. This is always recommended, so the agencies know they can contact you.

  6. It’s very helpful for the moving agencies if you can recall the weight of your goods from previous moves . If you don’t know this time around it’s ok, just make a point to document it for next time.

  7. Next, select your pack and load date. “Pack out” is when the movers come to literally pack all of your belongings into boxes or get ready to be loaded onto the truck. The weight estimate of your shipment determines how many packing days are allotted. Our first PCS was packed and loaded in one, long day. Our most recent move was allotted two days of packing and one day of loading since we’ve gained more stuff. If you are not packed and loaded on the same day they will leave boxes for the bed linens to be packed on the day of loading so you can sleep in your beds.  Loading day includes the disassembling of all the furniture, rolling the carpets, and other last minute tasks.

  8. Choose  direct delivery or storage.  Direct delivery is when the goods are picked up from your house and directly shipped to your new house. When you book your move you will receive an estimated delivery time. For our cross-country move (CT to WA), we had 13 days before our direct delivery.  If you know you will not be able to receive goods during that direct delivery time frame, then your goods will go into storage to be delivered at a later time. Keep in mind if you choose a direct delivery, you must be able to receive goods at any time within that window.

  9. Choose the moving company. You can ask around the submarine community for recommendations or just go with the company you are assigned.

  10. Once you have completed the online counseling and application provided by Move.mi, you are required to upload a full copy of the orders. If they don’t have every single page uploaded, your paperwork will not be processed and therefore your move will be delayed (I learned this the hard way.). You will also need to print the DD Form 1299 and the DD Form 1797. The service member must sign them and then upload the signed copies.

  11. After the orders, DD Form 1299, and DD Form 1797 are all uploaded to and you have received the DPS confirmation email, I highly recommend calling the Personal Property Office to confirm everything has been validated. The Personal Property Office has to double check all the online counseling to have the shipment request processed in their system. 

Process for PPM:

  1. Reference the tutorial for booking at PPM.

  2. You can have more than one shipment per set of orders, i.e. HHG AND PPM. It does require two sets of counseling and paperwork.

  3. The largest part of this process is estimating the weight of objects you plan to move and the packing supplies you will require to complete the move. Once this is complete, you will be provided an estimate of reimbursement. Final reimbursement amount is determined at the end of the PCS.

  4. You must select a Personal Property Office to review and validate the online counseling. They are your only point of contact for this type of move. 

Other Tips:

  • Up to 10 days in the Navy Lodge can be reimbursed when used on either end of the PCS either departing or arriving duty stations. Take advantage of this! 

  • I most recently learned from Totally Military Management (TMM) that “peak” season is considered May thru August, which changes the guaranteed delivery windows. 

  • Keep in touch with your Personal Property Counseling Office throughout the process. In my experience it usually takes about 1-2 weeks to receive word from TMM that a moving company has been selected. 

Please comment regarding your best PCSing tips! We can all learn from each other as the Navy continues to update their procedures and protocols. 🙂 Best of luck to all those PCSing- we wish you a smooth transition to your next duty station. Are you PCSing during COVID-19? Here’s my best tips.

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