Prepare for your summer move

Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office

Moving in the summer months is especially challenging for military members, their families, and for the Defense Department’s Defense Personal Property System (DPS).

Approximately 240,000 moves are processed during the peak moving season, which runs from May through August. The period from Memorial Day to Independence Day is the busiest part of the peak season.

Your first choices for pickup and delivery dates may not be available. Flexibility is key. Start early, with plans and checklists, and build extra time into your schedule for unexpected circumstances – even as you get ready to clear out of your current work assignments, your residence, and prepare for your new duty station.

Fort Irwin transportation specialists can help counsel DoD personnel and schedule their permanent change of station moves, using the Defense Personal Property Program (DP3) Web site The Fort Irwin Personal Property and Travel Office is located in building 105 at the Fort Irwin Reception Campus on Langford Lake Road and Inner Loop. It is open weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is 380-5331. Ask for their cheat-sheet “Movement of your Personal Property.”

Tips for a smooth move

Create your move application as soon as you receive your military orders, in person or on the Web. Learn how to use the DPS Web site It may have changed since the last time you used it. Any delay in submitting your application can make it more difficult for the transportation office to schedule your requested pick-up and delivery dates. Customers still need PCS orders before finalizing DPS self-counseling, but the key is to get your application in the system as soon as possible after receiving your assignment notification.

Create a personal move calendar with checklists, phone numbers, dates, and important Web links, on paper and/or online. Email to yourself the information, so you can access it on your secure cell phone or laptop.

Ask questions early. DPS lets you directly contact your commercial carrier to manage your move.

Requested pickup and delivery dates are not confirmed until mutually agreed between you and your commercial carriers. Pack, pick-up, and delivery dates are normally scheduled on weekdays. You or your designated representative must be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Longer hours may be required in some cases.

Take the seven question Customer Satisfaction Survey after your move. It accounts for 70 percent of your mover’s performance score, and is used to keep quality movers in the program and to identify poor performers.

Don’t ship small, extremely valuable items (e.g., stocks, bonds, jewelry, coins/coin collections and/or gold bullion (bars) in your household good shipment. If you must, keep them visible until the high-value inventory sheet and inventory are prepared.

(Tips provided by Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.)