A message to DOD Personnel and their Families:

 Like many sectors, labor challenges in the moving and storage industry are driving tighter-than-normal capacity in the Defense Personal Property Program.  These challenges are compounded by competition with non-DOD clients (like corporate and residential customers) vying for the same services.   In many locations, DOD personnel must wait upwards of four to six weeks for available moving crews.  Demand is similarly high for rental trucks and storage containers used by customers interested in a Personally Procured Move.  Senior leaders across the DOD’s Personnel and Logistics communities are aware of the issues and are exploring options to solve relocation-related problems for military families. 

Steps you can take: 

  • Visit your Transportation Office as soon as you receive orders.  Don’t wait!
  • Whether this is your first move or your 15th, take advantage of counseling.  Your local transportation office is your best resource to understand the specific challenges and delays in your community.
  • If movers cannot be arranged to support your timeline, talk with your chain of command immediately to explore options—which may include changes to reporting timelines.
  • Be patient with your transportation office personnel!  They want to solve problems for you.  Contact your local transportation office if your moving plans change or if you have questions regarding your move once scheduled. 

In no case should a customer feel compelled to conduct a Personally Procured Move.  Similarly, no customer should feel compelled to leave family members behind to handle a household goods move on their own. 

Breadcrumb

Moving Days

Household Goods Shipments

After weeks and maybe months of waiting, it’s finally time to move your stuff! Below is an overview of what you can expect to happen during the actual moving days for a household goods shipment. The Personal Property Quick Reference Guide is also a great resource to give you a snapshot of the key responsibilities for both you and your Transportation Service Provider (TSP) during each step of the process.

Before the Packers Arrive

Preparation before the big day it is really important to make sure that you and your residence are ready for a flurry of activity. If you haven't checked out some of these moving tips, now would be a great time. At the end of the day, being proactive about your move is the best way to make it successful.  

NOTE: Anytime packers, movers, or another representative assisting with your move is scheduled to be at your home, please ensure pets are secured in an area out of the way. This will allow for a more fluent process that does not create a distraction and provides for the safety of your pets.  

Additionally, you can expect a representative from the moving company or TSP to call or come by your residence to complete a Pre-Move Survey. During the survey, they will complete a weight estimation and annotate any special items that you identified when you arranged your move. If you are within a week of your move and a survey has not been completed on your home, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to the TSP or your local transportation office for assistance. 

Note: When shipping goods, it’s extremely important to try and prevent the spread of mold. Mold can cause health risks and can spread to other shipments that come in contact with it. Prior to your move, you must ensure your property is free of any visual signs of mold. Work with your TSP during packing and loading days to reduce any exposure that could result in mold. Then at delivery, your TSP is responsible for conducting remediation work for any mold that is discovered. Check out the “Mold Mitigation” brochure for more information.

Pro-Tip: Make your own inventory. Before the packers come, it is recommended that you document any high-value and electronic items yourself. Make sure you document the make and serial number of each item, along with a photo or video of the item showing its condition. (If it's a TV or other electronic, a simple video showing it working can save you headache later.) Make sure that information makes it on the TSP's inventory BEFORE the truck leaves your house.

Packing Day(s)

There is a difference between packing and loading/moving dates. During the packing phase, the TSP will send packers to your home to put all of your items in boxes. You or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 0800-1700 on these days. The loading and moving phase includes the dates that put your HHG on the truck with your final loading date usually being moving day.

The packers will contact you ahead of time to inform you they will be coming out on the scheduled pack dates and within a specified time period. It's critical that you're available during this time. If for some reason the TSP fails to show, quickly notify your local transportation office and the TSP.

The packers will load just about anything and everything that they can fit into boxes during this portion, which can both be a blessing and a challenge at once. Try to separate anything that needs to travel with you before pack day, or you run the risk of those crucial items being packed and lost in the mix of the boxes.  

Pro-Tip: Physically separate anything you plan to take/keep with you from the rest of your belongings into a closet or your vehicle before the packers arrive. Clearly mark this area with a "Do Not Pack" sign. 

Please note, if at any point something doesn't feel right during the packing process, you should call your local transportation office and ask for the assistance from an inspector/quality assurance personnel.

Loading and Moving Day (s)

The truck has arrived and it's time for all of your household goods to be loaded on the truck.  As a reminder, you or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 0800-1700.  For this phase, the driver of the truck is usually in charge of the show. The driver is responsible for ensuring there is a crew and that everything is properly loaded onto the truck before departing. If you run into any issues during this phase, talk with the driver first and if they are unable to resolve the issue don't hesitate to call your local transportation office for help.

When they first arrive, the loading crew is required to put down some type of material (plastic, fabric, etc.) to protect your flooring and expect them to put some form of protection on any tight corners that may be in the residence as well. If damage is done to your residence, you have the option to file a Real Property Damage claim.

During packing and loading, the TSP will be creating an inventory of all your household items and will put colored numbered stickers on all the boxes and larger items (couches, large appliances, etc.). On the inventory sheets, they will also be indicating whether or not there was any pre-existing damage to your household goods. 

After everything is loaded up on the truck, do a walk-through with the driver to make sure everything is out of your residence and loaded up. This will ensure that nothing gets left behind. Ask the driver to provide his/her phone number so you can reach them if needed. 

The last thing will be signing the inventory sheet. If you don't agree with something on that form, make sure you annotate that in the remarks section BEFORE signing! As a reminder, keep your inventory sheet as you will need this during the delivery of your goods.

On the Road

As you are traveling to your destination, it's important to keep the lines of communication open and available for the driver and your moving coordinator. If your driver or your moving coordinator has any updates, they may try to contact you as they make their way to your next destination and it's important you be available to answer any questions.

Depending on whether your household goods will be going into storage or as a direct delivery, will determine what happens next. For those doing a direct delivery, it's important that you arrive before the driver. If the driver arrives at your new residence before you do, they may have to put your items in storage, depending on their schedule. For items going directly into storage, you have more flexibility with your timing.

When it’s time to deliver your shipment, The TSP must provide a 24-hour notice for delivery. They will attempt to contact you twice, at least six hours apart. If they do not hear back from you within that 24-hour time frame, they may try to call the local transportation office and have your belongings placed in storage. Once your goods are in storage, it can sometimes take up to a few weeks to get it delivered again.

Pro-Tip: It's a good idea to provide your TSP with an emergency contact in case the driver cannot get a hold of you during the move.

Delivery Day

You or your designated agent must be available between the hours of 0800-1700. Before unloading the truck, you can expect to do a walk-through with the driver and the delivery crew to identify any pre-existing damage to the residence and let them see the layout of the home to determine the best way to unload your household goods. As with your loading day, the delivery crew is required to put down some type of material (plastic, fabric, etc.) to protect your flooring and any tight corners that may be in the residence as well.

Prior to the delivery crew offloading your household goods, they will give you the inventory sheets to check off the "numbers" to ensure everything is delivered. The use of bingo cards/check off sheets is another way the crew can check off the numbers. These are only internal moving company documents. Do not let the delivery crew check off the numbers on the inventory sheet… this would not be in your best interest! As the boxes come off the truck, you should expect to direct them to a room in the residence on where that item should be placed. If you've got friends or family that can help during this phase, that's always a bonus.

Once the truck is empty, you should verify on the inventory sheet that everything has been delivered. If not, annotate any missing items on the inventory sheet before you sign it. Also annotate any damage that may have occurred to the residence. Additionally, any items not received or that arrive damaged should be written on the Notification of Loss or Damage AT Delivery Form provided by the driver. As a reminder, keep your inventory sheet until your claims process is complete. 

Finally, you have a couple of options during the delivery phase about what items you want the delivery crew to unpack. Unloading at destination includes the one-time laying of rugs and the one-time placement of furniture and like items in a room or dwelling designated by you or your representative. Your mover can do a full unpack, where they empty all the items of the boxes in the specified rooms. Your mover can do a partial unpack and only open boxes in select areas. You can also have them reassemble any furniture that they took apart at the origin (beds, couches, etc.).

Clean Up

Your moving company is not required to return and pick up any empty boxes after they’ve delivered everything to your new home. The movers are only responsible for hauling away empty boxes and packing materials when they’re finished delivering your belongings. If you ask them to come back to take your empty boxes and they agree to do it, then that’s great! If possible, have everything piled up in one location to get this done quickly.