Interview with a PCS Move Coordinator

Amie Dawson, Marine Spouse, works with Interstate Moving Relocation Logistics. She has been on both sides of a military move as a military family moving and also as a Move Coordinator for a moving company. There are a lot of things you don’t know about on each side of the truck.

What does a Move Coordinator do for a military move?

Before I was a move coordinator, I didn’t know they existed, and I thought I moved from A to B without asking questions. I now know that we are your one-stop shop to keep you informed, keep your service providers informed, and make sure everything is organized for a smooth move.

We don’t get your shipment assignment until you have completed paperwork from your transportation office (TMO) to schedule your move. Then we assign you to a move coordinator. This is for anyone using a moving company for a military move, even if they are doing a partial DitY move. However, you won’t be assigned a coordinator if you do a full DitY move (PPM) and pack out everything yourself. We do handle overseas OCONUS moves and have Move Coordinators that specialize in the details of overseas ports and moves. 

When should a customer reach out to a move coordinator instead of the transportation office?

We can handle almost anything related to your move. We don’t want you wondering who to contact with a question. If the move coordinator doesn’t know your answer, they will point you to the right realm, but we want you to start with your coordinator.

If a customer has issues with local crews in their house, what can you do to help?

If there are situations, reach out to your move coordinator. They have a relationship with you as the customer, but also with the service providers handling your shipment. We can reach out to managers at the local company. We often don’t need to get the base involved. We want to get it taken care of and make everything smooth for the customer as quickly as possible. 

If we can’t get hold of a move coordinator on a time-sensitive issue, who else can we turn to?

Interstate has a team of Move Coordinators, so we can cover for each other when your specific coordinator is out or unavailable. We want to address your problem in one phone call, not wait around to transfer your information into the system again and again. We know people hate repeating their story during a PCS move!

What are the most common questions a move coordinator can address?

People always ask about the Required Delivery Date. If they aren’t going to be there, they worry what to do. But that isn’t a confirmed delivery date, it is a no-later-than delivery date for the military orders. It can come before then, so stay in touch and communicate about any potential problems.

People ask about Pro Gear not being marked on inventory. It should always be set off to the side, and reviewed before you sign your inventory sheet. Look out for yourself, and verify it before you sign so it won’t be uncertain later.

A lot of questions are about putting items in storage, either locally or near the next duty station, and we can help make those arrangements for you. 

What is your advice to families to help make their move go smoothly?

Always ask questions and be clear about things. We can’t help you if we don’t know what is going on at your house or what you need help with. This is information you should have, but military families don’t always get the best information. Families don’t always know what to ask. There are no stupid questions, so start with the Move.mil website and your move packet to go through everything. It should outline all the details for you. It’s better to read everything and have an overload of information than to be kept in the dark. Don’t assume that someone on base is going to take care of things for you or keep you informed. Utilize all the tips you can and read PCS advice on military websites.

What is the #1 thing a Move Coordinator wishes a family would call about?

Literally everything! When we receive your move info, the military registers your “move date” as your load-out date. That means your packing dates will happen in advance of the “move date.” So call us to straighten out any confusion about moving dates, packing dates, and all the steps that go into the move. Even if it is your 10th move, you will still have questions about the process or about the emails you receive. Call your Move Coordinator as soon as there is a problem, and they can get those answers all straightened out for you. It’s refreshing to have someone you can call. If it’s your first PCS, we want to keep you informed and help you through the process and make sure we have a great comfortable relationship so we are always trustworthy and approachable. 

Should military families disclose they are military when getting moving company quotes?

Yes, because it impacts your dates and whether or not they are flexible. Always share your schedule and any non-negotiable dates. We don’t ever want to rush, so if we have more flexibility we can pick a better crew. 

If we had to put things in storage due to the military Stop Move Order, what do we do next–repack them or request a professional move?

Moving companies will need to verify contents, so if boxes are not open and contents aren’t listed, they will repack. If it was put in storage by a professional company, they may leave it that way. If your storage unit is near a base, they will send a quality control inspector to handle it, but if it’s far from a base they may handle it differently. If you want to move them yourselves now, request a PPM through your local Transportation Office. 

Do you need an address before you move?

You don’t need an exact address. You can simply put in the base and state you are moving to, and they can ship them there. On Move.mil at the top of the page there is a COVID link with updated policies. Each branch has listed their ETP (Exception to Policy) there so you can see what information you need for each service. There are phone numbers and contact info listed there. But you should not need an exact address to get it done. This is true even for an end of service/ retirement move where they will ship to your home of record, even if you don’t have an exact address. 

Overseas PCS rules during COVID:

Many countries are requiring a two-week quarantine in a hotel room when you first arrive. Your overseas sponsor should be able to help you with arrangements, groceries, pets, etc. It all depends what country you are moving to and what their restrictions are. A lot of offices are working with skeleton crews, so email seems to be the best way to make contact.

If COVID is affecting your move, go to your chain of command and stay in contact with your local Transportation Office. They can give you the most updated information.

Watch the full interview here: