By Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications

The military version of a horror story is definitely the PCS. Just take a look at Facebook or Instagram, and you will see and read about one disaster move after another. True, wake in the middle of the night, cold sweat stories about lost items; broken heirlooms; drivers lying about HHG weight; packers putting garage items in the same box as clothing; movers showing up on the wrong day. Suffice it to say; we could fill a book!

The PCS system, at times, seems broken with very little accountability on the part of the packing and moving companies we all must deal with.

Here is a small sample of what some families have reported post-move:

  • “We had the guy come look at all our damage today, and he made me feel like I broke the stuff myself. I mean he was so rude!”                                                                                                                                                                        
  •  “I’m missing all my utensils, measuring spoons, cups, cookie cutters, mixers, etc. All of our items were checked off as well.”                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • “Moving company denied our claim on the dryer THEY broke in the move. Their reasoning is that we can’t prove it worked before the move.”                                                                                                                                                           
  •  “All baby gear, beds, refrigerator, washing machine, mattresses, couches, anything upholstered or material was deemed total loss and not cleanable. What was cleanable is still destroyed by water damage but is a separate claim.”

On what planet is this acceptable? We would never accept this poor level of service from any other company. Can you imagine your hair dresser giving you purple hair and claiming that you never said you didn’t want purple hair? Or how about your house cleaner who breaks your vacuum but won’t replace it because you can’t prove it wasn’t already on the fritz!!!

Here at PCSgrades, we believe there are easy, yet influential, steps we can take as a community to help facilitate a better interaction between the pre-move inspectors, packers, and movers we all come into contact with as part of the PCS process.

Step #1 The Mover’s Notice

Starting with the pre-move inspector, download the Mover’s Notice at and hand them the notice the first time they visit your home. You can tell them how excited you will be to be able to rave about their company following your pack out and move! They will see that you expect them to work safely and efficiently to pack and move your belongings to your new duty station. You’ve also made them completely aware that you aren’t going to keep quiet about the experience, good or bad.

As you pass the PCSgrades Mover’s Notice to everyone who will come into contact with your HHG, you are putting the proverbial ball in their court. It is up to them to decide what type of grade they will receive.

Step #2 Leave a Review and Grade Them

If they take care in packing your treasures, transporting carefully, and communicating effectively throughout the move; you can take great pleasure in giving them a Grade A!

But likewise, breaking Grandma’s china or losing your first born’s baby book will undoubtedly end up with a low grade.

Now you might be thinking, “So what? Will anyone really care about the grade I give?” The short answer is YES! Your review will show all potential future customers (your fellow military families) as well as transportation offices that the service provided was great…..or substandard.

Bad reviews could lead to termination of contracts and loss of future potential business. At the very least, if you see that the company slated to move your HHG has a low grade, you can request another company. The DoD may or may not grant your request. You can always choose whether or not you want to DITY/PPM or partial DITY/PPM.

Thorough reviews can highlight the shortcomings of a particular company, so you can better guard against them.  If you read reviews about your moving company that indicates a history of damaged electronics, would you consider a partial DITY for your most precious electronics?

Download your Mover’s Notice today at It’s a small step, but it starts a conversation. Most importantly it starts to put some of the control back with us, the military community. Control we so desperately deserve.

Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.