Basically, it’s an old-fashioned, do-it-yourself move—but with a twist. People who can cheaply ship their items themselves have the potential to make a modest profit.
Why? The military will in many cases reimburse the person for his or her expenses based on a percentage of what Uncle Sam would have paid had they done the shipping. And as we all know, the government rarely underspends.
So, if you take care of everything yourself and get reimbursed by the government, it’s like free money. Right? Well, kind of. There are definite trade-offs to consider.
For one, you’re doing the actual work. Not that people in military are afraid of getting their hands dirty, but packing and moving boxes, hiring people to move the boxes and driving the truck can be a pain.
There’s a reason people are willing to pay movers: Moving is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Second, to make a profit, you have to plan a lot—not only to find cheap (but reliable) ways to get your stuff from Point A to Point B, but also for any tax implications. That’s because any money you’re reimbursed could be considered as income.
A great speciality resource for this situation is DITYMOVERS.com. The site explains that in order to get your reimbursement, you’re going to have to provide a lot of paperwork—including weight tickets (that’s how much your stuff weighs, which will dictate how much you're reimbursed), expense receipts, official orders and documents provided by your Traffic Management Office or Joint Personal Property Shipping Office.
That’s not to say it isn't worth it. In many cases, it can be. But know what you’re getting into before starting—and always consult a tax expert.