Planning a Permanent Change of Station is no piece of cake!
There are forms to fill out, meetings to attend, and specific rules you have to follow in order to make sure everything runs smoothly. As you plan your move, you should know about the updated guidelines that took effect on May 1, 2014 for moving professional books, papers and equipment – known as “PBP&E” or “Pro Gear.” Pro gear is defined as “the goods in a military member’s possession needed for the performance of official duties at the next or a later destination.” In this post, we’ll take a closer look at these guidelines and what it means for your upcoming military move.
Until recently, moving pro gear did not count against your household goods (HHG) weight allowance. You could move all qualifying gear regardless of how much it weighed, and it wouldn’t take away from the allowance you received for moving your household goods. Now, service members are limited on the amount and the type of professional gear they are allowed to ship during a military move.
The allowance for moving pro gear is now set at 2,000 lbs., which does not count toward the separate weight allowance for household goods. However, if an item does not qualify as a pro gear, the weight of that item will count toward the household goods weight allowance. There’s no authority to waive the limit.
Are there any exceptions?
The only exception to the new limit is a grandfather clause for those stationed overseas. Those who transported more than 2,000 lbs. of pro gear before May 1, 2014 can return the same pro gear amount to the continental U.S. on their next PCS move.
What is considered military pro gear and what isn’t?
These items will no longer fall under pro gear:
- Personal computer equipment and peripheral devices.
- Memorabilia including awards, plaques or other objects presented for past performance, including any type of going away gifts, office decorations, pictures, etc.
- Table service items such as flatware and dishes, utensils and glassware, etc.
- Furniture of any kind, even if used in connection with professional items, such as bookcases, desks, filing cabinets, etc.
- Professional items not needed at the next or subsequent duty stations, such as textbooks from previous schools unrelated to future duties, personal books (even if they are part of a past professional reading program), and reference material that ordinarily would be available at the next/subsequent duty station, either in hard copy or available on the Internet.
- Shop fixtures, household furniture, office furniture, sports equipment, and commercial products for sale/resale used in conducting business.
These items are still considered pro gear:
- Reference material.
- Instruments, tools, and equipment peculiar to technicians, mechanics, and members of the professions.
- Specialized clothing such as diving suits, flying suits; astronaut’s suits, flying suits and helmets, band uniforms, chaplain’s vestments, and other specialized apparel not normal or usual uniform or clothing.
- Communications equipment used by a member in association with the Military Affiliated Radio System.
- Individually-owned or specially-issued field clothing and equipment.
- Government or uniform service-owned accountable Organizational Clothing and Individual Clothing property issued to the employee or member by the Service/DOD COMPONENT for official use.
If the service member’s spouse owns pro gear, he/she may be able to move up to 500 lbs. to the next location. Check the “It’s Your Move” guide for Armed Forces members to learn what is considered spousal pro gear.
Do you need clarification on what’s considered pro gear and what isn’t? Your base Transportation Office (TO) can help.
How will the new pro gear weight allowance affect my upcoming military move?
If you have professional items that no longer qualify as pro gear, you’ll either have to include those items in your HHG allowance, sell/donate them, or pay the additional charges to ship them to your new home.
If those options sound less than ideal, there are a few others that may help:
Purge your belongings. Sell, donate, or toss both HHG and pro gear items you no longer want, need, or use. Only keep the items that are most important or sentimental to you.
How is a military move different with U-Pack?
Traditional military moves charge by the weight of your items. Now that pro gear weight allowances are different, you’ll have to move those items under your HHG weight allowance, or pay extra for the additional weight required to move them. Here’s an example:
- The military gives you a 9,000 lb. weight limit on your household goods, and the 2,000 lb. allowance for your pro gear. Your personal belongings take up 7,000 lbs. HHG allowance, plus you have 3,000 lbs. of items you consider pro gear, but only 500 lbs. of that qualifies to move under the new pro gear allowance. (Even with a 2,000 lb. allowance, you may have some gear that no longer qualifies as ‘pro gear’ under the new regulations.) While you can use your remaining HHG weight allowance to move some of your gear, you’ll have to pay extra to move the remaining 500 lbs. of gear, which can be costly.
With U-Pack, rates are based on the space you use (not weight), so you don’t have to worry about whether your pro gear qualifies under the new guidelines. Now let’s look at that same scenario with U-Pack:
- With a PPM/DITY move, the military will reimburse you a portion of what it would have cost them to move you through a traditional moving company (let’s say your allowance ends up being $2,500). A typical 3-bedroom home usually takes up about 20 linear feet on a U-Pack trailer, depending on how many items you have and how you load. You pack ‘high and tight’ and fit your items into 20 feet of space—household goods, pro gear, and all. For example purposes, pretend that your U-Pack quote for 20 feet is only $2,000. That means you’ll be able to pocket the leftover $500, with no worries about household goods vs. pro gear!
Even if you go over your HHG weight allowance, you can still save money through U-Pack with our space-based rates. If you need a little more room (or end up using less than your estimate), we provide a ‘per foot’ rate that allows you to only pay for the space you need. Just keep in mind that in order to get reimbursed for your pro gear and HHG weight allowance, you’re required to present certified weight tickets to your TMO, which U-Pack can provide for you.
Which option is best for me?
Before you decide how you’ll move, talk with your TO about how to estimate the weight of your belongings, as well as how much your allowance will be based on your rank and dependent status (see the current Dislocation Allowance rates here).
If you have lots of non-qualifying professional items and you’re already at the max on your HHG weight allowance, U-Pack is an ideal solution. Get an instant moving quote from U-Pack to learn more about how a PPM move works.
Still have questions? Call us at 800-413-4799. We’re always happy to help!