The Profit Strategy

To make a profit with a DITY move, you must understand the bottom line. Understanding both your expenses and your reimbursement is the key.

Rememberthat you are responsible for ALL expenses in a DITY move. The government will reimburse you a certain sum based on the amount of weight you moved. You can't really alter that. But your expenses are under your direct control. This is where you need to focus your efforts. To help you lower your expenses, we've negotiated discounts with some key moving providers. See our Quick Resources page for details.

First, get some estimates of reimbursement. Consult your TMO/JPSSO office for this. The most difficult part here is estimating the total weight of your household goods.

Second, shop around for different options for your DITY move. Make sure you understand the total cost involved with each option. For instance, don't ignore the cost of fuel and tolls with rental trucks or the additional costs of ramps and weight tickets with some you-pack/we-drive options.

For extra security, consider padding your expense estimate by 10% or so. Overestimating your expenses only leads to pleasant surprises. Underestimating your expenses can lead to disappointment and a financial bind.

Figure the difference between your estimated reimbursement and expected expenses to determine if the DITY option is for you.

Helpful Hints

  • If you've been moved by the government before, you can use the weight of your last move as a starting point to figure out the weight of your belongings.
  • Don't be too dazzled by the lure of "easy money." While a DITY move can offer a nice profit, there is a lot of work involved. You may feel like you earned every penny before the entire thing is finished.
  • Understand how tax is figured. One of the most misunderstood parts of a DITY move is taxable income. By submitting receipts and telling the government what expenses you incurred, you're not increasing your reimbursement. You're altering how much of your reimbursement shows up as taxable income for your yearly income tax. Contact your finance office for more details.
  • Remember that you may get additional W-2 forms that must be submitted with your yearly income tax. These may not come at the same time as your normal W-2. Consult your finance office to determine if you should expect additional W-2 forms so you don't have to file an amended tax return.
  • Don't cheat. Many have tried to cheat the government by artificially pumping up their weight tickets. This is absolutely not worth it. Follow the rules on what can and cannot be weighed. Why risk criminal charges for a few hundred dollars? Your TMO/JPSSO office will brief you on all the rules.