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Moving Advice from Military Folks

2071 Views 32 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Sc0tt
I'm looking for some outside opinions on my impending move from Seattle to Wichita Falls, TX, and all comments are welcome, but I'm really soliciting advice from military members who have moved repeatedly with their bikes.

I'm torn between doing a full PPM (or DITY, pick your acronym of choice) in a rental truck, or doing a partial DITY and hoping my bike makes it ok when I see it again in Texas. I have a few weeks to decide. This is the first time I will have moved with a bike, and second move with the AF.

More details:

Full DITY: 16' Penske rental truck with a trailer/dolly to tow my Mazda3, plan to put the bike in the truck with the rest of my stuff. Rental cost is about $1300, with an expected $500-600 in gas. Total cost might be about $2000 - 2200 I figure, and am working on what I might expect to receive from the govt as incentive for the full DITY.

Partial: Let the movers come and pack my apartment, load my bike into the truck and drive away. I would move with all my hi-value climbing gear and professional stuff in the Mazda and drive it, making whatever incentive based on weight of moved goods. Talked to the TMO folks yesterday and not surprisingly, they weren't super helpful. But what I did learn is that a motorcycle counts as a household good and not a vehicle, so isn't entitled to treatment as a car (as far as shipping or claims if it's damaged go).

It's really too bad my car isn't certified to tow anything, and while I think it would probably be ok to tow a few hundred pounds, I think the bike with other weight in the car from moving would be pushing it. That, and the cost of a hitch/trailer (or rental) would seem to be roughly equal the cost of shipping it.

Has anybody let the movers/shippers take a bike? How did it work out? Am I being overly cautious/analytic about this? What would you do?

Thanks all.
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I have always had them pack and ship everything. I don't know how much stuff you have though. For me it was a pain in the azz just to unpack it let alone pack it! As far as your bike goes, they will take it as long as it is completely dry. Not sure about break or colent fluid but oil and gas has to be drained.
I moved from Hawaii to MD and had to ship the SV. Had to drain the gas tank, but not the oil. I was very nervous about it, but the shipping company said they specialized in bikes. It came through ok, but they had put a strap over the front fender and it rubbed through the paint. We also had a BMW shipped from CA to here. It came through ok except they strapped over the pipe (titanium full race pipe $$$). Not functionally damaged just some rub marks.

Is it possible to make a trip out of it? Probably wouldn't save any money, and moving time is stressful and hectic enough, but could be fun. Are they doing door to door? That probably wouldn't work out.
You can count the weight of your MC. The more weight you have, the more money you get.
I let the movers move my bike (CBR900rr) when we moved from Oregon to Baltimore. Never again are they moving a bike for me. The broke a fairing piece that would have cost over $400 to replace with new. Have you tried to file a damage claim with military contract movers? I ended up letting the issue drop and buying a used one off e-bay for $35.

When I moved from Maryland to Virginia, I let them pack and move all my household stuff, but I hauled our bikes and all my tools down in my own trailer, and got paid enough for doing it to pay for the purchase of the trailer. Bwt, the weight of the trailer counted as part of what I moved because the trailer was smaller than 8x12 so I got paid for moving the trailer too.
I've always preferred dity moves. I've had too many friends that had the military move their stuff, only to have their stuff broken and wait forever for claims to go thru. Either way, I'd had renters insurance or something similar to cover your stuff. Insurance costs very little and gives you a back up for a claim.
I just recently (last month) moved from Ca to Il and shipped the SV. I went through Freight Center who then used STI delivers whom specializes in motorcycle transports. It cost a little over $400. That is with dropping off and picking up at a warehouse (as opposed to door to door). Only thing special required was having 1/2 tank of fuel or less. Bike arrived a little late (about 12 hours) no damage plus a nice dust cover included. No problems with payment either, transaction went smoothly overall. I know how much moving blows hope this helps and good luck.
I just threw an estimate in the DITY Calculator and it looks promising. Just a guess, I did an E-6 w/ dependents and with a modest 5000lbs of goods, you're looking at almost $4900 without other expenses added in for tax reasons. With 10000lbs, you're looking at well over $8500. I'd say pack up everything in the rental truck and consider the money you make off the move what you're paying yourself for packing and unpacking everything.
I had my 73 Road Runner shipped from Honolulu to Baltimore back in 1990. It came through okay (it was pretty ratty to begin with) It just took 3 months longer than I was originally told. It was supposed to be 6 weeks, ended up being over 19. Take the bike yourself.
In the navy, we usually had a few guys going base to base, and one would be "do it yourself". We put the bikes in that truck. It got harder as we all got married and had more stuff.
Alright, thanks everyone for the replies. To take less time and not quote everybody, I just used you're username and referenced the relevant parts . . .

JCU Delt OX: Could you post a link to this DITY calculator? That would be way easier than talking to TMO, I swear it's like pulling teeth.

Liutas: Was that a military move? That's exactly what I'm worried about, having a non motorcyle-specific move the bike.

214hibiscus: It would be fun to make a trip out of it, but then I would have to ship/have someone drive the Mazda. That, and it will be still be winter from here until about southern Colorado.

Matthumm77: Ever have any trouble with the moves and your bike? I'm guessing not, or you would have mentioned it. Are you at Ft Carson? Peterson?
In the navy, we usually had a few guys going base to base, and one would be "do it yourself". We put the bikes in that truck. It got harder as we all got married and had more stuff.
That might work, but for being active duty AF right now, I'm about as far removed from the military as possible :p

On a separate note, does anybody know off hand if you do a full DITY if a car on a trailer counts towards the weight moved?
Liutas: Was that a military move? That's exactly what I'm worried about, having a non motorcyle-specific move the bike.
Yeah, military move. I've done several, that was the first (and only) time I let them move one of my bikes. They never seem to know or care whatthey're doing. They're good enough to pack my easily replaceable stuff or things I just don't care that much about, but I won't ever again let them move something that means anything to me. Partial DITY FTW!

EDIT: When you moving? I'll be in Seattle next week.
The car will not count, they only move POV's for overseas tours. Your SV will count as part of your household goods. When you set up your move and talk with the moving company let them know you have a bike and ask them how they pack the bike for shipping.

When I moved from WA to VA, they put the bike in and strapped it down and then put a false roof over the bike and packed items around it to help secure it. I stayed in the truck and supervised them packing around the bike and was very satisfied. I got my bike back with no damage.

Another option is you can have the bike crated, but that generally costs around $700 and up. I believe someone else already suggested a motorcycle shipping company.

Do you have renters insurance? I have USAA and when I moved, they cover your property.
Liutas, I should be leaving Seattle sometime around the 20th of March.

Eaglefrg, have USAA and they do great work, so I'm not worried there. Thanks for the info regarding the car, that's kinda what I figured, but it's good to know (but an extra 3,500 pounds of weight wouldn't be too shabby). That false roof was what I was thinking I would do in the truck I have reserved.

After playing around with a calculator I have online, I'm less worried about the DITY reimbursement, provided the calculator was reasonably accurate. I figure a low weight estimate of ~2500 pounds gives me about a $500 buffer, and probably about 2000 pounds (which I can't imagine having that little) would be about right to just break even.
Take the motorcycle with you.


Have it shipped by professional motorcycle shippers.

Do not give it to the movers with your hosehold goods, unless you absolutely have to.

You have no say in who shows up at your home to pack your stuff, and load it into a truck. My last move......OY :angry5:.......The packers and the truck loaders didn't have a clue. I ended up helping them load the fracking truck. If I didn't help them, it would have taken three days to load up my HHG.
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Also keep in mind that they are cracking down on people doing just that. In order to meet the new regulations or keep up with them rather you would have to drain all fluids from the bike and give them a key to it.

I had no problems with my moves but that was because
1st time I was going from Korea to the US and didnt meet my weight limit
2nd time I only had two cars one for me and one for wife. she did the driving and I picked up my car much later.
We got reembursted for broken stuff however it isnt worth the risk imho, almost everyone I know has had something broken. What if the broken item was sentimental?

When I return from this tour I am under the impression I will PCS due to my long ass dwell time (been stationed at campbell for 4 years but only "lived" there a year and half due to constant deploy). I will be going on instructor status so I should finish my contract out without another deployment (hopfeully).

Contact the moving company on post. rent one of their pickup trucks strap the bike in and drive your car plus the truck or dolley the car behind it. let the packers take all non breakables and stuff you wont need right away.

I know I will need just about everything right away so I will not be using the movers
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I always did DITY and made good money too.. it's a lot of work though.
Thanks everybody for your input. I was originally leaning towards a full DITY, but some caution from one of our NCO's got thinking. But, with a bit of due concern for the bike and my sense of adventure, I think I'm likely to end up just doing it all myself.

I always did DITY and made good money too.. it's a lot of work though.
Not goal number one, but would certainly be nice. It really depends on how much weight of HHGs I have.
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