A permanent change of station (PCS) means filling out forms, attending meetings and following specific rules. As you navigate this process, don’t forget the updated guidelines that went into 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 later destination.” Keep reading to find out the current weight limit, what’s considered pro-gear and what’s not, and how you can move without worrying about your PCS weight allowance.
Current pro-gear weight limit
Previously, pro-gear didn’t 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 household goods. Now, however, service members are restricted on the amount and type of pro-gear they’re allowed to ship during a military move.
The pro-gear weight allowance is 2,000 pounds, which does not count toward the separate weight allowance for household goods. But, if an item doesn’t qualify as pro-gear, the weight will count toward the HHG weight allowance. There’s no authority to waive the limit.
Are there any exceptions?
The only exception is a grandfather clause for those who were stationed overseas before the rule went into effect. If you transported more than 2,000 pounds of pro-gear to an overseas station before May 1, 2014, you can return the same pro-gear amount to the continental U.S. on your next PCS move.
What’s considered military pro-gear and what isn’t?
These items are still considered pro-gear:
- Reference material
- Instruments, tools and equipment particular to technicians, mechanics and members of similar professions
- Specialized clothing (diving suits, astronaut suits, flying suits and helmet, band uniforms, chaplain vestments and other specialized apparel that’s not 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 a service member’s spouse owns pro-gear, he/she is allowed to move up to 500 pounds to the next location. Check out this Armed Forces Members resource to learn what is considered spousal pro-gear.
The following items no longer fall under pro-gear:
- Personal computer equipment and peripheral devices
- Memorabilia (awards, plaques or other objects presented for past performance, going away gifts, office decorations, pictures, etc.)
- Table items (flatware, dishes, utensils, 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
Consult your base Transportation Office (TO) or Traffic Management Office (TMO) for any clarification on what’s considered pro-gear and what isn’t.
Tips for staying within the new weight limit guidelines
Items that no longer qualify as pro-gear will either have to be included in your HHG allowance or charged separately. If those options sound less than ideal, there are a couple of things you can do:
- 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. Getting rid of unnecessary items gives you a better chance of meeting the weight limits.
- Consider moving with U-Pack®. Using a “you pack, we drive” moving service would mean completing a PPM — Personally Procured Move (also known as DITY move) instead of a government-arranged move. With U-Pack, rates are based on the space you use (not weight), so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your belongings meet the weight requirements.
Government vs. PPM example
Wondering how moving with U-Pack helps you with the pro-gear guidelines? Here’s an example of a government-arranged move vs. a U-Pack move:
- The military gives you a 9,000-pound weight limit on your household goods and the 2,000-pound allowance for your pro-gear. Let’s say your personal belongings take up 7,000 pounds of your HHG allowance, plus you have 3,000 pounds of items you consider pro-gear, but only 500 pounds of that qualifies to move under the new guidelines. (Even with a 2,000-pound 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 pounds, which can be costly.
Let’s look at the same scenario with U-Pack:
- With a PPM, the military will reimburse you the 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 three-bedroom home usually takes up about 20 linear feet in a U-Pack trailer, depending on how many items you have and how you load. You pack ‘high and tight’ and fit all your items into 20 feet of space. For example purposes, let’s say your U-Pack quote for 20 feet plus weight tickets is $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 exceed 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 use. Just keep in mind that to get reimbursed, you’re required to present certified weight tickets to your TO. U-Pack can provide these upon request.
Which option is best for me?
If you have a lot of non-qualifying professional items and you’re already at the max on your HHG weight allowance, U-Pack is an ideal solution. Get a free online moving quote or call a U-Pack representative at 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to see how much your military move will cost.
Still have questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll answer shortly. We’re honored to help our servicemen and servicewomen!
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