The Inside Scoop on Working with Your Movers from 2 PCS Pack-Out Experts (with Wendy Way and Isabel Garcia Schmitt)

PCS With The Inside Scoop on Working with Your Movers from 2 PCS Pack-Out Experts (with Wendy Way and Isabel Garcia Schmitt)

They come in, wrap your stuff, stick it in boxes and help get it in the truck while you helplessly watch, hoping that your household goods make it to the other end in one piece – or make it to the other end at all. Working with the individuals or “agents” packing your home can be one of the most stressful parts of any military Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

Fortunately, Isabel Garcia Schmitt and Wendy Way want to help. Army veterans and military spouses, Isabel and Wendy started LOGSA Mil Moves to provide military packers who understand the challenges because they’ve lived the military PCS life. In this episode, Wendy and Isabel talk about working with your military movers to create the best PCS experience possible.

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Read a article about what military movers can and cannot pack

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of PCS with

The Inside Scoop on Working with Your Movers from 2 PCS Pack-Out Experts (with Wendy Way and Isabel Garcia Schmitt)

They come in, wrap your stuff, stick it in boxes and help get it in the truck while you helplessly watch, hoping that your household goods make it to the other end in one piece – or make it to the other end at all. Working with the individuals or “agents” packing your home can be one of the most stressful parts of any military Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

Fortunately, Isabel Garcia Schmitt and Wendy Way want to help. Army veterans and military spouses, Isabel and Wendy started LOGSA Mil Moves to provide military packers who understand the challenges because they’ve lived the military PCS life. In this episode, Wendy and Isabel talk about working with your military movers to create the best PCS experience possible.

Follow and Subscribe to the PCS with Podcast

iTunes | Google Podcasts | Spotify | TuneIn

Connect with this episode:

Get military PCS advice in your inbox

Learn more about military PCSing

Read about LOGSA Mil Moves

Amy Bushatz: There's nothing quite like sitting in your home, watching someone sort through all of your belongings, packing them away. Will they be packed well? Will they go missing? Will they come out the other side broken? And then there's the moment where you watch them unpack, trying to keep track of everything that's coming off the truck, so grateful to see your belongings again, and so nervous to see how they look. What you might not realize is that what you are witnessing on either side of your move is only one small piece of a puzzle. Those who pack, and sometimes those who unpack have no affiliation with the actual movers known as the transportation provider, beyond what you're witnessing.

Yes. Sometimes you might have a team do every step you've removed, but that is rare more often, the packers are a team known as agents and they are assigned independently from other parts of your move. Sometimes by the military transportation office, sometimes by your transportation provided.

It's easy to imagine just how impactful and important a good pack-out -that's the packing and boxing up of your items is. Megan Harless who has built an expertise around helping military families navigate military moving rules, believes that it's the most important part of any military move.

Now imagine what would happen if the people who are providing it care about the packing, because they too have moved with the military, because they are military spouses or veterans themselves. What you're imagining is in fact, LOGSA Mil Moves, a company that provides local agents, those packers, at Fort Bragg, Fort Stewart, Fort Hood in the DC area and at Fort Leavenworth with plans, of course, to expand beyond that. They employ spouses and veterans. Today, their founders, Isabel Garcia Schmidt, and Wendy Way are here to talk with us about everything we need to know about pack outs. Isabel and Wendy, welcome to PCS with

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Thanks you, Amy, for having us.

Wendy Way: Thank you, Amy.

Amy Bushatz: So, okay. First of all, because this is like a very international call, but we'll get to that in a second. First of all, Isabel, Wendy, tell us how many times you have both moved with or without the military. Isabel, why don't you start.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Without the military I have moved 12 times, then ROTC. And with the military, I have moved 12 times, so I alone have moved a total of 24 times in my life.

Amy Bushatz: Like a lot of times. Wendy, what about you?

Wendy Way: Oh my goodness. I was pretty stable kid and grew up and just a couple of houses in Washington State. With the military, though, we just completed our 12th move out to Italy so.

Amy Bushatz: So which brings us to the fact that you're both coming to us today from OCONUS locations and I'm in Alaska. So Wendy, do you said you're in Italy, Isabel, where are you.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: I'm in South korea.

Amy Bushatz: Yes, we are, we are from across the time zones folks we are from across the world. And I have to tell you, we are recording this at various and sundry times in the times, like the continuum of time. It is, for perspective at this moment, while we're recording this 5:00 AM where I am. Wendy, what time is it where you are?

Wendy Way: 3:00 PM

Amy Bushatz: And Isabel, what about you?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: It is 11:15 PM.

Amy Bushatz: Dear God. So this is how much we care about this subject . We have spanned the breadth of time and space to talk to you about pack out today.

Wendy Way: I'm the only one I'm in normal time.

Amy Bushatz: And our listeners can't hear it, but everybody here looks or can't see it, but everyone here looks great. It happened. We all look like it is not the time that it actually is. No, it's fine. Okay.

So guys, give us a picture of how you got involved in this world. Okay, I can't imagine that you've always dreamed of running a military pack out moving company, but maybe you have, maybe you have, so Wendy, why don't you start? Like, how did you get involved in this.

Wendy Way: All right. Well, what a little known fact as that Isabel and I met just a little over 20 years ago, we're both veterans. And so we met at basic camp before going the ROTC route, came together about 18 years later, worked a large maintenance contract together and thought, goodness, we can do contracting a lot better.

We didn't know what it was exactly that we wanted to do. We both moved our separate ways out of quarter one, California, where we reconnected. I went to DC, she went to South Korea and we saw that global housing contract come up for a military moving. Isabel was initially wanting to get into housing to help fix the housing dilemma.

I'm sure you've done podcasts on that. And, but the GHC contract came up and we both really wanted to figure out a way to give back to our community in a positive way. And this was exactly a great way to do that. Go ahead, Isabel about what I leave out.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: No, that's it. Wendy absolutely hit the nail on the head. We pride ourselves on being what we call conscientious contractors. So people who are out there solving problems with heart and care. So just this time zone issue, right? Wendy has a toddler. That's why Wendy's time zone is the normal time zone, at least for us. So when you gave us a schedule right, it's taking care of people.

That's really what is at the center of everything that we do. And like Wendy mentioned, it plugs into two initiatives that we really care about: mil spouse employment, and then there's that quality of life piece that Megan was already talking about in terms of how to increase quality of life for service members. And the global housing contract was a way to, to plug in. So, so you're right. It wasn't that we dreamt of packing houses, but we dreamt of solving a problem in a way that helps our community holistically.

Amy Bushatz: That's a great, and Isabel, can you tell us what the global housing contract is? Just for people who may not know the background on that?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Sure. I think that the way that I really liked to describe it as is if there are any Lord of the Rings fans out, there's one ring to rule them out. Presently, there are groups of transportation service providers. These are those big companies or groups of big companies. We know that we move around 350,000 to 400,000- there are 400,000 moves a year, and that poundage essentially is split up between these three, these 13, pardon me groups. And then those 13 groups then they divvy out that pounded to additional moving companies or even other smaller transportation service providers, those service providers and move, like it trickles down essentially to other brokers.

And then it reaches that agent level that you mentioned. And then at the agent level, there are subcontractors. That's where we come in. Right now because the industry works in that way, in that old way, there really is no accountability because you've got several transportation service providers providing the service to the government, a total of 900 transportation service providers provide the service.

And then of course those 900 right, they're sort of not controlled essentially, but they're managed by those 13 big groups. What the global housing contract aims to do is to create one standard for all of the moves moving forward, which means that is now one contract that is awarded to one contractor.

So that one contractor will then work with all of those 900 transportation service providers. So it helps the government in the sense of accountability. There's only one entity that they now go to to track and to provide that accountability piece. And then in the industry it, it provides an absolute shakeup because one of the things that Wendy and I could see as we were looking at it is that there's going to be a lot of industry change, and that's where we come in to sort of help alleviate some of the problems. Wendy?

Wendy Way: Yeah, I think that's exactly it. So when we can see what Isabel, just explain that global housing contract, as we built our business, we wanted to align with the way right now that helped capacity, labor, shortages, all those things and get quality folks in military homes. But also build our business in a way that once this contract is actually solidified in there on the ground running, then they would already reach out to us. And lo and behold both companies that have been awarded and it's in protest right now have reached out to us. They want to utilize us and they understand, and they get the value of what we're doing. They want more of us.

Amy Bushatz: So listeners, if you want to have more information about this, you can look up the global household goods contract. That's what's called, it's being put out for bid, or has been put out for bid by US Transportation Command, and like all good ginormous contracts, this one, by the way, is worth something like $6.2 billion, it is up being protested by the person who did not win it. So there is a whole big old process to this nothing is ever cut and dry, not in the military, certainly. And not definitely not with military contracts. And so at some point, this will likely become reality as one ring rules them all.

But the reality is that from a boots on the ground perspective, we're still going to see a variety of moving companies. We're going to still see a variety of people showing up at our doors to help us. It's how it's managed that's going to be different. And the hope is that how it's managed will change the experience of the customer, which is folks like actually all three of us who do military, who have military movers moving us actively.

Like when Wendy, you were saying, this is your current reality. So this is a close to home issue. Not just because you guys provide a service, but B also, because you're actively being moved hither and thither. I think when everyone's international like that, it's a safe phrase to use.

So I just, I love that story that you guys saw a problem and you wanted to fix it. What was your military specialty as you were in?

Wendy Way: Wendy here, I was actually a logistics officer.

Amy Bushatz: Okay. That's okay. Yeah.

And what about you, Isabel? Same?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: No, I was a chemical officer but worked as a training officer in an aviation battalion for my my time in the military.

Amy Bushatz: My money was on logistics or acquisition. Darn it. I would've lost cash.

Wendy Way: The great thing about Isabel is she can absolutely do anything. Just place her in any of those branches she'll run it.

Amy Bushatz: Fair enough.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: So the fate of chemical officers for anybody listening that understands is that we are always put in charge of something called what used to be called the unit status report USR.

And the beauty of that is that it teaches you everything. Personnel, training, logistics um, you were having to brief a general every month on the unit and everything that the unit is right. It's people, it's stuff and it's training. And I think that having done 40 how, how many did I do? I think I did 42 of those in my 48 months in the military. Yeah, you learn a lot and you get to take that with you. So for the chemos out there, it's good. It's good training.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. So you guys talked about how one of your passions is employing military spouses, and that is such a cool part of your company, but it is not why we're talking to you today. Because I thought, gosh, these guys have the super special inside scoop on what it looks like to be somebody doing a pack-out. From my perspective, I'm sitting on my couch with the, the eye terror, the terror in one's eyes, wishing I had eyes in every room and here's these people packing my stuff and I don't know what's going on. I think we've all- if you've ever had somebody move you, you've experienced this particular phenomenon.

Okay. But you guys have both experienced that and organized an entire company around this idea of making this process better. So tell us: what should military spouses and families know about pack outs that they don't? And I want to talk biggest mistakes and misconceptions about this. So Isabel, maybe you can kick us off with that.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Okay. I think the biggest you've already touched on. You are not going to see, 90% of the time, you're not going to see the same crew that packs you out as a crew that unloads you unless you're doing a door to door, unless you've got a truck driver that has his own crew. Typically what happens is you have local agents who hire during the peak moving seasons, which is when most of us are doing our moves, they hire subcontractors. Those subcontractors may or may not be movers for the rest of that year. And the subcontractors are ma and pa operations, a lot of times you'll see a husband and wife couple. So one of the things that's important to know is that that crew that you are communicating with may not be able to, just by virtue of them being in North Carolina and they unpack could be in California, be able to pass on that information.

That's one. And then two is your greatest ally, if you have access to to this individual, is your driver. Typically your driver is going to come in and inventory the move or inventory, whatever the packers didn't inventory and then load it. Now that driver also may not be the driver that delivers your goods.

You have moves that are sometimes picked up and dropped off at several locations before they arrive to your home. Again, excluding the door to door, your move may be touched by four different entities or more between the time it's packed at your home and then it's unpacked at your new location.

Amy Bushatz: Wendy what are some others?

Wendy Way: I think my biggest surprise when getting into this industry and we've hired consultants, we've talked massively with the moving industry to really get a good feel of how to execute and what's most comfortable for us and how we want to position ourselves as a company. But what I kept asking is where is the regulation? Where is the standard? Because there actually is no standard. I think, across the boards, no liquid, no batteries, lotions, no open foods.

But sometimes some packers do pack those things or, or taking pictures off the wall, for example. Generally you take your own pictures down and things like that. So you might have all those things happen on one move, where they took your pictures off the wall, or they did pack open foods and lotions.

And so you might expect that same thing on your next move, but the company says, no, we don't do those things. Which is rightly so. And so that makes for a very frustrated customer. Understandably. So I think that was my biggest surprise. But as long as you understand, take your pictures off the wall, no liquids, open foods, batteries, all of those things. I think you'll be pretty well good to go and positioned.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. So it sounds like, be hopeful, but flexible?

Wendy Way: Exactly.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: And Amy, if I can add one of the things that I really would like to share with folks is that when it comes to things like that and Wendy perfect answer, but there is no standard. It's why we're out here, we're trying, we are right now developing a training program that we hope will become the industry standard.

But when it comes to like your television on a wall, like people don't often think of this, but this is the way that Wendy and I think. It comes down to liability, right? So the packer cannot remove your television off of the wall because now they've created a situation where they are liable for any damage that happens to the wall.

So when it comes to the packer, the packer is supposed to be able to come into the home and pack the goods in the home. So when you start talking about removing things off of walls or disassembling you've changed the dynamic of the liability that they are now responsible for. So when it comes to some of those pieces, loaders are able to do some of it.

Like obviously they're going to take apart in furniture, but even a loader will not oftentimes, and shouldn't remove the television off of the wall because now you're talking about creating this liability situation. So when it comes to looking around your house, as you do that pre-move planning, you do have to put yourself in the mindset of a person when it comes to liability.

I know that's hard. Wendy and I are also working on concierge services. So we've, we are working now with folks who are wanting to work with us to provide concierge services for military and their families. And remembering that your DLA, that dislocation allowance, that's what it's there for. It's there to allow you to say, if somebody is providing a concierge service, maybe I need to look into that because I don't want to have to deal with this. My husband is either deployed or in the field or whatever, but I have this DLA piece, right? That's the piece you're supposed to use to move your dog, to cancel your electric company and your phone and reset it up in the new place. It's not forgetting that you do have resources that are presently provided.

And then again, putting yourself in the headspace of someone who's going to come in, who's tasked with putting everything into boxes and then we're taking it out of that.

Amy Bushatz: That's an incredibly good point. I think that people do forget that's a thing that they need to deal with and they do forget that they have that resource. I think about dislocation allowance, which as you said, is that money that the military gives as an allowance, sometimes after the fact sometimes as an advance, depending on what your financial status is, and if you have a government travel card which is the government's credit card that they now require all military services, will soon be as at the time of this recording requiring all qualifying military members to use across all of the services that was not previously the case, but you are given that to pay for some of the stuff.

I always thought about it as, money that the military was giving me to ease the pain. Not necessarily as this is designated to deal with X, Y, and Z, which is really, really what it's for. That's a really good, this is a really good point.

One of the pain points, I think for people who are watching their stuff being packed is they're not sure what they should be telling their packers. They're not sure what guidance they should be given. They aren't sure how to babysit if you will, what's going on in each room. And so for me, I mean, I'm a very organized person. I like to be on top of everything. And all of a sudden I'm just shutting down. I'm just like, I'm just gonna sit here and read this book because I can't handle what's going on here. You know? Then you wake up and your wedding dress has shoes on top of it or whatever, just silly stuff like that. Or they missed an entire cabinet or sort of these normal, not catastrophic, but pain-points. So, can you guys give some insight on best practices for handling those things?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: So a little bit of advice, and I know that Megans out there, there are several folks that are out there. We really like Megan's PCS move binder, but there are places where you can go for tips on moving, because it can be overwhelming.

The biggest thing that you ought to do if you are able, right, because some of us work and we're busy, is to start slow, months out. So we typically, I still don't have orders. So our move this summer is still sort of in limbo and I'm dealing with the weight of that. And I'm also looking around going, okay, I know that I need to start pre-move and at least pre-move planning.

But but do some of that start to throw out some of the things that, don't need to come with, you start to give away some of the things that you can. My biggest advice is, you know, stop moving that box of cables. You know, no one's ever going to go through that box of cables, it's 15 years old, just get rid of it. I moved with my box of cables to South Korea. I brought that box here and then I looked at it and I went to my local watch shop. I just took all the cables and I gave them to the gentleman. There's a huge market for that here in South Korea. And he was really excited about the box of cables, but find other homes for those things.

Because, and here's why, Wendy and I talk about, conscientious contracting, we like a holistic approach. It's important to care for the resources that are, that we have right now. And it's important to look to the future. When you move things that aren't ready for a move that shouldn't move. You're also, you're taxing the planet and, we are trying at every step to, to look out for people. And that doesn't just mean our people. I mean, of course we want to look out for our community, but it means looking forward for what we leave behind, for the generations that come behind. It's like this is the way that Wendy and I operate. And moving that box of cables, you've added to the fuel costs. You've added to the weight. You've added to the total cost of the move. It is in caring for the planet that we can, you know, we get to that our truest self. I think, I don't know. And maybe I'm going a little too far off of the map here, but yeah. I think that's it. Just so do the work to sort of get rid of the things that you know, aren't coming with you, and then set aside the things that are really important. So when you have those plaster molds of your kids' hands, communicate that to the movers and maybe set them aside in one location so that those packers know, these are really important to me. I would really appreciate it if you could take care. Wendy does a tremendous job of finding the best contractors. And then I train them on making sure that you are treating every item in that home as if it was given to that family by their grandmother and things are going to happen, right? Things are going to break. But when people know that you care about their things in a way that they're not essentially used to, but that ought to be the standard. The whole move becomes something completely different. It's not painful and it's not stressful. And that's essentially what we set out to do was to be able to be the company that walks into the customer's home and the customer's shoulders just drop and they go, oh, thank goodness.

Amy Bushatz: What I hear you saying on the don't take things with you that you don't need is a combination of moving stuff has a impact beyond what you're looking at, but also save yourselves because you don't want to unpack that any more than anyone else does. All right I have a little tiny confession I needed to sort through some clothes to give a friend, this is how all of this started. Once upon a time. And this involved me then deciding that I was going to put away things in my kids' closets that are seasonal in this instance, a ginormous window unit air conditioner because I live in Alaska and it can be very warm in my house, but nobody here has any sort of air conditioning whatsoever.

So we have this mobile unit, it got stuffed in their closet. It is right now, not summer here. Let's put it that way. And why is that in their closet? Why? So I decided I was going to put it in the closet under the stairs. Okay. This is a very long way to tell you that I last moved six years ago and lo, yes, this just, this last weekend went through two boxes that we had moved with, that nobody had looked at and we did not need the things that were in them. I'm proud to report that those were the only two boxes we have like that they're the last holdouts, but what if I had done that, say, when we moved and I didn't have to do it, six years later, that would have been good.

Why didn't I do that? Why?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Well, I think Wendy has a great I think Wendy has a really good response to this question Wendy, if you want to chime in?

Wendy Way: Yeah, I love it. Isabel is, we actually took a self-assessment like one of those strengths finders genius, key assessment to, to, I mean, we work so well, and I as Isabel and I, because we're different in many ways. And the results said, I am the yang to her yin. So it's true.

So everything she spoke about is absolutely on point and it's what I strive for. It's in our business values, our environmental impact and how we can lessen that is so important. But at the end of the day, it's what I strive for. But I don't always get to. So my number one advice is give yourself grace. Moving is so, so hard. It's so, so stressful. We're often doing it on our own without our spouses. We're trying to figure out our new community, sad to leave our old community juggling our kids and navigating their emotions. There's just so much going on.

Two moves ago I came home from the hospital with packers in my home after having a baby. I mean, so, no, I did not do any of those things. The things that I did as I made sure that the dishes were clean, the trash was taken out and my house was sanitary. And I just parked myself and that baby in a room and said, you know, what? What makes it to the other end makes it to the other end, everybody say a prayer for me. So there's times like those, because life just happens. And to be honest, my move last move from DC to Italy was probably about the same because I was graduating an executive program and kids in the house. And just so many things going on that I didn't get to all of those wonderful prep things that I always admire. And I always see Megan posting about. And to order, she gives advice, little things to order, oh my gosh, I love it. It's always my dream, but it doesn't always happen. And we can be really hard on ourselves. But at the end of the day, we do this a lot and it doesn't get easier.

You have to give yourself grace. And if you have people in your community that can help you reach out to them. I mean, we have to use each other to get through this life. So, yeah.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. It's so good. And we have an episode actually. I'm so excited about this one with Kellie Artis, who is one of the organizers of the company, Millie they help with concierge services, like you're mentioning. But what that podcast episode is about is the psychology of the PCS. So using your Enneagram number and profile to make your move a little bit better and really leaning into understanding how you operate and how that can sort of just better your life broadly, but specifically your PCS situation. It's a little bit more fru fru than we usually go here on this particular podcast. But I think it's actually very practical in a way that we maybe don't think about very often. So I encourage people to give that a listen.

Okay guys, here's what we need to do. We must talk about this because this is a burning question in the entire military community- tip, tip the packers? Feed them lunch? What's the preference. What do you say?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: No tip.

Amy Bushatz: No tipping.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: No. It sets up the industry for unfair moves, essentially, because what happens is that again, we talked about how the agents are sending out the small mom and pop operations. Oftentimes that tip is sometimes correlated with the quality of service, which is sometimes correlated with the rank of the move.

And that's not what we want. We want every service member to receive the same move, right? We want to have a standard and we want to stick with that standard and we don't want it to be tied to some benefit that's expected or we don't want moves that go awry because something wasn't received in a, in a way. We look at several movers pages, several Facebook pages, and it's interesting in those pages even to see how some of the folks who receive tips and food. If you've ever lived overseas in Germany, for instance, you know, that waiters there, you know, you're just sort of taught waiters there don't expect tips because they receive a living wage and that's where Wendy and I are, that's what we're trying to get to, to get our packers to the point that they are being compensated at a rate that they believe is fair, that works with the industry, that is good for everyone.

Now, when it comes to feeding that's okay. It's not encouraged because it sort of sets up that same --. A PFC, a family, like let's say, PFC Smith with his wife and his child may not be able to provide for a team of six movers, a lunch, right? Whereas Major so-and-so or First Sergeant so-and-so may be able to.

That's what we're talking about you're setting up these unfair conditions for not just those, the packers, like it looks like it's not really unfair for them, but you're setting that private family, that specialist family, that 2nd Lieutenant family, you may be setting them up for failure if you're providing something that another military family isn't able to provide. But feeding, even though we say no, and we let our gals know to let the family know, you know, it's not your job right now to take care of us, it's our job to take care of you. And again, Wendy, she is able to find the best contractors you're allowed to, I mean, obviously we can't tell you what you can and can't do, but it is not, it's not encouraged.

Amy Bushatz: What I hear you saying is that you don't want to set up a system where the economic privilege of one person over the other is going to impact the quality of service that they received. The quality of service should be standard across the board. And no matter who you are or how many people live in your home or what your other economic obligations are or what your paycheck is coming into your bank account every month.

Regardless of those factors, you should be able to expect the same quality of move and the same quality of pack-out. And when we create a system that is relying on tips, we put undue pressure on the people who may not be able to afford that, especially when going through a move, which is already an economic challenge, even despite all of the things that the military does, that's almost always true. You put an undue challenge on those individuals over the other, and to create a system where that's not sustainable.

Wendy Way: Yeah, I'll add to that. Some of the number one comments you see when people say, what do I do to make sure my stuff gets over to XYZ and one piece and somebody will comment, you make sure you tip the packers, make sure you feed them so they're happy. That should not be a thing. I'll put in the plug for our company and for who we hire because Isabel's right. We absolutely pay a living wage. We make sure that they, because many times our military spouses or veterans, community members that have kids. We want to make sure that they can pay for childcare when they come to work for us, we want to make sure that they're not worrying about that. And they can't take some home on top of that. And our gals are prepared when they come to work. If you provide them lunch, I'm sure that they would not mind. But they'll bring their own lunch, they'll bring their own water or whatever like that.

We actually did an open house about a month ago to talk about our company for military spouses, or veterans, or community members, whoever in the communities that are interested in working for us. And we had three of our packers on just to talk a little bit about what the work life is like. And they provide a lot of these tips and things that we just talked about.

And those are the folks that are actually in, on the ground, in the homes every single day. And you'll get some pretty good stuff from them. If people want to go back onto our Facebook page and rewatch that.

Amy Bushatz: We'll make sure that we share the link to that in our show notes as well as other links that people will find very useful on this subject.

For example, you mentioned, you talked earlier about things that you can and cannot pack. I've got an entire list of 'will the military movers pack my ...' questions ranging from your liquids to your hot tub. So, Ill link that as well.

So before we wrap up this conversation, I would love it if you guys could just walk us out with three or four insider tips, military families and service members should know from the packer perspective to get ready for their move.

You mentioned earlier, making sure your TV is not on the wall anymore. What are some others? Wendy? Can you kick us off?

Wendy Way: Yeah, I would definitely say something that saves me. If you have the space, even a closet or a room or the car, get you a do not pack room. So you can absolutely make sure the things that you don't want packed, don't get packed because when these girls come into the home, they are ready to move and to get the job done. Because they know that you have loaders coming in and your stuff needs to be gone and you need to move out of your house. So they're on the move.

Take your trash out. That's the number one complaint I see all the time-- they took my trash out. I used to have that complaint as well, but now I get it. These guys are on the move and some guys in trying to get the work done. So make sure you take that trash out.

If there's things like the coffee pot on the counter, just put a big sticky note, do not pack and then your stuff will be safe. What else you got Isabel?

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: I think, so, one of the things that we saw in the last season is that folks are not completely ready for a move. We've had several moves in the last season where mom or aunt or grandma is bringing additional things to the home as our packers are packing. And so when we come in to make an initial assessment, we can tell about how many man hours. When we've got loads of things arriving midday, or even later, that makes it a little bit difficult to manage that move.

When the weight or the initial assessment is done, the people on the receiving end will look at that and decide about how many individuals are going to be necessary. How many man hours is this going to take? When it turns into something completely different that can be very difficult to manage from an operations perspective.

So it make sure that everything that's going to be in that move has already been, has already arrived on site and that you don't have two different places. Now I'm not talking about folks who have scheduled for their storage to be packed as well. That's something completely different. You don't have to do that. Obviously, you'd have two entities coming into your home, one to your storage. But be, be as prepared as you can. And then Wendy, the stickies. Absolutely. Our teams will if the family hasn't already done it, we'll give them a pack of stickies and say, if you have additional items that you do not want us to pack I mean, please put these pink stickies on them.

And we will ask them if they have their do not pack corner, and if they don't we'll ask them to sort of lay out those items. The last tip -- we're told, not to schedule our unaccompanied baggage on the same day as our move, and I have been guilty of this three times because of orders, right?

Like our orders don't come until the last minute. And it just, it's just how it all worked out. But if you can avoid that situation, absolutely try to avoid that situation. There are things that did not arrive in this move that I don't know now, I don't know if they're actually missing, or if they ended up going into like non temp storage. I'm sorry, and I meant to add that don't have your non temp and your UAB and your household goods all come on the same day, right? Separate two or three of those, if you have two or three of those for those that are moving overseas, or that choose to use the unaccompanied baggage. And then take advantage of your unaccompanied baggage weight. Unaccompanied baggage typically is people don't take advantage of the full weight. And one of the easiest ways to weigh your items is to weigh yourself and then hold your larger items in your arms and then reweigh yourself and subtract the difference. And then you kind of know when you're close to that unaccompanied baggage weight so that you're not having to repurchase items at your new duty station that you don't need to because you didn't essentially send forward enough.

Amy Bushatz: And when we talk about unaccompanied baggage, just so that everyone listening to this is fully aware, we're talking about OCONUS moves primarily when you PCS CONUS, it's a little bit different in terms of how many shipments you have of your stuff, but when you're going OCONUS some things go earlier, some things take longer in theory, then there's the car and there's all, you know, all of these sort of moving pieces. It gets a lot more complicated. So we're not going to talk about all of those different things here, but just know that when you hear someone talk about the different types of baggage, that's that's what we're talking about. We're talking about OCONUS moves. Which of course you guys are super familiar with as you are OCONUS at this exact moment. So yeah,

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: My stuff's done over the ocean back and forth eight times.

Amy Bushatz: Oh my Lord.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: And over both oceans, right? So like we've been to Korea. This is our second time in Korea and Germany twice.

Amy Bushatz: That's making very nervous, so much saltwater, so much, so many things can go wrong and I'm from a beach. I know.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Yeah. Um, that last thing, Amy, is those things that are really important to you, if you do have a safe and you're able to pack those things in a safe, do that. If they're larger items and you can have custom packaging made for them, go ahead and do that. I see on some of the Facebook pages folks asking, my grandmother gave me this vase, the packers are coming I'm really nervous.

And so what I always offer is get yourself a case like a Pelican case or something even cheaper on Amazon, get the, you know, the customizable foam and create something for that vase that will go with you. If you've just started in the military, especially move, to move, to move. So that you know for sure that it is always going to be safe.

That's the, that's that proactive piece, you know, that's the DLA piece, right? So use a little bit of that DLA and then every move, if you've got these custom pieces, get yourself one or two more cases and especially if they're stackable or whatever to really take care of your things because you don't know. And because sometimes there are four entities touching your stuff, and as much as we're trying, and the rest of the industry is trying, things can happen. And so in order to avoid that, you know, do your best to let us know when we show up to pack that this is really important to me, and then we can double box it right. To let us know, and then to also be proactive yourself and create a situation that everyone can work with.

Wendy Way: And last one, I will probably say this is paramount. And the most important of all -is communication drives everything. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Make sure to reach out to your move coordinator. You'll know your agent before the move happens. If you want to reach out to them as well. Our gals generally call a couple of days before. If grandma's going to bring, bring it over a few extra items, go ahead and communicate that. No question is too big or too small. So if we work together, then everything falls into place much easier.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. That's, that is such good advice to end on because I was just about to add that nobody's psychic. No one. Terrible, terrible situation. It would make my marriage a whole lot easier if I just all knew what everyone was thinking, but no. That, and that's not true with moving your house. No, one's psychic in your move. No one's psychic. And so if you don't talk about, what's important to you as well as you were talking about then that communication, like you were saying, Wendy, does not happen. You have to bring it up. You have to talk about it. You cannot assume literally anything, especially when you're dealing with a very high stress situation for your family.

And I think Wendy, it was you who said earlier, you came home from having a baby and you were being moved. Like, this is not a low key event. This is, there's a lot going on right there. People who have never had a baby, they may not have personally experienced just how crazy that is, but let me just- that's crazy. So just put out there.

Wendy Way: Totally crazy.

Amy Bushatz: Totally crazy. So over communicate, no matter how much you think you're communicating, communicate more.

So, Wendy and Isabel, thank you so much for coming on PCS with today, for telling us about your company LOGSA Mil Moves and for being these experts in the space.

Isabel Garcia Schmitt: Thank you, Amy.

Wendy Way: Thank you.

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PCS Family and Spouse