PCS…Pain Free!?!

Author: Alex Brown, 2015 JB San Antonio Spouse of the Year

The story is one we all know well: orders drop and the frantic search for information on your new duty station begins. Whether it’s your first PCS or your fourteenth, the process doesn’t change.

I’ll never forget my first. “We’re moving where?!” When I went online and found out where the duty station was, I was hit with an impending sense of dread. I’d always heard about this place, lost in the Middle-of-Nowhere, U.S.A. So, like most of us, I turned to local spouse pages in the hopes of finding out about my new living situation.

Very quickly, I was disappointed in the conversation. The responses to my post about the area were filled with everyone’s horror stories.  “Don’t live here,” or “Base is awful,” to “Be a geo-bachelor family,” not exactly the knowledge and advice I was hoping to hear.

It was hard enough trying to decide whether to live on or off base. Unfortunately, my questions did not stop there. Do I contact the housing office first? What if a house isn’t available? What’s BAH for the area? Are certain areas of town more ‘military friendly’ than others? What were the schools like? Who’s a great realtor in the area? Do we rent? Do we buy? What’s the commute like? I feel confident that you all could easily add to this list.

Fast forward a couple of years...

I’m now a seasoned PCS professional. I know that movers will most likely pack anything that stands still for more than thirty seconds. I know to hide the trash can, what to pack in the “We need this the moment we arrive” suitcase, and that any food I have left in the fridge will be pushed onto the neighbors. Without fail, someone will end up bleeding the night before we leave or the moment we arrive. Packing stickers will haunt me. Oh!  Those darn stickers! Just when I think I’ve gotten them all off the furniture, I find three more. There will always be the one box that never seems to get unpacked and moves along to each new duty station. One of these days I’ll be brave enough to open it.

What if there was a trusted online source, built exclusively for our military community to discuss these exact topics in an organized and user-friendly manner?

What if it was created and maintained by the people we trust the most…our fellow military members and spouses?

Turns out, there is. Introducing PCSgrades.com!

This website is truly interested in helping out fellow military families through the PCS process. Think of it as an “Angie’s List” for the military community. No one understands the PCSing process like service members and their families. The unspoken understanding of chaos, relief, exhaustion, and elation that goes along with the journey isn’t something easily explained to those outside of the community.

 PCSgrades.com wants to help you find somewhere to live that you’ll love with honest, brutal and unfiltered opinions from fellow military families. Need a realtor? Find one that understands you’ll need a home in anywhere from one week to six months, that you will have to communicate everything virtually, and that everything can change in an hour. Need financing? Who are the military friendly lenders in the area? What about Doctors? Dentists? What medical professionals accept Tricare? Hairdressers? It’s everything you may have spent hours searching for on social media, but with the reliability and security of knowing someone’s looking out for you, the military family. Oh, did I mention it’s totally free for any active duty, reserve, or veteran and their spouses?

It sounds too good to be true. And I was more than a bit skeptical when I was first introduced to this innovative new company. In my first meeting with the team, they listened. They asked questions. What can make this process easier? What do spouses and families want help with? PCSGrades is a company run by military families FOR the military family, and they want YOU to be a part of creating the most stream-lined, reliable PCS tool possible. Don’t see something on the website that would be helpful to you? Forward it along. We are listening.

We all know that the military spouse can have a powerful voice. So while the perfect PCS is as elusive as a unicorn, PCSgrades.com is determined to make it easier, with your help. Check out the site. Look around. Fill out a review on your current or past duty station: the good, bad and the ugly. Let’s build this community together so we can get through the next PCS with ease, and finally get around to opening that elusive box covered in stickers!

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