What is a Local Yard Jockey?

Yard jockeys are typically employed at a transportation or logistics center and are responsible for moving and organizing trailers, containers, or other large vehicles within a yard or cargo area. Their primary role is to efficiently position and maneuver the vehicles to create an easy loading and unloading process, and to ensure the smooth flow of traffic within the yard.

Do Yard Jockeys Make Good Money?

Yard jockey positions can be very lucrative, however, like with most jobs earnings vary based on location and experience. Wages tend to be higher in busier locations, such as hubs and ports in major cities.

Do You Need a CDL to be a Yard Jockey?

Not always. If you need to drive off the yard, most commonly moving trailers from one yard to another nearby, you need a CDL. If you don’t need to drive off the yard, some employers may not require a CDL. Here at Fundamental Labor Strategies, we require all yard jockeys to have their CDL license.

What skills do you need to be a yard jockey?

There are many skills important to being a yard jockey, however, these are the most important:

  • Driving Skills
  • Backing Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Attention to Detail
  • Time Management Skills
  • Multi-tasking Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Safety Conscious

How Do You Become a Yard Jockey?

Becoming a yard jockey typically involves a combination of education, training, and relevant experience. Employers prefer those who have several years of experience driving vehicles like terminal tractors, especially when it comes to maneuvering and backing trailers into dock doors or parking slips.

What Does a Yard Jockey Do?

The responsibilities of a local yard jockey may include moving trailers to and from loading docks, parking and arranging trailers in designated areas, conducting inspections of trailers for damage or maintenance issues, and assisting in the coordination of logistics operations within the yard. They often work in coordination with warehouse personnel, truck drivers, and other logistics professionals to ensure the efficient movement of goods.

What Do Yard Jockeys Drive?

Yard jockeys typically drive specialized vehicles known as yard trucks or terminal tractors. These vehicles are specifically designed for maneuvering trailers within a yard or terminal area. The vehicle driven by a yard jockey may vary depending on the industry, company, or location. Some companies may have their own specialized vehicles or variations of yard trucks tailored to their specific needs.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Yard Jockey?

Benefits can vary depending on the specific company, industry, and location, however, here are some most common benefits yard jockeys experience:

  • Better Work-Life Balance: Yard jockeys often work regular shifts within a fixed location, providing a more predictable work schedule compared to OTR or regional truck drivers. This can offer better work-life balance and stability in terms of planning personal commitments and family time.
  • Limited Travel: Unlike CDL truck drivers who spend a significant amount of time on the road, yard jockeys primarily operate within a specific yard area. This means less time away from home and fewer nights spent on the road, making it a good choice for those who prefer a more localized work environment.
  • Enhanced Driving Skills: Operating specialized yard trucks or terminal tractors requires precise driving skills and spatial awareness. Yard jockeys develop excellent maneuvering capabilities, which can translate into improved driving skills overall. These skills may be transferable to other driving positions, should you choose to pursue a different path in the future.
  • Job Stability: The need for yard jockeys remains relatively consistent in industries that rely on transportation and logistics. As long as goods continue to be transported and facilities require efficient yard operations, there is a demand for skilled yard jockeys.

Should I Be a Yard Jockey Instead of a typical CDL Driver?

Ultimately, the choice between being a yard jockey and a CDL driver depends on your personal preferences, skills, and career aspirations. Consider the nature of the work, your enjoyment of driving, and work-life balance to make an informed decision.