What Is A Yard Jockey? The Complete Guide

What is a Yard Jockey? A yard jockey is usually a truck driver whose job is moving trailers at a plant or warehouse. Just about every plant and warehouse have a large yard where products are brought in and sent out. The yard jockey moves trailers around the yard to and from the loading dock so when a truck driver comes to the plant or warehouse to pick up their load it is ready.

A yard jockey must be physically fit, able to communicate with other drivers, and keep the yard clean and orderly.

Some companies prefer that their yard jockey has a CDL, but not all companies require that.

A yard jockey has a lot of responsibilities. Are you interested in a yard jockey position? If yes, keep reading.

What Does A Yard Jockey Do?

A yard jokey is an important position at every company and warehouse.
A yard jokey will generally move close to one hundred trailers in a shift.

The yard jockey is responsible for moving trailers to the loading dock to be loaded or unloaded, inspect equipment, communicating with dispatch, delivering locally occasionally, log all trailer moves, completing manifests and paperwork, and being very flexible as everyday things could change.

The trailers will leave the staging area, then taking to the loading dock to be loaded.

A yard jockey is responsible for performing pre-trip and post-trip inspection on all the trailers, and if repairs are needed the yard jockey will notify the dispatcher so the trailer can be taken to the repair shop, etc.

A responsible yard jockey will be organized as they are responsible for doing the manifests and paperwork for the company.

Occasionally, the yard jockey may have to deliver a load locally, and pick up any backhauls locally too.

A yard jockey needs to have a lot of patience, be flexible, and to be ready for situations that just occur.

A yard jockey doesn’t always need to have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) because some companies don’t require their yard jockey to leave the yard, but most trucking companies do require their yard jockey to have a CDL, a driver’s license, a high school diploma or GED along with having no bad driving record.

Many trucking companies will also provide training, which is usually just a week or so.

Does A Yard Jockey Need A CDL?

Not all trucking companies require a CDL be obtained to be a yard jockey driver at their company because they will be driving on private property.

Due to the fact that many companies don’t need their yard jockey to leave their yard (private property), then it isn’t required by law that a yard jockey obtain a CDL, but if any yard jockey leaves the company’s property while driving their truck, then they must have a CDL to drive on public roadways.

Understanding what a CDL is and who needs one can be confusing, I suggest you read this article that I wrote recently that will explain exactly what a CDL is and who needs to get one.

Some trucking companies also want their yard jockey to have a clean driving record, a high school diploma or GED at the very least.

How Much Does A Yard Jockey Make?

The average salary in the United States for a yard jockey is approximately $16.00 per hour and $36,000 a year, depending on your location, experience, and if you possess a CDL.

Currently, a yard jockey position is in demand.

Trucking companies are always looking for dependable and a hard worker yard jockey to join their team.

Thinking about becoming a yard jockey? Look no further, visit our job board for local yard jockey jobs in your area.

Most trucking companies provide numerous benefits with a yard jockey position, which include health insurance, 401k, a week of vacation after the first year, and a flexible schedule.

What Are Other Names That Yard Jockeys Are Called?

A yard jockey has numerous names. A yard jockey is also known or referred to as:
• Yard Driver
• Yard Truck Switcher
• Spotter
• Trailer Jockey
• Yard Hostler
• Yard Spotter
• Shuttle Driver

Although, a yard jockey can be known as a different name, they all do the same job.

What Does A Yard Jockey Drive?

A yard jockey will typically drive a terminal tractor, which is actually a semi-tractor.

Terminal Tractor

This picture will show you what a typical terminal tractor looks like. As you can see it is purely used to move trailers around a yard and not public roads.

The terminal tractor and the semi-tractor have a variety of distinctions, which include:
• The terminal tractor’s cab only fits one person in the cab.
• The terminal tractor has a rear door in the cab, which allows the driver to access the trailer easily.
• The terminal tractor has a solid rear axle mount.
• The wheelbase on the terminal tractor is shorter than the semi-tractor.
• The terminal tractor will have an automatic transmission.
• The terminal tractor’s engine will have a low powered diesel.
• The terminal tractor has a 360-degree view, which allows the driver and terminal tractor the ability to make five or six trailer moves in sixty minutes.
• The terminal tractor’s cab is constructed with a twelve-gauge steel, which protects the driver in dangerous environments.
• The terminal tractor has an integrated lifting ability with a fifth wheel coupling so the legs on the trailer can stay in a low position while being moved.

In the United States, the terminal tractor is also called a spotter truck, yard truck, shunt truck, yard goat, spotting tractor, yard dog, mule, yard truck, and a yard spotter.

Is A Yard Jockey A Good Job?

A yard jockey is an excellent job for individuals who are wanting to get into the trucking industry.

A yard jockey position usually doesn’t require a CDL, which will give you the opportunity to see if you would like to become an over the road truck driver, or a truck driver in general.

Usually, a yard jockey will have a specific schedule such as 4/10’s (Working four days or nights and ten-hour shifts).

A yard jockey will have benefits, which include health insurance, 401k, and holiday pay.

A yard jockey will also be paid by the hour unlike a truck driver that is paid by the mile, which is great because you will know what your paycheck is each week.

Many truck drivers who have been driving over the road for a while and are looking to be home more will take a yard jockey position.

Top Yard Jockey Employers

If you are interested in being a yard jockey and you would like to know which companies are the best to work for and provides the best salaries and benefits, then look at the list below:

Top Yard Jockey Companies
1. Walmart
2. Lazer Spot
3. FedEx
4. Pepsi Corporation
5. Coca-Cola
6. Tyson Foods
7. J B Hunt Transportation
8. Parsec Incorporation

Each of these companies provide a decent salary and benefits. Depending on the company, you may not need to have a CDL.

Yard Jockey Videos From Real Yard Jockeys

This yard jockey video is a new yard jockey describing his position. The yard jockey shows the watchers the inside of the terminal tractor, and he says that he wanted to take the yard jockey job so he could be home more and not have to worry about driving over the road, staying at truck stops, and worrying about road conditions, etc.

This video is a Yard Jockey Tips 1. The tips in the video are excellent tips for new yard jockey’s. The driver explains how the fifth wheel connects to a trailer. The driver has only been a yard jockey a few months and he share his tips for new yard jockey’s.

Yard Jockey Tips To Avoid Injuries

Yard jockeys and truck drivers can avoid top injuries when they know what to avoid. These tips to avoid injuries are very important!

1. Landing Gear Injury – The landing gear causes many serious injuries for yard jockeys and truck drivers.

The landing gear has to be hand cranked, and the repetitive cranking can cause a shoulder, wrist, elbow, and hand injury.

Drivers need to make sure that they be aware not to strain or spring while cranking, and make sure you watch the hand crank, because many drivers have had the crank take over and the hand crank has went so fast that a driver’s hand or arm was smashed, and there have been drivers that lost their life when this happened to them.

2. Continuous Climbing – A yard jockey has to climb continuous throughout their shift to connect or disconnect the lines to the trailer.

Using an Ottawa yard truck will allow the driver to connect the lines without getting out of their yard truck.

A yard jockey is a popular position in the trucking industry.

A yard jockey will be moving trailers along with communicating with dispatch and drivers.

If you are an over the road truck driver or you are just getting started in the trucking industry, then a yard jockey position may be just what you are looking for.

They make a decent salary and they have great benefits.