by Pride Transport | Jan 03, 2024
When you imagine trucking jobs, you probably think about traveling long distances. You might picture someone who rarely comes home or about a team of drivers working together to transport goods all around the U.S.
Many truck drivers do handle long-hauls or statewide trips, but did you know that there are other kinds of driving jobs that can keep you closer to home? Whether you want to stay in the local area because of family or you’re not interested in the typical schedule of a truck driver, other driving jobs allow you to stay in the industry and work closely with other drivers.
Becoming a yard jockey is one option. A yard jockey is someone who works closely with drivers in manufacturing facilities and truck yards. They have many different tasks, all of which are necessary to keep the industry running smoothly. This position allows you to work with a variety of people and gain deep knowledge of different types of equipment — both reasons to consider it.
Here’s what you need to know, so you can consider this helpful role.
The Basics of Being a Yard Jockey
At the core, yard jockeys are responsible for streamlining the loading and unloading process as truck drivers arrive or get ready to leave with loads. They take over after truck drivers leave their loads behind and move semi-trailers and trailers around the warehouse, from yards to loading docks, or through similar areas.
They are responsible for warehouse operations as well as the activities that take place on the lot. In some cases, they may also train new employees on the role or take charge of safety training around the yard. Overall, they’re productivity managers and act as the glue that keeps the yard held together and running smoothly.
Interested in trying out this role?
As far as industry experience goes, most yard jockeys have a CDL, but not all do if they only move items within the yard. It will depend on the company you work with.
Beyond that licensing, you should also meet additional requirements including:
- Your high school diploma
- Being 21 or older
- Completing a physical
- Passing drug and alcohol testing
- Having a positive work history and excellent driving record
- Good attention to detail
- Organizational skills
Some businesses may prefer or require previous experience as a hostler, with yard maintenance, or with forklifts.
Yard Jockey Job Duties
Yard jockeys often move vehicles and trailers. They aren’t just responsible for moving loads from Point A to Point B, though. They also have responsibilities such as:
- Refueling reefer trailers
- Cleaning out emptied trailers
- Inspecting containers
- Preparing trailers for dispatch or processing
- Maintaining an orderly lot by maneuvering trucks inside the yard
- Filling out paperwork, such as delivery forms
- Performing maintenance on tools or machinery within the yard
- Performing yard checks
- Helping with docking
All of these, and many other, responsibilities make this job vital for maintaining a clean lot with less congestion. Without a yard jockey, the entire docking, loading, and unloading process could be much slower and more complicated.
The Equipment Used as a Yard Jockey
Yard jockeys have to work with various kinds of equipment. Usually, they don’t drive semi-trailers. Instead, they tend to use spotter trucks, which are also known as yard dogs, hostlers, shunt trucks, mules, and terminal tractors, among other names. The vehicle is a semi-tractor but has a hydraulic lifting fifth wheel that differs from a standard semi-truck. With that hydraulic system in place, it can lift trailers up or place them down without the driver getting out.
Other kinds of vehicles that yard jockeys might use could include forklifts, pallet jacks, and other factory equipment.
Yard Jockey Job Benefits
Becoming a yard jockey means you’ll have access to a number of benefits. Some of them include:
- Earning an hourly paycheck, which means you’ll be able to rely on a regular amount of money on each of your paychecks.
- Getting to work close to home. Yard jockeys tend to work normal hours in specific locations, so they’re usually home each night at a reasonable time. However, you’ll want to ask about the role to determine if there is overtime or if there are times when the job could require overnight or other longer shifts.
- Working a planned schedule. With the standard hours set for the role, you’ll normally have a predictable, standard work schedule that means you’ll know when you’re working and when you’ll be at home so you can have a strong work-life balance.
- Getting experience working in the trucking industry.Whether you plan to work as a yard jockey permanently or you’re hoping to gain experience working with trucks in this space before moving to driving with your CDL on short or long hauls, the training you get working as a yard jockey is invaluable.
- Staying in the industry when you want to step down from driving long hauls. Sometimes, experienced drivers prefer taking a yard jockey role because they get unique training with new equipment or have the chance to get to know colleagues while staying in one place. Whether you want a break from driving your commercial vehicle or need to stay closer to home, a yard jockey role is an opportunity to thrive in your current industry while changing your daily routine.
If you want to have a daily schedule you can rely on or are hoping to try out a new role in an industry you’re already a part of, a yard jockey role is definitely one to consider.
Join the Trucking Industry With Pride Transport
A yard jockey role offers plenty of benefits, keeping you close to home, giving you regular paychecks, and even encouraging excellent safety training on yard processes. From learning to drive trucks to handling forklifts and other equipment, you’ll gain helpful experience and skills in this position. And you’ll have the benefit of getting to keep the yard in tip-top shape, so loading and unloading goes smoothly every day.
Yard jockeying is only one role outside traditional commercial trucking you could consider. Whether you plan to stay close to home or eagerly take long-haul roles to get out and explore the country, we have nondriver and driver positions for you to consider at Pride Transport. Learn more about our company and our nationwide fleet on our website.