Service Is Key to Successful Equine Waste Business JH Hauling

Service Is Key to Successful Equine Waste Business JH Hauling

With Wellington famous for its equestrian lifestyle and world-class events, it is easy to overlook the less glamorous end of the horse business. Justin Hickey of JH Hauling calls himself a “manure entrepreneur,” and his successful firm is one of the top manure haulers for the waste of Wellington’s equine residents.

Born in Ireland and raised in England and California, Hickey moved to Wellington when he was 15 years old and grew up in the community. “I loved watching polo and the lifestyle of Wellington,” Hickey recalled. “I immediately thought, ‘Wow, this is paradise to me!’ I’ve been here ever since.”

To this day, Hickey enjoys the majestic sport of polo.

“Polo season is the best time of year. I love Sunday polo, and I go to polo games during the week,” he said. “The lifestyle is for people who like fast cars and fast boats. I love the Sunshine State with its tiki bars, great restaurants and nice people. It is the land of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

During the equestrian season, some 12,000 horses are in Wellington. Each 1,000-pound animal produces about 50 pounds of waste each and every day. These horses are easily producing more than 600,000 pounds of waste per day, according to some estimates. Phosphorous runoff from the manure can create damaging situations for the fragile Everglades ecosystem. This provides a challenge for the village and an opportunity for businesses like JH Hauling.

Living in Wellington for the past three decades, Hickey first started his business as a part-time opportunity. “I attended school and became a private duty nurse, then I started my manure-hauling business as something on the side,” he explained.

From his childhood, Hickey had experience with horses and their waste products. “Being from Ireland, I knew what to do with horse manure,” Hickey said.

As a nurse, he came to meet a large sugarcane farmer as a client and took care of him. This provided the connection for a vast amount of land to the west of the village where he could legally and legitimately spread the waste material.

“I’m in charge of spreading between two farms. I have access to more than 129,000 acres of fields,” Hickey said.

With 90 percent of his business coming from Wellington, and the balance from all around Palm Beach County, JH Hauling enjoys a good reputation as a registered hauler because of Hickey’s attitude toward service.

“By being honest and kind, and answering my phone, I have built a successful business,” Hickey said. “It is not science; it isn’t that complicated. It’s all about service. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve been doing it for 30 years. I answer my phone promptly, I treat people with respect, and I get the job done. It’s pretty plain and simple.”

Hickey now lives in Loxahatchee. He has a daughter and just became a grandfather. 

Intimately involved in the ongoing manure issues in Wellington, Hickey has spearheaded efforts to alleviate the challenges created by illegal waste removal and disposal. He said that he feels the situation could be better if everyone followed the rules and regulations and the village was more proactive in making all haulers follow the rules and regulations.

“When there’s illegal dumping, Wellington doesn’t do anything about it because it’s outside of Wellington. When you’re a hauler, you’re losing clients and customers because of illegal dumping and haulers unethically dumping,” Hickey said.

However, Hickey has seen improvements in this regard, and he sees more changes and improvements coming in the future. He said that equestrians are becoming more interested in using permitted haulers to help protect the environment, and they are concerned about knowing where the manure is going to go once it leaves their property.

For more information about JH Hauling, call (561) 248-3344.