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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fresno, CA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Question set up pollinating

    I have a farmer that has asked me to set up some hives for him to use for pollinating his almonds and wants me to manage them for him. I am located in the Fresno, California area and was wondering if anybody is close and /or knows what would be the cost to get started with 5o hives then grow to 200and reasonable compensation for managament and set up? Are there any pollinators or honey producers in the area, that would have more regional information? All help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    I would seriosly consider buying the hives myself and charging for pollination. Within Two years you can have most of your startup costs back and then the hives are yours to do as you please. You can still help the farmer, but if there is a flow on somewhere else, pick them up and move them and the money is yours.
    If he is willing and able to give you year round locations, then maybe you could give him a sweetheart deal on the pollination, but my vote is to buy the hives outright.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Valley Springs, Ca.
    Posts
    135

    Smile Own your own

    I agree!
    Jack



    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    I would seriosly consider buying the hives myself and charging for pollination. Within Two years you can have most of your startup costs back and then the hives are yours to do as you please. You can still help the farmer, but if there is a flow on somewhere else, pick them up and move them and the money is yours.
    If he is willing and able to give you year round locations, then maybe you could give him a sweetheart deal on the pollination, but my vote is to buy the hives outright.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camarillo, CA, USA
    Posts
    316

    Default thoughts

    Beekeeper keep and raise bees, Almond growers grow almonds. The only reason the almond grow is asking you the manage some bees for him is that he does not understand what it takes currently to raise and manage bees. He thinks he can do it cheaper than an beekeeper.
    What he will find, and you is there is a reason beekeeper raise bees and almond growers grow almonds, they are each separate industries with diffwerent skill sets and totally different economic structures.

    1. Find out why he wants to have his own bees, (50 to 200 is a small number of hives)
    2. Is he willing to take the finacial risk?
    3. Why not just contract with a commercial beek?

    A few suggestions if you do manage the hives.
    Charge a price that you make a profit, not just expenses, but profit. Their has to be a reason to do what you do.
    Hopurly fee for labor and cost for use of equipment

    Who's equipment and locations will be used to move hives and where will they be moved to before and after each pollination?

    Insurance coverage?

    Limit your liability, ie in the contract you will use best effort and current managment practices but any gains or losses are the growers, ie. you are an indepentand contractor and he owns all the hives and equipment.

    There are many other consideration in this proposal, what I have found every time a grower attempts to do this they find out why the price of pollination is what it is. Then leave it to the professionals

    P.S. you need to have the cost based on actual costs, for example if you signed a contact that states any use of your truck is 0.50 per mile and that was based on $3.50 diesel and suddenly 3 month later that same disel is $ 5.15 per gallon, who eats the cost?

    Larry,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fresno, CA, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks for the reply. Allow me to give more info, I am afraid I have left you all guessing about too much.
    I will be working some of my hives along side of his. He is putting up the money for his equipment and compensating me for set up and time of managing them. How much I should charge I am tring to figure and was wanting help from those with more experience. Is there any type of ball park price if he were to hire someone if his hives already existed? I will also have a place to winter my bees close to home and his euipment use for transport while I build up my own hives and equipment. Is there some limit of bees per location, summer/winter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Grifton, NC
    Posts
    1,302

    Default

    You would simplify things if you just own the hives and charge him a per acre per crop fee. You would really need to have a good contract differentiating and delineating each area and I'm thinking that gets really complicated, especially with liability issues, hourly labor rates, employer/employee relationship, partnership agreements or whatever it boils down to.

    How much pollination experience do you have...timing, treating, moving, etc? You have to figure what your time is worth, travel expenses, equipment purchase and maintenance, insurance, sale of hive products, ownership %. How many of your hives, ho w many of his? Does he have pallets, trucks, bobcat or forklift? Who buys fuel etc?

    I think it sounds like he's trying to avoid the high-dollar pollination fees that California has been experiencing lately. Don't sell yourself too cheap.
    Banjos and bees... how sweet it is!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default

    Years ago my dad tried raising his own bees rather than pay for pollination. The thing is, unless there are hundreds of acres of clover, blackberries, etc around his almonds, you are going to be feeding those 200 hives most of the year.

    Ours couldn't make it on cherry blossoms. So you will have to feed or move most of them somewhere. If his orchard is by itself surrounded by other flowering plants that bloom for the rest of the summer or fall, maybe they can make it, but I doubt 200 hives will.

    Dad eventually gave the hives to a professional beekeeper in exchange for a couple of years of pollination. It sounds like this guy is trying to short cut that process and get the hives for years of pollination. So don't sell yourself short.

    p.s. I only have 10 hives, so I don't have a iron in the pollination fire.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Cool set up some hives for him to use for pollinating his almonds and wants me to manage t

    When you say that you are going to manage the bees for him that makes you his employee!
    Something to think about.
    10-50-200 are big numbers to toss out for discussion.
    Please remenber that commercial beekeeping is hard work and not very glorious.

    Regards,
    Ernie Lucas Apiaries
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

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