Re: how much $ from 30-40 hives?
Once you get serious about making some money from your hobby, and then finally stop expanding colony numbers and honey processing equipment - all those capital expenses, it will probably take you 7 years to show a profit. In the 1970's when I started, it only took 3 years for me to pay off all I sunk into the "hobby" and started showing a regular profit. But having been out of beekeeping for a while, when I restarted, well, I hope to turn a profit in 2012 - about 7 years after I started, this time.
Then, each year after you've finally paid off your capital expenses, you have the maintenance and on-going costs of feed, jars, labels, replacement bees and queens, equipment updates, etc etc etc, to say nothing of gas and oil.
The day will come when you'll make more than you spend...and it feels soooooo good!
"If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow