Re: What is considered commercial?
Your fixed costs - boxes, frames, tops, pallets or bottoms, etc. should be easy to figure out. You just need to get a bee catalog and do the math. The other thing you didn't mention is are you just doing pollination or honey or both? If you are doing honey you are going to need supers, extrator, spinners, space or shop, etc. so you will need to figure that in . Figure 3 supers min. to start with so with 100 hives you should have 300 supers on hand and that may be short. Lastly, you will need a truck, swinger or use of one, and yards.
On top of that, don't expect to get 100 hives our of 25 in a season. I like to figure it like this. If I have 100 strong hives for splits I figure I can get 70 good spits started. (3-5 frame splits) Given that, if nothing else goes wrong you can get close to doubling your hives but not necessary a honey crop.
But if you are looking to do it from a business stand point and if you are doing it commercially then you should, I would start like this.
Budget. What is your budget. This is going to determine how many hives you can manage and afford the first year. Remember that buying the equipment and bees are only ONE part of what your expenses should be. Once you start to generate some income, you can expand more and more which should allow you to make more and thus grow your operation.
Some key things to remember. Don't quit your day job just yet. It will be very though to expand your business and make enough to live on at the same time. Most beekeeping costs are up front, so the longer you are in it, the cheaper your operating costs should be ONCE you stop expanding. Anyway, those are some things to think about. Good luck.
Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne