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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Appleton WI
    Posts
    59

    Default Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Given the attraction of FREE BEES, and my desire to learn more about them I contacted several exterminators in the area to ask what they did with swarm calls. All of them said "we stay away from them' and were pleased to get my card and offer to deal with any they should be called on.

    It seems like swarm capture could be a nice sideline plus a lot of fun.
    I'm wondering how much folks charge out there for the collection service?
    Do you ever have folks balk at having to pay or are they grateful
    Do you ever do it for free, churches and such?
    Is it a flat fee or do you charge extra for Tarzan antics?

    Any information or guidance is welcome

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Genesee County, Michigan
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    I, and many others do not charge for swarms. Mainly because it's very simple to catch, and we WANT the swarms. But some beekeepers charge for mileage, like $0.50 for every mile. Removals from walls on the other hand, beeks can charge up to $200 or more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    No charge....WAY to much fun to ask money for!! Just remember to take your camera!!
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Ar. USA
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    If I catch a swarm, to me I just made $125. I figure if you start charging, or trying to, the calls will dry up. Like NasalSponge said, "it's way too much fun to ask money for"! Doing a cut-out is a whole different ballgame. That is pest removal, and since they are paying you for it, I think a simple contract protecting yourself from any liabilities is in order.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    West Newton, Pa.
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    I charge a flat rate of $30 for any swarms up to 10 miles away. If they're further than that I charge an extra $1 for each additional mile I have to travel. I don't do any Tarzan antics. If the bees are up too high or are in a dangerously difficult location, (such as close to or on power lines) I walk away from them.

    I also don't even bother with swarms if, in the process of talking to the caller, I discover that they have tried spraying them with anything.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    I don't charge for swarms, but there have been some nice people that realize that we are providing a service and if we have to drive a long dist. they will kick down some gas money. Have to admit, that's kinda of nice considering that some pest companies will spray the bees and they will charge you $75 to $100 for the service call.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Had a guy call me today and said he had two swarms and wanted to hive them and keep them. I told him I don't sell woodenware and told him where he could purchase some. Never had a call quite like that.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    No charge for swarms, do walk away from some.Charge per hour for cut outs and a flat rate for trap outs. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    York Region, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    I always charge.
    Most calls come from property management companies, they expect to pay.
    Not all are valuable prime swarms, some are useless little afterswarms, but the people will describe them all as millions of bees.

    These are NOT free bees, you have to put them in a hive.
    1 complete hive, new, based on my local bee supply store 2010 price list cost $101.00. You haven't built it or painted it which takes time and money.
    What is you're hourly wage?
    You must drive there and back = time and money.
    You have to spend time catching it and waiting till they all go in the box or you can leave it and come back later at night = more time or time and money.
    You should treat the bees after bringing them to your yard, I do, who knows what they are bringing with them and I don't want to infect the yard, you can go "eco friendly" next year = more money.
    You should feed them = more money
    If the hive gets big enough, and they should, you will need a 2nd brood box for another $50.00 = more time and money.
    The queen will usually supercede in a month. Or you could buy it a queen for $20+ = more money.
    You more than likely won't get any honey the first year, but if you are lucky, you get to buy them a medium super or two at a little under $50.00 each, and the time to build and paint it.
    What if they abscond? All that time and money and nothing to show for it.
    What if they don't live the winter? You spent all that money and all that time and you have an empty hive that you would never have bought in the first place. And no honey crop to pay you back for what you spent last year.

    So these FREE bees will cost you at least $150 a hive and who knows how much of your time.

    When people have a swarm hanging in their tree they are AFRAID of them and want them GONE. They will WILLINGLY PAY whatever you ask to take away THEIR problem.

    People are NOT doing you a favour by LETTING you take the bees. Bees are only valuable to beekeepers, to everyone else they are a dangerous pest.
    You are doing them a SERVICE by removing THEIR problem.

    I charge $250.00 minimum ($200 if they live close to me), more if they sprayed them (you can tell), because the bees are worthless and $75.00 an hour after the minimum is used up, this includes driving there AND back (just like the plumber or the repair guy). One woman even said "is that all". Even if they are gone when I get there I charge the minimum. I tell everyone up front so there are no surprises.

    Some of you might think I am ripping them off.

    NOT one person said NO, they just want them GONE.

    I figure I put a lot of time building these hives and so did you, they cost real money to make. It takes a couple of hours or more to catch the swarm, you can't quit once you start, plus driving there and back.
    I just want to cover my costs and get paid for my time, and so should you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    do walk away from some
    Absolutely!!
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    whixen...we must agree to disagree. Like I said for me it is fun and it makes me happy, that and new bee's are enough for me, plus the honey sales later help. Here nearly all my calls are from homeowners like the one I got last week from a wonderful older gentleman on a very fixed income I am sure.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by whixen View Post
    I always charge.
    Most calls come from property management companies, they expect to pay.
    Not all are valuable prime swarms, some are useless little afterswarms, but the people will describe them all as millions of bees.

    These are NOT free bees, you have to put them in a hive.
    1 complete hive, new, based on my local bee supply store 2010 price list cost $101.00. You haven't built it or painted it which takes time and money.
    What is you're hourly wage?
    You must drive there and back = time and money.
    You have to spend time catching it and waiting till they all go in the box or you can leave it and come back later at night = more time or time and money.
    You should treat the bees after bringing them to your yard, I do, who knows what they are bringing with them and I don't want to infect the yard, you can go "eco friendly" next year = more money.
    You should feed them = more money
    If the hive gets big enough, and they should, you will need a 2nd brood box for another $50.00 = more time and money.
    The queen will usually supercede in a month. Or you could buy it a queen for $20+ = more money.
    You more than likely won't get any honey the first year, but if you are lucky, you get to buy them a medium super or two at a little under $50.00 each, and the time to build and paint it.
    What if they abscond? All that time and money and nothing to show for it.
    What if they don't live the winter? You spent all that money and all that time and you have an empty hive that you would never have bought in the first place. And no honey crop to pay you back for what you spent last year.

    So these FREE bees will cost you at least $150 a hive and who knows how much of your time.

    When people have a swarm hanging in their tree they are AFRAID of them and want them GONE. They will WILLINGLY PAY whatever you ask to take away THEIR problem.

    People are NOT doing you a favour by LETTING you take the bees. Bees are only valuable to beekeepers, to everyone else they are a dangerous pest.
    You are doing them a SERVICE by removing THEIR problem.

    I charge $250.00 minimum ($200 if they live close to me), more if they sprayed them (you can tell), because the bees are worthless and $75.00 an hour after the minimum is used up, this includes driving there AND back (just like the plumber or the repair guy). One woman even said "is that all". Even if they are gone when I get there I charge the minimum. I tell everyone up front so there are no surprises.

    Some of you might think I am ripping them off.

    NOT one person said NO, they just want them GONE.

    I figure I put a lot of time building these hives and so did you, they cost real money to make. It takes a couple of hours or more to catch the swarm, you can't quit once you start, plus driving there and back.
    I just want to cover my costs and get paid for my time, and so should you.
    I see your point and numbers and understand where you are coming from.However If I pay $95. for a package(reportedly 65% fail within 12 months)I have to drive to the post office and back to get a box of stressed bees with a strange queen and then have the exact same cost/experances that you listed. At some point I to may feel as you do but for now the hunt/chase is worth it. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,726

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    No charge to remove simple swarms. We certainly want make it cheaper than buying a can of bug spray. I make it a point to congratulate those who make an effor to do the right thing. Had too many calls from those who just sprayed them to find out that they "keep coming back"!! Don't deal with heights, or structural removals.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    hey Bsweet you'll get a naughty note from the forum lords for that posting..!!!!!!
    Honeydew

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Genesee County, Michigan
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Quote Originally Posted by HONEYDEW View Post
    hey Bsweet you'll get a naughty note from the forum lords for that posting..!!!!!!
    lol. It's true! I already gotten my warning for quoting. @.@

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Well maybe so, There was not a certain part that I wanted to quote but the whole statement. Also thats the way the Reply With Quote button works. I learn best from mistakes Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    York Region, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    As I said at the beginning, most of my calls are from property management companies, not sweet, little old ladies down the street.http://www.beesource.com/forums/imag...es/biggrin.gif

    The reason the exterminators stay away from swarms is that they CAN'T spray them. That is the only reason they will pass on your name. It is illegal for them to use a product off label, they could lose their license. Read the bug killer cans - nowhere will it list honeybees.

    Stooge King was thinking about doing this as a sideline and said "Any information or guidance is welcome". I am just saying what I do and why.

    As for buying a package for $95 the big difference is YOU want the bees. THEY want the swarm gone and for them you get to spend $150 so they can get what they want.

    They are fun to catch, but more fun when you get paid.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,177

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Going rate around here is $50 for near by swarms.
    Remember some of the calls won't even be bee swarms.
    After a good spring of swarm calls, we have a hard time selling off all the extra swarms.
    At least 30 calls last year, then we asked to be removed from the list.
    Dan

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Nasal sponge - I had the same thing happen today! Guy saw my craigslist add, and wanted to know if I would help him trap out a tree, into his own hives! Forty miles from home!
    We worked it out that I will trap out a hive body full, and then leave him with a frame of open brood to followup with in his box. I'm only doing it because he's down the road from another trap out I promised to do last year, and he says the entrance is near the ground.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,552

    Default Re: Swarm Collection - Pricing

    Here's my deal: you call me and I catch a swarm, and you get a half-pint of honey from me. This is a great deal for me, since the bees have value to me and catching a swarm is entertainment, not work. (Usually, I tell the folks at the office that "I have an emergency swarm call, see ya!"). Also, its a great way to get honey customers.

    I'm not critical of what anybody else does, and I absolutely would charge for a cut-out, but, for me, I would feel like I had tricked somebody if I charged to catch a swarm. That's just how I would feel.

    Most of my swarm calls are within 5 miles. This year, I've caught 4 swarms so far, all within about 4 miles of each other. One was pretty small, one was actually for a friend/newbie whose hive swarmed and we got them back and two that were good swarms. One of them was put on drawn comb and very well could make a honey crop this year.

    Fun, fun, fun times. Life is good.

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