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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ulster County, NY
    Posts
    72

    Question Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I have been hired to do a cutout of 2 hives in a photographers studio in the next few weeks. He liked the idea of the bees being there and let it stay, until it swarmed and took over another wall of the studio, and are now getting inside.

    Here is the catch though. He wants the bees to remain his property, on his property, and wants me to maintain them. Has anybody done an arrangement like this before? What should I charge to maintain hives? He wants me to maintain them for a portion of the honey produced. I gave him a list of equipment he will need to buy for the bees to remain his property and bumped my cost up for the cut out as I cannot make money from the honey they would normally have produced for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,259

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    give him an estimate for ten times the value and walk away. too many potential problems. he thinks you are making money doing a cutout , very few beekeepers make 5 dollars an hour doing them. been there done that. now I tell people if they want the bees removed, burn the house down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Lol."burn the house down".. I love it! We have always had people ask us to come get their swarms, and we only did it if there was a danger involved... we never charged, but we also made it clear that we didn't want their bees... people tend to think that they are doing you some great favor by letting you slave in the heat for hours to tediously remove every little bit of comb from their attic, chimney, child's playhouse, etc, just because you are getting to take the bees... my father used to just say "nope, let them stay or get you some Bengal and hose them down.. we do not want swarmy bees, ours stay in their hives and pay their rent". Lol. In your case, I would simply point the artist towards getting some gear and reading up on how to hive and manage them on his own... if you want to try to work with him, maybe you should get a contract made up that allows you to charge for replacement bees, queens, and equipment at your full discretion.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Tulsa OK. USA
    Posts
    846

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I nomally charge $75. per hour with a 2 hr. min. I would double that just for the cut out, If you decide to maintain them for him I would charge at least $85 per visit with two visits per month minimum plus mileage and $40.per phone call/hr for phone support. Make sure to get a no fault clause in case they run away from home or die out and be sure to charge them for all cost such as supplies for feed and the time of making it or any meds needed if you go that way. DON'T DO THEM ANY FAVORS as they arn't doing you any. Jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I would take care of the job and if he wants the bees just charge accordingly! Let him know that he will need to get equipment and that you might perhaps have some for sale if he needs anything. Afterwards the bees is his responsibility cause it will only be a headache for you in the long run! Just imagine what could happen and it will! Trust me you will want to inspect the hives and he wont be home. He will have all these stipulations since its his property! There is so many negatives that it wouldnt be worth it! If you could work out an agreement up front then that would be great but i never seen one go as planned! They always change down the road some how some way, just the way it goes! Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Agreed; if he wants the bees, fine, but I would not maintain them for him after the initial removal.. If he really wants them he should learn how to keep them...
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ulster County, NY
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    He actually lives on the west coast and is only at the house once every few months. He said he just wants to think of them as his bees but can't maintain them. I just though of this...I'm toying with the idea of seing if I can use his property to put some of my hives there. It is within close proximity to quite a few orchards and he has many acres of wildflowers. Maybe as a trade for using his property I could manage his hives. I don't know if I'm still even comfortable with this though as like Bswet said...what if they abscond or die, or need treatment, ect. I definitly would need this in a contract.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    422

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Walk away, there is nothing in there for you to profit from.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,259

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    west,coast,lots of money. as I said run.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Yup; Walk away. If he wants the bees he can keep them right where they are. If he really wants them moved he will call you back to do the job without stipulations, because he isn't going to be able to find anybody else fool enough to agree to leave him the bees and manage them for him.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    If he lets you have his house and property and pays for the bills then why not?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
    Posts
    396

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    add the cost of a nice size package of bees to the price you would charge if you got the bees as normal ...since that is in fact part of the pay we get for doing cutouts,then let him keep them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    5,039

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I would take the job, charge good wages for the cutout, charge a 20% profit on the equipment I sell him, plus good wages for assembly, tell him I need a 5 hive site minimum for me to maintain them onsite, and then sell him the honey produced there for top retail. I have several sites like that started with bait hives. The honey produced is pre-sold and I find that charging top retail for the honey pays me fair wages. Several of my sites are entered through automatic gates, have running water at my site, and the hosts buy my whole crop. I have built one site to thirteen hives with the gardeners catching most of the baithives at their homes AND transporting them back to the site for me, trading them onsite honey for their efforts.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    od; that's usin the old noggin.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    4,317

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I think you've got an opportunity to come to a mutually beneficial relationship.
    If he needs any other services, like house setting, cleaning, etc. , you could always pass that on to a local friend.

    'A little bit of this, an a little bit of that.'

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    As long as you clearly define your responsibilities and make sure it's enough compensation to be worth your while, it's a great idea. If not, then it could be a mess.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    I like odfranks approach. I have a few "customers" who I've removed swarms or did cutouts for and now they let me keep swarm traps at their place. They watch and call me if a swarm moves in. It's great. A few have expressed an interest in keeping bees on their property to pollinate their garden or whatever. A great way to sell your honey and get a free outyard.
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ulster County, NY
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Here is the contract specs I proposed.
    Cut out fee plus a 15% markup in equipment. I added an assembly and painting fee of 15% of the equipment. I have the right to have 10 of my own hives on his property and he gets 1/2 of the honey produces by his 2 hives but pays $5 per pound jar for extracting/bottling. In addition he us paying me $100 per year to affix labels with his property address to the honey produced by "his" bees to hand out to his family/friends.

    All in all I think I made out well with this one. Oh, and I have the right to split his hives as necessary or take swarms and they are my bees.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Sounds to me like a situation where you would have several similar hives and charge him for maintaining his. Of course, his would be the first to get sick or abscond.
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Cut Out Customer Wants to Keep Bees

    Sounds like you did all right. Sometimes advise is good but you always should do what feels right to you. Then you only have yourself to blame or pat on the back.

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