Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 64
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Louisville, ky 40206
    Posts
    28

    Default Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    In my third year in beekeeeping, finishing this year with 30 nucs and a few hives. My understanding is the money is not to bee made selling just honey. What about selling queens, wax, nucs, swarms and honey, teaching classes. I would rather invest in a nice queen rearing system, than investing money in buying 500 more hives. I hope I am not being naive, open to comments. Working a 1000 hives just scares me, THANKS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    San Bernardino County California
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Beekeeping Business Planning - Can you make money in this business?

    quote My understanding is the money is not to bee made selling just honey. What about selling queens, wax, nucs, swarms and honey, teaching classes. I would rather invest in a nice queen rearing system, than investing money in buying 500 more hives. quote

    I agree for the most part. I have a hard time with the idea of producing 3X the honey just so I can sell it for 1/3 the price. Wholesaling honey is servitude to the packers, who really don't care how or where you got it. Wholesaling also puts the brokers/packers in the position of naming the price, while selling directly allows free market principles to dominate. Local farmers markets are changing the social fabric of this country in a positive way, and it's enjoyable. A large percentage of our sales are people looking for locally produced honey on their Dr.'s advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,883

    Default Re: Beekeeping Business Planning - Can you make money in this business?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean-Yves View Post
    My understanding is the money is not to bee made selling just honey. What about selling queens, wax, nucs, swarms and honey, teaching classes.
    I run around 150 hives. I have no employees and I work my butt off shoe-horning in my beekeeping work when the weather cooperates and my regular job allows. I sell my honey wholesale to a few stores and work two farmer's markets during the summer. I've tried to raise my own queens and continue to bump into the time conflicts with keeping bees and selling honey. My wife continues to remind me there are only 24 hours in a day but for some stupid reason I think I can fill each one of those hours with something constructive and productive.

    My guess is that as you get larger, some enterprise will take priority and it's not a case of doing five different activities but finding that one that you are willing to make into your principle business. As you increase, each of these enterprises will compete for your time and energy. I'm at that point where I'm juggling my commitments and sooner, not later, I've got to decide what aspect of beekeeping I want to do.

    The hard part is I've worked so hard at making my niche at the farmer's markets that I hate to give it up. But my hive numbers continue to challenge that commitment. A large part of me would like to quit the markets but it has been my bread and butter that allowed for this expansion. Dave Hackenburg told me this would happen that if you spend your time selling honey, your hive management would suffer. If I shift to managing my hive correctly, I really don't have time to peddle honey.

    Heck of a problem.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,127

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Diversify.

    I started out with the goal of producing a mountain of honey and a fortune in cash. Unfortunately the weather and my inexperience worked against me and my mountain became a mole hill. So I started pollinating apples. Gave me some needed income in the spring but reduced the honey crop...back into the same boat.

    Then I started raising and wintering nucleus colonies, and producing my own queens...all for my own use. That wasd untiul a NY inspector saw my bees. He convinced me to sell bees and queens. That was exactly what my apiary needed.

    So, now if I don't make the 30-40 tons of honey I make in an average year...like 2009 and 2011, I have enough sales in my nuc/queen operation to make a living. If the crop comes off average or better I make some decent $$.

    It takes time to learn and build acceptable stock, but time well spent.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,863

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    The short answer is that if you calculate the profits against the hrs invested every year, there is no money in beekeeping.

    Every market takes work to develop whether you are selling honey, pkgs, queens, or pollinating. In most areas you will have to compete for a piece of the pie because somebody is already filling the need.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,492

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Equipment. Build and sell well made supers and other woodenware. One thing about it, what you don't sell this year won't spoil or die.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,716

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I imagine overhead on equipment must be high. Just guessing though. But if I can make a medium super for $6 out of Home Depot wood and a cheap table saw, I'm assuming there is some cash in mass producing them and selling them for more than $6. I guess it all depends on the labor and the source of the materials though.

    The one area I have noticed that is constantly a seller's market is nucs/packages/queens. If you've got them, and they are good, you can name your price. That's not to say you'll get rich off them, as it takes just about as much cash to make them as you can sell them for. Plus you have to deal with a bunch of unruly customers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Beaverton, MI, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    But if I can make a medium super for $6 out of Home Depot wood and a cheap table saw, I'm assuming there is some cash in mass producing them and selling them for more than $6.

    I went to Home Depot Saturday to pick up four 1 X 12's eight foot long, but they were out But a salesmen told me he could sell me 10 footers for the same price

    So I get 12.5 deeps instead of 10 deeps!

    2.5 free deeps thanks to Home Depot, gotta love it!




    Wayne

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,492

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post

    The one area I have noticed that is constantly a seller's market is ... queens. Plus you have to deal with a bunch of unruly customers.
    What do you do w/ 1,000 mated queens when it's the end of the season and no one wants them? I know someone in that boat. Or he was anyway. I'm not sure what he did w/ them.

    Whichever way you go, it takes time and money to build the business and even longer to realize a PROFIT. Those who run the numbers and try to figure everything out before investing and expecting a certain return, their fooling themselves.

    I had a friend tell me one time that I'll have to wait until all the kids have left home, and maybe the wife too, before I'd see much profit. He may have been half kidding. I'm not so sure.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    676

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I don't know squat about bee keeping, but I have been around agriculture all my life. I don't believe their is a "get rich" operation in agriculture. So many large companies have entered the ag business that the little guy is relegated to a lesser position. If one finds an opportunity in agriculture the large corpotations come into it with a lot of cash and vertical integration. Bee operations are a niche business for the moms and pops, and as of this date there is not enough profit in it to attact the big boys. If the be business were to get really good the Con Agra's and the ADM's of the world would come and get it.

    From the outside, I say to all of you wonderful people that keep bees: Be prepared to work your butt off and make a living. Be happy in your work and realize you will never drive a Mercedes. I have three hives and look to order more hives next week, but I am semi retired and make my living from consulting in the oil patch. I've had cattle forever (I'm 72 year old), and if I do not charge any land cost against the cattle opertion, it is still a poor business. I run 40 to 50 head of pure blood blank angus cattle, and I could make more net profit working part time as a "greeter at WalMart." I suspect the bee business is the same.

    God bless all of you for providing pollinators and honey, and I wish you prosperity, but don't quit your day job.

    LS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    This year (as a first year beek) I made close to 10 K doing removals on weekends and also have 17 nice strong hives to show for it now going into winter. Not a whole lot of money, but at least this crazy obsession is paying it's own way.

    Don

    http://s269.photobucket.com/albums/j...e/Bees%202011/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,492

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    And your expenses were what? Or was that Net Profit of $10,000.00?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,053

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    How far are you traveling to do that many many removals?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I make money in several ways:

    Setting up hives for new beekeepers, turnkey,
    Teaching classes to wanna-bee beekeepers,
    Selling equipment,
    Managing hives,
    finally, SELLING BEES (raising nucs).

    Bees have the highest % margin and I don't have to deal with the mess of the honey. There is generally high demand and after spring I am one of the few who can help a summer-starter (probably who I have taught) begin a hive...which then helps with the hive setup side of business.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    And your expenses were what? Or was that Net Profit of $10,000.00?
    That was gross, after making equipment and paying the hefty wife tax for being gone so much, I probably cleared about half that.

    Sure have a nice bunch of free bees though.

    Don

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitowoc WI USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I will echo the lazy shooter post and add there are not many small business ventures that require little up front capitalization with built-in cash flow on start up.

    Money for nothing only comes from the government, and recently this is in question...

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,727

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I quit my day job in 1999. I provide niche services, better than most in my field. There are projects I won't tackle, that take too much heavy eqpt, that I think in the end will not be profitable, etc. And my present niche services (aquatics) are seasonal.

    I have always gardened. I didn't get into bees to make money, which is good, because my first jar of honey will probably cost me more than $2000, thanks in part to fencing investments, and in part to my ignorance. But I can see where beekeeping, as another niche field, might fit very well into my life. And since I don't have a complaining spouse, it is all "my call". I take the long view. I am having so much fun learning, that by the time the honey shows up, it will be a pleasant surprise.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    Quote Originally Posted by brac View Post
    How far are you traveling to do that many many removals?
    They were all within an hour of my home, I live in a suburb of Kansas City and we have a ton of old homes and a thriving feral bee population.

    I'm sure there are a lot of easier ways to make a buck off of bees, removals are a lot of work.

    Don

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Statesville, North Carolina
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    I had a dive shop for ten years in Louisiana, the common quote in the scuba business is "How do you make a small fortune in the dive business?, Start with a large fortune!"

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Where's the $ in beekeeping?

    >a thriving feral bee population.

    Apparently someone forgot to tell the bees that the feral bees are all dead...

    I think there is little money in honey and less in wax. Not that you won't have some and not that it isn't worth selling it. I think there is more money in bees and queens. Maybe propolis. Certainly in removals.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads