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  1. #41
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    As to profitability, the only outfit I've worked for who did honey and nothing else, the boss told me the first hundred lb's per hive paid the bills. After that, was profit. That was a long time ago but if you work it out, you may find it accurate.

    Later I came across a completely different model, an American hippie from the 60's and 70's moved to my country and got involved with bees. His operation consisted of eighty hives, and he made his living from it. Firstly his costs were low he lived in a shack. The other thing is he milked tose hives for everything. Made and sold candles, collected pollen, made boutique jars of honey.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #42
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    And then, Honeyshack, that cost per hive and income per hive only means something when it's placed up against the amount of time it takes one to produce it.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #43
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I am sorry Barry, I do not understand what you mean. Please explain

    If i get what you meant right....it does mean something...it means if you are at a loss, you need to cut, fix, bandage the hemorage so you can make a living, feed the family, pay the bills. The only way that can be done is by knowing where your money goes, especially in the good years so that in the lean years you can cut in places so you can still make a profit, come out ahead, keep the shirt and feed the family.
    A business person who knows where the money goes can react faster when the lean times come. A person who does not know, will take longer to react and could cost himself/herself alot.

    Oldtimer, I have heard the same said about the first 100 pounds, and it rings pretty true on normal years. In a drought, flood, poor honey crop, heavy bee losses, drop in price, it will throw that model out and as a business person who knows where the money goes, find places to cut cut cut (except never cut on nutrition and health).
    A raise in price is a time to replace, rebuild, and sock away for when the down turn hits...and it will.

  4. #44
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I'm just saying, once you have your costs, subtracted from your receivables, you'll then have to divide by total hours worked to see if you're really making much of anything for time invested.
    Regards, Barry

  5. #45
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Yes in the end, it's as simple as that.

    However Honeyshack is also correct. For example, take a beekeeper in an area where the expected average life of his supers would be 20 years. That means each year, he would have to build new supers, at the rate of 1/20th of his total number of supers, to replace the old, just to stay where he is. But if he had a couple bad seasons in a row and was strapped financially, he may be forced to forego the maintenance, so that on paper anyway, he will still show a profit in dollar terms. Of course, there may be a price to pay later.

    With a beekeeping business, there are so many variables, and some of them may pan out over many years, it may take a long time to get the true picture. Most successful bee businesses are in a slow expansion mode. Some of the profits are not realised in cash. I've seen such businesses get sold to a new owner who through lack of understanding, laziness, or whatever, stops replacement etc. For the first few years he "milks" the business, showing on paper, a good profit. But over time, the business itself becomes worth less.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    This is fantastic, this is really good stuff.

    All this time, I hear commercials say things like "you don't understand because your bees don't pay the bills" and "you don't know what it's like because you're not commercial." And so I would ask them to tell me what it's like and then I get nothing. It's the kinda thing that helps build a stereotype. But now I'm learning and really enjoying this thread. Maybe we could get Jim to start threads more often.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #47
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I would think the reason they might say things like that, is because when you tell them this or that about small cell, or that they are stuck in old ways, or whatever, they think, "hang on, this guy's been going 9 years and has never made any money".

    To them, it's about making money, so that will cloud their judgement on what you tell them, and it's about as simple as that.

    Stereotypes, are over to whoever wants to make a stereotype. Old, stuck in the past, etc. are just meaningless to the object of the critisizm and they just conclude you don't understand, if you did, you'd be making money. I'm not saying that's a totally correct conclusion, or not, but the two (or more) factions here sometimes don't agree just because where they are coming from is two different planets.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,209

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    When you are the owner of a business, you do not get time off, you do not take vacations, you do not get to consider any time as "your own". It gets down to one simple fact, you are responsible for the business. Nobody else. If it succeeds or fails is entirely up to you. You realize there are failure points that have to be adjusted for and dealt with. There are some things that are out of your control like when the nectar flow fails.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  9. #49
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    There are some things that are out of your control like when the nectar flow fails.
    This was a valid concern for me this year, which is one reason I decided to raise nucs. It's a diversification of product offering to cover variations in supply and demand. With my weather patterns here I can raise nucs in the spring, but I may not have nectar in late spring, early summer which is when most of it comes in.

    One interesting thing I learned from the Heathland Skep Beekeeping videos is how they operated for lean years. Normal years, they process wax and then store it in the attic. In lean years, they sell it. Wax is the only hive product that can be stored like that in any volume and not degrade in quality. It's like a savings account. I have 20 pounds of processed wax saved up. I have a way to go.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  10. #50
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Barry

    I'm just saying, once you have your costs, subtracted from your receivables, you'll then have to divide by total hours worked to see if you're really making much of anything for time invested.
    I hear what you are saying Barry and completely understand. However, as an owner of a business, one never really gets fully paid for their time. Most times, especially in expansion, the $ go back into the farm or apiary. Most do not realize the payout untill they sell out...selling out in ways the tax man does not get so much. This takes time and prep and planning. Off the rabbit trail, as farmers if we can put food on the table, pay the bills, have a couple of dollars for a few extras, that is all well and good...maybe some in savings for a rainy day. The reality is, we are not farming to get rich or get rich fast. But rather in it for the long haul, the love of bees, the soil and the life it affords. Paying ourselves a wage does not really happen...not until we sell out.
    This statement sounds like a contradiction to my earlier post, and it sort of is. But I have yet to meet a farmer who can pay themselves the wages they earned. If they are set up as a corporation, they will get some $ but never fully what they put in in the form of hard labour.

  11. #51
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    There's a joke did the rounds in farming circles here, about when a Labor Inspector visits a farm. He approaches the farmer -

    Labor Inspector - Hi, I'm the Labor Inspector. I'm here to check on the workers and ensure their pay and conditions are correct. Who works here?

    Farmer - Well, there's the musterer, the fencer, and the general hand. They are all well looked after, you can speak to any of them.

    Labor Inspector - That sounds OK but I'll have a chat with them. Anyone else?

    Farmer - Well, just one other, the idiot.

    Labor Inspector - The idiot?

    Farmer - Yes. He's not like the others. He doesn't get paid regularly and he works 7 days a week and sometimes through the night.

    Labor Inspector - That's terrible. I want to talk to him.

    Farmer - You ARE talking to him.

    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #52
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Yes, true what you say. Yet for anyone starting out in a business, one has to face realty and have some way of putting real time to a real dollar amount. You can only put so much money back into the business. You still have to pay the tax man and the banker and the utilities and the grocer. I run my business through a corporation and understand how that works come tax time and the bottom line says you only made x amount of money! Always lower than you think it should be, but there are all those dollars that went into the business that you will gain from either right away or in the future.
    Regards, Barry

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    People who have no farm and beekeeping is farming, back ground don't really understand. You work all available hours. You support your family as cheaply as possible. You put every dollar into the business and sucess is paying off enough of the loans that the banker will let you do it all again next year. Dollar per hour is just not realistic or important. Having the ability to choose the hour off is more to the point, not having a boss tell you when that hour is. If you succeed it is proof you are a darned hard man to work for. You work the oldtimers IDIOT to the bone. You sock every dime you make back in the business, because you may have to live off your depreiciation for years! And yes, as someone said, when you are too old to enjoy the money you may sell the business and have the money to do the things you never had time to. Of course if you are passing it on to a kid tha equation changes too! Dollars per hour is for city people. You have to live off the land or be self employed to understand that I think.

  14. #54
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    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    That's great Vance, but it does nothing for coming up with a business plan. One must plan, not just work your head off. You can't sock every dime you make back into the business as I already explained. If your business plan ends up making you $50,000 a year, and you end up working "all available hours", I'd end up passing on it and instead getting a job that pays $50,000 working 8 hour days so I still have a life to give to my family, others, and myself. So scrap the per hour figure, I don't care. Make it a yearly figure, it's all the same thing, money earned for time invested. How much is your time worth?
    Last edited by Barry; 12-09-2011 at 09:28 PM.
    Regards, Barry

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Ya Gadda Wanna. I don't think Steve Jobs was concerned about his return per hour. He worked all available and expected those around him to. I guess my farm boy premis is full of holes eh? Yes it is hard on families. The business plan is to pay off your loan so you can borrow a larger amount. The business plan is to take a vacation after you can afford it, as time allows. It is what built America. If it's not for you, the guvmint is always hiring.

  16. #56
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    I live in Nevada, but was born and raised in Kansas. I have always told people around here that they have no idea what real gambling is. Try betting your entire livelihood on the weather sometime. then you have an idea what gambling is like. Just a peek though.

  17. #57
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    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    I don't think Steve Jobs was concerned about his return per hour.
    You're comparing Steve Jobs to beekeeping? No, he certainly didn't have to be concerned about his return no matter how you figure it.[/QUOTE]

    If it's not for you, the guvmint is always hiring.
    I've already known it's not for me a long time ago. Your snide remark that the alternative is a government job doesn't impress me. I'll continue to run my own construction business, park the truck at the end of the day, take a vacation now and then, spend time with family and friends.

    You might want to tell D. Semple that all those numbers and figures he's working on mean nothing. He just has to give his blood to the business. When I was 20, I could have embraced your business plan. Now I have real obligations to meet and have to have real numbers to base a decision on.
    Last edited by Barry; 12-10-2011 at 08:04 AM.
    Regards, Barry

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Steve Jobs didn't finish college and created an empire on a shoestring. He very much had to worry about keeping the door open--and again when he resurrected Apple. Congratulations on your business acumen.

  19. #59
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    Jun 2010
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    Stillwell, KS
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    645

    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    People who have no farm and beekeeping is farming, back ground don't really understand. You work all available hours. You support your family as cheaply as possible. You put every dollar into the business and sucess is paying off enough of the loans that the banker will let you do it all again next year. Dollar per hour is just not realistic or important. Having the ability to choose the hour off is more to the point, not having a boss tell you when that hour is. If you succeed it is proof you are a darned hard man to work for. You work the oldtimers IDIOT to the bone. You sock every dime you make back in the business, because you may have to live off your depreiciation for years! And yes, as someone said, when you are too old to enjoy the money you may sell the business and have the money to do the things you never had time to. Of course if you are passing it on to a kid tha equation changes too! Dollars per hour is for city people. You have to live off the land or be self employed to understand that I think.
    Been there (farming), done that, and failed at it, that's why I have so much respect for you commercial guys that figure out a way to be successful no matter what methods you use.

    That’s also why I think the whole premise of trying to be completely treatment free in a fulltime commercial environment is unattainable. Your whole mind set has to be different if you’re fulltime commercial and you have to consider money and time first in every decision. As a sideliner though, I don’t have those same money constraints.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    You might want to tell D. Semple that all those numbers and figures he's working on mean nothing. He just has to give his blood to the business. When I was 20, I could have embraced your business plan. Now I have real obligations to meet and have to have real numbers to base a decision on.
    I put up for discussing my little sideline SC / Treatment free business plan because that’s the level where I believe being treatment free can be successful and where it should be promoted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Ya Gadda Wanna. I don't think Steve Jobs was concerned about his return per hour.
    I agree with your “Ya Gadda Wanna”, determination is vital.

    But, Barry’s concern about maximizing the value of your time is also vital, because like everybody else, I have serious time constraints and ultimately that will determine if I can remain a sideline beekeeper.

    Don

  20. #60
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Is SC business plan, small sell?

    This is a very interesting thread to ponder. I have roughly 30 hives spread over four yards. Half of the bees are Russians and the others are Northern stock. I'm on large cell and use treatments when I think them necessary.

    I very much want for successful commercial treatment free beekeeping to be a reality. My belief is that in certain areas it can be done. In other areas you can try all you like but there are too many factors outside your own control to make treatment free attainable.

    The old saying "all beekeeping is local" is very true. Conditions where I'm at on the coast of Maine are such that if I were to try to replace all my comb in one year with small cell I might as well forget about a honey crop. My approach to small cell & treatment free beekeeping would of necessity be very different from how others have experienced it. And I'm frankly not excited by a potential 90% loss of bees, esp considering the investments I have already made in equipment and bees. In my location I have to be very aware that I am located in wild blueberry country and that lots of commercially rented hives visit once a year to pollinate. It would not surprise me if there were 500 colonies placed within flying distance of my home yard.

    To bring this back to the OP, I'm not yet convinced (and I would like to be) that a commercially viable small cell & treatment free operation can operate in my area. Maybe someday, but not yet. And maybe too it could work for someone who was intensively managing a few hives - I haven't had the gumption to experiment for myself and find out.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

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