Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders
With demand being what it is suppliers can do whatever they want. Until we have another package market crash like in 1986 we have to pay what the suppliers say and when they say. When I purchase my packages I have to put down a pretty sizable non-refundable deposit, so I have to ask the same of my customers. I have to pay my invoice two weeks before pickup so I also have to get paid by the customer in full prior to pickup.
That being said we do have some leverage, I shop around for the best price so that I can pass my savings onto the customer. I have a few package producers I like and I let them know what the other guy is offering me on a price... whoever comes up with the best price and the shipping date I want wins for the season. I also truck the packages myself so that saves my customers money as well. My truck is governed at 55 mph.... slow and steady so the bees don't end up wind whipped and dead on the way. I rest them frequently and water them at every rest point. If I hire out my trucking I don't have the control over it like I do with shipping myself. The transport company is in a hurry to make the next load, so they do 75 mph and the result is wind beat packages. Or they load them in an enclosed trailer and I end up with cooked packages.
I am not trying to get rich, just trying to provide people with the best possible packages at the best possible price. I also try to be accommodating. If a customer wants packages with "Northern" queens I will do my best to get them what they want... Sometimes timing isn't just right, but I will entertain any request and do my best to meet the customers needs.
Good Judgement comes from Experience. Experience comes from Poor Judgement.