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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,557

    Default Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    I would be interested in what the folks on here believe are fair terms for bee and queen orders. Personally I think a 10 to 50% deposit should be required upon booking with the balance due upon shipment or pickup. In my mind this deposit should be refundable if the seller fails to meet his delivery date within a specified time frame, certainly no more than 2 weeks. That same deposit would be forfeited to the seller if the buyer reneges on his end of the contract. Cells are a different situation entirely because they are so perishable. I feel a non refundable 50% deposit should be required and the balance due upon delivery. It has been a few years since I have purchased many bees but the better businesses I have dealt with in years past routinely underbook their orders to assure customer satisfaction and to give themselves a cushion to help out some of their most loyal customers when emergencies arise.
    Any one else care to share some thoughts or experiences?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    I am a dealer for Wilbanks in Georgia. When dealing with out of state orders, large orders, or unknown people on my last load of the year, I require a 50% deposit. This keeps every one with some skin in the game. I am fully aware of the delays caused by weather and anyone booking packages is made aware of the possibility of delays. They also are told that neither myself nor Wilbanks has controll over this. Therefore, I will not refund deposits if the bees are late, it is just the nature of growing things. As to the idea of underbooking package orders; Package bees are a perishable and valuable product. I cannot keep bees waiting around on a shelf for emergencies or any other reason. All bees are reserved in advance and if not picked up in 24 hrs, they are sold to the next person on the list. I am more likely to require deposits on the last load as there is not a next list to draw from. By the way, we have always filled all orders with nice healthy packages although sometimes our bees have been delayed. We also have had times when they were early, NOBODY ever complains about that!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    As a beginner, (I don't think of myself as a hobbiest. I'm in training for my future job.) I've had to pay for everything in full
    at the time of placing the order, and I'd prefer to keep it that way, even when my orders get larger. This leaves me with
    the responsibility of making sure my suppliers are reputable. Everything paid for in advance will give me one less thing
    to worry about. But, my beekeeping is pretty simple for now. So, this could be just talking off the top of my head.
    I know this might not be practical in the real world. A two week delay isn't a problem for me YET.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default 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.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,032

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Most queen suppliers I deal w/ say, "Send me the money and I will send you queens.".
    Some take credit.

    When I sell nucs, I like people to stick the money in my hand when nucs are picked up. Cash.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  6. #6

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    I require a 25% nonrefundable deposit down on nucs. I under sell to make sure I have plenty. I have 2 weeks after the advertised ready date just in case, after that they are entitled to a refund at their discretion. This is just a side-line business for me. If I were doing this to feed my family I would sell harder and require more down payment.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,366

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post

    When I sell nucs, I like people to stick the money in my hand when nucs are picked up. Cash.
    So that way you don't have to declare it on your tax return?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,032

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    No, so I don't have to worry about bounced checks and don't have to cash them in order to spend them.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    So that way you don't have to declare it on your tax return?
    It's AKA certified funds.
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,557

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Quote Originally Posted by adam@azapiaries View Post
    As to the idea of underbooking package orders; Package bees are a perishable and valuable product. I cannot keep bees waiting around on a shelf for emergencies or any other reason. !
    Agreed, packages are nearly as perishable as cells but a lot more is at stake because of the dollars involved. I knew a man years ago who stopped to take a short nap in the shade and when he awoke a couple hours later the sun was on his load and 1,000 packages smothered. I have hauled a lot of loads of 1,000 to 1200 2 pounders back in the day. You never relax until they are installed. Actually my reference to under booking put another way is not over promising, as long as I have bought queens I have heard these same weather excuses. I guess what I am saying is in my mind if someone is taking your money they are entering into a contract with you to deliver bees at the approximate time they were promised and that some cushion should be built in. There are some very reliable breeders out there (and yes I believe Wilbanks is one of them) who year after year stay pretty close to their timetable, while some seem to struggle. Time is of the essence in bee deliveries, for someone trying to raise a crop of honey this year April and early May queens are like gold, anything from Memorial day on is most likely just going to be a hive that you will hope winters through well. For package deliveries anything after the first of May is probably going to miss the majority of any early flow.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Ohio
    Posts
    867

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    I've always been show me the money $$$ or the bees don't go on the load.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    The bottom line is that people are generally not dependable to pay for what they order. Which is why the system is pre-pay. It's like at a gas pump, it used to be you could pump and than pay... now you have to pay first.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,592

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    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.
    But you are the one providing the service for others. I don't charge my customers anything up front. In fact, I rarely receive any money till the job is complete. I put my reputation on the line and feel that the customer will always pay for a job well done. In my 30+ years of doing business, I've only been stiffed for a few hundred dollars. I would never buy bees where I had to pay in full up front. Never. At most I would go 50/50.
    Regards, Barry

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    You are one lucky man than... I once had to take my beevac full of bees to the office of an apartment leasing agent because they failed to pay for a removal I had preformed on one of their properties... I placed it on the secretaries desk and stated that I was returning their bees... they promptly cut me a check.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    I sell nucs in Ontario. I don't ask for deposits on orders of less than 10 nucs. On orders over ten I ask for a 25% deposit. A bit different than packages because I can use anything not picked up, in my own operation more readily. I very rarely have anyone not get the nucs they ordered.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Southbury, CT
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    You can find package suppliers who only require a deposit or payment at pickup, but you pay a premium for that. Some guys will even offer a discount for paying in full ahead of time. My supplier requires payment in full at time of order, but he is $20.00 cheaper than the other guys in the area who only take deposits.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,558

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    On packages we require a 25% deposit at order (except for folks we've been dealing with for years), with balance at pickup.
    No deposit on queens as those we sell are basically from our personal queen banks and we'd use them up ourselves anyway.
    Sheri

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,557

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    My only nucs are mine, and if someone doesn't pick them up, I would just keep them and they would be useful to me. Queens are not a perishable item to me. They are in nucs and I can leave them there a while longer. If I collect deposits then I have to track them and pay them back if the weather throws me a curve.

    If I were buying and reselling packages from California etc. then I'm investing my money to buy a basically perishable item so I can see requiring a deposit to cover the ones who don't show up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,441

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    We originally did the deposit routine. It ended up being a hassle at crunch time trying to get the funds squared up. Most notably it took away valuable time away from time with the bees. That lasted one year. We now require 100% upfront with a credit / debit card processed through our merchant services provider who charges us less the 1/2 of a percent on the gross. If we fail to provide the products as ordered the customer is covered through our "Visa" agreement. Might not be the "smartest" business decision but assuredly lets us maintain our focus on working with the bees and delivering a quality product in a timely manner as ordered. Been sold out of pre orders with a waiting list of people wanting hundreds more packages and 1000's of queens if we decide to take more orders. (almost a month now). If we decide to take more orders based on good mating weather the internet only order system we utilize keeps the funds flowing our way promptly and the queens and package flowing to the customers concurrently. Not sure where else you can get a secretary to take all the orders you can handle, put the funds in the bank, and do the data work for less than $150 a month (tops) during the busy months (January-May). The old axiom of "cash" talks and BS walks is never truer than with bee orders. Just another reason to love the internet.....

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,308

    Default Re: Fair terms for bee and queen orders

    Every time I have ever bought packages, nucs, or queens, it was paid in full when the order was placed. I've only had problems with one breeder, and that should be resolved in the next few weeks. With the vagaries in this business, and the costs involved to the breeders, I don't mind payment in full in advance. Of course, I always check out who I'm buying from first.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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