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Thread: Suppliers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Amboy, WA, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Suppliers

    This is my first year beekeeping, and I probably didnt do as much research on suppliers as I probably should have, but....

    Anyone have any preferred choices when it comes to suppliers? I made all my supplies orders from one company, I wont say their name just yet, want to see what others have to say.

    I spent almost 1000 dollars on equipment to get 2 hives going, I splurged in a couple areas sure, and that includes my Apiary set up too (paver stone surround and 2" of gravel inside of that), I did it in 2 separate orders. My first order, sat in their order system for almost 2 weeks, when I called them finally to find out what was going on, I got the "oh my gosh, I'm so sorry about that, things will go out tomorrow". 4 days later, my order shipped, with back ordered stuff I wasn't told about until it arrived.

    Then my 2nd order, I ordered 2 frame perches (one for myself and one for my father in law who I dragged into this as well), and 180 plastic frame/foundations for our supers. The frames all arrived, but the perches were a no show. I waited a couple days to see if they maybe were coming separately...nothing. So I emailed them back to see where the perches were, got a phone call the next day asking if I was sure I didnt get them. The boxes of frames are packed so tightly, no way was a perch getting in there, let alone 2. It kinda felt like they were accusing me of trying to get $40 dollars worth of merchandise out of them. Needless to say, I won't be using them again.

    Just curious what others have experienced and who they might prefer.

    Thanks for your time and thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I buy equipment from Dadant, Mann Lake, and Brushy Mountain. There are other companies out there too, it really depends on personal preference and selection. I find alot of goodies that I want from Mann Lake and Brushy Mountain that I don't find at Dadant. That being said, Dadant has a branch office about an hour away from me, so if I need something in a real hurry, I tend to buy it from them. When we bought our extractor from Dadant, it came with a stand, but they didn't have any in stock. We waited about six months before they finally got one, but we didn't need to remind them. They called us when it arrived, and shipped it out free of charge. They did mess up one order though, when they sent me a bottle of honey-b-healthy that had gotten smashed. I tell you, I don't mind the smell of lemongrass oil, but I don't care to have it covering everything!

    There's the matter of pricing too, some items like hive boxes are cheaper from company to company. Again, I tend to purchase from Dadant as the ability to get same day pickup outweighs the 3-7 days of shipping, and freight cost, but I do shop around. Also, Dadant's started carrying winemaking supplies, and since I've been making wine for the past 5 years, they've become kind of a one stop shop for me.

    I'm not trying to toot their horn or anything really, they're just convenient for me, and that factors into alot of my decisions. Again, it's personal preference and selection. If you don't like the way your company is treating your orders, then I'd switch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NYC, NY, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Suppliers

    Also Newbie.. I got burned by BeeBabys.com ( http://stores.beebabys.com/StoreFront.bok ) .. I placed an order and after a few weeks no response form them via email. The Phone mailbox was full. Tried to contact them for about 2 weeks. Finally contacted pay-pal and they gave a refund with in 1 day because they couldn't get a response. I was told by a member of another forum that BeeBabys was on a site saying they were swamped and could not fill all orders. It was great that they had the time to post on forums but could not respond to an email. So even if you have the best products But crap customer service you will fail in the long run. Besides being a paramedic in the FD I also own a liquor store. I hope I am never that busy "Swamped" as I cant reply to a customer that has already paid. I will make sure all newbies like myself know how to BeeBabys.com treats there customers.



    On another note I had great customer service from http://www.honeybeehabitat.com Honey Bee Habitat. I emailed them to see if I would get a Rush order being screwed by BeeBaby.com that my bees were coming and I had no hives.. They CALLED me with in an hour to make sure that I knew they would take care of everything. I spent about $35 more but the 2 hives were assembled and painted. There was one little problem when they arrived (with in 3 days) they were not painted. A quick email and got a response that there was a mix up on a few orders that went out unpainted. They refunded me the difference and a few bucks extra for the error. EVEN with the mix up and the higher price Based on customer service I would use and recommend them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I like Dadant's product and service. I bought $500 worth of stuff and while it was in transit the wife decided that she didn't want a hive after all. I was able to refuse shipment and they credited me back. I ended up being able to talk her into the hives a year and a half later and I used the credit to buy all the stuff again.

    Only thing is, is that they didn't tell me when I bought it the first time that it was coming from back East and that I needed to ask to have them ship it from the local store to get the shipping discount. I thought they would automatically change the ship from to the closest place.

    That said, next time I'll order from Man Lake to try them and because shipping is free on big orders.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,339

    Default Re: Suppliers

    You can't beat Mann Lake prices when ordering over $100 (free shipping) and their customer service is excellent. Good quality stuff.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I order online from MannLake (free shipping) and BeeBaby's (I am VERY satisfied with their products and service). I do pickup on occasion from Miller's (where I get my boxes and most other items) and Brushy Mountain. -James

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Suppliers

    Walter T. Kelley is second to no one in my book. www.kelleybees.com
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Suppliers

    We've been using Kelley for a long time (my grandfather bought from them back in the 30's) and have never had a bad experience.

    However, shipping costs are a significant consideration, and if you are not close like we are, another supplier may be better for that reason. None of the large outfits has a bad reputation that I know of. I bought an unused hive this year from someone who decided to give up on beekeeping for the time being, and I believe it's a Brushy Mountain hive. Very nice equipment, maybe better than Kelley (I like the inner cover better).

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I agree with Charlie B, Mann Lake! Brushy mtn, and dadent are good also. A lot of the smaller suppliers get thier stuff from Mann Lake or Brushy, the thing with smaller suppliers they are here today gone tomorrow. These three are the big Dogs been around for years. Mann Lake is my favorite, free shipping, great equipment, and customer service.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,920

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I like Mann Lake and ordering direct from Pierco.
    Ordered once from brushy mountain and it worked out well.
    You can also develop a relationship with a local beekeeper which might come in handy when you need something on the fly.
    I've heard good things about Dadant and North American Beehive company just haven't had a chance to try them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    NYC, NY, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I Have also ordered for Kelly's.. Only problem was shipping time took over 3 weeks for a hive top feeder. I was in no rush so I didnt care. Being in NYC there are really no options for local supplyers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    878

    Default Re: Suppliers

    My most recent woodenware order went to Western Bee Supply. Even including shipping they were considerably cheaper than Mannlake. I have used mannlake in the past and have for the most part been happy, I still order feeders, jackets and such from them. At western bee supply I got Budget hive bodies for 8.95 and budget frames for .45 each. I have finished putting it all together and all the boxes went together perfectly and the frames were just fine as well. I also like that they were willing to ship by alternate means and that saved me another 50$ on shipping.

    Rod

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    DeSoto County, MS, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I order from several suppliers and have had great service from all of them. Mann Lake, Dadant, Kelly, Brushy Mountain, and Miller.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cameron, Texas, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I had and experience from absolute hell with millers bee supply. I have since switched to Walter T. Kelley and must say there customer service is second to none and leaps and bounds above anything miller could even wish to be.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    897

    Default Re: Suppliers

    "You can't beat Mann Lake prices when ordering over $100 (free shipping) and their customer "
    I'm in Australia and naturally buy most of my gear locally BUT some things we simply can't get. I have dealt with Mann Lake and so far they have been quick and very friendly. I also have an order going with Pigeon Mountain and they have also been totally to my satisfaction.
    Relatively small orders to Overseas must be a bit of a pain to large companies but both sent me a catalogue and have been first class. I will use both again - probably combining orders with friends.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Suppliers

    I've been buying from Walter T. Kelley forever it seems. Dadant a close second... tried some others, but keep returning to those two. When I know I'm going to need quite a bit, I calculate shipping, and look at driving my pickup and getting a load, and enjoying a little mini-vacation out of it.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Suppliers

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    You can't beat Mann Lake prices when ordering over $100 (free shipping) and their customer service is excellent. Good quality stuff.
    I'll second this one!

    Sully

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Suppliers

    Mann Lake! It's only 63 miles from my home, lucky me. If I have to I can drive up[and have] to get supplies but I usually get an order of $100 together,which isn't very hard to do, lol. They even cut down some boxes for me on the spot, while I waited. What customer service! I wanted to see what a 'Western' super was[7 5/8]...only in an 8 frame configuration. Very nice folks, and you get some 'Bee Bucks' as a reward for purchases. I have some ready to cash in right now, whoo hoo!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Suppliers

    1000 dollars for two hives?

    I recently placed and order of about the same amount and it bought me enough equipment for 9 complete hives and 20 nucs.

    I think for good quality equipment and fast service Mann Lake is hard to beat.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,903

    Default Re: Suppliers

    So far I've primarily purchased from Kelley and Rossman. Frames and foundation mostly from Kelley and woodenware from Rossman. Tools and what-nots from both. A couple of bumps along the way but those were smoothed out quickly, professionally, and in a *friendly* way. Both companies seem to have some great folks to deal with.

    I ordered a couple of small orders from Brushy Mountain. I had a problem with a small piece of woodenware I got from them....they handled the problem quickly and beyond my expectations. They appear to be a top notch company, too.

    Shipping.... Look for regional bee meetings...many times suppliers will deliver orders to these meetings and will save you a pile of money in shipping costs!!!! My first order filled most of the back end of a Ford Expedition...I'd hate to see how much that would have cost to ship!!!

    Getting orders shipped quickly... This is much like any other thing we do. If you're dealing with a business then you will be at the mercy of that company's system and policies. Some companies have manicured their operation into efficient machines but have grown to a size that still slows down shipping. Without the better efficiency these companies would *really* be slow in shipping. Rather than deal with the "company" try to establish a relationship with an individual there. Get some lighthearted conversation going, don't pressure the representative, and let'em know you appreciate them. It makes a *world* of difference!!! I'm rather confident that I could email "my" rep at Kelleys and tell them I was in a tight and needed a Kelleys coffee mug as soon as possible....and it'd ship this afternoon. I've got a person at both Rossman and Kelleys that I deal with almost exclusively, I'm just a little guy, but they take care of me. Let'em know that you see them as a person who has a life and not just someone on the other end of an email or telephone who is the cause of all of your grief...friends help friends.

    Ed

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