Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Dighton, Mass.
    Posts
    11

    Angry Cutout cut throats

    What should I do? This year has been terrible for me thus far with doing cut outs and swarm retrievals. Every time I get a call from a potential client I keep getting under shot on my bid. I can't do cut outs for free! I charge a reasonable $50 an hour. Am I asking to much? I don't think I am seeing all the other beekeepers on here are charging anywhere from $50-$100 per hour to do cutouts. There's not a huge profit margin when charging only $50hr when taking into consideration the cost of hives, upkeep, and medication. Last year I had no problem and no questions were asked. I did 15 different cutouts. This year I have a new guy in my area undershooting every quote I give my potential clients. I'm getting fed up. Wat do you all think?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Dighton, Mass.
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    And I don't charge for typical not in structures....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brookville, PA
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    I guess the question is - do you want the money or the bees, or both, or neither? If another beekeeper is undercutting you, how many hives of bees until he starts getting tired of doing it? Or, change your pricing - and quote it as a whole job. Average out what the "average" cutout takes, and quote a one whole price. You should get some that either take shorter than average or longer than average but should "average" out.
    Are you sure this other person isn't "undercutting" you by poisoning them, killing them, and closing up all entrances - or do you know for a fact they are actually cutting them out and saving the bees?

    I'm guessing eventually, he will get tired or get too many hives of bees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Dighton, Mass.
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    See that's the problem... I always charge for a 4 hours. Then I'll let them know that every hour after 4 hours is 50 an hour. But for the most part I get the job done in that 4 hour time span. It's very tough to quote a person without knowing whats behind the walls, how far they have gone, and how established the colony is. As far as I know this guy is saving the bees. I'd have words with anyone that thinks it's okay to kill off a whole colony of perfectly healthy and produtive honey bees and calls themselves beekeepers...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    576

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    When you start charging it's like any other business, know what your competition is doing and either match it beat it or move on. Just because you work for a certain amount per hour does not mean the next guy has too.
    Same with selling honey, I sell mine for a certain price and if someone sells for less then I will have to go down or wait for them to run out. For me I will wait since my honey will never go bad and it's not my living.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,743

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    Stick to your guns and let the chips, er chumps, fall where they may. If you don't spend any money on a job, then you haven't really lost anything. this isn't how you make a living, is it?

    Sell yourself, but be willing to say thank you when turned down. Also, when they call you again, charge them more. Don't gouge, just bump it up a little so they know they should have taken you on the first time.

    What are you bringing to the table that the other guy isn't? Why should someone pay you what you think is right? Sell yourself to me.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,470

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    My guess is the new guy is that, a new guy who is doing it for the experience and the bees. Probably not that concerned with the money, maybe only using the money to fund paying for hives to put the new found bees in. My guess is that once he has had his fill he will back off. That or he is unemployed and needs the cash.

    The customer wants one thing, bees gone. Second to that is they would rather have it with out total destruction of the location the bees have taken up. If you can show them that you are better at one or both of those things you will probably get the work. That is unless his prices are so low they figure they could go with him and if it doesn't work out they could call you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,844

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    Quote Originally Posted by rtoney View Post
    When you start charging it's like any other business, know what your competition is doing and either match it beat it or move on. Just because you work for a certain amount per hour does not mean the next guy has too.
    Well said.
    The bee mania is on and newbees will do anything for "free" bees. I looked at a job where someone later went for free and hauled a 300lb log with bees out of a back yard and hauled it away FOR FREE! The tree had been fell and the combs were broken, the access to the back yard was tight, the log was huge and then they had to unload it and split open to do the cut out. Yes, I would have done the job for $1000. Free bees hahahahaha. They can have them and the sweat equity along with them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    I recently had gentleman call and want me to travel a couple towns over to do a cutout.

    He'd done one in that wall in a previous year, and told me how easy the access was.

    When I gave him a price, he told me had a guy who would do it for free.
    So I asked why he was calling me.
    "He can't come soon. I'd have to wait."

    I explained that my labor is valuable to me and given my experience as a contractor, I'd leave the structure a lot easier to repair, and could come now to ensure his grandkids don't get stung while waiting for the other fellow.

    He just wanted cheap, and said again how the other fellow would come for free.

    My response was,
    "You should call him then. I'm sure you will find he is worth every penny."

    When people press hard on price, and especially when they expect something free, it has been my experience that they are often the hardest folks to work with.

    "The ones who pay the least expect the most."

    People will have no more respect for your labor than you do.

    If you don't charge a price that reflects you respect the value of what you do, your customers will not respect what you do. And they'll treat you accordingly.

    If you can't differentiate yourself from the free guy enough to cause the customer to value your labor at your price, you likely are dealing with such a person.

    But if you can't show a reasonable person enough value in choosing you to justify your price, from a sales standpoint, you don't deserve their business.

    Differentiate yourself from the other guy.
    Build value for what you do in the customer's mind.
    If people were only concerned about cheap, Starbuck's would be out of business -- at the convenience store, coffee costs less than half what Starbuck's charges.

    Show that it costs less to pay you than it does to repair the damage an inexperienced person might do.

    And if they just want the cheapest, be glad you didn't get the job.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    North Dighton, Mass.
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    This is all great information. I have stuck to my guns and not folded. I know I do great work. I have never had a dissatisfied customer to this date. I've had Newspaper articles written in local papers that boosted business last year to a new high. This year, has been a different story with the newbie in my area. There was one job that I had done everything but go to the guys house to remove the bees. I went there on my gas a state over to inspect the problem, give the home owner a step by step process on what I'd be doing and gave him a price. He was excited to work with me. The day came where we agreed I'd do the removal. So I gave him a call and no answer. Finally I received a text about how sorry he was. He had another local beekeeper from the area come for a second opinion and he convinced him that the timing was just perfect to do it that night and it was such a big problem that couldn't wait. So he gave him the job that night. He stated that he was so disappointed. The beekeeper tore his whole ceiling down, didn't find the hive and assured him they would not be back. Then just left everything in disarray. He payed the man and that was that. Then he said the Bees were still there but now he was tapped out of funds.... Well, I said I'm sorry for your inconvenience and I'm sorry that a local beekeeper would do that to you. This is the reason why I charge what I do. My services come with getting all the bees and comb with being as invasive as possible. I do not do this for a full-time job. I just enjoy doing it. My compassion for these magnificent creatures is next to none. I love working with and saving Honeybees. This hobby is so rewarding to me. Thanks for all the great input. I'll remain strong and keep to my price because I know I'm worth it. I'm a Veteran that brings Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all I do. The people I do work with get the best beekeeper for the job. Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    948

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    I am going to do one for free. Our school system, which is also my employer, has a five year old hive in an old building. If I do not remove them, the building will simply be demolished, bees and all. On the flip side, we can destruct whatever we need.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    We have a guy in town who I strongly suspect just vacuums and dumps out the bees. He does a couple of removals a week, but only has a handful of hives and doesn't sell any bees. Saves a lot of time and money doing removals if you don't give a darn about the bees, saving brood comb or need equipment to store the bees in. Karma will eventually bite him in butt.

    I added this verbiage to my quotes to differentiate my services and it seems to have helped:

    "Scope: We will completely remove the colony of Honey Bees from the high dormer soffit on the south side of your home. The bees and all their brood comb, and frame able food stores, will then be carefully removed and immediately put into a bee keepers hive on site to insure your bee colonies survival. After the job is complete the new hive will be moved out to our Lenexa, KS farm where you can visit and inspect it if you wish. Periodic hive inspection pictures will be posted on the internet for you to follow during the year."

    This language, along with good references, gets me as many jobs as I want, at my price.

    Make it 110% about "Saving the Bees".

    Don

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,470

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    My guess is most home owners could care less about the bees. They just want them gone, and they don't want to get stung.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Augusta County, VA, USA
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    Interestingly, all the calls I've gotten this year (admittedly only 4) have been from people that start the conversation explaining how they are aware of 'the hard time bees are going through'. So in that respect, all the CCD press/hype has been good in educating the public to the importance of pollinators. In all cases, owners stated they did not want to kill the bees...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    Quote Originally Posted by abejorro View Post
    Interestingly, all the calls I've gotten this year (admittedly only 4) have been from people that start the conversation explaining how they are aware of 'the hard time bees are going through'. So in that respect, all the CCD press/hype has been good in educating the public to the importance of pollinators. In all cases, owners stated they did not want to kill the bees...
    This is my experience as well.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,470

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    No doubt, everyone cares, unless it cost more!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    My guess is most home owners could care less about the bees. They just want them gone, and they don't want to get stung.
    About half the time in my experiance that's true, but those are the jobs that get sprayed, or are looking for somebody cheap, and I don't want to them any way.

    Gets annoying sometimes to get out bid, but the best thing I've found is to pass on the cheap and or sprayed bee jobs to the competition. Keeps them busy with cheap jobs and uses up their equipment.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orland Park, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Cutout cut throats

    I explain the entire procedure to the customer, from start to finish. Than when I come to start the cutout I give the customer a jar of honey, they love the idea of saving the honey bee.
    I ask them to take pictures, give them a piece of dry honeycomb from the cutout, and yes I
    do give them a flat rate so they know that I will not take advantage of them. If I tell them that the job will take 3 hours and it takes 5 I am fine with that. It is my time, I decide what to do with it, and yes I do charge for the first 3 hours. We are all about making money, but the customer now does not have the money available like they had years ago.
    I take pride in my work, I use a tape measure and a straight edge when I do a cutout to show my passion in what I do. I locate the bees and do the cut out, clean-up and put the drywall back up on the wall or ceiling. It's only a few screws and a couple of extra minutes, I already have the step-stool there so I put it back up. I don't do any more repairs unless the customer offers to pay for it. But then I will give them my business card and tell them my company can get that done for them. I do cutouts for personal reasons not as a job, I am a 2nd generation beek, I remember my Dads hand crank extractor that I used to help get the honey out with.
    Yes money is important, but not every-thing in life.
    Be a happy beek, charge as required, but remember that bees are sweet!

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