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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Louisa, VA
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    Default Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I have had people ask me if I would do a beekeeping mentoring/consulting session to help them solve a problem such as laying workers, requeening, hive inspection, making first split, marking queens, etc. I have done it at least once for a fee, and it has me wondering if I could make a side business doing this. Any thoughts? What would be a fair charge?
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  2. #2
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    1,693

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I have done beekeeping consulting and advice for a couple years via email for free. I just enjoy helping folks out. I never even thought about charging, although if you are going in person, charging for the service is a feasible thought. I am not sure what is reasonable. What is your time/gas worth?
    Last edited by westernbeekeeper; 06-25-2012 at 08:42 AM. Reason: misspelling

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Louisa, VA
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    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I do quite a bit of email and phone consulting for free, but I have been finding that many new beekeepers have a hard time providing clear objective data to provide them with accurate advice with. Plus, it seems that many of them are still not confident/comfortable opening there hives up on there own.

    Westernbeekeeper,
    You need two more hives :-)
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I've been doing it for free too. Also, people are always welcome to come over and observe. I like visitors. The bees are what cost money.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I've been doing it for free too. Also, people are always welcome to come over and observe. I like visitors. The bees are what cost money.
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Franklin Co, PA, USA
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    170

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rather-b-beekeeping View Post
    I have had people ask me if I would do a beekeeping mentoring/consulting session to help them solve a problem such as laying workers, requeening, hive inspection, making first split, marking queens, etc. I have done it at least once for a fee, and it has me wondering if I could make a side business doing this. Any thoughts? What would be a fair charge?
    Like any business venture - it starts with a business plan. What does the customer need, what can you offer, what is the value you provide? Of course you're competing with 'free' advice from the internet. Good luck and let us know what you decide and any 'lessons learned.'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,027

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I charge beer . Truly I do, I think (apart from being a beer lover) it's a nice way for people to feel like they're paying me. When I accept no payment, people spend so much time thanking me and asking me what they could pay me and thrusting money at me that it gets in the way of talking bees. Besides, my poor wife, friends and co-workers can only listen to so much bee talk!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I think you'll face a lot of competition from friendly beekeepers from local beekeeping associations who volunteer to do this service for free.

    I'm very thankful to have acquired a top notch mentor through taking a beginning beekeeping class with the local association. And if I had to pay a professional a fair price for this service, I probably couldn't afford it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rowan County NC
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I think it all depends on the persona that you portray. Gunther Hauk in Va. Charges $50 for a 30 phone consultation. DO I think that is unreasonable? Yes, but people are apparently willing to pay for it. Don Kuchenmeister charges for his services...they seem a little pricey to me...But both of these guys have a niche. Both offer a service that people are willing to pay for.

    I have been asked to give "Beginners Beekeeping" classes at a local Community College. They are offering $200 for a 3 hour class. I know a lady who owns greenhouses and sells plants and flowers, she wants me to sell her a hive and teach her how "Keep bees". She has offered $500.I had a guy who said he wanted me to find the queen i his hive, kill her and replace it with one he bought...I live about 15 miles away from him....When diesel fuel was $4 per gallon and I drove over there...he offered $20 and I took it. Do I think these prices is high? Of course not, since the money will be coming to me instead of going to Don and Gunther.

    Anyway, My take on it is, if people will pay for it, take the money. There will always be times when you are giving out free advice, But you have to consider what your time is worth when someone needs some one-on-one attention. It is never free for you to drive to someone elses bee yard to give them advice or help them with a situation that they can't solve. If it were me, I would advertise a consultation fee if you want to get paid..What the fee is, only you will know if it is justified. If you feel like you are getting too much for a particular job...you can always throw in a freebee or a reduced rate.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Louisa, VA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I would have no desire to compete with friendly local beekeepers! If they are willing to drive over to someones house for free that is really nice! I have done that some as well (actually just yesterday helped someone do a split), but sometimes it gets time consuming and expensive to drive to peoples houses! I am leaning toward free phone and email consulting, but charging some sort of fee for driving to someone's house.

    Thanks for the input everyone!
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    685

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I do it for free. in person or over the phone.

    I have a woodenware business so I get to meet all kinds of beeks. The newbies or so nervous about what they are seeing that I offer to take a look. The are so thrilled................then next year when they do splits or more packages they think of me first and buy local. I sold a number of nucs this year too.......all by word of mouth from my free mentor service.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    I have been desperately trying to find a mentor in my area, for months. The lady I took my beginning beekeeper class from doesn't even have time to talk to me on the phone. Of course, she's on the local news once a week doing removals, and has hundreds of her own hives, so I can understand how busy she is. I joined a bee club, but it is more than an hour from my house, and no one that I've asked from the club is interested in driving all the way to my house to help me.

    I am your sterotypical newbie. Scared to death, the few times I've opened the hive. Have no idea what I am looking at, or what to do about it if I do see something in the hive I recognize. I've watched so many YouTube videos, I have 3 beekeeping books, and I spend hours of my employer's time each day on this forum. And I still feel like I am way in over my head.

    If anyone knows of anyone that lives in or near Galveston County, that wouldn't mind coming to look at my hive with me, I will definitely make it worth their while - I will pay in cash, beer, homemade kahlua (everyone says is the best they've ever had) or homemade wine (more than a dozen varieties - peach, elderberry, chardonnay, sauvignon bland, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, white zinfandel, chianti, white merlot, malbec). I have a lot of hobbies, but beekeeping is my newest and the one I want to eventually be most successful with. It is not looking so positive, at this time! LOL!

    Thanks! Susan

    P.S. When I started out buying all the equipment and PPE, I even got 3 beekeeper suits, because I just KNEW everyone would be as excited about bees as I was. Not so. I cannot even get my husband to go to the bee yard with me. I am completely, utterly, solo and adrift on a deserted island of my own making......
    Susan, Extremely New Beekeeper, Santa Fe, TX
    neverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbee nstung

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Louisa, VA
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    68

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Hi Susan,

    I am up here in VA. If you are ever in the area, I would be more than happy to go through a few hives with you to help build your confidence. Surely, someone on here lives close to you. Hopefully they will be able to help you out. Maybe you could find a beekeeper near you that would be willing for you to work there yard with them. It would probably be a good experience. I know I have done that a couple times with some sideliner beekeepers and I picked up a lot from them.

    Jacob
    "Science is knowing, art is doing, and common sense is knowing and doing on the basis of experience." Alex Shigo

  14. #14
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    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
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    23

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Thanks, Rather. VA is a little too far for me. My sister and her family live in Mechanicsville, though!
    There are a couple beekeepers in my area, but they all say that right now is their busy season, and no one has the time to do a mentoring visit. I understand completely, but I wish I would have realized it would be like this, before I started. Every day I panic that I'm doing something wrong and my bees will die as a result of my ignorance. It's amazing how quickly they became my "pets" and how much I care about their well-being and health! I worry about the inner cover, whether I have it on correctly, whether they are getting enough ventilation, etc. The couple inspections I've done, I worry about how I'm putting the frames back in, and whether I've squashed the queen, or how many other bees I've hurt or killed. I worry about the opening, on whether I should have a reducer to prevent field mice or other critters getting in. I don't know how to look for the queen, when the frame I pull out is so completely covered in bees! I can't even see the comb beneath them. I don't know when to add boxes, how many frames to be running in each box, or even the difference between propolis and wax. And why is some wax white and some is brown? Aarrgghhh! Hopefully, someone in my area will see this desperate plea of a post and take pity on me!
    Susan, Extremely New Beekeeper, Santa Fe, TX
    neverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbee nstung

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh Pa USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Rather-b-beekeeping, why not give it a go? You don't have to charge an arm and a leg, just enough to make it help pay for beekeeping plus if they willing to pay, they need and appreciate the help.

    Susan, As you can see from my name, I know where you are coming from. Reading here as much as possible will help. Go to youtube, you get to see what things actually should look like. Most of all, don't worry, try your best and enjoy. The learning is the most fun. BTW, youwillbestungyouwillbestungyouwillbestung LOL

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, TX, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    LOL! IknowIknowIknowIknowIknowIknow!!!
    Susan, Extremely New Beekeeper, Santa Fe, TX
    neverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbeenstungneverbee nstung

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Google search some local organizations. There is one in the next town I'm sure. However in Texas the next town is a little further than normal.
    A lot of the people on here are from Texas.
    Maybe post a new thread with Texas in the title to get your locals located.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Galveston Co., Texas & Adair Co., Oklahoma
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Anybody ever try a consulting/mentoring service?

    Vonknabe,PM sent to You.

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