Re: Yearly business plan - realistic or not? What else should I account for?
When I was 14 I started a hog operation through the FFA guilt ring. This means I got a guilt at no cost. I was able to use my fathers land as well as his materials for fencing and shelter. So a large share of the start up costs where covered. My father financed it as far as feed. vet and other medications and treatments until I had some animals to sell at auction. The whole thing went fairly typically for anything agricultural. first to mating resulted in a guilt that was still not pregnant. third mating and 9 months in she finally came up pregnant but all but three piglets where lost of that first litter. 2nd and 3rd breeding where much more successful and after 2 years I had moved to Reno and started another business. When the third litter was weaned my dad sold out everything. 24 pigs total. 11 at slaughter weight. one sow and 12 wiener pigs. After expenses I had $300 in my pocket. By that time I was hanging sheet rock in Reno at the age of 16 making 150 dollars a day.
Now I can't tell you the details of how your efforts will go. But I can say that is about what you can expect from a new business in the first two years.
You have an advantage in that you are buying an established business. But you also have to make the payment on that business plus still make what profit you can.
Your expenses are going to be higher than what I saw. My expenses where actually very low. No land rent. not cots of fencing or materials to build the shed for shelter. I did pay for things like lice powder and the vet bill for sonograms. Otherwise my father was a very good farmer and did almsot everything with nothing. I did buy feed.
I have probably spent a lot more money than I should have on bees this first year. and actually could have done it for next to nothing. But a large apiary is going to have at least some unavoidable costs. You can make your own wooden ware at almost no cost. I know it can be done I made 4 hives and 4 nucs this year for the cost of one 8 foot 1X12. The rest was found wood including nearly all the frames.
I did buy a nuc of bees but it turns out that woudl have been unnecessary because I also got a swarm just a couple of weeks later. My bees suit, actually two of them and my smoker where the most expensive items. their where lower cost options. I did end up buying something like 70 frames but that was a convenience thing and I could have avoided it. I also ordered some other things like a queen excluder, frame grip and sunk some money into playing with a OA vaporizer.
Treatments will be necessary and I have put well over 100 lbs of honey on two hives and two nucs. For for about $400 this year I have 4 hives total anything from a 5 frame nuc to a double deep 10 frame lang. So $100 per hive average and I was not being all that careful about costs. I also did not get one drop of honey. So year one is pretty much down and so far looks typical to me. If I show a profit or even recoup any of my costs I really don't expect to do that until next year. And that is if I have really learned anything , gained any skills and it is at least a decent year.
I actually blew it, Inexperience and left about 30 to 45 lbs of honey on the hive to long. so part of my no income at all this year was nothing but a mistake on my part. that and two much cost in expanding when I needed to be focused on the production of one hive. Such mistakes need to be expected in the beginning. In hind sight I should have saved expansion for next spring when it woudl not have eaten up all the honey I did have. Plus opportunities come when opportunities come. I didn't want to miss this one.
So the way I see it I took my profits and expended with them. I went fro 0 hives last spring to 4 One will be in reserve to produce what I will have next year for further expansion and the rest are going to be used for making something I can sell.
So that is a real story of what it cost to start up and my average so far is $100 per hive. But that was a lot of one time or at least periodic expenses. the suits will have to be replaced some day. but not next year. I won't make the vaporizer again. I may be replacing the smoker and that was a big expense. My smoker cost me $80, I splurged. And wooden ware will continue for now to be made with free wood. New colonies will for the most part come from my own colonies with the exception of the occasional queen. I see no need to buy a queen for every hive I have I can produce them fairly easily and I am not in this as a business.
If I where to expend I woudl immediately be looking at the cost of a truck. trailer, additional hives and possibly apiary rent. My bees stock woudl most likely still come from my own bees. That and I would increase my effort to capture other colonies and swarms.
You have either time or money. when you have no money you spend time on everything. when you have money you have to weigh if the item is cheaper to buy or spend time on. nothing is free.
Learn to count the cost in every way possible not just dollars. I traded 45 lbs of honey this year for two nucs and a trap out. No dollar ever traded hands but I bought those nucs just the same. I would have been far better off harvesting and selling that honey at $6 a lb and then buying the wooden ware. I was not prepared to sell honey this year as I didn't expect to get any.
Right now I am focused on seeing how much winter sets me back. I may loose all my bees. if so I already have a colony in a wall scoped out to get started up again in the spring.
For me it has been very difficult at times. Trying to start two nucs with no drawn frames at a tie of the year that bees don't want to draw comb. Now that is more how you can expect things to be. You have x,y and can't get z to save yourself. so you then have to put to together a.b. and c to make up for it. I had bees to trap out. I had the wooden ware. but bees don't live on foundation very well. So I had to rob my big hive of honey frames just to make a place for the two nucs to live. I then fed everything both nucs and the big hive. the big hive is making 10 med frames of honey just so I can put them over the nucs for the winter. in effect my entire apiary is now doing nothing but getting two nucs started. That is all it has been doing for the past couple of weeks. My hope is that it will be worth it next spring when I have three strong hives bringing in nectar. But who knows I may have a bunch of empty hives. I also have a top bar full of bees but am not expecting much from them.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)