Re: nuc contracts
When I first started selling to hobbyists my intentions were good I gave heaps of advice plus made site visits. But this eventually became impossible, when you are getting called every 1/2 hour you just can't run the actual business, plus definately can't go and see them all. And it's amazing how a nubee can have so many problems when they started out with a perfectly good nuc.
What I do is tell them upfront that time will prevent me giving good backup service, but I can be called if it's serious. I get them to buy a locally published book that covers everything in a very understandable format, tell them to join the bee club, and introduce them to our local bee forum. The bee forum is great, I can chat with them, and other knowledgeable people can also so the burden is not just on me.
I had a hard lesson with one of the first nucs I sold when I started doing this again a few years ago. It went to a mother and daughter combo, no man in the house. They kept calling me and asking me to go there to fix this and that. I would explain on the phone but there would always be some reason I had to go there. towards the end of year 2, I realised they had never actually opened the hive, unless I was there. When I mentioned this was costing me in time and travel costs, she said a good way to solve that would be move the hive to my place.
Presumably I would then just give them a call when their honey was ready and in jars so they could collect it!
At that point I realised I would have to cut them loose, which I did, and it did cause some ill will. But it also brought home to me there has to be limits.
I agree with the other posters that customer service is paramount. It's a hard line to walk though and there is no one answer.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).