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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    414

    Default Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    We are brand new to selling honey in any real quantity and this year will be the first large harvest I've had.we have been clever with our marketing as we intend on growing to a small sideline business in the next decade .my wife is a designer by profession and has set us up to look very professional and as if we are larger than we are. Anyway, we have been getting a lot of attention and many invitations to sell our honey (come on bees!) at boutiques and restaurants , gift stores and even a gallery asked(?) so I have no experience selling anything and short of commercial beekeepers pricing, have no idea how a guy does these kinds of deals? My own opinion is to keep the price along the lines of the stores (8ish a lb) and since we use fancy smanshy bottles/labels/boxes ect,. To just charge cost for the packaging.but if a store wants it then they will obviously want their profit and those prices would not work. So where does the rubber meet the road ? Do we ask for what we want and be ok with them saying no (we sold out of honey two weeks after extracting this spring ) or what? I would like to jump on this"we're special thing" as the stores and restaurants are very high visibility and great food and if all goes well(fingers crossed) we will harvest between 2-3000 lbs a year (blessed be the bee goddess) we have 40 hives now and another 20 or so nucs to try and overwinter. We are also selling soap and lotion , wax lip balm and have even been selling bee brickabrack lol! Thank you for any insights and advice you may give.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    2,251

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    We're about the same size and I used to sell wholesale. I was giving 30, 35 and 40% discounts and had volume brackets for the respective discounts. They'd bump their prices even higher than my list prices as they expect to make higher margins than I offer. Don't forget to take into account the time it takes to put the respective product in the containers and the time (auto miles too) to deliver.

    Personally I got out of the wholesale. Turned to 100% retail via an honor stand. I stock the stand and I don't give my weekends to farmers markets. I pocketed the discounts given to retailers but loose 2-3% to theft. I turned a business that was lucky to merely break even into healthy little cash heavy sideline business.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,610

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    For a business your resources need to make you money. including your money. You have bees to make money. you have equipment to make money and you have money to make money. For this reason I would not consider selling bottles labels etc for what I paid for them. there would be an adequate mark up on my investment. I spent money (used resources) to provide that packaging to my customer. and I will get paid for the service. Retail price already takes that into account so with your $8 a lb if that is the going rate in your are is already charging for the packaging. Including the labor to bottle it place labels on bottles transport etc. You have to put out the money up front to get that done. I simply find it helpful to be aware of what that $8 a lb is paying me for. I sell honey and have to use some of that money to buy new bottles and labels for example. so I am not thinking hey I have 8 bucks in my pocket. I have 8 bucks and a new line up of bills to pay. I'm lucky if I broke even at that point. Usually haven't
    Significant Minority vs Insignificant Majority, 20% of causes produce 80% of the effects.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,888

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    sell retail some way or other if possible. if you do not sell out in a year, then consider selling to better quality retailers. if you can not sell out any other way then you have to sell to a wholesaler probably at a loss. keep track of the time and schedule flexibility involved, selling at a lower price to retailers may actualy be better than direct retail sales. if you sold out in 2 weeks your prices are too low. .. 8ish per lb. less 2ish for fancy bottle and label less 5ish for running around to sell to fancy outlets comes out to $1/lb. i cannot justify the time to do direct retail.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    I suppose I should have been more specific. We are charging 8 a lb and tacking on all other hard cost. So far there is only my cash out of hand costs added not labor and fuel ect..we have not decided to go very far away or endure many headaches so far. I always feel a bit guilty getting 14-17 dollars a container of honey but I don't want to buy it either. We also offer "fill your own bottle" for less but rarly does any one do it?So one shop sells a one pound muth for 17 dollars. Their apiary has quit due to divorce, they want us to provide honey for shelf as well as for their food .I don't know if I want my name on such a high price or not. Sure if they sell it someone bought it but I would like future sales also. So does this mean the shop gives me an offer per container then decides the retail price? Or do I say that we want to limit the prices per container and negotiate ? Sorry Iam a turrist in sales. I would love to have an honor box but ism a townie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    1,888

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    the retailer can set as high a price as they want, it is the retailer that may wish to protest your low-ball price.. if you are upset about variations then use more than one label. call the expensive one "special reserve" or something like that that means nothing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
    Posts
    2,262

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    Reading this thread I'm getting confused with some of the terminology.
    From my experience you can wholesale your honey to a packer at a producer price or wholesale to a retailer who then resells your product with your label, in your packaging at their retail price in their retail setting to their customers.
    There exists some variations on wholesaling to a retailer (like their private label on your honey in your jar etc) but you still sell them product that is almost always packaged. Exceptions may be buckets to other beekeepers, brewers or bakeries or 5 star chefs.
    When you sell your honey, package with your label direct to the consumer you'll be retailing your honey and getting the most for your product. At farmers markets, from your store or honey stand or on the internet direct retail sales is where you will make the most money selling your product.

    Retail establishments markup honey at least 50% over their cost. Most times it's way more than that. I had one that marked it up over 100%. And they sold a fair amount of honey in a high end specialty boutique shop.(High tourist traffic areas are well known for excessive markups but sell product anyway.)
    So a $8 1 pound jar of labeled honey is at least a $12 jar of honey on the store shelf. More likely a $16 jar of honey and described by the retailer as locally harvested pure Bozeman MT small batch honey from a local family to their customer.
    Set your wholesale price low and it's hell to raise it if you have found you have under priced. Same with the price when you retail it directly. By the way, why would you be hesitant to have your name on a $17 1lb. jar of honey? Would you rather it be on $6 1lb. jar of the same honey?

    I hope all of this comes across as helpful as is the intent.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,610

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    I don't sell honey through other retailers. But I do sell other things that way. I consider the cost of displaying and offering that product rather than selling it myself. So if there is any discount to another retailer it would be along that line. As far as honey goes I don't have any of those costs so at the moment they would pay the same as anyone else. they can then mark it up to whatever the market in their store will pay. If a market cannot get a better steadier price than I do with casual word of mouth sales. they need to get better at running their store. To me it is a matter of I get the value I made out of it. they can then add value to it by putting it on their store shelf, whatever sales methods they need to make and make additional profit from it. So far I have found not many stores are willing to put the sales effort into those other products. I can sell them no problem but they want to let them set in a display until someone sells themselves. That does not work well. they will have to work for the money they can make. Or not.
    Significant Minority vs Insignificant Majority, 20% of causes produce 80% of the effects.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Kokomo, Indiana
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    I have some experience in other areas of selling manufactured products to retailers. I think clyderoad's answer in post 7 is dead on. Perhaps just a few things to add to it.

    Have a suggested MSRP on your branded honey. This way if you have multiple customers purchasing your honey they are all on the same understand of what price is suggested to sell it at. This way you don't have the divorced apiary selling your honey at $18 and another customer selling in their shop for $24. If your customers choose to sell higher than the MSRP so be it, but at least you have suggested where you feel they are likely to sell it and make a profit.

    Advantages of selling your honey brand wholesale retail is you will make more money. By you having your brand on it you are taking on more responsibility. You should be charging more for your brand and making more money on it too.

    If you want to do what is called a private label, then your customer will typically not pay as much for your product. They are assuming liabilities, risk, product siting on shelves, etc. The trade off by selling your honey cheaper through private label, is that often orders by private label can be higher volume and move inventory you otherwise couldn't sell.

    You can always negotiate any contract with any customer. Negotiate price on things like volume, your brand vs private label, packaging, terms of payment, etc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    FRASER VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
    Posts
    1,753

    Default Re: Wholesale honey sales advice needed

    Get top dollar if you market your honey as special. It ain't special unless it has a special price. If shops want it then fine, same with the retaurants. If you sell out in 2 weeks what's the big deal? You only have 2-3000 pounds maybe. That is not a lot of honey, believe it or not. Bozeman is not huge city either but I don't think you will have trouble selling 2-3000 pounds a year. You will have a harder time producing the honey to maintain the accounts you create.

    Jean-Marc

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