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  1. #701
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,758

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMorris View Post
    But once you have 100 hives, you have just created 150 hours of work, which will take a full month just to do those simple tasks.
    In an office environment, 150 hours of work equals (on average) a month's worth of work (figuring in at 8, hour lunch, out at 5, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month, with a little more than a day a month as "holiday").

    If you are planning on making a go at this, I would not consider 150 hours a month's worth of work in the beekeeping industry. Probably closer to 2.25 weeks worth of work (figuring in at 6 am, out at 6 pm, one hour for lunch, six days a week, no added holidays).

  2. #702
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    6,222

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    A ten hour day!? Ya, that would be a good start lol

  3. #703
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,758

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    I do business turnaround for a living. That's my day job. I look at financial reports, profit & loss statements, budgets, debt service ratios, ect. and we figure out if there is something worth saving. Sometimes there is, sometimes not. On average, when you have years of experience, years of financial reports to show what the average income is, what the average expenses are, you can estimate the future growth of the company. Without years of actual numbers, you have to use projections. Projections are scary, because no one knows how accurate they will be. Income could be more or less than what you think it will be, expenses are the same. That bottom line number, if it's black you eat, if it's red you're screwed. That's a big risk.

    For companies that lack financial history, we typically take the adage that you look at their projections, half the income, double their expenses, and if you can still make a profit, you might have a worth while venture (assuming your projections are fairly accurate).

    I have yet to see a beekeeping business model that can survive this scrutiny. I have yet to see a beekeeping business model that can survive one half of the above formula (either half the income OR double the expenses and still create a profit). That makes it a high risk venture. Most high risk ventures have the possibility of putting out high rewards if successful. Beekeeping isn't one of them.

    Probably why I'm not buying palletized hives by the truck load. Probably why most others aren't either.

  4. #704
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    Sep 2005
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    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,758

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    A ten hour day!? Ya, that would be a good start lol
    My estimate showed an 11 hour day. Six days a week.

    I think, on a yearly average, that's fairly consistent. Unless you tell me otherwise. Some springs you may work 16 hour days 7 days a week. Some winters you may work 35 hour weeks, with two days off. On average I'd say it adds up to a 65 hour work week.

  5. #705
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,454

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    My takeaway from Dave's post was that much of what attracts people to becoming hobbyist beekeepers is replaced on a commercial scale by a lot of mundane repetitive work. What may be intriguing on a small scale quickly turns into a lot of hard work when multiplied by a hundred or a thousand.
    As far as the hours involved. There is always something to do but for our operation we deal with 7 day, 80 hour weeks for a couple months in the spring, 5 day 50 hour weeks for another 7 to 8 months and 2 to 3 months of 9 to 5 in the winter with a few 3 to 4 day weekends to go with the occasional night bee moving and Sunday truck loading or unloading sprinkled in throughout the year. We try hard to find a balance between work and family but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Bees are livestock and they are a responsibility that never completely goes away. I like to say "go hard, then go home".
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #706
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    6,222

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    I'd say farming in general wouldn't pass that scrub test but when has it ever, and who ever would expect it to. Different kettle of fish, and has been for as long as farming has been around

    Historical financial performance never lies, projections tend to exaggerate, the trick is to get those projections to reflect your farms performance

  7. #707
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,222

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    My seasonal work schedule is ridiculous, I try to balance it out on my " off " season

  8. #708
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camarillo, CA, USA
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    What's an "Off Season" ?
    Have never had one in last 10 yrs, only thing to do is book a vacation and go.
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  9. #709
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
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    2,758

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I'd say farming in general wouldn't pass that scrub test but when has it ever, and who ever would expect it to.
    But isn't that the point?

    No farming operation can withstand that startup test (at least I haven't seen one). The startup costs are usually huge, and the income stream usually doesn't justify the start up costs. Banks don't easily lend, and usually want balloon payments so short that you can't pay it back in time. Refinance is a nightmare.

    So the only way the business will work is by using actual numbers, not projections. Meaning a father can pass the business down. If you want to start a farming operation, inheritance is the most likely route. But those that are passing the business down, even if you get it for free the next generation can get easier cash another route. The business usually isn't worth a whole lot if sold. So it's liquidated.

    If you were going to invest $X into a farming operation, but the risks are higher than investing in a McDonalds franchise, the income stream is smaller and less predictable, why would you not invest in McDonalds instead?

    The only other option is to slowly grow, and get actual numbers on a smaller scale and slowly ramp it up.

    Either way, buying in is not a viable solution from a business perspective.

  10. #710
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,222

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    That is what make beekeeping attractive to young start ups, it's doable. A grain farm start up isn't doable even from a small beginning.

  11. #711
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northfield,MN
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    To bee successful you need to build your life around the bee's. Does thought count as work? because if it does i would say i work about 18 hours a day 8 months out of the year. The other 3-4 months i go kerouac.

  12. #712
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    [QUOTE=Specialkayme;1011994]I do business turnaround for a living. That's my day job. I look at financial reports, profit & loss statements, budgets, debt service ratios, ect. and we figure out if there is something worth saving. Sometimes there is, sometimes not. On average, when you have years of experience, years of financial reports to show what the average income is, what the average expenses are, you can estimate the future growth of the company. Without years of actual numbers, you have to use projections. Projections are scary, because no one knows how accurate they will be. Income could be more or less than what you think it will be, expenses are the same. That bottom line number, if it's black you eat, if it's red you're screwed. That's a big risk.

    You and me, both. Well said! Beekeeping is and can be, a viable business when you treat it like one.
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  13. #713
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Go for it. Building your own hives is more work than its worth. The price of wood vs assembling hives. Build the expensive parts. Bottom boards and outer covers. Inner covers too. That's a good place to save money. I just did 40 last year I made bb with 2x4s and polyurethane boards with a strip of wood screwed in. Each one cost me about $5 to build and after the first few I could build them quite fast. They are solid too and a good thermal barrier. Outer covers were pretty easy to build. I used a PVC coated aluminum and a huge roll cost about $80 . I priced the wood to make my supers and the pine and work just didn't seem cost and time effective. Not to mention the joints in mine would suck. Commercial grade supers are fine and the more you order the cheaper they are. If you place an order around thanksgiving, many bee suppliers offer free shipping. Its heavy and expensive to ship. I went from 7 hives last year to 45. It was major work in the winter and drove to va to get my bees but it all came into place. Set up your bases in the winter too. That way by spring when your timing is crucial, you won't be under too much pressure.
    I had my first level hive in place before I went to get my bees.

  14. #714
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Lancaster CA
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    I went from a few hives to hundreds in a few years, BUT, I am in southern CA. I lucked into some real good producing bee locations and bought out some folks with good locations. Did this all with a good day job. Bought knock down equipment. BUT in So Cal all that is available in LA. Did I mention my almond contract was only 75 miles from home. After 30 yrs I realized that MAYBE I know what I am doing. One day I was really tired and stopped to ask some field hands if they would like some work. They asked if I was the Patron. I said Se. They said no. When they get up, I am working. When they kick back to drink some beer at the end of the day, I am still working. I work to hard for them. The next year I found a young guy to sell out to so I could enjoy my grand kids, bird dogs and hunting in the fall instead of worrying about my bees. Really enjoying retirement.

  15. #715
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Sounds like some long hours.... For me, since I'm not pollinating its not as labor intensive. There is a lot of work even in the winter... Assembling supers, frames, picking up jars, equip, labels, winterizing etc. I love it.
    Pollinating crops too sounds like a second job.
    I never considered this when I said go for it. For my work load, just making honey and maybe some nucs to sell, I love it. Its a lot of work, but its work outside mostly.

  16. #716
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,629

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    How many hours a week does beekeeping in Brooklyn,NY demand? How many hives do you run? Do you sell a lot of honey? Tons?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  17. #717
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    brooklyn, ny
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    I have over a dozen in Brooklyn and 40 upstate

  18. #718
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Go Brooklyn. Its tough keeping bees in the city. I used to keep quite a few dozen around Kansas City. Then I got sick of city life and moved to Dairy Country!

  19. #719
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,629

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Quote Originally Posted by ryandebny View Post
    I have over a dozen in Brooklyn and 40 upstate
    Come to the meeting in Syracuse in a week and I'll buy you a beer, or whatever you care to drink.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  20. #720
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,629

    Default Re: I would like to be a commercial beek

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    Then I got sick of city life and moved to Dairy Country!
    You mean Yogurt Country? How does all that whey effect your honey crop?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


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