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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Looking for comments on my strategy for growth next year from those that have already been through the growth stage.

    I will most likely have at least 10 hives to start the spring, allowing them to build up until the last weekend in May, they should be 2 deeps of brood by then. I will then split the colonies in half leaving the laying queens in 10 of the 20 singles. the other 10 queenless singles will each be broken down into four 4 frame nucs with feeders on immediately, no honey stores. (single deep with a divider creating 2 nucs).

    I am not looking for the nucs to produce anything for me except bees and want them to go through the winter as nucs. On July 15 I expect the nucs to be full of brood and the canola flow will be on. I will then take each of the 40 nucs and divide them into 2 nucs each. This should allow enough time for all nucs to be strong going into winter. I winter indoors.

    This should leave me with 80 nucs and 10 full producing hives going into winter after the first year of this strategy.

    Remember in our area we get between 150-200lbs of honey per hive. I can sell locally for $4 per pound, wholesale is about $2lb. Leaving me with between $4,000-8,000 to leverage for 20k plus. at which point I can repeat the process above on a much largers scale.

    If all else fails nucs are going for over $150 in my area.

    My end game is to have at least 500 hives, enough for me to work at it full time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Fresno Ca USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Josh,

    Send me your e mail, I'll be happy to share an Excel spread sheet for budgeting and cash flow management to lay out a strategy for growth. You will need to have Microsoft Excel program and a basic working knowledge.
    California Almond Pollination Services, Inc.
    http://www.almondbeepollination.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I don't see any allowance for real world conditions.Not everything survives.Not every queen gets mated etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    I can, split more aggressively, supplement from stronger nucs etc. to ensure I get my numbers. mated queens can be purchased if need be. queen cells run at $7 saving 7 days on the development. My numbers are not absolute, they are a goal.

    I also realized that I forgot to mention the 10 hives that I want to produce honey will only have 4 frames of brood at the end of may meaning any additional frames can also be made into nucs. Any more than 4 frames and the will probably swarm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    You might want to google and watch Michael Palmer presentation to Northern Virginia beekeepers. He runs I think 800 hives and does summer splits to overwinter nucs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,704

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Honestly,

    I would do what you can mostly afford. I wouldn't get into huge debt the first few years building up. See how the market is, see how you can handle the workflow etc...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Honestly,

    I would do what you can mostly afford. I wouldn't get into huge debt the first few years building up. See how the market is, see how you can handle the workflow etc...
    Huge debt is different between different persons.

    Leveraging to purchase assets that will return the investment within 2 years of purchase and are also insurable at a very low rate, decreases the risk in my opinion.

    I also work in accounting, I understand the money part. That is not my biggest concern.

    My concern is finding the quickest most effective way to reach my goal. Not having people say take it easy, you don't want to do this, I want direction/guidance from people who have been in the business for more than 1 year. People who have done this already.

    I want to know what they have done, what they might have done differently. Give me something I can use, something educated by experience not just books.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Jasper, Texas, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    An alternate plan. Split your hives for optimal honey production, not hive count. You will turn a profit that can be used to buy bees next spring. 150-200lbs X $4 = $600-$800 per hive. That might buy more bees next spring than you can get thru the winter. It's a thought that isn't always considered. Have fun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,719

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    > I want direction/guidance from people who have been in the business for more than 1 year.

    Since you posted in the Commercial forum, many of the people who regularly post here are commercials. If you haven't yet read some of the other threads here with subjects similar to yours, perhaps you should. Here are two in particular:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ommercial-beek

    and

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...!-Easy-Money!!

    Also, look for posts by westernbeekeeper and Ben Little. They are both relatively new to the commercial side and working with similar issues you face.
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    That is more what I am looking for ryan. Thanks for the post.

    unfortunately eventually the local market cannot/ will not purchase all my honey. There are many keepers in the area to buy from, some that offer prices $1 per pound lower than myself to the public.

    Say I can sell 2,000lbs by word of mouth locally that is 10-15 full hives worth. I then need to sell the remainder of my honey through the coop at say $1.75 per pound on a conservative estimate.

    optimum honey production would be to split each of my hives in half in spring.

    With 10 hives that would leave me with 20 hives.

    20 hives x 200lbs = 4,000lbs.

    2,000lbs x $4= 8,000
    2,000lbs x $1.75 = 3,500
    total $11,500

    value of hives $200x20 = $4,000

    total value of honey and hives = $15,500

    now my strategy:

    10 hives x 200lbs x $4 = 8,000

    Value of hives
    10 hives x $200 = $2,000
    60 nucs x $130 = $7,800 assuming 25% do not mature
    total $9,800

    total value of honey and hives = 17,800

    Each of the strategies will require aprox. the same amount of equipment. either for honey boxes or brood boxes.

    The second one leave me with higher net value. plus the bees are insurable for the winter. honey crop is not insurable.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    If you want a secure honey market, you may look into joining the SueBee Honey association. Your dues to the club is that they get to buy ALL of your honey, but at their prices, which most times is quite reasonable. But you aren't allowed to sell ANY of it yourself.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,704

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    The only thing I would say is watch that second split and how are you managing the intial 40 nucs? Are they going to be 4 frames + a feeder only? It still isn't clear how you are queening them either, if using a cell, your queen will be laying around 2-3 weeks, with the first round of brood emerging 3 weeks after that, about when you want to split them again or so. Do you have drawn comb to make the second batch of splits? What if they backfill heavy in the flow and feeding, and each nuc is 1-2 frames of brood only....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > I want direction/guidance from people who have been in the business for more than 1 year.

    Since you posted in the Commercial forum, many of the people who regularly post here are commercials. If you haven't yet read some of the other threads here with subjects similar to yours, perhaps you should. Here are two in particular:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ommercial-beek

    and

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...!-Easy-Money!!

    Also, look for posts by westernbeekeeper and Ben Little. They are both relatively new to the commercial side and working with similar issues you face.
    I have read both threads. thank you for your guidance.

    Unfortunately the guy in the first thread was far to busy and not really ready to commit to the beekeeping as he had to many things in his personal life holding him back.

    The second thread is interesting and I have followed it. Clearly people who think building any business is easy money are missing a few marbles.

    I have done calculations and know that it will end up costing in the long run between 250k and 500k just for the equipment and upgrades included in this, just to get to my 500 hive goal. Not to mention all the work that is involved. But I like bees and I like being self sufficient and self employed.

    Thank you for your post, I will look up posts by the keepers you mentioned, I am sure they have many Ideas. I also am in contact with a local commercial keeper who has been mentoring me.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk, NY, USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Looking for comments on my strategy for growth
    Some comments might not be what you want to hear.

    I want direction/guidance from people who have been in the business for more than 1 year. People who have done this already.

    I want to know what they have done, what they might have done differently. Give me something I can use, something educated by experience not just books.
    You want to be given all these things? Commercial beekeepers are business people, maybe one will contract with you in a business consultant capacity.
    Experience comes at a price, that's the money part too.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    If you want a secure honey market, you may look into joining the SueBee Honey association. Your dues to the club is that they get to buy ALL of your honey, but at their prices, which most times is quite reasonable. But you aren't allowed to sell ANY of it yourself.
    We have a local co-op in Winnipeg that operates the same way, only they allow you to sell up to 5000lbs locally. I do know of one beekeeper in the area that ships honey south of the border to sue bee, they are running 1,600 hives.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,271

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Clyde is onto something. You should be going to Small Business Classes at night and working bees during the day.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    The only thing I would say is watch that second split and how are you managing the intial 40 nucs? Are they going to be 4 frames + a feeder only? It still isn't clear how you are queening them either, if using a cell, your queen will be laying around 2-3 weeks, with the first round of brood emerging 3 weeks after that, about when you want to split them again or so. Do you have drawn comb to make the second batch of splits? What if they backfill heavy in the flow and feeding, and each nuc is 1-2 frames of brood only....
    Valid point, a full deep box with divider in the middle, this year I used 1 inch lumber to divide and it only allowed for 4 frames per side. something I will look into changing next year. I believe 1/2 in. will allow 5 per side. put a upside down queen excluder on there with another box of drawn comb on top and you have 2 nucs with room for stores. I used this method this year to turn 5 single deeps into 20 nucs. I also use 3kg pails as top feeders on each nuc in the beginning.

    My idea was on the first set to buy queens, and to use queen cells on the second split. I will have drawn comb to make the splits you can buy it off keepers in the area.

    I also ended up getting nearly 1,000 lbs of honey off those double nucs as well
    Last edited by JoshW; 10-25-2013 at 05:18 PM. Reason: more info

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    In my experience people are willing to give advice or help when asked. Why are commercial beekeepers on this site but to bounce ideas off each other as well. Everyone is here to learn.... well some are just here to show others that they are the smartest person around but share no knowledge. Those people might need a hobby or a friend.

    I have a business degree. That is not the issue. And I work a job that pays money during the day so I can turn beekeeping into a business at night.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,271

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshW View Post
    I have a business degree. That is not the issue. And I work a job that pays money during the day so I can turn beekeeping into a business at night.
    That's great. I didn't know that. Quite often when the sort of question you are seeking the answer to is asked the person asking does not know anything about business. I wish I had gotten a business degree along w/ my beekeeping degree. That's what I would do differently were I to do it again.

    The guys you want to hear from may be too busy right now getting bees ready for Winter or moved to milder climate before Winter, so be patient. They also may be too far away from starting out to remember how they did what they did. I find I don't recall enough about starting out when I am amongst beginners.

    The guys you perhaps aught to be seeking advice from are the sideline beekeepers. Seems like that is your next step. Turning what you have into a larger number of hives and into more of a business.

    What I read in your opening post sounds like a good goal and plan of action. Doing it, working the plan, will tell you whether it was the right thing to do or not.

    Keep your mind open to the comments you get and pass by those you don't find of value. Insulting folks won't draw more and favorable comments and suggestions. Once burnt, twice shy?

    Best wishes.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Growth on limited budget/ waiting on financing

    My prior message may have thrown this thread off course.

    I agree completely that I need to work with bees to gain my own experience. And that is what I do. I do that in the evening as one can not live off of $12 per hour in Manitoba and still build a business. Thus the reason to get above 300 hives, to focus more on bees and less on other interruptions.

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