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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I disagree, figure local sales at 5.00 per lb profit, 60 lb average should be pretty easy thats 300 per hive. Won't be every season unless you get some mad skills.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    1,716

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    $5.00 per lbs is a little on the cheap side these days. Of course you have to take into consideration for expenses on bottling labeling and delivery.

    However if coupled with light pollination and NUC, pollen sales net can easily be 30,000 annually. Just got to know how to run a business and NOT a hobby.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Clinton County, IN, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I believe what he meant was if you had expenses at $3 per pound, then you need to sell at $8 per pound to make $5 per pound profit

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,355

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Guy View Post
    100 or so hives...............Is it possible to make $25000.00 to $30000.00 a year with this many hives?
    Dave
    I am assuming that the folks in MO are on the hook for your retirement payments. If not you might want to increase the numbers to fund your future lifestyle to the tune of 30k a year with hives after expenses.

    I am going to assume you have the mule already paid for. ( and it will last longer than you) amd you plan on keeping the bees alive in free logs.


    My guess is that unless you are planning on something happening very few of us have figured out I doubt your next 10 year average net will be greater 15 thousand (per year) on a hundred.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Paris Tx
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    unless you are going to take all year to extract your honey you will need a uncapper and extractor

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Guy View Post
    I am getting close to retirement from my firefighting career {2 to 3 years}. I have 3 hives know with 2 packages and 3 queens on the way. My plan is to increase to 100 or so hives in 2 to 3 years. Is it possible to make $25000.00 to $30000.00 a year with this many hives?

    Thanks for any info
    Dave
    Here is the problem I see, even assuming a good harvest and good prices for your honey. You have to retail it. to do so, requires attendance at markets, bottling, labeling, set up tear down. etc. This is all time that you will not have available to work with your now 100 hives, which you are trying to manage to produce the maximum surplus honey and raise queens, and increase or at least replace losses. The cost to get to 100 hives from 3 is pretty steep unless you buy someone out at fire sale (excuse the pun). I run mediums and figure 5 mediums per hive minimum, and that is harvesting three times a year. so that is 500 boxes, 5000 frames, 100 bottoms, tops, feeders, etc.

    now, lets start with your $30,000 and work backwards, ignoring expenses. You say in your area Honey retails for 15 per quart, that is about $5.00 per pound, so 30,000/5 = 6000 lbs of honey. Once again in mediums at 35 pounds per super = 170 supers to extract. Running 8 frames per super that is 1360 frames of honey to extract. (plus it means your average surplus per hive is 60 lbs, which is reasonable.

    I am not saying it cannot be done, but it will be very time consuming and does not allow for expenses. I imagine most of the commercial guys do a little retail, but most of their bread and butter comes from pollination and wholesale honey sales.

    They can chime in and correct me if I am wrong.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    I have been thinking and planning for a few years on how I can make upwards of 20k a year running around 100 hives. 30k? I dont know for sure, some years maybe, but I wouldnt bank on it. Heres my plan, mind you a rough one, but something I see as fairly doable on a yearly basis.

    100 Double Deep Colonies, and approximately 50 or so more nucs or singles to use as back up and support colonies for the 100 doubles. These extra 50 would be used to replace dead outs, requeening and to boost populations of colonies, and as support for queen rearing operations.
    The plan starts in November of the previous year, running 150 colonies south to GA to overwinter. In march, head south and split colonies to replace dead outs and to produce approxiamtely 50 nucs for sale.
    In april, bring home the 100 doubles and all singles and nucs. Sell off the 50 nucs for $150 each, totaling $7500.
    Put the 100 doubles on apple pollination at $75 each, totaling another $7500.
    May honey supers would go on, and queen rearing would begin. I would try to produce approximately 10 queens per week, for 10 weeks for sale, at $25 each, totaling another $2500.
    Also in may, pull 1 frame of brood from each support colony and plant a ripe cell in a nuc box with 2 frames of brood, creating another 25 nucs. These would be sold in June as summer nucs for $125 each, totaling $3125.
    June is a good honey flow month and exraction is usually in July, right about the time I quit rearing queens. So with out even touching a drop of honey, I would have created $20,625 in gross income.

    Honey would be coming off the double deeps, and possibly some of the stronger singles. I figure a 40 pound average wouldnt be out of the question, giving me atleast 4000+ pounds of honey. As I dont like to retail honey, not my cup of tea, I usually sell it in 5 gallon pails. At $3 per pound wholesale in 5 gallon pails, thats $12000.

    Take out the expenses, and I am probably close to that 20k figure I am looking for. Is this plan perfect, No, and some things probably wouldnt work out perfectly anyways, but its a rough idea. Heavy winter losses, losses in pollination and crappy honey flow would kill this plan in a heartbeat, but there are more ways to make money with bees than just selling honey. In this plan, honey would take the back seat to producing more bees.
    Mind you this plan isnt being implimented over night, I am building up to the 150 or so colonies and am building slowly, and am keeping expenses down as much as possible. I am also building up my number of boxes and combs, and spreading it out, with a number of new boxes and frames and lids and bottoms being made each year.
    Basically as BMAC said, if you run 100 or so colonies as a business and not a hobby, there is money to be made with that number of colonies. Is it 20-30k? I dont know, I am not there yet, but if building over time and learning from your mistakes, it might be possible to clear 20k.
    Last edited by NY_BLUES; 06-17-2014 at 06:28 AM. Reason: clarification
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  8. #28
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,990

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by NY_BLUES View Post
    I have been thinking and planning for a few years on how I can make upwards of 20k a year running around 100 hives. 30k? I dont know for sure, some years maybe, but I wouldnt bank on it. Heres my plan, mind you a rough one, but something I see as fairly doable on a yearly basis.
    One suggestion. Instead of taking your bees to GA in Nov, bring them to SC. Then in March, cross the border and pollinate blue berries. At the conclusion of Blueberries, head home to NY. 10 hives would get you about $7500.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  9. #29
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    hpm08161947-
    that is also an option. running a double pollination, such as carolina blueberries and then to NY for apples or blueberries with the same hives. I am assuming that you mean 100 hives would get me $7500. What is the standard frame count on blueberries?
    That being said, using the same strong singles on blueberries, and then brought to NY and doubled up and run onto apples would gross $15000, and then could be run on honey. Some may be set back in blueberries, and some again in apples, but thats what the back up hives are for.
    More expense to move them from GA to NC for blueberries, but thats part of the cost of doing business. I think if people are willing to put the work into keeping 100 strong hives, and keep their expenses down, and spread it out over a number of years, then making a decent retirement income is very doable with 100 good hives.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    1,716

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Hauling expense for 100 hives from Ga to NC blueberries can be figured in there around $800.00. $1200.00 to include loading and unloading with equipment.

    Hauling from NC to NY $1000.00 with $1400.00 loading, and unloading.

    So highside would be ~$2600.00 hauling north.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,010

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    One suggestion. Instead of taking your bees to GA in Nov, bring them to SC. Then in March, cross the border and pollinate blue berries. At the conclusion of Blueberries, head home to NY. 10 hives would get you about $7500.
    Herb, math isn't my strong suit, but, isn't 10 hives X $75.00 each = $750.00? You must have meant 100 hives.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,010

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post
    Hauling expense for 100 hives from Ga to NC blueberries can be figured in there around $800.00. $1200.00 to include loading and unloading with equipment.

    Hauling from NC to NY $1000.00 with $1400.00 loading, and unloading.

    So highside would be ~$2600.00 hauling north.
    $2600.00 to haul 100 hives one way? Including a charge for loading and unloading? Seems reasonable.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  13. #33
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    2,990

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Herb, math isn't my strong suit, but, isn't 10 hives X $75.00 each = $750.00? You must have meant 100 hives.
    Yea.. I'm talking 100 hives.

    What if he had a truck like mine...... he could haul the 100 hives himself. How many hives did you and Matthew have on the GMC this spring.... 120? I'm guessing maybe $500 worth of fuel to haul from NY to down south.

    He may want to investigate SC..... Awful lot of New Yorkers down there.... must be a reason.

    Never heard of a frame count in the blue berries.... they just want strong hives.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,010

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Yes, approximately $500.00 in fuel one way. Yes, we had 120 cols on your truck and 120 on my truck and trailer.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,716

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    What if he dont have a truck that can haul 120 colonies on it? What would a truck cost that can haul 120 colonies on it?
    What other underlying expenses other than cost of fuel are associated with a 700 mile trip?

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,010

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Total costs of owning and using my F-450 run about $2.00/mile, approximately. I actually figured it out one year a while ago and it was about $1.88/mile to $2.10/mile depending on the price of fuel and whatever repairs and maintenance was done that year.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
    Posts
    1,716

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    (price of vehicle/total number of planned miles of life long usage) + ((total repairs + total inusrance&registration+ total fuel)/annual vehicle miles) = actual cost of shipping your own stuff.

    so Say new F450 total cost = $62,000.00 and you plan to retire that truck right at 130,000 then each mile will cost you a minimum of $.47 per mile added to the annual cost of maintenance and fuel and registration plus tolls in our part of the country.

    just to keep it simple we will say truck ave 10 MPG.

    25,000 annual miles = 2500 gallons of fuel at ave $4.20 per gallon = $10,500.00 in fuel

    ($.47) + (17300/25000) = real cost of shipping

    ($.47) + ($.69) = $1.16 per mile. Notice this is a fictitious per mile base and cannot be used to really help determine what you should expect to pay in shipping costs. Simply a process for everyone to work their way thru to determine their own.

    For example my truck averages 6 miles to the gallon and I already have 29,000 miles on it and it's not a full year. Means at $4.20 a gallon average I have already dropped $20k in fuel for less than 1 year.

    Total repairs inclusive $5500.00

    state fees for running vehicle on public roads = $1300.00

  18. #38
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    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    1,716

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Mark what is the fuel efficiency of your F450 loaded?

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,010

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    About the same as when it's loaded. I haven't ever calculated loaded miles verse unloaded miles. Seven to 10 miles per gallon. Seems like I get around 10 when in SC where it's flat.

    One thing the OPer should think about instead of asking how many hives do I need to run to make $X.XX ask yourself how much money can I generate from X,XXX hives? Can you maximize the amount of income from 100 hives? How would you do that?

    Are you keeping bees to make money? Or do you want to make money working bees? Two different questions. There are easier ways of making money other than beekeeping. But if you like working bees and don't like doing those other things, maybe making loads of money really isn't what you want to do. Maybe you just want to work bees to make enough to get by, keep your head above water, and enjoy life now.

    Get out and do it and you will figure it out. See the opportunities and take advantage of them.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  20. #40
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Canandaigua, NY
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: commercial beekeeping

    Quote Originally Posted by BMAC View Post

    state fees for running vehicle on public roads = $1300.00
    Can you explain the state fees? I just changed my registration from commercial to ag. It will save me $54 every 2 years. Down side is now every November I have to do the registration instead of every 2 years, but its saving me money still.

    I plan on doing that with my other 1 ton soon as well.

    The DMV told me some states don't recognize a ag registration. I don't know what that means, but if its legally registered here, it should be good in every state.
    Ben
    Hungry Bear Farms, www.HungryBearFarms.com Beekeeping Supplies and More...!

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