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  1. #21
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    I have seen first hand a guy buying into the business and not being able to hold through a major die off. Bankrupt. Cant catch that raining honey without bees in those boxes. Beekeeping is very lucrative, its your business strategy and knowledge of beekeeping that will determine if your successful or not.

    Cwoods, would you feel comfortable buying a 1000 hive operation? or build into it?

    guess you can call me one of those beesource trolls.. lol
    I think there was a topic called "easy money" or something like that which pretty much covered it all
    Last edited by Ian; 04-07-2014 at 06:16 PM.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  2. #22
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Ian:

    You've got cattle, bees, and farm acres galore. You're a businessman.

    Now if CW could buy into 1,000 hives, would he know enough to sell off most of those 1,000 and any increases to recoup his investment and hold on to the profits and new assets? Of course, he could do the same thing over again for a few years till he doesn't need to buy any more hives.

    I'm not so sure he would or could.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    your right in a way WLC. Any time you factor debt out over an extended period of time, that commitment has to be made, regardless of circumstances. One advantage with beekeeping is it is a business that is easy to get into, but the business holds very little equity to leverage on, unlike cattle or grain land. If anyone does not believe me, go talk to your banker and ask how much money he will lend you against your bees hive stock.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #24
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    I'll agree and add this: they don't know when to pull the trigger. Their leverage is the productivity of their operation which with Honeybees is a very short turn around time, within months.

    IMHO, you can hold on to too many colonies for too long.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    688

    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    I know I could have bought another house for what we have spent on expanding 100 hives more with package bees from NZ and the needed equipment to move them properly for pollination, I need to be more sustainable to turn a profit ! If I can maintain my numbers and increase each year by 10-15% by wintering major amounts of nucleus colonies to bounce back from any losses I get, then I would say that anyone that can keep bees alive from year to year and make their own increases can make a good living I intend on doing just that !
    Basically I intend on making 40 % increase with nucs every year, that way I can incur a heavy winter loss of 20-30% and any summer losses of 3-5% and come out the next year with a small portion for increase OR even the same amount of hives wintered and never have to buy bees. But this is just the way I want to do it and I believe it will work.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  6. #26
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    Jun 2009
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    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    IMHO, you can hold on to too many colonies for too long.
    Which goes back to my original comment about managing your business.

  7. #27
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post

    IMHO, you can hold on to too many colonies for too long.
    my strategy is maintenance, and holding as close to my targeted hive numbers every year. Some years it means bring in replacements, some years its selling off surplus
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  8. #28
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    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Ian:

    You've already built up your infrastructure and assets.

    Someone starting off with modest assets would take many years to 'ratchet' their way up to a reasonable income level.

  9. #29
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    Jun 2009
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    Montgomery County, NY
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Excellent observation WLC. Which is why I stated its not easy money. Starting off with anything that is worthwhile takes time. Yes once all infrastructure is in place its financially easier and you can start putting the money away. Kind of like buying your first house on your first job.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    BMAC:

    The only thing that CW can do to see what kind of a market he's operating in is to find out what kind of gross and net he can generate.

    However, I'm in a different market. I left 100 pounds of honey, each, on two hives for example. At a farmer's market in the city, it sells for over $30 a pound. So, I could have grossed $6,000 if that was my game.

  11. #31
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    Fruitland ,Idaho
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    420

    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Keeping hives healthy, strong and full of bees is as hard as it has ever been.
    Making money with strong healthy hives full of bees is easy in todays market.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
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    398

    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    I'm going into my third year as a hobby/sideline beekeeper. Started 2012 with two colonies, ended with 9. 2013 started with 8, ended with 21. Hoping to go from 16 to 50 this year. Been paying cash and making most of my own equipment. I may not have much but it's all mine. I plan on expanding until either I can make as much keeping bees as my day job or I just can't keep up while working a day job. Not going to go in debt to expand but reinvesting "profits" in equipment and hopefully a bigger shop/shed

  13. #33
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    D/FW, TX
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    32

    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    One thing is to shop around for good, used equipment. New stuff can take a long time to pay off.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Ian:

    You've already built up your infrastructure and assets.

    Someone starting off with modest assets would take many years to 'ratchet' their way up to a reasonable income level.
    exactly exactly exactly,
    buy in your equipment, build your bees. If the bees die, your out your time, the equipment is still there and it holds a value
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #35
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    It is also worth defining what a "commercial" beekeeper is and does. 100 colonies is approximately the trigger point at which serious money has to be spent on automation and heavy equipment. It will cost about $70,000 to cross this boundary. Second boundary is at roughly 2000 colonies. This is about as many as one person can manage given reasonable levels of automation and some seasonal help. Multiple products have to be produced and sold to make this operation profitable. Once you pass 2000 colonies it will take about one additional full time employee for each 2000 colonies added to the operation.

    A safe figure to use for estimating the "cost to play" in a 2000 colony operation is $500 per colony. This includes the cost of the bees, equipment, trucks, feed, honeyhouse, etc. So a 2000 colony operation is roughly $1,000,000 to set up. Yearly maintenance will run roughly $70 per colony for this size operation. Note that "maintenance" does not include things like gas, transportation, fees, etc. It is ONLY the upkeep of the colony.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  16. #36
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    If you don't have what it takes to percervere already w/in yourself no amount of inspiration from others will keep you going. And if you are determined to support yourself and your family by beekeeping you will have to figure that out yourself by doing it and figuring out what fits best for you under your own circumstances.

    If you don't already have a business background get the basics down well by attending some classes somewhere so you can keep track of the money and the business of beekeeping. You probably already know enough about keeping bees to be successful at that. But are you good a business?

    Best wishes.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #37
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Yes, it's true that it takes a bit to get built up to a profitable level if you are working from the ground up. What business doesn't? It's also true that few businesses offer the potential ROI that a beekeeping investment does. A single 10 frame hive can usually be purchased for around $125 in the early spring and with honey prices well over $2.00 per lb. and the national average yield per colony at around 60 lbs. much of your initial investment can be paid back in year one. Add in the potential of a $150 rental fee late the following winter and you can easily see how a lot of money can be made pretty quickly. It's important to note, here, that keeping bees alive and well in Canada is a different situation than the US where it's really quite easy to keep ones numbers up with post almond splits and home raised queens by moving your bees south. No expensive packages or queen purchases required.
    One of the keys to commercial success is to think like a commercial and to take your advice from those who actually live the business. Beesource is a fun place to interact just remember the vast majority who post on here aren't making their living from their bees. You will be told by many to leave 60+ lbs. of honey per hive on your bees. Corn syrup is .25 per lb. and honey is over $2.00. Do the math. You will be told by many that losses for tf beekeepers are about the same as those who treat. Just follow the example of the vast majority of successful professional beekeepers but remember that it's imminently possible to treat your hives and to do so responsibly. You will be told that "the bees are dying" and that what you are doing isn't sustainable. Take your cues from those who are doing it not from those who are reading about it.
    We run a 5,000+ hive operation and annual per hive expenses run around $100 and the potential per hive income is.....well......back up and re-read Sheri's post. With any business venture comes risk and with risk comes reward.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  18. #38
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Wise words Jim.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  19. #39
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    Sep 2011
    Location
    Skiff, Alberta, CA
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    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    CWoods, what is the name of the commercial operation that you worked for?

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
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    420

    Default Re: Inspiration to keep going

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    If you don't have what it takes to percervere already w/in yourself no amount of inspiration from others will keep you going. And if you are determined to support yourself and your family by beekeeping you will have to figure that out yourself by doing it and figuring out what fits best for you under your own circumstances.

    If you don't already have a business background get the basics down well by attending some classes somewhere so you can keep track of the money and the business of beekeeping. You probably already know enough about keeping bees to be successful at that. But are you good a business?

    Best wishes.
    Painful but truthful highly inspired advice; just priceless!

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