If it suits you, who should criticize you? Your life, your property, your business.
If it suits you, who should criticize you? Your life, your property, your business.
The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.
Jim, I think its cool to show off your work, but there is a time an a please too (better in the off season). Really it isn't the same as seeing it all up and running.
We opened a store a few years back and that is where we do our retail business. Now for my wholesale business, its a different story. We opened a new operation 4 years ago, it has the honey house, and a warehouse. Customer can see what is going on in the honey house from the warehouse without going in.
We only ship on Friday mornings so we don't lose production time. There is still time for chatting and get business done before the next customer shows up.
Now for the parking, that is a problem when someone is parked in front of my truck dock when I come in with a load. With an open truck it doesn't take long for the bees to find the truck, so quick offloads are a must!!!
We are located right off a county road. No privacy here as we kind of stick out like a sore thumb with trucks forklifts and bee equipment everywhere. My wife handles the honey stand and deals with the public. I have one iron fisted rule. NO ONE COMES IN WHERE I AM EXTRACTING,UNLESS ITS A LIFE OR DEATH EMERGENCY. Its my job and I hate being distracted . Most people respect that.
i can see jims point as we are all dependant on the land owners as i think that was the lady in post. and since we are dependant on them i would feel an obligation to let them on my property. do they make us sign a contract or waiver? sometimes but very rare in my case sometimes proof of insurance. i just feel we should treat them like they treat us. that would suck if all the landowners got so paranoid that they stopped letting us on there land because they were afraid we would sue them. there is more of a chance us getting hurt on there land . but i heard jim owns most his locations/land
To solve this problem, in the early '80's , my father built below the office a "museum", with various beekeeping artifacts from our family, an observation hive, and a slide show to show INDIRECTLY, what is going on in the factory. This ended the risks of giving tours through a food processing facility, like SQKCKR's viewing window.
Yes, it is a delicate balance, embrace the customer(if you are retail), but at arms length.(kind of like taking a shower with a rain coat on???)
and no free cats.
Thanks all. Some good suggestions (even Harry) . Our facility is pretty much dominates the graveled Main Street of what is truly a "one horse town", particularly now that we have expanded into a new building. We even use the sidewalk (bought and paid for by us) as an unloading area. We don't do retail but people do stop in nevertheless. Usually it's folks we know, often landowners, perhaps bringing in relatives or friends, area events like reunions and rodeos always seem to bring some in as well and usually my son or myself take a few minutes for a friendly chat and a brief tour. I do believe PR is part of this business. We are not exactly Disneyland but people do find it fascinating. As Ron pointed out, though, we do have our moments when having someone pulling up in front is about the last thing we want to see.
My conclusion? Recheck my insurance and buy a bunch of signs.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
Ya, I hear ya Jim... But... EVERYBODY waves to this beekeeper, even though it's an annoyance and possible liability, don't forget the annoyance and liability we pose to everyone else.
Keep that kind smile on your face and it will pay back in dividends.
from the Bee House -http://ecologicalsolutions.com.au/bees/?page_id=8
40 years - +/- 20 H - TF - Subtropical
I would love if more of my land owners stopped in and checked us out. Not so I can show off or anything but so they can become more emotionally invested in my business. Maybe they won't knock down that old farm site that has been a bee yard for decades so they can farm 3 more acres. In my area of south dakota, farmers don't need bees and considering your bee outfit isn't much over an hour from mine I know it's the same for you. Keep being friendly, don't be like Harry. I wonder if he has alligators in his mote.
In todays food world there is a lot to be said for transparency. Too much food production is locked away from the public view as it is.
Mote?....Dosent that require water? . Hey, your welcome to stop in, again, any time....Harry too for that matter. Our family has been keeping bees in this area for over 60 years but too often landowner relations end up being a few minutes of chatting while delivering yard rent once a year. Land changes hands, unfortunately not just within a family but often to an investor outside the area so you need to constantly be keeping in touch with the latest happenings in the area. It's so important to be seen as not just a neighbor but a partner in agriculture. People want to know who is driving on and off their land. Yes, PR is important, I'm not about to chase people out of the door but some warnings are definitely in order.
[QUOTE=jim lyon;1148549 warnings are definitely in order.[/QUOTE]
its good to be proactive
Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
Hey Harry what about the bee yards you have? What if those people were as anal as you? Having people come to your farm is annoying sometimes, but when people come out and you give them the time of day and show how passionate you may be about your job and this job it really sends a message and believe it or not it goes along way. Its just like selling bee's to newbees. If you give them a minute to teach them a thing or two they will be back year after year for repeat business.
I do alot of PR with the amount of retail and nucs we sell.
Try having 30-40 whole foods employees come out while your extracting. I tell everyone unlimited free stings all day!
I was never crazy about the idea of direct selling. But the reality is: Many people want to buy honey directly from the beekeeper. So PR with every jar sold becomes a fact of life (and please take a kitten). The bees flying around are always well behaved. My only concern is when there is snow and ice and someone could slip and fall.
Does anyone remember the Bee Culture cover with 'Bobs You- Pick Honey Farm'?
I think it would be hard for Jim to put up No Trespassing signs or Keep Out signs. He is just too nice of a guy to do that. Always thoughtful in his responses and helpful to us beginners when we ask him a question. My favorite poster on this site!!
Thought....a warning sign is basically stating that you are aware that (in this case) an area is dangerous. Kinda of like putting up a "Warning: Bad Dog" sign...
It seems I recall that "Homeland Security" instituted some some restrictions to some food production "assets". Why not some type of signs referring to Homeland Security restrictions and let everything thing it's the government's fault they can't inspect your facility?
Priester's Pecans, a local candy/gift vendor that does business nationwide has it's headquarters a few miles from me. They have a large retail area with all of their different treats on display and even sample dishes of many of them set out for the public to try. Want to see their kitchen?....they built a "gallery" that overlooks one of their large kitchens...customers and visitors can stand and look through a large window down onto the sizable operation and never set foot inside of it. Just a thought, Jim.
Everybody is familiar with liability, insurance, and government restrictions. Use their familiarity to *your* advantage.
You have gotten a lot of good ideas. You and your son should take some time this winter and decide what changes you want to make and how involved you want get. A window and a wall of old beekeepering memorabilia and pictures, set tour times/days, etc.
Setting times and days may have the effect of increasing interest, even if you do live out in the middle of no-where.
I agree with you 100% Harry. Although my apiary is small and my outyard is smaller, no one comes into my yards without first contacting me and then is invited by me. I have 'no trespassing' signs up in plain sight all around both places. Uninvited guests will bee scooting off the property as quickly as they arrived or they'll be dealing with the sheriff. Any curiosity seeker poses a risk to the business and everything I've worked hard to build for myself. If an invited guest does come I video a 'hold harmless' conversation between myself and the other party with my phone. Its not too much to do to protect oneself in my opinion. And then everyone's happy, happy, happy, until someone gets stung lol
Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
I agree with Harry on quite a few comments.
I make time for folks, but don't allow drop in's. I'm extremely busy and hate to be interrupted..lose my momentum or small window of cool hours of the morning to get some work done. Most of my work is done at my residence..I am NOT a retail store open to the public. This is my home and I don't allow strangers to just walk in. It's certainly a security issue as well for me.
Frankly, besides the potential liability issue, I don't want to be seen in my working glory. Melting with sweat, hair doo like Nick Nolte's mug shot, etc. When I have visitors I prefer to be clean and showered.
Folks tell me they don't mind seeing me like that.
But when I am clean, they say 'I have to bring my friends and family back to meet you'
When I am dirty and sweaty they say, 'I have to bring my friends and family back to see your place'
An Interesting difference.
I've made it clear I cherish my privacy and people respect that. If they feel I am being unfriendly, they soon realize it is not so.
Making an appointment is simply being efficient and respectful of everyones time.
And yes, do be prompt. Not an hour early, not an hour late.
Here are a few signs I made up at Vista print. They do get noticed, but don't work all that well. My gate is closed at all times, unless I am expecting someone. Folks see the open gate and it is their opportunity to see what is going on here. They can't resist. They see the signs and still come in. Scared to death and the first thing they say is 'I know I'm trespassing, but...'
It should irritate me they are trespassing, but their demeanor cracks me up.
I have this sign near my hives
I haven't used this one yet, might go on some remote property. I actually made it after my husband got his Ford truck broken into at the Marina. He was going to set it on his center console while he was away. Boy, he was mad.
These signs are weather proof and are about 24" x 36".
They cost about $10.00 to have custom made online.
People can see hives from the road and want to buy honey, equipment or lessons.
But ALL I do is rear queens here. I'd be interupted several times a day if I didn't have the gate closed.
It just KILLS them I don't sell honey. Not yet, I tell them. And they are almost crushed.
My rules will all change at some point, if I do get into the retail/services end. I'd be a fool not to notice the demand. But for now I keep control over visitors and don't allow myself to be spread too thin. I get up at 3:30 every day as it is.
Last edited by Lauri; 08-09-2014 at 10:54 AM.