I have a guy who called and wants to get a beek to put bees on his blackeberry farm next spring. What should a guy charge? It is about 30 miles south of me. How many trips do you expect one would need to make? and How long is the bloom on Blackeberries?
What do you currently do with the hives that time of year? is it profitable.
ie. if you make on ave. 30lbs of honey during that same time else where factor that in to price or if you make splits at that time then let them grow up, could they do the same on the pollination and in adition charge a fee and increase your reveue.
One of the main reasons I focus on pollination is that it is consistant each season, whereas honey flows are up and down.
I belive it is very important to charge the grower for the bee hive, this places a value to what you do in the eyes of the grower, stand firm in this.
I also do exchanges with growers for locations for bees at other times of the year ( ie. winter location or holding yard) but they always pay something. example, spring pollination in my area ave. $ 40.00 per hive, if I am able to use a location to winter bees I give a $5.00 discount per hive they rent ( not 5 per # of hive I winter) I also have a large customer that I charge 50% of going rate in exchange for multipe year round locations AND a secure location on ranch to park and store equipment which is important do to costs of buildings and yards in my area. Please note the customer still pays for the pollination and I deliver a good product for him.
note that all I have done has not happened overnight, but it is moving faster as I now have more locations and contract than I personally can work with ( I do broker the excess out) , this allows me to say no, the price is as follows, this is the value of my time, effort and bee hives, if you want them I will make it work but I do not need your business.
This is a business attitued that I wish I could share with many beeks I have met over the years , the value of what we do first starts within, believe and achieve.
I've always thought paying with either cash or honey for the privilege of providing pollination services that Almond growers, and many others, pay very good money for, is very weird, even bazaar.
How can good beekeeping business people survive when others are not just giving their services away for free, but paying farmers for the privilege of providing them pollination services? How can a beekeeper expect to succeed in a beekeeping business if they believe they need to pay for someone to accept the services their bees provide?
A business that starts out expecting only a negative flow of assets, and which then provides such -- must be owned by someone who is already independently wealthy and has an incurable need to be an altruistic philanthropist or "something else".
Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-27-2008 at 12:30 AM.
I can't tell you what the growing rate in that area is. I think my Dad charges around $50 per hive in the Chiefland Fl area for watermelons. And the people around here in South Ga get about $40 per hive that's only 130 miles apart. The blackberry bloom around here last a pretty good time and you'll need to check about adding supers. The Blackberry honey is an excellent table grade honey. We like to keep a barrel or two for costumer appreciation gifts and bottled sales. Most of our people seem to like it better than the usual local favorite topuleo honey. One of the people we pollenate blackberries for is a life long friend of my dads that my dad don't charge him. Dad says he can put his bees there for a spring build up, they make us some honey on blackberries, and we can use these bear safe spots for holding yards too. Dad's pollenation is mainly melons in Chiefland area. So what he does is bunch them on Mr Ben's berries and pull what we need for the melons, leaving what we don't need pollenating his berries. That works for us and him. Now most of the time he won't have many bees left there at the end of his bloom but what he does have is free and we usually get 7 to 10 drums of honey.
To answer your question I think I would maybe start at $40 per hive and keep a check on the bees and how much honey they make for you so as to keep up with the supers. We usually get by each yard of bees at least once a week for a check on our bees. The berries will bloom for a long time so the farmer will probaly want them for a much longer time than the almond people will need them.