Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?
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  1. #1
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    Default Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    I think the title says it all. Why? I was talking with a business adviser today and he rolled his eyes at the profit potential, we all know this is not something you can get rich on. I think also he was thinking about living comfortable, like the owner should make 80-90k. Personally, I think I could manage and maybe raise a family on 40-50k in today's dollars. Now that would not all be from the bee business, but some from another part time gig. So, why do you stay in it? I tried to explain it to him, but was at a loss for words.

    mike
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-bud...d=bb-budgeting

    Ah yes nothing like professional business advice. How bout these numbers? A barrel of honey is bringing well over $1,000 WHOLESALE, a box full of bees is RENTING for $150 right now, 3# packages are being sold for $80. I remember .80 honey and $35 dollar rental prices less than 10 years ago. Yet there still seems to be a perception that there isnt money to be made?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    "Bee Fever" is an incurable disease that was first identified back in the mid 1800s and is endemic among beekeepers. One theory is that it is caused by the bees doing mind control over the beekeeper...

    http://bushfarms.com/beesbetterqueen...%20Bee%20Fever


    http://bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#CHAPTER1

    "As soon as I began to read this book, I contracted what is known as the "bee-fever," which took so strong a hold of me that I was not satisfied till I had borrowed and read Langstroth's book, and purchased Quinby's work, besides subscribing for the "American Bee Journal." "--G.M. Doolittle, Scientific Queen Rearing
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Hmmmm, makes me wonder if your advisor is like a lot of others who think beekeeping is some gentlemen's hobby you do to pollinate the garden. They simply have no concept of how much honey can be produced from one hive, and how much honey sells for in a jar.


    They likely don't know how much work it is when it's hot and humid or when you're still extracting honey at midnight.


    I'm in it for the money, and yes, you can make money at beekeeping. Like any agricultural enterprise, there are variables and risks and no guarantees. I run 150 hives and I'm not about to quit my day job. I sell retail and bottle my honey for the farmer's markets and wholesale through the health food store. These things also take time.


    Several years ago, my wife was giving me grief about all the dinner interruptions with swarm calls. I made enough money that year to send her on a 7-day cruise. She was nice enough to let me come along. Now she complains if the phone isn't ringing wondering who's taking all my swarms. I've also got two kids in college to support. I tell them they should be thanking the bees.


    Make money? Yes. Work hard? Absolutely. Retire filthy rich? No, just filthy, but content with an honest day's work.

    It can be done. Somewhere there's a nice poem called, "Do it anyway." Business advisors may not comprehend or understand, but you have to do it anyway.

    Also, watch the movie that came out a couple of months ago about the race horse, Secretariat. It's a movie about a female horse owner in a male-dominated industry who believes in her horse when everyone around her thinks she's lost her mind.

    Kind of like beekeeping.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO


    http://maxhoney.homestead.com

    .
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    If you have to ask the question...
    ...You will not understand the answer.

    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  7. #6
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    Central San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    It feels good on me.
    His Hive Honey Farm - Do all for His glory!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Kingfisher Apiaries,

    Have you considered that your business advisor doesn't know or understand the agriculture industry, or the commodity markets. Take a look how he makes money and that will show you what he know about business, remember the Junk Yard operator (recycler) in making money, they just do not always look like it.

    Their is always money to be made, and yes you can make 80 to 90K in a commercial bee operation, why not.
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    If you have to ask the question...
    ...You will not understand the answer.
    Quite the contrary, I know the answer. Just seeing why others are in it. This guy obviously does not understand ag, I tried to explain it to him. Just because I am not makeing more than 20k my first year does not mean it is a bad idea. He is used to people that have a little bigger business i.e. franchises etc. What I meant by the 80-90k figure is more of the sideline crowd, but could be wrong
    Thanks for the constructive criticism.



    m
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    A barrel of honey is bringing well over $1,000 WHOLESALE, a box full of bees is RENTING for $150 right now, 3# packages are being sold for $80. I remember .80 honey and $35 dollar rental prices less than 10 years ago. Yet there still seems to be a perception that there isnt money to be made?
    But, consider that overhead has come way up with those prices.

    mike
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    What else is there to do?
    I enjoy doing what I do, even if I ain't gettin' rich.
    I'm my own boss. I credit myself when successful and blame myself when something doesn't work. Unless I can lay it off on the weather.
    I like selling honey. I get a high off of it. I like to be known beyond my immediate aquaintences. Having Squeak Creek Honey out there on the shelf does that. It feeds my ego.

    That's all for now.
    Mark Berninghausen

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by LSPender View Post
    Their is always money to be made, and yes you can make 80 to 90K in a commercial bee operation, why not.
    I whole heartedly agree. The trick is not spending 110K doing so. Or did you mean Gross?
    Mark Berninghausen

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    hang in there bud - there money in the rainbow

    look at me - haha - i make good money every year - i started a side biz with the bees and has nothing to do with honey

    i go house to house in building lots and charge $5 per house to remove any wasp nest around the house - i do 20-30 per day - and do this twice a year

    so its $100-200 or so extra every day for about 2 months a year - i take this money then and buy honey bee supplies - so there is money to be made yeah ...is there money to be kept ...no haha


    if you have a set number of hives then you could see a profit - but if you are like me and see that i can make say $ 200 per hive each year times that by 1000 hives -- you have $200,000 that year - but if you see that if you take that money and put it back into more hives did you make any profit? the bank will say no but you know that you are "banking" on $300,000 next year

    so do let them say there is no money in it --- let me do it

    take for instance -you have 1000 hives and you get a price for $150 per hive from the Almonds - you truck them over there for say $2000 for time and fuel, labor-
    and then you return home with your bees - and you need to medicate with mite stuff - so about $30 bucks for meds and labor (bees dont do it themselves) per hive - so thats $30,000 for 1000 hives - then you dont get a honey crop - (it happens) so then come fall you have to feed hives - say $50 per hive - that another $50,000 in the whole - and then come spring and you have 30% loss of bees - so you need 330 packages - at $50 per package (if you get a good seller ) thats another $50,000 out the door .. so with just that -- thats $130,000 in loss of your $150,000 income of the year

    more on this later - i have to go to work but this is a look at what can happen

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    The same can be said if you were farming cows, pigs, sheep, and grain. Your not in the business to get rich. If you are you are in for a shock. Farming is more about a love for the land, the animals and the bees. Yes it is a business, there is still profit and loss, good years and bad, but can you imagine doing anything else?
    We got into bees to help diversify the farm. So our eggs were not all in one basket so to speak.
    But we do it because we can not see ourselves doing anything else. And when the markets are tight, profit is nil, bank account is low, and the weather does not cooperate, sometimes the only thing we have to hold on to is God, family and the love of farming. "It will be better next year"! Famous saying amongst farmers.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    To answer your first question, yes you can make a living, but not the first couple of years because all your expenses are up front. Once you can get things up and running and income coming in your can expand and increase what your bring in. Remember however, it is ag so it can be trying at times. To answer your question about making money, running around 4000 hives you can make 600-800k. But you have expenses with that kind of operation so don't think that is all take home. However, the guy I work with that runs an operation that big is buying new trucks, building a new honey house and generally does pretty well (but he took over the business from his dad and has been beekeeping over 50 years). Oh and he also works 7 days a week and has no life outside of beekeeping...so be prepared for that.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    If he doesnt understand, I think you should be getting another business advisor. There is a tremendous amount of potential in the farming business including beekeeping. If he rolls his eyes at beekeeping as being a viable business, then he mustnt look an farther than giving coffee shops advice.
    sit that man down with me, ill show him my profits and losses over the years. Ill also show him tremendous potential that lies in this business. His job is to help explore that potential viability. Not assuming ist a waste of time! Thats his Job! He should be able to see the potential in it!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  17. #16
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    Thumbs Up Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    I'm second generation comm. honey producer. I don't know is there anything else out there. I fired my accountant years ago and do my own books. They always look good when I'm done. Money is overrated!!! Just like farming you sell the crop to buy seed to replant.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    [QUOTE=Money is overrated!!! :[/QUOTE] But you are right. Being happy and doing something you love doing is the key. Some money flow is a bonus! I'm going into my second year beekeeping and I just hope to make enough money to get my wife off my back about buying bee equipment and double my apiary by the end of 2011! I'm at 12 right now.

    -Dan

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    There are only a few things where true wealth is created. Agriculture, mining, fishing, etc. All the other jobs down the line depend on the wealth created. With beekeeping, you are a primary producer of real wealth.

    Try listening to Jim Rogers for financial advice - he encourages people to learn how to farm, and beekeeping is farming.

    Even if you love the land, it's difficult to get into farming unless you inherit a farm. It just doesn't pencil out if you have to buy land, equipment, etc. and pay the mortgage note. Beekeeping is one area of agriculture where someone with nothing can become a farmer and make a living at it.

    One of the reasons I like beekeeping is because I don't trust my government and its fiscal policies. I foresee massive inflation headed our way. By putting dollars into bees and equipment, I avoid the devaluation if I left it in dollars in a bank account. Also, by having bees, I have a product I can market and I can adjust the price to market conditions and do a better job of keeping pace with the inflation. Honey is an excellent barter item (food, medicine, etc) - keep that in mind for times of social upheaval.

    Beekeeping is a job you can't get laid off from. You are buying yourself a job. In today's economy, that kind of security is very valuable.

    God promised his people the land of milk and honey. I believe that beekeeping is honorable to my God, unlike many professions or investments that profit on someone else's misfortunes. With beekeeping, I have to depend on my God for my fortune.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Some financial advisors are great in mainstream finances. However farming is a whole different ball of wax. So if this advisor does not get it, find one who does.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Commercial and Sideline only- Why do you stay in the bees?

    Why do you stay in the bees?

    Next year will be better.
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

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