Business plan for about 100 hives - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Hi bluegrass, I appreciate that, it is very helpful. You at least gave me a track to run on. I must say that some of the responses make it sound like it is absolutely impossible to make any extra money on bees. I find it hard to believe that there is no way to make money with 100 hives. I guess I want the real story and not just people saying that it is impossible. If there is a way to do it and make it work I am all ears. People are doing it now, even in CT so I know that it is a possibility. I appreciate the feedback from everyone.

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  3. #22
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    Slidell, LA, USA
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    One advantage you do have is the understanding that it will not happen overnight. Since you have a job that supports your family already all you are investing is a bit of money and your spare time. The little bit of profit you make by selling honey to friends at work or in the display at your local hardware store will help you pay for the expansion of your operation. It will also help you build a name locally and hopefully people will come to you looking for their annual honey fix. Take your time, develop your markets and build as you get the extra cash. In five years if your situation has changed the only money invested is money that did not come directly out of your pocket.

    If trying to start this with no outside income the advice would be different.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    I agree 100% with you on that. I agree with what Kirk Webster says about not going into debt as you are building the business. I think that is probably the best way to go is to take your time and build to 100 hives, reinvesting the profit as you go along to expand. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosherd1 View Post
    I must say that some of the responses make it sound like it is absolutely impossible to make any extra money on bees.
    There are multiple ways to make money on bees, that is one of the nice things about bees. Most people try and maximize every source of income from bees, but sometimes it is more productive to focus on one thing and not worry about diversification, especially if you are a small outfit. It is pretty easy to only make Nucs and make a few hundred dollars of off each hive every spring. I have had years when I made 300.00 per hive without extracting a drop of honey. Sometimes you sacrifice one source of income in order to promote another. For example: if I am in Queen production mode I want good nectar and pollen sources and in order to get them I provide pollination for free.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Very interesting bluegrass. Sounds as if you are saying there is so much energy a hive can output a year. It is up to the beekeeper to determine if that energy will be in making (ultimately selling) queens, bees, honey, pollination or some combination. It makes sense that if you are selling nucs in the spring, assuming not selling overwintered nucs, you cannot expect much in terms of honey because the "energy" of the hive is going into bees, not honey.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Any sideline beekeepers willing to post their breakdown of number of hives, expenses, income per pollination contract, honey sales vs nuc production etc? Could be helpful to those who want to take the next step.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Mosherd1
    I am not in the business or a sideliner but I found this information on the web and it may be helpful to answer your questions or to use as a checklist? The documents can be downloaded in excel format too.

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/fin...ncosts1997.pdf

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/fin...ncosts1997.pdf

    Props to Manitoba Agriculture and Food Farm Management for putting the information out there.
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  9. #28
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    May 2011
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    Norfolk, MA. USA
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Well,

    I have not been at this too long, but I've started more than a few side line businesses.

    Look at this way instead:

    How many hives do you have now? How many did you lose last winter? When I decided to increase the amount of hives I have with Nuc's this season, I stood in line with a lot of people who were replacing hives with Nucs.I'd guess to over winter 100, you'd need 120 in the fall.

  10. #29
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    Comal County, Texas
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Look for Grant in this forum. He is a Presbyterian minister with a sideline of beekeeping. He keeps about 150 hives somewhere in Missouri. He says he makes money from beekeeping and takes it seriously. He says he "treats it like a business". He has published two .pdf books about beekeeping, that he will sell you. I have one, it is a reasonably good collection of information, and plan.

    He is doing what you hope to do, makes money, and has grown it up himself.

    I recently read a post of his in the commercial forum, I think under " how many colonies to be considered commercial"

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    ...if you don't already have stock and management practices that you have demonstrated successful in your area (for you), then i think you make a mistake with any predictions.
    we work with a few treatment free beekeepers, and we pay a very high premium for their honey...but would not pay that (nor market) the honey if the bees are fed.

    there are lots of ways to make money with bees if that is your goal. if your primary goal is to make money in the short term, you will find yourself in a bind at some point (some of your bees will always look like they need "help", and if your bottom line is at stake, you may not be in a position to not treat, not feed, etc. If you've already setup a market for treatment free honey and you are in such a position, you have to choose between the bottom line, and being true to what you are telling your customers...a difficult position to be in. All of a sudden (if you've treated to save the majority of your operation), you don't have the product you've been marketing, and you either have to tell your customers that your honey is not treatment free (the customers you gained because you are treatment free), or you have to lie to your customers.

    deknow

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    That is true now. There is a boom in people...

    It may be harder to sell nucs.
    Oh yeah, and add there will be twice as many selling them.., then.

    I've experienced that before (no, not with bees)!

  13. #32
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    Sebring, Florida, USA
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    Smile Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Mosherd1 View Post
    I appreciate everyone's feedback. Definitely some food for thought. I would be curious how someone who has recently went from a hobbyist to a sideliner and how they made it work.
    Despite much of the negative input I have read on this thread, I would say that you can easily profit $20,000 a year with 100 hives. I have only been beekeeping for a couple of years, basically getting my feet wet. In my second year I nearly lost all of my hives to SHB, but I have since learned how to deal with that. I just finished my first pollination contract with a small watermelon farmer and have now been able to move into selling products at a large nursery. I don't have nearly 100 hives, but I expect to be making a profit by next year, and like you I have a full time job and a family with more kids than you.

    I recently bought a large extractor from an elderly man who was a beekeeper for about 20 years. He kept approximately 50 hives, some in Vermont and some in FL, as he moved back and forth after retiring from his regular job up north. His wife was the bookkeeper for his bee business and he told me without a doubt he made a minimum of$10,000 in profit every year, and his wife did not miss any expenses. It is my intent to do the same as I grow in my knowledge and my hive numbers. Slowly promote your product, get in good with local landowners, nurseries, and others. It can and will happen if you want it to. Learn to get the kids involved as they get older and it becomes a fun family affair.

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Ritenour View Post
    Despite much of the negative input I have read on this thread, I would say that you can easily profit $20,000 a year with 100 hives. .
    You must know something we do not know. Too many things can go wrong to get even close to that figure. So you have pollination, honey, nucs, packages, queens, wax - you would have to be maxing out in all those categories to get close to $5000 in my opinion. But what do I know... Florida may have something special going on there.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    I'm running 30 hives and I'm about breaking even after factoring cap improvements each year. (Hive bodies, frames, processing equipment, etc.) I figure after I've finally outfitted my honey processing this year (skimming off the profits as I go) I _might_ be profiting about $50/hive next year IF I can get my standard 80lbs/hive. I'd be totally frightened to figure out how much labor went into that $50.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    This is what he said in his first post:

    Is this possible for someone with a full time job? This is pie in the sky assuming going treatment free.
    If he is treatment free he can’t be pollinating nurseries, apple orchards or most any commercial farm.

    If you want to make some money to support your hobby I think it is possible. But if you are a hobbyist and hope you can slide into business without having the business sense the odds are very much against you regardless of what that hobby is.

    A hobby is fun and a business is a whole lot of work that ain’t fun even if the tasks are the same. And then there are risks…

    I can’t see someone working another full time job and running 100 hives and that is if he is a bachelor.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    This is what he said in his first post:



    If he is treatment free he can’t be pollinating nurseries, apple orchards or most any commercial farm.
    Is pollination a treatment? I remember "Solomon and Barry's" definition... but do not think that pollination was a part of it. But I can be wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I can’t see someone working another full time job and running 100 hives and that is if he is a bachelor.
    There are many! Probably quite a few here on beesource - I know there is one guy from ND with close to 1000 and I am pretty sure he does almonds.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    ...Chris Baldwin doesn't use treatments, and he does almonds some years.

    deknow

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    Is pollination a treatment? I remember "Solomon and Barry's" definition... but do not think that pollination was a part of it. But I can be wrong.
    Technically it probably isn't but I know people that are looking for treatment free honey do not want the chemicals that are sprayed on trees and crops even if it is only one application. So if you are selling your honey and claiming to be treatment free you should let your customers also know where your honey is coming from.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    The business knowledge and business sense I am not worried about as I currently own my own business (insurance agency) and manage employees, expenses, marketing, etc. That is actually why this would be appealing. Since I run my own business now I am able to "disappear" from work for hours/days at a time. I guess I just wanted to get an idea of growing into 100 hives as I do not want a 100 hive hobby that is not paying for itself. I would want a self sustaining business, just as my current business is self sustaining. Otherwise I am just increasing my families expenses and the "joy of beekeeping" would not offset these extra expenses if it is not producing an income. I know it is possible as other people do it, I guess I am just looking for someone to say for instance, with 100 hives you can expect this many nuc sales, at this much/nuc-this much expenses=profit/loss. 100 hives = this much honey X ?/lb-expenses= profit/loss. I am not looing to "steal" anyones business plan, just getting an idea together as I am at least 5 years away from acting on this. Thanks again,

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Business plan for about 100 hives

    If you are sure it is possible then run with it. You will have to find a good beekeeper and coax him or her away from another commercial firm to make the important on the spot decisions in the day to day operations. Just like you would with any business. Beekeeping, although very old, doesn't have all the spreadsheets and numerical data that insurance businesses do because it is more of an art form with uncontrollable variables.

    Insurance companies have controlled risks beekeeping doesn't very much like all livestock endeavors.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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