I am considering selling Nucs for the first time this Spring. What advice do you have to market, take orders, get paid and set up a pick up location? I plan to start small by selling 100 +/- nucs. Any constructive advice is greatly appreciated.
Make sure you set your definition of nuc ahead of time, everyone has their own idea of what a nuc should consist of. Make it known what your definition is up front and there will be fewer issues down the road. Get a deposit at ahead of time, make it know that it is non-refundable after a certain date. Be transparent on all the info about the bees, what treatments they have had, may need etc. The fewer suprises the better for everyone.
Pick on centralized spot for all your notes, orders, payments etx. and keep it accessible. I don't take orders if i am not prepared, call them back when in your office, whatever it takes.
I see you are in Georgia like me. You may already know but GA law lets you keep bees and sell honey all you want (directly to consumers... there are different laws for selling in stores), but if you sell bees/queens/nucs you need a license.
One important thing to consider is the packaging. Will you be selling nucs in a cardboard box, wooden nuc with tops and bottoms, or selling just the frames, as in bring your own hive? The local nuc supplier here did the frames only at $165. Forces an inspection as the bees are being loaded and assures that your nuc is going into an appropriate hive. Sell it in a 5 frame box and you hear two or three weeks later that you sold them swarmy bees because your customer did not transfer them.
In Virginia, you cannot sell bees or comb without a certificate of health.
Make sure that your communications are quick and thorough and that you are squeaky clean on your end of the bargain. Over the years there have been some wild examples on this forum, of bee business relations gone bad; if you can't show due diligence on your part you will be ripped to shreds on the internet.
All of the above and Deposits. Did I say deposits? We are giving a little class the morning of pickup on installation, what they need to do in the next month, feed etc. If they miss the class we provide a handout with each order anyways with their receipt.We have the top of the box screened sitting in the lid so they can see what they are getting. We do not allow lifting for weights as they select their nucs because we've had them dropped. We have them in a five acre field. We are paid in full before they touch them. If they want to inspect them that day they are taking them that day and they are taking the ones they open unless they find something wrong. We encourage inspections the evening before if they feel the need so they can close up the boxes and not lose field bees. We mark those sold if they dont take them that evening. We do Friday and Saturday till noon on both days knowing some people will be late. After two we let them fly. We usually have a hundred extra for them to choose from so the last ones there still have a choice. We do all of this for two weekends and its over for the year. Its a hassle but it helps with the bottom line and no way we need all the splits we make.
Provide a good product. Fix and/or replace the occasional issue. Don't sell more than you can produce. Its a lot better to fill orders on your waiting list than to call people and tell them you don't have a nuc for them.
A good product combined with good customer service will bring many many positive referrals.
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