Awesome! Do you have or can you provide a list of tools you carry on cut-out jobs like this? I'm thinking of getting in on some of this local action. I kind of have a list in mind, but I'm sure there are things that you've found useful that I might not realize I need until it's too late.
The most important tools I use are the bee vac, saw zaw, and hive tool. I use a long rope attached to the bee vac to pull it up and down the ladder. I also carry a stud finder. I don't mess around with wiring up the comb either. I throw it all into one box and put the bees in another box. I usually combine the bees with another hive.
Daddy, some people charge by the job, others by the hour, which way you want to do it is up to you, but I think the most important thing is cover your tail. Get a contract that clearly states that you will try to minimize damage to the building and that you are NOT responsible for repairs and get it signed by the owner. Explain to them what you are going to do before you start cutting too. So far most people I have dealt with have been very good about it. Some have been a little cautious, but once I sat them down, showed the pictures from past cut outs and explained to them what is going on inside their wall, they were a lot more at ease with the process and understand why we charge what we do. One person thought I was only going to be there for 1/2 an hour and be done. If only that were the case. Also, be prepared to be misinformed. People might tell you they have not been there long, when they have been there for years and then the job becomes bigger than originally thought and it may not be that they are lying to ya, they just may not know how long the bees have been there. But sometimes, they do and don't tell ya that. I came across a cut recently that the people told me the bees were only there for a couple of months. The 7 combs, 7 feet long and black as could be told me a different story. Once I opened the wall and showed them it, they were like "well there have been bees there for the past few years, but we sprayed them and they left, but they keep coming back year after year." No, they did not leave, they never left, just rebuilt their numbers and continued. Sometimes people will tell you they have not sprayed the bees, when infact they have. Basically, just expect the unexpected. Go to each job with an open mind, and be ready to take some adventure stories, some bees and some $ home with ya. If your not enjoying the experience, it's just another J.O.B.
Thanks Batman for the info! ...Great insight! I suppose I now need to find a contact that will do for cut-outs. Do you know of or can you direct me to perhaps a standard cut-out contract beeks are using? (Maybe one that I can modify to use.)
get you a ladder with flat rungs. them round ones will work on your feet.
i cant believe they let you cut into a historical preservation house like that.
i went to one an the list of thangs that i couldnt do was 3 pages long.
i aint got no contracts just handshakes an i wont about to test it there.
I love doing cutouts! It is addictive. I have had a couple that turned a little grueling but its still a blast. I do no repairs and have only been charging $100. I've got 3 more scheduled at that price then I'm going up to $250. I've been in increase mode and really just wanted the bees and the experience. Built my own bee vac and it works nice. Don't care for doing ones off the ladder but you gotta take them as they come. I rubber band the combs into frames and if the Q makes the trip great if not they make a new one. My tools are various cats paws pry bars crow bars sawzall long knife hive tool hammer extension cords clamp on light hive bodies empty frames foundation a couple of telescoping lids a tarp and loads of 5 gallon buckets
There's pleanty of tools that can be put in your "kit". Pretty much everytime you go out, you'll find something that you wish you had in your kit, so you acquire it and put it in there, heck walk around Lowe's and use your imagination. Most jobs are different, and unique, but some are similar. I started the season charging $150, and have slowly gone up from there and demand for my services have gone up. I lost a job I was going to charge $250 for. They gave the job to another person, I asked why, they said he wouldn't kill the bees, I informed them that I was a beekeeper, I don't kill them! I asked if I could ask what they were paying and they said $600. It was then that I decided I needed to bump my rates up dramatically. I'm currently between $400 and $500 depending on the situation and had it listed as a flat rate. I recently changed it after I opened up the 7 foot colony to say a min charge of.....but may go up due to unforseen circumstances once I open it.
This job ended up costing the home owner $725. It took me five hours to get the colony exposed, removed, and cleaned up, and that is without wiring up any of the comb. I don't waste my time wiring the comb, and usually just combine the bees with another colony.
I know of 3 professional beeks in the Atlanta metro area who do cutouts, 2 of which literally wrote the book on cutouts. Their minimum is $600 to $700, with the possibility of more expense if job takes more time. They also do some level of repair work, usually to the 1st coat of sheet rock mud/ siding back up stage. While I have construction experience, I simply do not want to do that work...I'd rather leave the trim/siding/sheetrock, etc. in a pile and let a pro put it back together. Then if it is not up to homeowners expectations, thats on them..my job was to remove the bees. People can be freaks about that kinda thing.
As to messing with the comb...part of my goal in doing cutouts is to be +1 hive at the end of the day. The cutouts actually started via advertising for swarms. Got one call that resulted in picking up a swarm this Spring, but more cutout calls than I could handle and from farther away that I wanted to drive. So far it's been working out great! Combining the bees in an existing hive is a good choice if you are not looking to increase your apiary, but with a little extra work you can turn that cutout into a new hive.
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