Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 83 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I finished working for a commercial guy this past year and this year I am on my own.

I noticed there are some people (i call them beesource trolls) that always talk like there is no money in beekeeping...ever.

Is there anyway some of the commercial guys here could post some of their numbers...like number of hives and income for the year.

I really want some hope that I can do what I love and actually provide for my family. This would help me see the bigger picture for sure. I haven't quit my day job yet...but that is my eventual goal. I love beekeeping and would love to do this for a living. Thanks guys for your time! :scratch:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,420 Posts
I doubt you are going to get many if any to post what they make a year with number of colonies they have. That's a pretty personal question into someones business.

This I will tell you.

I have been running ~400 colonies and it makes us enough money, my wife works the business full time and actually got a pay raise when she quit her 9-5 job. I still haven't quit my daytime job.

Is there money to be made? YES.
Is it easy money to be made? NO.
Is there easier money to be made? YES
Like anything else in agriculture. Money can be had but you need to work hard for it and you need to have a good business mind to run it the best you can.

What else can be said about it. As far as actual monies I made for the year, thats going to stay between my wife, IRS and me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks BMAC!

I really appreciate your response. I totally don't want to be invasive...I know the question is but I just am tired of people saying beekeeping is a money pit and you'll never recoup your investments. I have bought some hives and nucs this year. I am not expecting anything this year but to learn.

Thanks again BMAC for your response! Congrats on your wife beekeeping full time! I hope yall prosper
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,420 Posts
I had a beekeeper in Ga tell me the same thing. He has actually convinced others in the area the same thing. He tried his hand at the commercial level and failed at it.

Personally I think its all in the persons attitude about life and motivation to truly make your own money.

It is aweful expensive to buy all the equipment and machines. If you are going to do migratory beekeeping (ie pollination) start on pallets. Make them standard beekeeping pallets and rent a skid steer to move them. I rented a skidsteer and trailer for the first 3 years I was on migratory equipment and still occassionally rent one so I dont have to drag mine down the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Yes there is money in bees some years and others you spend more than you make. Equipment and fuel will be your biggest expenses. If you build as you go, I think you will do better. Some guys make a very good living at it and others go bottom up. Your attitude and making smart business decisions are key. I agree with BMAC . But remember every year will not be a bumper crop. Plan for the slow years as well as the good years
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
People usually don't post income and their formula on how to make specific numbers. They may post a working plan.
By the number of folks that have been commercial for years I expect there is enough money in bees. I do get the impression that one needs to be savvy and good with business to make a go of it. The successful commercial beeks would likely be successful with any business they chose to develop and run:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,719 Posts
Ha ha! Bet none of the naysayers are commercial guys. I've done this for 40 years and with honey prices, pollination rates and bee and queen prices at historic highs, these are the best of times.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,567 Posts
As Jim states,this is as great time to be in bees. Quick return on investment and equipment holds value very well. Learn how to keep them alive and the money will follow.
Sheri
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
CWoods:

A lot of the commercials have other ag. related operations up and running before they get into commercial beekeeping.

So, they've got quite an advantage over someone who is starting with just a handful of hives.

You could try to get an FSA loan when ready.

But, you'll need to prove to yourself first that the take home pay is worth the effort, and you'll need to pay all expenses while expanding at the same time.

If you can do that, then it's possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,340 Posts
trick is to learn how to keep them alive, then all life is good. when they die... the real trick is how to keep going after that point.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
The trick is to get back your initial investment, take home, and bankroll for the next operation BEFORE they die.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
We run around 7000 and gross over seven figures. Profit isn't all that impressive because of all the luxuries we can now buy. But I know commercial guys that are now failing cuz of dead hives. Have a plan for a major die off.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Is anyone going to tell him that he needs to gross at least $300 per hive, and his net is only going to be around $60 per hive?

And, if his operation isn't growing at between 7 and 15% per year, he's slipping backwards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,591 Posts
Cwoods, post 7 & 9 are from well managed outfits with sound advice.


P.S. it could be raining honey outside and some keepers would have there barrels turned upside down. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Is anyone going to tell him that he needs to gross at least $300 per hive, and his net is only going to be around $60 per hive?

And, if his operation isn't growing at between 7 and 15% per year, he's slipping backwards.
Really? For every 100 hives the net is 6 grand? So for a 500 hive yard you would only net 30 grand.....hmmmm.......you sure...?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,567 Posts
Keeping bees alive isn't an impossible goal, we've been doing it for over 30 years, some years better than others. But, yes, it is just good business planning to allow for bad years, they do happen.
We gross somewhere between $375-450 per colony, including honey production, almond pollination, spring package/nuc/colony sales. We are in an area with pretty good honey crop averages and good spring retail bee prices. We net more than $60 per colony; we net that from almonds alone, not even counting the surplus bees produced. But this is after building up over years. We didn't start with big expensive equipment; built up paying cash as we could afford; plowing just about everything back into the business. We didn't buy a forklift til we were in the neighborhood of 1200 colonies, John's bad back is testament to that. Definitely harder to do with a debt load, but I know several younger/newer beekeepers successfully doing just that. Bet they still end up with a bad back.
Sheri
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Really? For every 100 hives the net is 6 grand? So for a 500 hive yard you would only net 30 grand.....hmmmm.......you sure...?
For 500 hives, you would need $250K in total assets to run it.

But, we're just 'ball parking' if you don't have that yet.

You have to determine how long would it take you to build up to that target amount.
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top