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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not wanting to get down into the nitty gritty here but kind of curious what folks that are selling nucs make in terms of profit margin. I'm wanting to start rearing my own queens and manage nuc production like Mike Palmer using dinks as worker and comb donors and add quality queens. I only want to add in direct costs (woodenware, nuc box, feed, queen production cost). I'm going to try this on a small scale with 30 nucs and see how it goes. If I sell an overwintered nuc for $150 what percentage of that will be used for supplies necessary to make a saleable nuc? For simplicity sake let's assume 100% winter survival, I can figure in lost opportunity cost from there.
 

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I guess it depends on whether you are asking that as a hobbyist or actually accounting for net income as a business would.

We are trying to limit ourselves to the 10-20 hive number. The last couple of years have been really kind to us in terms of survivability. We have had tremendous increase just from keeping the hives from swarming by splitting off queens. This has meant that we have had nucs to sell the last couple of years. We sell them for $100 to $125 each and they go quickly. We don't sell the boxes, just five good frames of brood and stores. As hobbyists, our only "real" cost is the cost of the frames. The queens are free. Of course it is a hobby for us. We only sell the nucs to not incur the cost of additional woodenware to support the splits long term.

I guess if you get to the point where you are thinking about actually making money on the bees you need to account for your time and the cost of woodenware, feed and treatments. I doubt you would be happy with the accounting results if you really total up all the costs.
 

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Just do the math.

Frame cost or exchange?
Feed cost if any.
Nuc box cost, (cardboard or wood) return?
Queen replacement if customer complains?

Nucs go here in SF from $125 to $150
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm doing this on a hobby basis so I'm not counting my time. Just the money that goes into equipment and feed. I realize that if I counted in my time the hourly pay would be a pittance.
 

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I'm looking ahead to next year for nuc production on a small scale and i figure about $10 for the wooden nuc box, $5 for the frames. A package of bees runs $85+ around here, so $100 seems like it would cover all of my costs and the bees don't actually cost me the $85 even figuring in feeding and what not. So, if I sell them for $100, it won't cost me anything, and will cover some of my other bee related costs. I've never seen nucs sell as low as $100, so i think folks would be happy to buy them at that. Heck, I'd buy them at that price. It seems like a good deal for overwintered bees.

My nucs for sale would essentially be "extra" bees above the number of nucs that i want to maintain. My goal is not to make money on them but to be a source for folks getting into beekeeping. We all win that way.
 

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I used to make up and sell nucs on a small scale. (a few dozen a year). I bought the nuc boxes and frames and they were part of the deal, they cost about 15.00 total plus time, which is free... I quit because if you calculate the honey crop vs the value of the nuc honey is a much better return. At the time I was selling nucs at $120.00, but could get $260.00 for the average honey crop that nuc would make.
 

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I figure 25$ for equipment, (box, frames, foundation) 10$ for feed, and the queens are free since I raise my own. So I have 35$ in a nuc, a lot of people mention the opportunity cost and time, I don't bother with that. I don't want to produce honey or other stuff so even if I made slightly more per hive from that it wouldn't matter. Also like the mention of drawn comb and whatnot, I'm not worried about that, because at the end of the day I spent 35$ and that's it. I don't run enough hives to figure in my time at this point, I do know however that my time per nuc is very low. The same thing goes for rearing my queens.
 

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I do not consider it a profit margin situation when it comes to nucs, bees or even honey. I consider it more as something that has a certain value. I have worked, invested and gain the knowledge to successfully produce it. I could write a song and accomplish the same thing. I have the right to what it is worth. even art or the written word has the same sort of value.

More importantly bees for me are not something I purchase mark up and resell which is more the typical profit margin scenario.

I set the price for nucs at what the value of it is. that can be found simply by finding out what others are selling them for. You can find the value of the components and add them up. Included in that value is the consideration of your time, labor and skill.
 

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$25.00 for the equipment [ box and frames ] ??? What kind op top and bottom do you put on them?
Not what type of top and bottom, but where you buy them ;) I pay $5.50 for a nuc box, 2.50 for the top, 4.50 for the bottom, .95 per frame and 1.00 for plastic foundation. About 22.00 for a complete nuc currently.
 

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When I sell a nuc I sell them with a normal 5 frame wooden box, a migratory top, and a reversible bottom. I buy it assembled, I also buy my frames assembled from the same source, then I buy rite cell from Mann Lake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not going to put packages in a nuc and sell it, I don't think that's right or fair to your customer. Just hoping to be able to be able to supply local beekeepers with a quality nuc with queens from locally adapted stock. I just don't want to walk away poorer.
 

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I used to make up and sell nucs on a small scale. (a few dozen a year). I bought the nuc boxes and frames and they were part of the deal, they cost about 15.00 total plus time, which is free... I quit because if you calculate the honey crop vs the value of the nuc honey is a much better return. At the time I was selling nucs at $120.00, but could get $260.00 for the average honey crop that nuc would make.
I'm no expert, but isn't that a lot of honey to expect from a nuc in its first year?
 

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Would that surprise be a good or bad surprise:)
I'd think YOU w/b surprised with the accounting results.....
 

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Ok what am I missing here? Around here I can make splits in late June and July, overwinter the nuc, and sell it in the spring as an overwintered nuc which should push the price up. I think $30 for equipment is not unreasonable, and raising my own queens, and $10 for feed. So if I raise my own queens, I have $40 and time in the nuc. Then I sell it for $150 come spring. I don t think $110 profit margin is nothing to sneer about. I guess it depends on how much extra time you have to put in them and how many you sell. I don't hear of many people having nucs left over, but even if you did, you have an extra hive for yourself for $40, plus the honey it will produce. If you can overwinter, it sounds like a win win anyway you look at it. Any criticism? Am I looking at this the wrong way?
 
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