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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I asked this question over in the commercial forum, and they suggested asking here for other opinions.

I am a hobbyist beek with 2 backyard hives.

I am in contact with a gentleman who owns a large garden (I think he sells fruit and produce as a business on the side). He has 2 hives on his property, only one of which is currently active. He had a family friend managing the hives (for free) before this person passed away in the fall. He wants someone to manage the hives for him so that he has good polination for his garden.

He said he is willing to pay a reasonable fee for me to manage his 2 hives, but I have no clue what would be reasonable. Here are some details as I know them:

* He would own the bees and equipment
* He is willing to pay for any costs associated with the management (replacement equipment, bees, meds, etc.)
* I don't think he is interested in the honey aspect - he wants good produce. I asked him what the previous person did about honey, and he didn't know.
* He lives about 20 minutes away from my house, so travel time is not extreme.

What would be appropriate to ask for my troubles? I think we could come to an arrangement for the honey (like I said, I don't think he cares about it).

Thoughts and comments?
 

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Read it over there. I like the deal myself. If he wants pollenation he may be willing to let you put in a few more hives of your own to make the trip more worth it. Of course then you might run into being blamed if his bees died (claims your bees brought disease or such). You might want to get it all in writing so it is clear that you manage and get the honey - he is responsible for all else include liability and losses of bees.

Also what happens when you need to make splits is he wanting those bees or do you get them?

Mike`
 

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Just make sure you work out in advance, and in writing, what your responsibility is if the colony dies or gets sick or absconds or whatever. You don't want to begin this discussion after it happens. Especially if he's paying you with money rather than honey. In most states that makes you a business and a professional and you may be held to a higher standard than just "Oh well, it happens" if it isn't spelled out in writing.
 

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This is a win win situation. It's his stuff and you benefit. The first beekeeper had it right. Don't charge him then he'll be more than willing to help out when needed. Just work his bees, get the honey and the splits, prevent swarming, medicate (he can pay for that but it won't break the bank if you do.) Sell your honey at his stand or wherever he sells his produce. Since you are not charging him, no complaints... but you still benefit considerably. Sometimes, it doesn't pay to be really greedy or litigeous minded ... life is too short. OMTCW
 

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I would add to what Cedar Hill said, with this addition. Offer to buy two new queens for requeening next year, and split, he gets the parent hive with new queens, you take the splits somewhere else and add your new queens. :applause: still win win...and you're maintaining vitality of his hives, reducing swarming, and getting new bees!
 

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I have a simmilar situation here, with an organic farmer. He is closer, he buys packages as needed, I supply the wooden ware, we split the honey. Wintering here is not a sure thing at all and I don't put outside bees into my building because I think that CCD is likely a pathegen. So he faces the real cost of new packages. Any splits that I am able to make are part of that deal, and are left there so I no one will be thinking that I am doing something to steal bees. I put it all in writeing, but in this case I doubt that it was needed. Mark
 

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Personally I wouldn`t take any money for maintaining 2 hives. I mean what would he give you anyway if he did pay you? A few extra bucks maybe? Not worth the hassle! And if he did pay you, then you would feel some obligation towards him. No... take the honey and call it a deal.

Now if it was 50 hives on a fruit farm... well that`s a different matter...

Luc
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi All,
I thank each one of you for your insight. Your comments have helped me decide what to do.

I have decided to propose to the owner that I maintain his hive, and he doesn't pay me any money. I get to keep the honey, and use the hives for splits, etc. and keep the extras. He pays for any equipment and/or bee needs (i.e. he owns the hives). If he has extra produce/fruit from his garden, he could send some my way. I'll do the same with some honey, just to be friendly.

This forum is a wealth of information!!
 
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