Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
549 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
after reading here a while, I think beekeepers just might be cheaper than average. Or perhaps they are impatient or getting a return on investment.

Don't most folks sell honey from their hives? Is the margin so small you have to watch the cost of every board and nail?

I am curious, because I was under the impression the the equiptment would pay for itself in just a few years or less and bring in some cash along the way starting 2nd year making it a positive cashflow hobby or business.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,219 Posts
I particularly like the thread on repairing worn out plastic handgrips on wire bucket handles! :D And these are buckets I get for free ... :lookout:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,305 Posts
No, but they are thrifty and frugal. Since our task is watching over a tiny society of fragile insects who collect sips of nectar from a million flowers and store and build what is needed to survive months of freezing dearth, we cannot help but learn from these insects. Waste and mindless consumption are antithetical to the way of the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
You are just starting to figure that out, you have a long way to go in this hobby! LOL I prefer thrifty, but I can work with cheap as well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,794 Posts
Just off top of my head guess at cost and income.

3 years keeping bees, somewhere in the range of $16,000 spent. All but about $2000 of that the bees have earned in one way or another. selling honey or hives. I got to do all this hard work for the low low price of about $2000.

I don't think the appearance of cheap has to do with if you are making money. it is about how to get to the money. You ask, "Don't most beekeepers sell their honey?" What Honey. I didn't' start with any honey. In fact I didn't start with anything to sell. I had a long list of stuff to buy. And getting as much out of what I had may have looked cheap.

On average a hive costs me over $300 each. I have over 40 of them. Do I think about the cost of nails. when I am buying them 50 lbs at a time you bet I do. I am also concerned about how well the nails I buy will do the job I expect them to do.

If you started with one hive at the cost of $300. kept it one year and sold honey form it with an additional $300 in costs. You may recoup your costs in that second year. You can then take your money and get a second hive. Assuming you can keep the first one going for another year. In the next year you could get 2 or 3 additional hives. But you will not be making any money. you will only be increasing your investment. Cheap again becomes a matter of how much can you get for your investment.

In my case from 1 hive to over 40 in less than 3 years. With no increase in additional out of pocket investment. That is a lot of increase for he bees to cover the cost of. Compound it by the factor that I am a new beekeeper and miss many opportunities for profits. So in a way yes the money is just flying around like Autumn leaves around here. just not much of it landing in our pockets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,183 Posts
My observation is that very few new beekeepers ever get in the black. I did by building as much woodenware as economically as possible so that I could afford to get to a hive count which could produce income.

It's the bootstrapping business model. Now that I am spending all of the time that I can (should) allocate to actual beekeeping I have started buying some of the things that I was making.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
396 Posts
Actually, it can be. I have horizontal top-bar hives made from found-lumber and my total(!) investment in all of them is about $60 as in "sixty dollars." That's mostly for water-seal, metal handles, popsicle-sticks and screws. They sit on cinder-blocks, carefully leveled both ways with wooden shims. I don't "feed" them, don't douse them with chemical "treatments," and in this way I generally piss-off the folks at Pigeon Mountain Trading, which is located quite close-by to me. :) I don't even buy packages every year, because I don't have to.

I guess it really depends on just how much of a business you want to make of it. I'm in it for the honey, not for the money, and I don't take all that perhaps I could. It's enough for me, my family, a few friends. The honey tastes fantastic: although it's a little different every year, it generally has sort of an anise flavor to it. The hives survive through the winters (which are generally mild here) just on the stores they've laid-up with no "assistance" from me.

I'm not saying this is the 'right' way to do it, nor the 'wrong' way, just a different way. And, yeah, very cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
Ya, they might pay for themselves if the hobby or profession didn't include an average of 30% hive losses per year. And let's not forget last winter either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,486 Posts
Sometimes it gets old, but you see some inventive stuff. Personally, I choose to support my local bee supply stores so they stay around as they come in handy and I can afford to do so. I know I overspend a lot on bottoms and tops but I don't have the time, materials, or tools right now to make it time effective for me to make my own. Also, when Mann Lake has assembled deeps put together for cheaper than unassembled, it's hard to pass up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
I'm a backyard hobbist so I dont expect to be making money. (heck, I'd be happy if I were to get some honey!)
I've spent around $1500 for my 4 hives this year and that was with me building and doing a lot of the stuff myself..on the cheap.
You will not find many millionaires (with the exception of Morgan Freeman) doing this either as a hobby or business, so one way or another...we still have to watch our pennies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,793 Posts
Hah! You should see the "digs" Mark B. stays in when he's in SC! Now, that's a guy with .......MONEEEEEE!
I think the increase in income since he became president of the ESHPA is the reason he is flush with cash. I've noticed a trend, not sure it's because beeks are cheap or not,but they really prefer to work with hard cash instead of checks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
Annoyed that I need to go buy a couple supers and frames today, because I don't have the tools to cut them. At least they will be unassembled.

cheep cheep:lookout:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
As a hobby it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. I'm a gadget guy so its not as cheap for me. This hobby also caused me to buy some new woodworking things which of course I will use anytime. But I don't eat out very much, drink, smoke or chase women so I think I'm still ahead. If you smoke 2 packs a day at the end of the year that will buy you a lot of toys. Going out to eat is terribly expensive for what you get and the quality is not even close to home cooking. So for me I don't mind buying the extra gadgets that most people see as frivolous. But I know if I wanted to make money with it could do that too, I would just have to change my ways of thinking. As my dad would often tell me he couldn't afford to be cheap.


Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,276 Posts
I had to get rid of the bird houses in my yard because the birds kept taunting me. Every day when I went out there they would go "cheap cheap cheap".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
683 Posts
Some of us don't like buying ANYTHING.

My first set of equipment was from Mann Lake, now I build stuff the way I want it, using scrap from my fathers cabinet shop.

I'd rather use up free materials than throw them in the landfill, and it's good for the planet to reuse stuff too, not like all those green idiots I see in the Bay Area who think they are saving the planet by throwing their old car away and buying a Tesla.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Plan your work .. work that plan..Its a great hobby thats feeding me and paying the bills so far.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
How is beekeeping any different than any farming business. You take risks, work hard and sometimes it works out. If you classify all beekeeping as a hobby that grows it is no different than carpentry. You can build a house with a hammer, saw and screwdriver and make 50 K so what denotes cheap? How much equipment you buy vs. make yourself?
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top