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Author Topic: What would you do to make a little money at beekeeping?  (Read 2319 times)
WOB419
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« on: April 18, 2009, 09:26:32 PM »

This isn't a post to find out how to quit your job and get rich on bees, but to create interesting conversation and exchange ideas that might be of value to someone.

So the question is...How would you pursue beekeeping if you wanted to make a little side money from beekeeping.  Let's assume that the goal is about $10,000 in profit each year (ignore taxes for this conversation).  Typical income sources are selling honey, propalis, pollen, wax, candles, queens, nukes, hives, equipment etc. and performing services like swarm removal, pollination.  I am sure that there are other sources of income.  I am interested in knowing how you would approach this in terms of what revenue sources you would pursue, details of how you would do it (sell honey to stores, sell honey roadside, e-bay your candles etc.).  How many hives would you plan to have, where would you keep them (on your farm, have many small or medium bee-yards in a lot of locations etc.).  What things would you focus on, what would you do in a small or opportunistic way, what would you stay out of.  Would you repack hive products from other people etc.

Mentioning anything that you think would be a key to success, where you would invest more heavily or not at all, what kind of bees would you use and how would you source your equipment would all be good too. 

I think that it will be interesting to see how different people would consider approaching this with different business models, and who knows, maybe we will help someone along the way.
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2009, 10:48:43 PM »

Good question...
 In my case, I think I could make the most money by finding someone to buy all my stuff! grin
 Me and money were never meant to have a serious relationship...Just a fling every now and then!
 I'm kiddin, you know....I cant sell my stuff....I am an addict to the bee world. I'm sure somebody can give you alot more serious information in just a little while.
 I bet, if you saw my operation, you would totally understand why I'm not in it for the money grin

your friend,
john
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2009, 11:40:06 PM »

Well, beekeeping is a type of farming, dependant on many weather related factors. Some years will be better than other years. Some years will be terrible.

The most money it seems is in pollination, but where you are geographically makes a big difference in what your approach can or will be.

Almond pollinators make the most money, but you have to get your bees there first, so there are transportation fees to consider.

There are lots of bees where I am from and I do removals from structures and charge to do so, so right there I can reach your quota in less than a year's time.

Most who make a living in beekeeping or from bees do a variety of things with their bees. Sell packages, queens, pollenate, sell honey, the whole nine yards.


...JP
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doak
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2009, 04:38:45 PM »

If you don't have one in your area, say with 100 miles. Get with one of the Bee supply companies and become a dealer. Raise Nucs for the northern beekeepers.
Sell honey, wax, pollen,queens, etc.
Hire some help. grin :)doak
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 04:51:51 PM »

1. Sell Honey- This is fun.  grin
2. Sell Nucs- Once I master the Art of Raising my own Queens.  tongue
3. Cutouts- I don't like angering bees, But I may consider it  shocked
4. Private Instruction of Basic Beekeeping.

I will definitely NOT go into Pollination, cost and labor intensive.  Sad
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annette
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 06:45:00 PM »

Make some products with the extra beeswax. I am doing just that right now. I am making cosmetics, lipbalm, hand creams, body butters, etc.  and the response has been overwhelming.  In fact it caught me by surprise and I really made very little effort to sell myself. The products do all the selling.

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TwT
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2009, 07:57:34 PM »

my goal is to build up to about 75-100 hives this year and increase a little every year until its 2 much to handle with working a normal job, with the way jobs go you never know when you might want to rely on bee's as a main job, I am looking at bee's being my retirement job when I am somewhere between 50-60 years of age, I have a friend that went full time in bee's 3 years ago(selling queens and nuc's plus selling equipment he builds during the winter and slow month's) , first 2 years was tit-for-tat with him trying to build up while supplying people with their orders, this year he is still building up some but has done very well and bought him a used but in very good shape 3/4 ton truck, the guy is doing very well for himself now but like he said one good hospital visit could change that. his wife work a job and has insurance but with the way they cover now days you could still end up shelling out a lot. just something to think about
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2009, 09:19:32 PM »

wait, you're saying you can make MONEY doing this too?
I suppose if theres honey left to sell after I've eaten it...
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eri
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 07:48:57 AM »

Make some products with the extra beeswax.

Annette, where do you get your instructions for making these products? I've found some on the Internet, just wondering if you've come across some some good sources you'd suggest.
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2009, 12:29:58 PM »

I really just spent hours and hours searching the internet for the products I wanted to make and printed out batches of recipes that had the ingredients I believed in and also had some on hand.

It was trial and error, with lots of errors, until I came up with a few formulas that I like.

I am still experimenting to improve and make better things. But I must admit the cost initially for the ingredients was more than I expected. I ordered lots of stuff I really never used, or intend to use so that was a waste of money.

If you PM me what you are interested in making, perhaps I can help you in some way

Annette
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HAB
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2009, 05:33:21 PM »

The best money I've made was in selling Bees by the pound.  Three pounds for $60 sure beats the selling price of my beef steers!!!  Can you imagine what $20lb on the hoof beef would cost at your market?  Maybe $80lb  for steak!!!   bee bee bee
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2009, 07:32:02 PM »

>What would you do to make a little money at beekeeping?

Start with a lot of money.
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tlynn
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 12:04:16 AM »

>What would you do to make a little money at beekeeping?

Start with a lot of money.


That says it all! rolleyes

Some reporter asked Richard Branson what's the quickest way to make a million dollars?  He responded, "Start an airline with a billion dollars."

The funny thing is if doing all the things the poster suggests to make an extra 10k/yr, my guess the hourly take home pay at the end of the day wouldn't touch a WalMart wage!
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blckoakbees
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2009, 05:50:12 AM »

While I really enjoy beekeeping, I to would like to find a way to make a little money on the enterprise.  I prices the materials to make related products like soap and found I would be making Walmart wages.  I do think you have to look at your costs.  I know I am doing things a lot cheaper than I did when I started a few years ago.

I too would like ideas to make it pay for itself.  I think that can happen this year.

How long does it usually take to get a sideline beekeeping business profitable?  Some of you experienced beekeepers can give us less experience people the benefit of your experience it would be great. Also, equipment on the West Coast seems to be expensive any hints as to where to get equipment boxes and frames for less. Shipping from the East is expensive.
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steveb
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2009, 07:21:08 PM »

blckoakbees:
Living on the West Coast, why would you look to the East Coast for your supplies.  You have great equipment suppliers in the Western US that are very compairable to East Coast Prices.  Look at your bee journals for the adds and make some inquires.

As to the question. Around here I find many in our local association are making money in the bee business but then they work hard and they could probably do better working as a Walmart Greeter but like beekeeping better.  I make and sell woodware and can sell everything I make without any advertising. Others do pollination, or sell honey, or sell lotions etc.  We all do different things and work in cooperation with each other and I don't know anyone that is suffering.  Demand always outstrips supply.  But again, on an hourly basis don't figure on getting rich and plan on working very hard and long hours.  But we do it because we love it not because of the money. Still the money comes in better than I expected.
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tlynn
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2009, 09:13:55 PM »

Also, equipment on the West Coast seems to be expensive any hints as to where to get equipment boxes and frames for less. Shipping from the East is expensive.

Check out Mann Lake in MN.  I am impressed with the quality of their boxes and frames, and the prices are cheaper than the other big guys like Dadant.  Shipping seemed about the same as any others.
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jimmy
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2009, 09:26:26 PM »

When you people figure out how to MAKE money instead of spending money with bees please let me know . My wife says spend ,spend ,spend ! When will you investment pay off? To which, I answer , duh !   Yes honey.
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dpence
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2009, 10:17:10 PM »

I like Michael's reply, it does seem to take a chunk out of the wallet to do anything anymore.  Rule is: Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.  In any business if that is true then you will be successful.  All of what has been mentioned makes money.  Sometimes a person has to think about what makes them different from anyone else doing the same thing.   It is that uniqueness that one should capitalize on.  IMHO.

David 
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MustbeeNuts
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2009, 07:17:38 AM »

When you people figure out how to MAKE money instead of spending money with bees please let me know . My wife says spend ,spend ,spend ! When will you investment pay off? To which, I answer , duh !   Yes honey.

Boy that sounds familiar, must be a wifey thing. LOL
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2009, 07:27:22 AM »

>What would you do to make a little money at beekeeping?

Start with a lot of money.


Michael Bush knows the secret.
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