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Author Topic: What should a bee removal cost?  (Read 34021 times)
kedgel
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« on: October 18, 2009, 08:07:05 PM »

I just added my info to the bee removal map.  I have been doing removals just as a public service and to get freebees.  I figured if it costs to remove bees people would just kill them rather than cough up $ to remove them.  I mean, what does a can of Raid cost?  4$? There is an outfit down here that charges mega buck$ to do a removal, but they are hardcore, full-time with massive amounts of equipment.  I don't want a full-time gig (as the French in MP's Holy Grail said, "I've already got one!"  Smiley, and I don't want to buy or rent a hydraulic lift, etc.  I have gotten way more calls than I had equipment and inclination to do, but if folks are willing to pay, heck, I NEVER turn down money!  I could afford to buy more equipment if they threw some cash my way.  What's the going price? 
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 08:24:17 PM »

i do mine for free for all the reasons you stated and because i can take or refuse a job....just because.  the last couple of years i have made it know that i'd take donations to the gas tank.  people are pretty good at shoving cash in my hand.  smiley  they probably already priced the removals or exterminators!  i pretty much stick to outbuildings, shops, swarms, and stay away from homes.  i do them with the understanding that i will do the removal and clean out, but they will do the repairs.  that's a fine deal so far.
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 12:07:24 PM »

I hate doing removals for free. I lose 3/4 of a day from running my company doing a removal and my time is quite valuable. I'll do freebie charity cases, like old folks or single mom's down on their luck.  Otherwise, I want $200 for a 3 hour job for extracting from a wall or soffit. $300 for 4-6 hours for more difficult removals.  Picking up swarms or water meter hives I'll do for free or gas money.
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kedgel
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2009, 09:18:07 PM »

A partial answer to my own question came tonight.  A lady that I did a cut out for a month or so ago emailed me back and said the bees never left or else a new swarm moved back in.  She was very apologetic and offered to pay me even though I refused payment last time.  She told me she had been quoted $400 by a "professional" bee removal company.  I don't know if that was an exterminator or what, but she felt ashamed to ask me to do another $400 job again for free.  This was a slam-dunk cut out.  Down low in a wall that she didn't mind if I trashed it to get them out.  I can't imagine what the other guys would quote if it were a tough one!
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David LaFerney
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 08:34:16 AM »

I think that you should charge about as much as you would if you were going to do it full time to make a living.  You have expenses - at least your vehicle - and you are investing your time.  Those who  are willing to pay at all usually don't mind paying a fair price for a service.  I would speculate that it would be hard to make a living off of "free" bees.

What you do is a service that people need and want done - they want to have someone to call.  If you don't make anything from it sooner or later you will stop doing it and they won't have anyone to call.  Whereas if you make enough profit that you are happy to get those calls you will be more likely to keep doing it and your customers will continue to benefit from your service.

Don't you hate it when a business that you've come to rely on goes out and leaves you  high and dry?
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asprince
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 09:13:07 AM »

My fees are based upon how bad they want them removed or their ability to pay. I charge good for some and do some for free.


Steve
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G3farms
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 09:39:39 AM »

My fees are based upon how bad they want them removed or their ability to pay. I charge good for some and do some for free.
Steve

I agree totaly, there are plenty of bees around to be relocated and removed and if you pass on a couple so be it.

Kedgel, what do you charge to go and look at a "I know for sure they are honey bees", 30 minute drive later and you tell them they are yellow jackets, hornets or wasps. After a few of those you will at least want your gas money back, let alone the two hours or more of your time you lost out on.

If you are going to charge by the hour just make it high enough to cover the extra time to load and unload your truck, make up a brood box, set up of the removed hive once you get home, and clean up of your equipment. The home owner is only going to want to pay you for the time spent at their house.

Just some thoughts.

G3
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 11:56:14 AM »

I charge a higher fee for the 1st hour and lower for additional hours.  I keep this fee below the commercial full time guys but enough to pay for expenses and some time.  If my son helps me, I charge for him as well. 

I agree with G3 that you don't want to forget the time of preparation and getting the hive the final location.  Most people think it should be free since we are getting something but I am up front about this misnomer. 

I definately miss some because I charge as there are others that don't but my time & equipment is just too valuable to do it for free.
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JP
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2009, 12:01:26 PM »

After you've done a dozen or so you get a pretty good idea of what is appropriate. Like any business entity you need to be competitive for your area so find out what the going rate is in your area with and without repairs. If you can offer repairs as well you will get more business.


...JP
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specialkayme
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2009, 01:18:02 PM »

I'll probably have a very differing view as opposed to others on here. How much should a bee removal cost? Well, it depends . . .

First of all, whatever you are going to charge, keep in mind that you are getting something out of it: a colony. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they don't, but that really is neither here nor there. You are receiving a colony. The going rate for packages is $85-110 around here, and nucs are $100-145, depending on genetics. So just by showing up, getting the bees, and leaving you are up $85-145 in value.

Equipment wise, sure you can add some of the cost of what you are going to use, but it's really yours. If you are using a $150 bee vac, a hack saw, or whatnot, you get to walk away with them, and most of the equipment you can reuse. So say that you are actually 'using' $20 worth of equipment. That means you are leaving with $65-125 in value. Next would be gas. For me I wouldn't be willing to travel longer than an hours drive, which would probably cost me an additional $30 in gas, so end value is $35-95.

The rest of it depends on the individual. If you have to take off work, you should be compensated. If you are doing it on time off, or you are unemployed, or you don't have anything going on that day, I don't think you should take that into account. I'm still a student, my time isn't worth much. So I don't add that into the mix, as long as they are being flexible in allowing me to come at my next class break, instead of being like "I need you to come ASAP", that's different.

Taking a look at the end value, if you could walk away from a job getting paid $35-95 for an hours work, would you do it? I would. How about two hours? Three? That's probably about where I would draw the line. If it's going to take a while, I would charge. But if it's just like two hours, I wouldn't. But hey, that's me.

As far as charging $400, that's really a matter of supply and demand. If you are charging $200 and your schedule is so backed up that you can't get everyone done, then upping it is fine in my book. But again, to me it depends on the person, and the job.
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G3farms
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2009, 04:31:19 PM »

Well that is one way of looking ot at it I guess. Just keep in mind that you are also providing a service to someone as well and the "free bees" are just a byproduct so to speak. You are also basing it on the fact that the bees will make it. I say go for it and do some free removals, but after a while you will get real tired of no or low money for your time and start charging.

Not trying to bust your bubble at all, I have done many free cut outs, but then again I do enjoy it, I am a glutton for punishment I guess.


G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
iddee
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2009, 04:56:13 PM »

Why, certainly, I would be glad to give anyone a few hours of my time.

However, I will not spend 30 plus years studying bees, their habits, how to tend to them, and the structural aspects of decades of home building, electrical, plumbing, ETC. and give all that 30 plus years of knowledge away. No more than a doctor, lawyer, plumber, or other professional. If you carry no knowledge of bees or structures with you on a cut out, then by all means do it for free.

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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2009, 05:24:01 PM »

 I would like to put forth an idea related to software.   

"Open Source Beekeeping"

The open and free sharing of knowledge and experience in regards to working with Honey Bees.

While the traditional model of buying and selling honey bees and the activities surrounding beekeeping has been the status quo for well over a century, there comes a group of people who prefer to give and take freely of their knowledge, experience and time in regards to working with honey bees and the community around them.

For OSBK's (Open Source Bee Keepers) the payment and the price is in the moment, the experience itself.  The opportunity to help someone else find their way into the world of bee keeping and not walk into it alone.  To contribute something to the community around them that enables them to do something they love to do, work with honey bees.

This doesn't compete or mitigate the "traditional"  bee keepers day to day activities or interactions.  It doesn't have to be 'forced' on anyone.  It is simply a choice made by individuals who value sharing and open standards and experiences.  Much like the people who join the peace corps or participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.

 grin

gotta admit, I started writing this as a 'tongue in cheek' kinda thing, but dang, it describes me to a T.

Anyone else want to start a new 'Open Source Bee Keeping" movement?  LOL

Big Bear
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iddee
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2009, 05:35:08 PM »

If that was in response to my post, I agree 100%, but that is for other beeks and wannabe beeks. Not to the everyday home owner that just wants them gone. They can pay for my knowledge and experience.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2009, 05:45:55 PM »

Cue Carly Simon..." You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you, don't you, don't you..."

J/K

No, I just posted in general response to the thread topic.  No one post in particular.

But, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

Although, because I believe in being neighborly, and I am getting some bees out of the deal,  I personally still wouldn't charge "Joe Neighbor" whether they were into working with bees or not.  I'm just that kind of bear  I guess.

( Mind you,  I do NOT do the 'handyman' work of opening up a wall or repair, they need to hire someone to do that, I am just there to clear out the bees.)

Big Bear
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specialkayme
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2009, 05:48:55 PM »

Why, certainly, I would be glad to give anyone a few hours of my time.

However, I will not spend 30 plus years studying bees, their habits, how to tend to them, and the structural aspects of decades of home building, electrical, plumbing, ETC. and give all that 30 plus years of knowledge away. No more than a doctor, lawyer, plumber, or other professional. If you carry no knowledge of bees or structures with you on a cut out, then by all means do it for free.



No disrespect intended Iddee, but I don't think I view the subject the same. You certainly have a vast amount of knowledge in the area, and that is very valuable. But to use that experience to overcharge an individual is just wrong in my book (I'm not claiming that you are overcharging, I'm just talking in general). I'm not against charging, but to charge $400 for a simple, two hour removal is ridiculous. My father is a very talented electrician with 30 years experience, and he doesn't get paid anywhere near $250 an hour, even for house calls ($400 fee plus $100 colony / 2hours).

I also think holding your services on the level of a lawyer or a doctor isn't quite accurate. Not that removals can't be challenging, or that they don't require a vast amount of experience and knowledge (which they do). But most doctors and lawyers charge so much because they have $300,000 in student loans, $100,000 in equipment costs, and then rent payments on top of that. If the average removal is done by an amateur (a person who has another steady form of income), the rent payments can be removed. While beekeepers do need formal (as well as practical) education, probably not the cost of $300,000. And while equipment costs are involved, not nearly $100,000 (as far as the removal equipment goes). So with less expensive 'start up costs' come less expensive services, or at least they should be.

I'm not saying everyone should be doing them for free, but from an analytical standpoint, I don't think it's proper to take a day off of work where you get paid $25 an hour, then complain about how it costs you to do a removal so you are charging $150 an hour for your services. That is simply exploiting the situation. Yes you are providing a service to people, but in actuality you are removing an unwanted pest. The person is already in a worse position by being stung, having their walls cut open, and spending their own time off work to deal with this, I feel adding a large bill to it isn't right.
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2009, 06:06:12 PM »

Now, even as an OSBK, I can see charging under certain circumstances.

For example.

a farmer cut down some trees on his land.   I bump into him at a cafe somewhere, it just so happens,  I have a fireplace.

he puts a sign up, says 'free firewood, load it yourself"

Darn tootin, I go out there with my truck and tools, cut the wood down to more manageable pieces and load it into my truck.  We both get something, like a trade.   I wanted wood,  I got wood.  He wanted it gone, it got gone.  End of story, we all happy.

Next example,  a farmer has trees in his property he wants gone, but if  I want them,  I need to cut them down.

Well now.  As it so happens,  I'm a part time lumberjack from my college summers.  I tell him  I will cut those trees down for him and since  I am going to keep the wood, I'll do the cutting for say X price, which may be 25 or 50% off what  I would charge him  If  I just did the work.


In the case of bees, if someone else is doing the repair work to the structure and all I'm doing is getting the bees out, we all happy.

If I am doing the repair work as well, he will pay for the handyman part of the work.

That's the way  I could see charging for it, me , myself  and I that is.

but hey, I'm a bear, so take it as you want.  LOL

Big Bear

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G3farms
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2009, 08:22:42 PM »

Not real sure why doctors and lawyers charge so much in the firsgt place, open the phone book and there are page after page of them listed. Now look up bee keepers, bet you don't find any. It is kind of a specialty market. I am on another forum "Ridgid" who specializes in pipe trades, plumbing and drain cleaning tools. Some of the drain cleaners are wading in human crap to clean out a line, they don't make anywhere what a doctor or lawyer is making, have a small investment in tools and truck and education, but what is it worth to you. Joe home owner could always take care of the problem themselves, go down to the rental store and get a snake, but who wants to get poo on their hands, even if it is yours. Labor is worth what the market will bear.

Knowledge is power! as long as it is not abused...........hhmmmmm doctors and lawyers come to mind real quick.

OK rant over.

G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
asprince
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2009, 08:32:59 PM »

I often get paid for what I know, not what I do.

Steve
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iddee
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« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2009, 09:43:50 PM »

OK, Let's compare apples to apples. I have turned down jobs because I was skeptical of the home owner. I have never turned down a removal because of difficulty, time, distance, or danger. I have removed from the roof corner of a four story hotel, from above the drive up window of a bank, from the police dept. in Africanized territory, just to name a few. Is there anyone else here who can say the same and still does not charge?

If not, I guess we are talking about two entirely different subjects.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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