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Author Topic: Cut-out & trap outs, what do you charge?  (Read 4047 times)
D Coates
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« on: May 13, 2010, 09:51:08 AM »

I've had 5 calls on hives in structures this year.  My close rate has been poor so far, with 3 that I didn't land and 2 are still possible, but I'm not counting on them.

I quote $50 an hour, including drive time for a trap-out or cut-out.  Last year I charged $40 an hour but felt that I needed to raise my rates considering the amount of work.  I do not offer cut-out repairs.  I've got regular job that pays well, a wife and kids that are great but consume a lot of time, a bee vacuum, other equipment, and most importantly experience. The way I look at it, if I am trading my time for removing bees it should at least be worth while. 

At $50 an hour should I expect to get little work?  That's okay, but I'd like to understand what to expect.
Any input is welcome.
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 10:10:54 AM »

At any price per hour, you are telling them, "I will charge whatever I decide while I am doing it".

I charge 300 for a standard cutout or trapout, with extras for extra services. Scaffolding, bucket truck, ETC. I quote the total price up front, so there are no surprises, but I do tell them of any possible finds when I am inside that may make the price go up.

They should not pay for your bungling, if you miss the queen and spend 3 hours looking for her after you have removed the comb.
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D Coates
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 12:34:04 PM »

That's a great idea.  I did have one guy ask for a flat fee.  I told him that I couldn't do that because I don't really know what I'm going to find until I'm in there.  Have you ever gotten burned with that rate?  I normally tell potential customers a trap out or cut out usually runs between $300 and $400.  If I go with a flat fee for a standard cut out or trap out, I'll make sure to let them know there are additional fees if the cut out isn't "standard". 

I'm not looking to get rich but not making it worth my time isn't smart.  If I want hive increases it's a whole lot easier chasing swarms, making splits and raising queens than doing a cut out.  If I've got the time a cut out is quite enjoyable though.

Any other feedback is greatly appreciated
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joker1656
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 01:11:11 PM »

I usually charge a flat fee, but I am normally too low.  Once I am in there I start thinking, "Dang it!  This job is a whole lot more complicated than I thought!"  LOL

I usually try to do the repairs....depending on what they are.  I waffle on my prices, because many times it is someone elderly, or down on their luck.  My goal is, though, to be paid roughly $500/full service removal...minimum.  Have not charged that much yet, but am getting to the point where that will be the minimum.  Love doing it, but (like you) have many other irons in the fire.   tongue

I still have a lot to learn, though.
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 02:20:23 PM »

Joker, I would not do a 5 minute repair for a thousand dollars. If you do both, you will be doing it again free when a swarm moves in next year or the year after. If you don't, they will pay. You aren't responsible, he did the repair. He isn't responsible, he's not a beekeeper.

D. Coates, anyone in any business will get burned now and then. Just suck it in and go to the next job.
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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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D Coates
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 02:41:41 PM »

D. Coates, anyone in any business will get burned now and then. Just suck it in and go to the next job.

Fully agreed, I'd prefer to be the windshield at least 85%, but I do understand that leaves me as the bug a minimum of 15% of the time.  If $300 flat rate gets me to that balance I'm okay.  As for repairs I won't touch them.  My job is done when the bees are gone.  I'll give them tips on how to avoid having bees move back in there but otherwise I walk away with the bees and the payment.
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my-smokepole
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 03:10:33 PM »

I charge a Church 45 per hour+ milage and did the repair work after I removed. On one of the other boards it runs about 75 Per hour and in genrail $200. to start.
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pondman
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 06:32:46 PM »

I don't charge anything to do a cut-out. I feel just getting the bees is find with me. I would rather do it for free then have the bees just be sprayed an killed. Yes after I get done I do have people pay me for a job well done. I don't do repairs that is up to the home owner. I did a cut=out in a church last year it took me just 2 hrs to do, Told them I didn't want anything for doing it a week later got a card with a 200.00 check for doing the job an big thank you for doing it. I do it this way because there some people that just can't pay alot of money to get the removed, An I get the enjoyment doing it.  I have meet so many nice people this way. I also get to tach people about the bees as I do the joy, You would be surprise that the people that have not seen a cut-out. I had a 89 year old lady tell me that is the firswt time she has seen anything like that. Makes me feel good to do it the way I do it.
James
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hardwood
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 07:24:43 PM »

I do cut outs for a minimum of $300 usually (however there has been a time or two that I reduced the price a bit...old ladies on ss etc) and they can often be a good bit more depending on complexity. I offer re-build as an after bid.
I just started 3 separate trap outs in the same condo complex (all bee trees) for $450. Since the biggest expense to me is the travel to cut outs and these are right next to each other, I figured on $300 for the first and $75 ea. for any additional.

Scott
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iddee
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 08:15:50 PM »

Pondman, I just went to look at a cut out yesterday. The property manager called me. The lady said her chef had seen them move in Monday. It was thought to be in the ceiling of the gym. "approx. 30 X 40" They left before I got there. I explained that they could have moved to another area of the property. She instructed the property manager to have the carpenter and gardener check all the buildings on the property.
This is a single family residence.

I fully understand your pity for the poor folks. I really feel bad for charging them..........

 NOT
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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"

*Shel Silverstein*
hardwood
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 09:41:33 PM »

Lol iddee! I got a call just a few minutes ago from a woman in Orlando (45 min drive). She's got bees in her wall. She hired a guy yesterday that came out and started shredding the siding...he couldn't find the colony so he dusted them with "some kind of powder" and then set off a bug bomb under the siding and left. I told her I didn't want anything to do with it, but if she got desperate it would cost her $1000 if I had to deal with the crap!

I really do feel sorry for her but ya get what ya pay for.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
riverrat
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 09:54:53 PM »

100 an hour 3 hour minimum
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JP
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2010, 06:46:14 AM »

After ones does a few, they usually decide to charge. I try to be sympathetic as well but removing bees from structures on a continual basis is one heck of a way to get bees.

If you want to get bees without working your tail off, buy packages or get on a swarm list.

Nothing wrong with being nice and sympthetic to those who don't have the means, but you got to look out for numero uno as well.

I don't have a minimum fee but most average somewhere between $300-$500.


...JP
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D Coates
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2010, 10:04:31 AM »

I appreciate all the feedback.  I'll start quoting a flat rate of $300 for a standard cut out, with more for anything that's not standard.  Hopefully this will get me enough to keep it fun but not consume all the limited time "free time" I have.
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bluegrass
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2010, 11:23:00 AM »

I usually charge a donation of 50.00 an hr with a 4 hr min. As the season progresses and I run low on equipment the price of a hive to put them in is tacked on. I search out and remove hives for free sometimes just to get the genetics. I don't do trap outs because the bees are valueless to me if I don't get the queen. I will catch a swarm locally, but I don't go more than a few miles for one. I don't charge to collect a swarms.
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Sugarbush Bees
melliphile
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2010, 08:15:35 PM »

Does no one have insurance to do this? What if you cut a wire, or damage something? It would be a real  Cry to get sued. JP, I imagine you're insured, you do this professionally. I'm hesitant to charge because of the liability. I've yet to do a cut-out, but have one in waiting. I also don't want to charge because it is my first cut-out. I'd like to get a couple under my belt before I begin charging. But is it worth it if you're not already insured and bonded? JP, I'm curious to hear your thoughts...
Josh
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JP
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I like doing cut-outs, but I love catching swarms!


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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2010, 08:33:38 PM »

I've been in the pest control business for more than twenty years. Here in Louisiana one has to be licensed, bonded and insured to practice.

I don't know if my competitors carry insurance or not but IMO it makes a lot of sense to cover yourself if you make doing cut outs a habit.

Now I know quite a few people who do a fair share and aren't insured but they pick and choose the ones they do.

Surprisingly, it is very rare for a potential customer to even ask me if I am in fact insured.

If you want to do cut outs and are concerned about liability issues consult with an attorney. Perhaps y'all can draw up some type of release form. Look into ones that involve indemnification.

Have them sign the agreement. You keep a copy & they get one as well.


...JP
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hardwood
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2010, 10:14:57 PM »

I've been doing quite a few cut outs lately and, although I'm a licensed beekeeper in my county, I run the removal business under my State Building contractors license which carries $3,000,000 in General liability.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
sarafina
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« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2010, 10:46:06 PM »

My company hired a beek to remove bees from an abandoned building on their property and it was a flat rate of $300 with no repairs.  I helped her but my time was free because 1) I got out of my regular job and 2) it was fun!   grin
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2010, 07:35:19 AM »

When  I was just doing it as a hobby,  I charged nothing to do cut outs.  Why ask to be paid for my own in-experience is how I look at it.

I am building a small business now that includes cut outs and removals and I do have a flat fee for that.  I will reduce that fee for seniors who, in  a lot of cases, have very limited incomes.

I have homeowners sign a waiver/release form.   I don't even attempt repair and I encourage them to have a handyman or contractor on hand to open the section up if at all possible.

I remove the bees and the comb then I scrub the area where the comb was with a scrub brush and soap or ajax to reduce the scent and hopefully prevent new colonies moving in.

We identify all the obvious openings/entrances so the handyman can close those up.

If you don't want to charge, don't feel bad or let others try to make you feel bad.  Everyone has their own ways and motivations for what they do. 

In terms of price,  I try to be competitive with the pesticide companies.  They will charge a certain fee also and if I want to encourage people to choose live removal instead of killing the bees, which I do, then I try to show them the benefits of my service, including comb removal and cleanup, that the exterminators will not do.

I still do it for that similar fee though because most people aren't thinking with calm, rational heads.  They are panicked and afraid and want those bees gone. They don't care if the bees are dead or alive and will go for whatever is easy and cheap to get it done.

Big Bear
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