One important strength beekeeping businesses have going for them (beside the general public's off-base aversion to bees) is that there is relative ignorance of pricing. I screwed up my pricing last year and now have to manage 25 hives through the season, which I do as a labor of love, but still need to be paid for my efforts and lost opportunity. Note I am in the DC area so many of my clients are hobbyists with disposable income.
Here is how I will price next year for hive management services:
- $300 per hive per season + $40 feed cost;
- All hives must have a 4 gallon hive top feeder to reduce trips;
- A travel premium will be added to hives more than 15 miles away;
- After the main flow I take 1 split of bees from each hive to make nucs (a secondary revenue source);
- If they want my help with extraction, I take one-half their harvest.
I will also make no warranties on queen health or vitality, and a formal management agreement with appropriate indemnities and other protections will be executed.
I will make adjustments to the cash pricing depending on how many hives are at one location but I think it is fair, and the non-cash costs are invisible to them and thus never missed.