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Author Topic: Cut-out question: What to charge?  (Read 3984 times)

Offline 2Sox

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Cut-out question: What to charge?
« on: May 08, 2012, 10:35:01 PM »
Hi All,

This question has really puzzled me. I find it very difficult to figure out what number a homeowner has in their mind to pay someone to remove bees from their dwelling.  If I give a low figure, I regret it and feel resentful because I know how much work is involved.  If I give what I think is a fair price, I'm afraid I'll scare someone off - which seems to happen more often than I'd like to think.  I say seems because after I submit a proposal, I sometimes don't hear back from a person.  

I'd imagine this question has come up before, but I see no harm in bringing it up now - especially with the number of swarms and household bee colonies rising dramatically in the last two seasons.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 04:52:12 PM by 2Sox »
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline AllenF

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 10:51:57 PM »
How much is your day worth?   

Offline AllenF

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 10:53:40 PM »
And don't forget about the cost of tools, equipment, transportation, and office time.

Offline duck

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 10:56:23 PM »
and you have to stay competitive with exterminators ive found.. which here is 200-260.. real killers.

Offline 2Sox

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 11:04:04 PM »
Allen F,

Well, that's the question, isn't it?  What I feel my day is worth, might not be what someone is willing to pay.  So I either bite my tongue and work for less, or hold fast and get less work and less bees.  I lean more for holding fast.

My question remains: What do other folks charge?  By the job, by the hour?  I have two minimums depending on where I have to travel and how challenging the job is? $260 minimum which covers 3 hours and $45 per hour after that.  Then $360 minimum for three hours and $55 per hour after that. And if I bring a helper, my rates might be a little higher than that.  I'm learning all the time that a good extraction takes knowledge and skill.  I learn every time I do one.  People pay much more than this for plumbers and electricians and don't bat an eye.  Why not for a beekeeper who knows what he's doing?

What about you?
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline 2Sox

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 11:15:01 PM »
I work in many areas and I usually see that if people are from the city they are more likely to pay what I ask.  Second homeowners in rural locales fall into this category.  From the people who are from the rural areas, it's very difficult for me to get my price.
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline JP

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 11:30:46 PM »
I do this for most of my income about 9 & 1/2 to 10 months of the year, weather permitting. I have to be competitive but fair to my customer & myself. I believe you have the right idea on what to charge. As mentioned people in rural areas cannot usually afford to pay what people living in a big city can afford to pay, so you will have to either adjust accordingly or get what jobs you can.

There are far easier ways to attain bees than removing them from structures.


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Offline gardeningfireman

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 12:23:42 AM »
I have been going back and forth on this subject too. I think we need to be somewhat flexible depending on the circumstances. Right now I am charging a $300 for the first seven hours and $35/hour after that, plus $5/mile beyond 25 driving miles. My problem is the people want to spend too much time talking, and I am still learning the "job". It's the cleaning up of the wax, honey, and propolis that seems to take a while. I also do some basic repairs to get it sealed up afterwards. My last job was an example of being flexible. The H.O. was now well off, so I only charged him the $35 per hour, and he is handling all the cleanup and repairs. That job totalled $205 for 5.5 hours.

Offline gardeningfireman

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 12:25:30 AM »
The H.O. was now well off,
Oops! I meant NOT well off!

Offline D Semple

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 09:53:10 AM »
I'm a sideliner and can only do about a 12 - 15 a year and keep my day job, so I cherry pick the work in areas of the city where they can afford to pay what I think the jobs are worth.

I have a couple of guys, who are mostly interested in just getting the bees, that I refer jobs to those that can't afford to pay.

   

Offline kathyp

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 10:37:54 AM »
and i drive them crazy here, because most of  mine i do for free or the cost of the gas to get there.  but...it's a hobby for me.  i don't do many.  most are on farms or old outbuildings and stuff.  i don't have to worry about my time. 

seriously though, before you go charging anything for anything, make sure you know the laws and the players in your area.  one of the reasons i don't do (most) houses that i get called on, is the flipping unions.  they went after some handyman types.  old guys just supplementing their incomes with minor repairs and stuff.  they followed them around, took pictures of what they were doing, hassled them, and sued them.

when the union thug was interviewed about it he said that if you were going to pick up a tool and work on a house...and get paid to do it, they were going to come after you if you were not a union member.  not worth the hassle to me or the jail time for shooting the SOB if he got in my face. 
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline David McLeod

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 12:03:09 PM »
Like JP I too derive my living from removals, though as NWCO I also deal with every other species of wildlife as well. For me though the bees are very fast overtaking everything else I do. At this point I am avoiding everything other than bat work at this time of year.
Pricing questions used to cause me to go into a hair pulling fit but now I just shake my head and wish you luck with it. The prices already quoted in this thread are a prime example. If I'm not hitting the 100/hr rate with my prices, on any species, I might as well park the truck. When you consider my fuel, materials, advertising, insurance, uniforms, phone, meals, maintenance and various sundry taxes and other costs such as licenses and permits I'm already in the hole befire my phone even rings.
If the hundred dollar mark causes you to blink or think how do I justify lawyer rates let me remind you that as a beekeeper, and not just any beekeeper, that has the skill and knowledge to safely remove a living colony of stinging insects that your knowledge has actual marketable value. Why should you give it away or sell yourself short. We are a valuable commodity and should be paid accordingly. JP, is right there are much easier and cheaper ways to aquire bees. Heck, as a beek with just a modicum of skill splits will procide you with all the bees you could ever want.
I now quote my fees over the phone this way. After quuzzing the potential client about size, location, length of occupation, construction materials, history, etc I clearlyvstate that I have a base price of 650 for most residential work. This quoted price may go up if upon arrival it is determined that difficulties or out of the ordinary circumstances exist. If this happens to be the case the adjusted fee will be quoted and agreed upon before any work begins. I also reserve the sole right to lower fees as well.
Before anyone squalls do a google search for bee removal in my market. My quoted fees are in line with our well known bee remover from Athens and others. I also have a better than eighty percent sales rate on bee removal calls.
If anything I urge all my fellow beeks to realize just how special our skills are.
Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
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www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
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Offline 2Sox

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 12:15:47 PM »
Am I incorrect, but only three other people at this point gave actual numbers in answer to my original question - Kathy P and gardeningfireman, and David McLeod?  

My guess is that others don't reveal their numbers readily because if there is a bid in your area, you don't want the competition to know what you charge.  Understandable.

Kathy, I can see why you would drive the other beekeepers crazy. In my opinion, everyone is entitled to a fair wage for a fair day's work. And people should expect to pay.  If I ever get someone who starts with the story that I'm getting free bees anyway - the conversation ends right there. They'll be searching long and hard for someone to do the job.


David McLeod, I respect your approach to all this and I think it's sensible and it's good advice. It sure encourages me.

Has anyone ever thought of a Beekeeper's Union....?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 12:41:15 PM by 2Sox »
"Good will is the desire to have something else stronger and more beautiful for this desire makes oneself stronger and more beautiful." - Eli Siegel, American educator, poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism

Offline David McLeod

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 01:13:55 PM »
2sox, I was taught to guard methods and pricing as trade secrets and played the back stabbing fly under the radar game to long. All the while I smugly thought I somehow was the very best ptifessional while bitterly complaining about the the lack of standards within the industry and deplirable level of quality displayed by my "competition".
How little did I know that it was I that was the snotty little POS that was holding back my industry by not sharing and seeking to raise the bar of quality service across the industry. Fir that I am truly ashamed. Today I am proud to say that I will glady assist anyone with a willingness to do this work the best they can. It only by doing this that I can see the overall level of quality go up industrywide.

Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
Georgia's Full Service Wildlife Solution
Atlanta (678) 572-8269 Macon (478) 227-4497
www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
georgiawildlifeservices@gmail.com

Offline kathyp

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 02:31:52 PM »
Quote
In my opinion, everyone is entitled to a fair wage for a fair day's work

sure, but i get to define what is fair for me.  ;)  i enjoy cutouts.  i don't do many.  i like doing the farms and old ladies sheds.  i very often get fed.  money is almost always offered above what i might ask for to pay the gas.  i get to meet great people.  and....i am not like some here.  this is not a business for me, it's a hobby.  +, to my knowledge, there are only two of us in the area who do them.  i refer plenty to the other person and i know he does charge. 
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline David McLeod

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2012, 09:43:57 PM »
Kathy, I used to get all bent out of shape for that but now I just sit back and let it go. To each his own and if the pleasure of doing a cut out is your reward then I am more than happy for you. Contrary to all the doom and gloom there are more than enough bees to go around and I can not save them all.
My only issue now is the occasional hobbiest that for whatever assinine reason has it out for anyone who makes a living with bees. I've heard from more than one potential client that "the beekeeper said that you should never have to pay to remove bees". That I still find to be patently wrong. Why should anyone expect a service and not have to pay for it.
Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
Georgia's Full Service Wildlife Solution
Atlanta (678) 572-8269 Macon (478) 227-4497
www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
georgiawildlifeservices@gmail.com

Offline duck

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2012, 11:54:04 PM »
most people who do cutouts for free very quickly learn not to. LOL especially down south!  :-D  The biggest thing I come across is like I mentioned before, people are more apt to compare your service to an exterminators. it started around 260 to exterminate but for some reason has actually fallen to 200 recently..

Offline David McLeod

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2012, 01:39:42 AM »
duck, that's not really problem in Georgia. All of our PCOs take one look abd tell the client that it's illegal to kill the state insect. It aint and I aint telling them otherwise.
Does Texas have a kill on sight order like Florida? I know the PCOs literally make a killing south of me.
Georgia Wildlife Services,Inc
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Atlanta (678) 572-8269 Macon (478) 227-4497
www.atlantawildliferemoval.net
georgiawildlifeservices@gmail.com

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 05:20:33 AM »
The only reason I do them really is for the genetics.  Most people seem to think you should do it for free or they should charge YOU.  It's never worth it from the point of view of the hours spent and the number of bees you end up with, at lest not if you are gainfully employed at the time.  The gas alone is usually worth more than the bees.  If they pay you by the hour and the mile, you can come out on it.
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Offline Jim 134

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Re: Cut-out question: What to charge?
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2012, 06:15:16 AM »
Am I incorrect, but only three other people at this point gave actual numbers in answer to my original question - Kathy P and gardeningfireman, and David McLeod?  

My guess is that others don't reveal their numbers readily because if there is a bid in your area, you don't want the competition to know what you charge.  Understandable.

Kathy, I can see why you would drive the other beekeepers crazy. In my opinion, everyone is entitled to a fair wage for a fair day's work. And people should expect to pay. If I ever get someone who starts with the story that I'm getting free bees anyway - the conversation ends right there. They'll be searching long and hard for someone to do the job.


David McLeod, I respect your approach to all this and I think it's sensible and it's good advice. It sure encourages me.

Has anyone ever thought of a Beekeeper's Union....?



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