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Author Topic: How many hives to make a living?  (Read 4156 times)
blanc
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« on: February 26, 2013, 08:59:11 AM »

My wife and I were doing some figuring on how many hives it woudl take to make a living from strictly beekeeping(IE) honey,pollen,soap,wax,nuc sales and removals. I came out with a figure of 100 hives could allow me to live at my current needs. I know folks like JP and Hardwood make their living at it and appreciate your comments.
Blanc
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Psalm 19:9-10
The fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea ,than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
lazy shooter
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 09:10:27 AM »

Hmmmm, one hundred hives seems way too short.  If you net 200 bucks per hive, and that sounds difficult, your income would only be 20 grand.  At 300 dollars net per hive, your total profit would be 30 grand.  Can you live on that?  Remember your next new pickup truck will cost 30 plus thousand dollars. 

The commercial beeks on this forum keep several hundred to a few thousand hives.  I would think more like five hundred hives and try to net $100.00 per hive per year for fifty thousand dollars per year.  It will also be a lot of work.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 09:47:11 AM »

Kirk Webster makes a living on, I think about 300 colonies and about 150 nucs or so.  Here is some of his talking about how much you can make per hive depending on what you are doing:

http://www.kirkwebster.com/index.php/a-new-paradigm-for-american-beekeepers

I think you need to diversify your income from the bees.  There's not much to be made on honey unless you market it as treatment free and/or sell direct to the consumer.  There is more money in bees and queens and nucs.
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Michael Bush
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Joe D
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 10:43:10 AM »

Thanks for the link, Michael.  It is a good read and very beneficial.




Joe
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sterling
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 10:49:38 AM »

I attended a queen rearing class in Jan. with Dan Purvis as speaker and he said if you want to make a million keeping bees you need to invest three million. He has gotten out of Queen rearing and is going into the educational thing.
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dixiebooks
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 11:55:57 AM »

I attended a queen rearing class in Jan. with Dan Purvis as speaker and he said if you want to make a million keeping bees you need to invest three million. He has gotten out of Queen rearing and is going into the educational thing.

GROAN! That is not very encouraging. -js
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James M. Wagner
hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 12:05:57 PM »

blanc, are you coming to Bud5? If so we can have a looong chat about it. There are so many variables involved that there is no set answer. The more hives the bigger the initial investment and at some point you would need to hire help.

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
Joe D
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 12:15:13 PM »

Something I have thought a little about, there are lots of questions and variables, is buying some honey from local commercial beek and selling it under a different label.  In 2011 the local beek would sell 55 gal drum of honey for $1000.  If you were bottle it, and had sales for it, you could make a good profit.  Just a thought.




Joe
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fshrgy99
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 12:22:16 PM »

Thanks for the link Michael
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danno
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 12:37:45 PM »

Something I have thought a little about, there are lots of questions and variables, is buying some honey from local commercial beek and selling it under a different label.  In 2011 the local beek would sell 55 gal drum of honey for $1000.  If you were bottle it, and had sales for it, you could make a good profit.  Just a thought.

Joe
In 2012 I got 1400.00 for barrels
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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 12:44:54 PM »

I suppose a lot might depend on your particular standard of living  grin
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 01:10:50 PM »

.
When you have much hives, you just have quite much store room and land too. It all pays if you do not have inherit them.

-

Even here, those guys who have 1000 hives, they bye honey from surrounding beekeepers.

1000 hives x 40 kg honey x 5 $ =200 000$  And what is profit marginal? 10%?  And you get to your pocket 20 000 $

with 100 hives?  2000$ or -2000$?
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blanc
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 04:19:32 PM »

blanc, are you coming to Bud5? If so we can have a looong chat about it. There are so many variables involved that there is no set answer. The more hives the bigger the initial investment and at some point you would need to hire help.

Scott
Hey Scott,
When is Bud5? I do realize the time it would take and was figuring on how big I really want to grow my bees.It is a toss up on what time I have available with my regular work. Can definitely supplement my income with 50 hives for a portion of the year and keep kinda busy with it.
Thanks for all your replies everybody and I always think out the box as far as my finances since I got fired years ago as a supervisor in construction for not wanting to go back on my tools and at which point I lost all fear of going on my own for work. Thank the Good Lord it has been over 17 or so years now working for myself.
Blanc
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Psalm 19:9-10
The fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea ,than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
hardwood
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Alysian Apiaries youtube.com/MrBeedude


« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 05:06:31 PM »

Bud5 is our annual gathering in Macon Ms. there's a thread about it here along with videos of past years. Lots of you La keeps will be there Smiley

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
oblib
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 05:46:21 PM »

>>>Thank the Good Lord it has been over 17 or so years now working for myself.

Yup, I would rather work 15hrs for $20 on my own than 8hrs for $100 for someone else.
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blanc
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2013, 07:31:09 PM »

>>>Thank the Good Lord it has been over 17 or so years now working for myself.

Yup, I would rather work 15hrs for $20 on my own than 8hrs for $100 for someone else.
I make $20 an hour working for myself and would definitely rethink 100 for 8 hrs these days. Wink
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Psalm 19:9-10
The fear of the Lord is clean,enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea ,than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Finski
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 02:57:42 AM »

.

First your are better to go work for free  to some good professional  beekeeper to see, what is beekeeping as a job.

Keep tight a look on clock to see how fast you must work.



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Nectar Meadows Apiaries
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 04:43:54 AM »

You could make it on 100 hives if you dont have dearths meaning always make at least 75lbs of honey and sell it all at retail for $5 a pound (37,500), and can sell 100 nucs for 100 dollars profit ($10,000) and can live modestly.  Done forget you have expenses too, equipment, feed, treatments.  Also Dont forget when your self employed you are now paying 15% not 7.5% s.o.c. and will have to pay all other stuff employers pay for employees.  Unless you are married and your spouse can cover you, you need to pay for your own health insurance which will cost at least 8-10k for something decent.  How much will be left after all this?  If that is more than you make now and your ready to roll the dice good luck. 

I figure I need at least what I explained and a part time job making close to 20k to get by until I have more like  200 colonies, can easily sell 200 nucs and 40-60k in honey a year.  Its nice to dream but until you have the money coming in you are just living a fantasy.  If you own a home on 80 acres of prime forage you have a nice head start.  I am lucky enough to have family that are retired dairy farmers and have enough locations to keep 200 colonies without having to hunt land or buy it.  I dont own a home, am buying about 26 acres and plan to build.  Thats a lot of cash to come up with over the next 10 years if I dont want to rent forever.
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Finski
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 05:40:26 AM »

.
How to make easy life?  I have calculated this some times.

You pick flowers and sell it with 5$ a punch.

You get one punch from square metre.

You own one hectare land and you have 10 000 square metres.

You get 10 000 punch x 5 = 50 000.

Then you fertilize it. You get 5 punches from square metre. it is  500 000 $ .  And you only have one hectare land.

to And you need work only 1 month a year. If you have 2 hectares, you will be a millionaire.

.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 07:13:48 AM »

You may want to consider different business models, and which best fits your interest and skills.
Three examples:
1) I know one guy who has between 12-20 hives, but has great retail skills and sells over 6 tons of honey a year. He buys from several local beekeepers and retails honey plus a multitude of honey products in his store.
2) Another guy focuses on selling nucs and queens, and is also a distributor for Mann Lake and Kelley.
3) Lastly, I have a friend that just went "full time" last year placing beehives in peoples yards for a monthly fee. These tend to be upscale neighborhoods where people have no problem paying for the pool guy, the gardener, and now, the beekeeper.
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