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Hi all, I am not even sure this will be submitted in the right area but.....I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now however I am after any advice on working for myself. I thought perhaps I could source hives & bees for novice townies/semi rural land owners to buy and then I could charge myself out to look after them? -afb checks, varroa treatments, split if need, honey off & extract for them....any thoughts would be grately appreciated. Thank you in advance

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1 minute ago, Claire said:

Hi all, I am not even sure this will be submitted in the right area but.....I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now however I am after any advice on working for myself. I thought perhaps I could source hives & bees for novice townies/semi rural land owners to buy and then I could charge myself out to look after them? -afb checks, varroa treatments, split if need, honey off & extract for them....any thoughts would be grately appreciated. Thank you in advance

Yep it’s called “an employee”. A good number of people doing it.

Some “employees” own the business and have another “employee” working for them.

?

 

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It is being done in quite a few places, be it hire a hive type thing or an Apiarist service thing. Selling a hive to someone and then being paid to look after it would beat being a self employed beekeeper in the traditional sense! You would be getting it with both hands so to speak. I can't see there being many takers on that one.

I think the hire a hive works for some (both the beek & the person hiring the hive) to some degree. I would think you would need quite a few though to make ends meet.

Sourcing hives for novices is largely simply selling a Nuc or a hive with a bit of free advice usually. Quite a few doing just that.

Not saying don't do it but there are quite a few there before you now. A part time thing for fun might be somewhere to start.

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11 hours ago, Claire said:

Hi all, I am not even sure this will be submitted in the right area but.....I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now however I am after any advice on working for myself. I thought perhaps I could source hives & bees for novice townies/semi rural land owners to buy and then I could charge myself out to look after them? -afb checks, varroa treatments, split if need, honey off & extract for them....any thoughts would be grately appreciated. Thank you in advance

Claire, I would suggest that perhaps a better place to start is to keep working for the outfit you are, build up 30-40 of your own hives that you can attend to on your time off. That way you start to see all the costs, time, problems, etc that you don't often see because the boss just deals with it. After a season or two running your hives along side working who knows what your business ideas may be by then. you would have been able to learn more while keeping a paycheck coming in.

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15 hours ago, Claire said:

Hi all, I am not even sure this will be submitted in the right area but.....I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now however I am after any advice on working for myself. I thought perhaps I could source hives & bees for novice townies/semi rural land owners to buy and then I could charge myself out to look after them? -afb checks, varroa treatments, split if need, honey off & extract for them....any thoughts would be grately appreciated. Thank you in advance

 

one of the big problems with hire a hive type setups is that its really inefficient. the amount of hives you can run is really small so the cost to the hive or land owner is really high, while the expectations is really high as well. you have none of the advantages an apiary gives you.

there is a few outfits that have failed miserably at it. 

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52 minutes ago, tristan said:

there is a few outfits that have failed miserably at it. 

Just like you fail miserably in grammar

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we hire hives out to people who are normally very keen gardeners, but it is only done as a service, the down side of it is you are only servicing one or two hives at a time, nine times out of ten the person wants you to stop and have a chat or a coffee, costs are higher, more traveling for one hive, you are far better to set up a site of 10-20 and start there, 

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Then a Hive or two die as they do, in your care.

Do you hand them an invoice along with the bad news.

Or do they give you an invoice 


 

 

Edited by Philbee
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There‘snow eG in Akl a Problem of oversaturation with hives, too.

it‘s become basically one huge apiary and some of these are rental hives.

if you do the right thing and visit often to check you have to put the fees very high and people have an expectation. If you don‘t and your bees die (often anyway these days) you get a bad rep. And don‘t forget the traffic jams and petrol costs depending where you are.

our little bee group encourages all our neighbours to plant (the right) flowers for bees by eg giving out repackaged wildflower seeds etc.

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alot of the hire hives we have now get two hives for the price of one, the reason for this is it is much easier two keep two hives going together than one on its own,

One of the other options they get now is no retail cost if they have more than five hives on the site - they still get there free bit of honey thought out the year,

any hive that dies is replaced at our cost, usually gets replaced with a yearling,

any manged hive that dies in our care is also replaced, unless the owner has done some thing stupid like putting ant bate around the hive, 

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Thank you to everyone for taking the time to answer to me. I value all your advice!

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22 hours ago, Philbee said:

Then a Hive or two die as they do, in your care.

Do you hand them an invoice along with the bad news.

Or do they give you an invoice 

 

A very good point. For this reason it's going to resolve a few problems if you own the hive and charge rent, rather than they own it and pay a service fee.

 

Once you have enough hives out it will be inevitable that the odd one will have a queen failure mid winter, or there will be some other problem outside of your control that causes the hive to fail. If you own everything, you just swap out with another hive or a nuc. But if they own it, some people will have issues with you switching gear on them, or would even want compensation for the loss of bees you were being paid to care for.

 

What should you charge? A friend who has been renting out hives at $800 each and thought this would be an excellent money making scheme, recently complained to me that he is just not making any money, and I believe him. 50 hives in one site you can work in a day. 50 hives in 50 sites may take a couple of weeks to get around, the renters are doing it for the experience, and may expect to be able to chat with the beekeeper, or be advised before each visit and then be able to say no I won't be there then please make it the next day. 

 

Not putting you off, just saying be sure to charge enough. If I could get $2,000 a site, I'd probably do it, but for less it will be too much drama. Problem is, doubt anyone would pay that.

Edited by Alastair
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Claire, interested in having a chat brainstorming about crazy (bee) business ideas.

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On ‎17‎/‎07‎/‎2018 at 10:11 PM, Claire said:

I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now

Could raise the 'conflict of interest' thing  between yourself and your current employer. Tread carefully.

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On 18/07/2018 at 10:06 AM, Dennis Crowley said:

Claire, I would suggest that perhaps a better place to start is to keep working for the outfit you are, build up 30-40 of your own hives that you can attend to on your time off. That way you start to see all the costs, time, problems, etc that you don't often see because the boss just deals with it. After a season or two running your hives along side working who knows what your business ideas may be by then. you would have been able to learn more while keeping a paycheck coming in.

Claire, Dennis has the right idea, exactly the advice I'd give. Rent-a-Hive has very high overheads, low - medium honey crop of multi floral type honey (low value) and very time consuming having only one or two hives per property. Also most people who rent hives usually want new equipment  painted in pretty colours to suit their taste/s. 

If you build up your own hive numbers as Denis says you'll find it far more profitable and further expansion made much easier. Usually most beekeeping bosses are quite happy to know that you are taking a keen interest in the bees and if you ask nicely they may help you accommodate your hives on a couple of farms if you are having trouble finding sites. A few years back when I took up a position running a 900 hive outfit, I moved my 250 hives into the same area. This was at the bosses'  request, so it made it easier on me to keep everything in check. Hopefully your boss would be happy to follow the same line of thinking.

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On 17/07/2018 at 3:11 AM, Claire said:

Hi all, I am not even sure this will be submitted in the right area but.....I love bees and have enjoyed working for a company for 4 years now however I am after any advice on working for myself. I thought perhaps I could source hives & bees for novice townies/semi rural land owners to buy and then I could charge myself out to look after them? -afb checks, varroa treatments, split if need, honey off & extract for them....any thoughts would be grately appreciated. Thank you in advance

 

So many have adopted wrong beliefs, so I feel the need to put my two cents on the topic.
The first question that comes to mind never should be “how I can make some money?”,  but “ What is missing in this world?”
The next questions should be about like:
Does the world already needs what is missing?, or I have to create the need for it myself (costs time)
Problem + pain = money
Somebody already doing it or has been done by somebody else before? Can I learn something from his/their experience? As with anything new and profitable - the first wave gets the biggest chunk of money, the second wave gets enough to recover the expenses and have some profit (could be only a mental energy loss), the third wave…. enter the market too late
And not on the last place – what is my target group? Do I know It’s mentality? How can I speak their “language”? For your case - selling your time to people who value their money more than their time is like me trying to sell my services as a man to a prostitute – the both times so far didn’t worked out.
 

P.S

The idea itself is not crazy, just the execution;)

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It becomes a pain in the ass. I tried this and worked in with Bee'z Thingz for two seasons........ you need quite a number to make it worth your while. 

Most people are good to deal with but you end up dealing with all sorts of scenarios, such as partners who can't see the worth in what their partner is paying, issues with the amount of honey you can provide, really viable locations on given property to name a few. 

Your costs are quite high and because you only have single, double or a handful of hives per site it becomes very very time consuming. Also you are supposed to register your apiary sites and this is quite a large expense when you only have one or two hives per site. 

IMHO I would agree with Dennis who suggests you keep working where you are and build up your own hive numbers over the next couple of years. Also the current market for honey is not looking so great and as we have had a couple of poor seasons there may be more opportunities in a year or two. 

Not that I want to quash your dream. 

 

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