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chipsandwich

How Much Should I Be Paid? 10+ Seasons Experience

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This year I am helping my father out beekeeping, I have at least 10 seasons under my belt helping out during high school and uni holidays etc. I don't want to bleed him dry but, I also want a fair wage.

 

I can do everything general beekeeping requires independently and have management experience from another industry.  In the peak season I will be out in the field working with and directing less experienced staff, I'll also be involved in the day to day management of the business.

 

What would be a good ballpark figure to start at? I was thinking in the mid 20s range - is this fair?

Edited by chipsandwich

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tough one as most beeks are probably under gag clauses not to talk about pay rates.

 

first thing to clear up is the experience.

10 years of helping out in the holidays accounts for very little beekeeping wise. to me thats beginner level and you certainly would not be directing anyone.

understanding and doing full seasons is what counts beekeeping wise and that impacts pay rates.

 

what size business is it?

 

one of the things i have seen, and dealt with, is family only employ family because they can't afford to pay for anyone else.

thats often the case when the business is failing. so please makes sure your eyes are wide open before going in as there is quite a few failing at the moment.

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You can’t just invent a salary and that’s it. It actually needs to be fair and realistic and based , not only on experience, but also hours worked .

 

I’m going to put it out there that beekeeping is like any other job. In this day and age you’ll need to keep your hours, have them checked and signed off, and be rewarded at at least the minimum wage . You’ll also need a contract .

 

 

Edited by M4tt
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Most seasons I worked early October to mid February and have done 2 full seasons. I also grew up being taught everything my father does as he was learning at the same time. We have about 1200 hives, i'll be in charge of people mainly during the harvest so, not difficult to tell them where to carry boxes etc. They're also young guys on their university breaks only employed for the harvest.

 

Me coming back to help out is more of a favour for me as i'm keen to move back to where I grew up and work outside an office for a little while - I understand the business is hurting the same as everyone else and last years low grade crop is still in the shed, but, If I wasn't employed someone else would have to be at a similar rate to me anyway and there is no way they'll be as invested in the future of the company as me. 

 

I am competent (albeit a bit rusty with somethings) with:

- woodworking

- disease recognition and management

- queen raising

- harvesting

- splitting

- general hive management 

- day to day apiary selection for efficiency 

 

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My eldest boy leaves school this year. We've talked of providing some preliminary job experience for him ..... but he really needs to get out and not work for his father .... as sometimes politeness falls by the wayside!

Having said that , he can lift a bee box, drive the truck , fix a lot of stuff and only drinks ginger beer.

He'll start on minimum wage and have to provide his own vehicle. 

I am prepared to talk finance terms on that.

 

Chipsandwich ..... you might get a lot of 'mana' form your old man if you offered to take a lower wage and negotiate a productivity bonus. A percentage of the crop.

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1 minute ago, M4tt said:

You can’t just invent a salary and that’s it. It actually needs to be fair and realistic and based , not only on experience, but also hours worked .

 

I’m going to put it out there that beekeeping is like any other job. In this day and age you’ll need to keep your hours, have them checked and signed off, and be rewarded at at least the minimum wage . You’ll also need a contract .

 

 

 

Obviously It will all be through the books and i'll be treated the same as any other employee. My father doesn't want to low ball me and I don't want to ask for something which isn't sustainable for him. He said it's investing in my future so he wants to pay well, but I understand times are tough hence me posting here for some guidance.

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Just now, chipsandwich said:

 

Obviously It will all be through the books and i'll be treated the same as any other employee. My father doesn't want to low ball me and I don't want to ask for something which isn't sustainable for him. He said it's investing in my future so he wants to pay well, but I understand times are tough hence me posting here for some guidance.

Yep all good .

Its a tough question under the current circumstances .

Have a sensible conversation around the table about everyone’s expectations and requirements , if possible 

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1 hour ago, chipsandwich said:

This year I am helping my father out beekeeping, I have at least 10 seasons under my belt helping out during high school and uni holidays etc. I don't want to bleed him dry but, I also want a fair wage.

 

I can do everything general beekeeping requires independently and have management experience from another industry.  In the peak season I will be out in the field working with and directing less experienced staff, I'll also be involved in the day to day management of the business.

 

What would be a good ballpark figure to start at? I was thinking in the mid 20s range - is this fair?

Will you be full time in the field?

Be a team leader, manage spring staff. 

Be self directed, or bd told shat to do. 

Know where all the bee sites are? 

Know what happens when? 

 

Do all the queen raising? 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, chipsandwich said:

Most seasons I worked early October to mid February and have done 2 full seasons.

that sounds a lot better.

 

9 minutes ago, chipsandwich said:

We have about 1200 hives

that would mean you also have other beekeepers on staff. the easy way to be a bit below them until your up to full speed.

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1 minute ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Will you be full time in the field?

Be a team leader, manage spring staff. 

Be self directed, or bd told shat to do. 

Know where all the bee sites are? 

Know what happens when? 

 

Do all the queen raising? 

 

 

 

I should've clarified, I will be a full time team leader in the field. I will be semi-self sufficient, just have to run any funky ideas past the old fella. He won't have to give me any direction in terms of the actual beekeeping. Not sure on the queen raising situation this year.

6 minutes ago, tristan said:

that sounds a lot better.

 

that would mean you also have other beekeepers on staff. the easy way to be a bit below them until your up to full speed.

 

I have worked with the other staff in the past and they're more than happy to take a backseat, not the leading type. I have been a team leader in planting crews and in a management role in the minerals industry. So it's not like i'm the young bosses son coming in and screwing up the whole dynamic.  We will be downsizing quite a bit this year and the other staff know and have known for a while that this might be the last season for them

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Interesting times , eh .

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Beekeeping is hot hard work I wouldn’t do it for less than $25 hour and if I was in charge it would need to be minimum $30 hour with a vehicle thrown in :) 

having said that it would also depend on the type of honey harvested if on high active Manuka honey the ability to pay a good wage  is easier than if the crop is a multi or low active mono Manuka . 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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55 minutes ago, chipsandwich said:

I have worked with the other staff in the past and they're more than happy to take a backseat, not the leading type. I have been a team leader in planting crews and in a management role in the minerals industry. So it's not like i'm the young bosses son coming in and screwing up the whole dynamic.  We will be downsizing quite a bit this year and the other staff know and have known for a while that this might be the last season for them

 

that sounds weird.

i would not have a lesser experienced beek run staff that are more experienced. its a real pita dealing with bosses who are lesser beeks.

staff may not take kindly to having a lesser beek getting paid more than they do.

you can't expect to a rookie beek to take top pay and tell everyone what to do. that never ends well. 

 

i would be keeping your head beek, working under them and getting paid accordingly.

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One of our head beekeepers was on 96 k pa. 

Guys with two years experience on a little over 60k

 

The Boss made a lot less than that !  

 

 

There ya go.

Edited by jamesc
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14 minutes ago, tristan said:

 

that sounds weird.

i would not have a lesser experienced beek run staff that are more experienced. its a real pita dealing with bosses who are lesser beeks.

staff may not take kindly to having a lesser beek getting paid more than they do.

you can't expect to a rookie beek to take top pay and tell everyone what to do. that never ends well. 

 

i would be keeping your head beek, working under them and getting paid accordingly.

 

Older guy who's done his time and doesn't mind the reduced duties, I will be paid less than him, he is very easy to work with and occasionally provides guidance. More qualified than me and my father combined. The other staff are part-time and generally only come in for the harvest. 

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43 minutes ago, jamesc said:

One of our head beekeepers was on 96 k pa. 

Guys with two years experience on a little over 60k

 

The Boss made a lot less than that !  

 

 

There ya go.

Can I come work for you?

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Hate to say this but when I was young I would have worked those 1200 hives by myself. Working for family has advantages and disadvantages.  There were times when I worked for half pay but I also knew some beekeepers that weren't paid at all when times were really tough. I like the idea of a living wage plus a percentage of profits but with beekeeping the way it is at the moment I wouldn't hold your breath about profits.

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2 minutes ago, john berry said:

Hate to say this but when I was young I would have worked those 1200 hives by myself

I hate to remind you but that was before varroa, DWV, Cororapa etc

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@chipsandwich, it's a really tricky question! If you are a single bloke, accommodation and a feed comes with the job maybe? The vehicle and gear belongs to the business? Full use of a vehicle too.

If the above is the picture 20's would be selling yourself short I reckon. If the business can stand it a salary of 34-38 first season (based on 12 months, off months not paid)would be a 'family deal' and just work your heart out in fairness to the family, no over time, no extra's, just hard work. Do it like it is all your own.

You could do a lot better somewhere else but it wouldn't be family with all that may come with that.

I would think that it would need a major review for the next season if it all goes well.

I don't think many here would work for that even but if the lifestyle suits and you don't really need the money for partner/kids/mortgage...why not?

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How to set pay rates is tricky.

 

There are guys working as beekeepers who know very little, and there are guys who can confidently deal with any situation they come across, ie, laying worker hives, recognise ill health and fix it, all that stuff. Then there are physically fit, and less physically fit, this will affect daily work output.

 

In my view, beekeeping is not only physically tough, but highly skilled. A reasonably skilled beekeeper is in my view worth not less than $36 per hour. BUT - in the current economic environment, that's mostly just not going to happen, most businesses can't afford it.

 

Right now Chipsandwich, assuming the business has the money, you are worth $21 an hour, that is if you put your heart and soul into it. With potential for a good pay rise next season depending how much value you produced this season. IE, how much money was produced as a direct consequence of your input, that would not otherwise have been produced.

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I am physically fit and can deal with almost any situation I come across. I grew up with the bees so I am calm and confident around them and know what to look for. This isn't my first rodeo, I got paid $21 in high school... doesn't The Warehouse pay $21 for people to push trolleys?

 

I'm not looking to get rich here and I know times aren't what they used to be, i'm trying to find a happy medium with my father where we both win. I gain nothing by demanding high pay, in fact i'm happy to be on the lower end of the pay scale . Of course I'm going to put my heart and soul into it, it's a family business i'm directly invested in it. 

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$21 x 8hrs= $168 x 5days = $840 x 50wks = $42000

Not too foul for the first season......

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, chipsandwich said:

 doesn't The Warehouse pay $21 for people to push trolleys?

 

No.

 

I base that on a young man I know, very physically fit, ran his own 20 to 30 hives successfully for 3 years, then went and did 2 seasons working full time for a corporate. Came and helped me the odd day, a good beekeeper. 

 

His second season he was paid $21 per hour.

 

He felt he was underpaid, but was competing with imported overseas beekeepers that he was working with. So has now quit and back running his own hives which he has increrased in numbers, and intends to build into a business.

 

The other reason for the lower than you might think pay rate, is many businesses just cannot pay bigger rates any more. 

 

However if you can negotiate a higher wage, good for you.

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I think rate of pay will depend on what honey your Dad gets.

If he’s on high active Manuka honey his ability to pay a good wage will be much greater than if he’s on regular Manuka or other low value honey .

Really it’s the advent of Manuka honey and corresponding high prices that have given rise to paid staff.

hiring more than one staff member pre Manuka was very rare and mostly done by the few big players back in the day. 

 

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12 hours ago, tristan said:

 

that sounds weird.

i would not have a lesser experienced beek run staff that are more experienced. its a real pita dealing with bosses who are lesser beeks.

staff may not take kindly to having a lesser beek getting paid more than they do.

you can't expect to a rookie beek to take top pay and tell everyone what to do. that never ends well. 

 

i would be keeping your head beek, working under them and getting paid accordingly.

Agree and disagree. 

You can have a great beekeeper, who doesn't,- want responsibility, provide insightful direction, work well with others, work fast, record, plan or feedback and train. 

It's beyond bees. 

Start at 25+. But plan for increases. 

You have a more responsibile position too, as it's your family at stake. 

 

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