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Chris Schultz

Newbie wanting to short cut research set up

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No staff, no queens, no sites, no knowledge.

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No staff, no queens, no sites, no knowledge.

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I feel that this thread has gone very well for Chris so far.

It is highly unlikely that anyone here is trying to discourage him but rather just put him the picture as to the true nature of the beast.

Its likely this thread will give him all the answers he needs and some.

When you ask people to share their hard earned knowledge you must expect that they will want to add their two cents worth beyond the original scope of the question.

With due respect for the moderation team, its not until you become a Commercial Beek that you realise what a monumental step up it is from being a hobbyist.

Chris and his team are not yet even hobbyists.

So when a thread like this comes along my first instinct is to try and protect the poster from the enormity of their aspirations.

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T

 

And mootch of everybody's intellectual property. One is tempted to say, go pay a consultant. However that dont appear to be how the beekeeping industry rolls...

That sounded harsher than I meant it to.. People need to remember that for the commercial guys it is their business and they have invested a hang of a lot of time and money into IP to give it away to somebody just wanting to have a few hours work with google and a phone book...

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yea buying 50 hives off the bat is not a good idea. Your business model should be buy 5 hives, learn the ropes and expand from there. What other income do you plan on using to live off after you go full time ? don't expect to make a profit in the first 4 years as most money gets reinvested in gear. I can't see any good beeks wanting to go work for 1 year for a boss who has no idea about bee keeping most would run a mile. bee keepers are in very short demand and would not be worth there time getting you off the ground to be ditch in a years time.

 

I think you might be over thinking the business side of it the facts are if you want to start a beekeeping business with your brother then you are both going to need to get stuck in and work hard for at least 5 years before you really start to potentially make a profit and have a good system in place. basically every bee keeping business plan is very similar/simple work hard to get you hives as strong as possible, expand at your desired rate and sell honey or pollination for income. You doing the business side of it and your brother doing the work is not really going to work because being a bee keeper is 99% hard work and you brother will likely get fed up fast if you don't intend to be hands on. other than the odd phone call to order some gear or sell honey beeping is about being in the field or work shop mainly doing manual and repetitive tasks. maybe when you get to 2000 hives you could do that but not at 50 .

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How on earth did you make do on $3.00?

 

 

 

This may surprise you, but the beekeeping industry was around before the manuka boom, and honey wasn't worth much. However we did get bigger crops. I recently saw an 8 year old invoice for 10mm clover at $2.70kg. The rest of us not riding the manuka train have generally had to make do with lower honey prices and try for bigger crops. This year clover is around the $11 mark, an all time high for us non-manuka producers. That still pails compared to your average north island manuka crops.

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To be a beekeeper some have it some don't even after years of beekeeping ..

To stand in bee site get a feel for what's going to happen. I say to my staff when leaving a site did you see whats flowering answer no .I call it reading the flow .Look at a hive and say something wrong others say it's fine .guess what it's queen less or drone layer .More to beekeeping that putting boxes on and off and getting paid.

It's something inside you that makes you great beekeeper

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This thread shines a revealing light on the nature of a beekeeping 'business' though, but not in a good way. It's not unusual nowadays to have to go a long way down the food-chain before you get to someone who handles the goods, and they normally know nothing about 'the business' itself. For a contemporary example of convoluted business arrangements, Dick Smith.

In the last few years I have come across a couple of beekeeping undertakings that were simply bought like franchises, the owners run the business and employ (foreign) managers. It never really surprised me, as most of the beekeepers I've met are crap at 'business'.

 

The beekeeping industry is not all about bees.

 

One more thing. The thread also shows what meaningless drivel the rating icons have become in their current form. I think I'll just forget about them altogether.

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He's NOT the beekeeping end, he's the business end of the team.

you can't do costings if you don't know what beekeeping your going be.

for example how many trips are you going to do per year per site. important if they are far away sites. how many trips is directly related to the style of beekeeping.

how do you estimate income when it directly related to the quality of beekeeping.

 

again, i know people don't want to hear it, starting small and building up teaches all of that.

 

 

as most of the beekeepers I've met are crap at 'business'.

 

The beekeeping industry is not all about bees.

true. problem i had years ago is a lot of tradesman may be good at the work but fail because they are no good at the business side of it.

 

however with bees, bee products are in good demand and fetching good prices. its a sellers market.

the business side is not as difficult as it used to be.

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the business side is not as difficult as it used to be.

Funny, someone else recently told me it was worse, labour legislation, H&S and compliance were driving him out.

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It is a changing world and this industry is no different. Expect to see the money men take on skilled share partners. The dairy industry evolved with the share system and this industry could easily do similar. It is always hard for the old guard to accept some young buck can get financial backing to go with his/ her skills.

@Chris Schultz you may well find it worth exploring a share arrangement with some young cash strapped capable beek, design the business model around the skills required. Do not underestimate the value of those skills and marry them with your business model. You maybe the new face of bee keeping.

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I think you will find that the large businesses that separate "business" from "bees" are particularly inefficient.

Why?

 

 

share arrangement with some young cash strapped capable beek, design the business model around the skills required

Yup, that's thinking about business.

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Why?

 

Because the management don't know where the money needs to be spent, and make cost effective decisions that adversely effect the beekeeping side of the business, while looking good on the books. Unskilled, cheap staff for example.

 

Also, don't get me wrong. I didn't say they were bad operators, just that their efficiency rate suffers the more top heavy they are.

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Having a beekeeping business that works better that average you need

1 beekeeper with lots experience above average results

2 great sites

3right weather

4 great financial control

5 drive

If you missing any above you fail

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Funny, someone else recently told me it was worse, labour legislation, H&S and compliance were driving him out.

if thats driving him out then hes not running a profitable business.

 

 

How on earth did you make do on $3.00?

that was actually a good price !

 

 

Instead we got a minor point about my "no risk" comment of renting out sites,

sorry to come back to this so late.

the point about "no risk" is risk management is part of business model and budgets.

if you don't know what the risks are you can't prepare for them.

hence the dig at the "no risk" comment.

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sorry to come back to this so late.

the point about "no risk" is risk management is part of business model and budgets.

if you don't know what the risks are you can't prepare for them.

hence the dig at the "no risk" comment.

 

It's a good point, it was really more a tongue and cheek comment, i.e. renting manuka sites is virtually "no risk" compared to starting a large beekeeping company from scratch with no experience. There is certainly the risk of not getting paid, and the tenant setting up shop the following season over the fence, etc. even if you rent to one of the big boys.

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@Chris Schultz I have recently moved to the Far North to keep bees and are increasing our hives over time. It seems quite ambitious of you to think of jumping into 50 or 100 hives in one go especially as you aren't familiar with the industry. We are up to 30 hives and have spent approx $25K so far (over a few years not including vehicle) but when we brought our fist few hives they were a fraction of the price they are now. Buying queens (or making them) and splitting your hives over time makes good business sense financially. We also brought all our boxes and frames as kits and make them ourselves which is quite time consuming. You also need to factor in the weather, up here they had a big storm a year or so back which wiped out the Manuka flowers so there was nothing for the bees, so no return on investment, but the bees still needed to be feed which is another cost to factor in. I know of people who have lost many hives to AFB which is literally just seeing your money go up in smoke, and even if you employ someone, no one will love your bees like you do so I would encourage you to be hands on. By the way I react really badly to bee stings but have never been stung working with them, but I'm always fully suited.

It's a wonderful thing keeping bees, mine are all called Honey, and it really is more than just about chasing the dollar. I hope your venture goes well and you keep in touch with us here so we can see your progress, we may all be able to learn from your new experiences.

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It is a changing world and this industry is no different. Expect to see the money men take on skilled share partners. The dairy industry evolved with the share system and this industry could easily do similar. It is always hard for the old guard to accept some young buck can get financial backing to go with his/ her skills.

@Chris Schultz you may well find it worth exploring a share arrangement with some young cash strapped capable beek, design the business model around the skills required. Do not underestimate the value of those skills and marry them with your business model. You maybe the new face of bee keeping.

I've given this idea some thought over time.

One difference between the Bee business and the Dairy business is that a farmer can, at any time for any reason pick up a phone and get high quality support, be it from the bank, Fonterra, Federated farmers, Balance fertilizers, various herbicide and insecticide suppliers, pastoral consultants, Vets and other witch doctors.

By comparison, beekeepers are on their own and so are required to be much more self reliant than a Dairy farmer.

In conclusion Id say that Beekeepers are in a league of there own, well above the average diary farmer.

Id qualify this by saying that if you took 100 people off the street and in 12 months trained 50 of them to be beeks and 50 to be Dairy farmers, the trainee beeks would have the highest failure rate.

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The best way to start out is to work for a commercial guy for a year or two and keep ya money in th

 

I've given this idea some thought over time.

One difference between the Bee business and the Dairy business is that a farmer can, at any time for any reason pick up a phone and get high quality support, be it from the bank, Fonterra, Federated farmers, Balance fertilizers, various herbicide and insecticide suppliers, pastoral consultants, Vets and other witch doctors.

By comparison, beekeepers are on their own and so are required to be much more self reliant than a Dairy farmer.

In conclusion Id say that Beekeepers are in a league of there own, well above the average diary farmer.

Id qualify this by saying that if you took 100 people off the street and in 12 months trained 50 of them to be beeks and 50 to be Dairy farmers, the trainee beeks would have the highest failure rate.

For a while now i have kind of thought for the most part you are either a beek or not...

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I've given this idea some thought over time.

One difference between the Bee business and the Dairy business is that a farmer can, at any time for any reason pick up a phone and get high quality support, be it from the bank, Fonterra, Federated farmers, Balance fertilizers, various herbicide and insecticide suppliers, pastoral consultants, Vets and other witch doctors.

By comparison, beekeepers are on their own and so are required to be much more self reliant than a Dairy farmer.

In conclusion Id say that Beekeepers are in a league of there own, well above the average diary farmer.

Id qualify this by saying that if you took 100 people off the street and in 12 months trained 50 of them to be beeks and 50 to be Dairy farmers, the trainee beeks would have the highest failure rate.

 

Been both and totally disagree.

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I'm in the planning stages of developing a commercial operation and starting with the development of a business plan. I'd be grateful for some advice and assistance so I don't flounder around on the internet and make mistakes that other people have made!

So, we have a master beekeeper, a respected contributor to the industry's well being, do just that:

 

alot of us are just fedup with the BS in this industry right now, its sickening to see complete idiots who have no clue running around wanting to " become commercial beekeepers"

They dont want to be commercial beekeepers they want to be honey producers in particular " manuka" honey producers.

Sure, it was a direct, in your face, reply; but it went to the core of the issue: integrity. The "Negative reputation" rating given to frazzlefozzle is totally unwarranted. Listen up to her.

 

How can you put together a business plan when you dont inderstand what you are talking about?

 

You want to know the price of swarms?

You want to know the best hive software app?

You want to know the fair price of a super4 hive?

Really?

 

I'm the business brains,

It reminds me of http://www.angeles-hill.com/peter-cook-and-dudley-moore-the-music-teacher

The skit's premise is that one can buy integrity, and learn to play the piano by numbers.

 

I know a new beek who 11 months ago bought 50 hives, and he was going to split them a couple of times before autumn. He's still got his 50 hives, and he's harvesting by the scrape and strain method. So it's been a success. So was Claude Stratford New Zealand entrepreneur: Comvita's Claude Stratford - Tourism New Zealand Media

Best hive management:

Hivetool

----------------------------------------------------

Mirrors on the hive mats

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The best way to get a fast handle on the industry is to go work for a top gun beek for a few years. I wish I had lol (and i may still do :-))

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It does pay to read what you link @Shem : Claude worked with bees since age 11, but founded Comvita when he was 64: He had an understanding for bees:

 

..."Stratford’s fascination with bees started early and, by age 11, he had left school to become a commercial beekeeper on his parents’ property near Picton, at the tip of the South Island - taking the ferry across Cook Strait to Wellington each day to sell his honey on the condition that he was home for dinner"....

 

However, I do think that it is never too late to chase a dream, but do it right, no shortcutting, especially if your investment is going to be hefty, better make sure that you are cut out for the job.... Starting small is not bad, and there is no pride or money lost if it doesn't work out... My 2 cents.

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It does pay to read what you link @Shem : Claude worked with bees since age 11, but founded Comvita when he was 64: He had an understanding for bees:

Yes, that's the point. Not only understanding, but love also.

--------------------------

Mirrors on the hive mats

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Claude Stratford was a beekeeper in a time when you had to have a love of bees and beekeeping because making a living from them was hard and not many could do it full time without some outside work to top things up in the quiet times.

 

The difference between starting up now is ALOT of new beekeepers are not doing it because of any interest in bees its solely to get into the "manuka" honey market.

 

Unless you are a commercial beekeeper of hobbyist who has been directly impacted by these type of people you wont understand what a detrimental impact they are having on our bees and our businesses.

 

One of the biggest concerns we face as beekeepers is the fall out if this "manuka" bubble bursts.

.

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