Hive Share Program?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Providence Hill Farm, May 12, 2010.

  1. Providence Hill Farm

    Providence Hill Farm New Member

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    We have wanted to get into beekeeping for a long time but didn't know how to get started. Recently we met a beekeeper who has had bees his whole life and he has become our beekeeping mentor. He brought over a few hives last month and set them up in our orchard. The original plan was that he would be tending the bees with us until we knew what to do then we would take over.

    He stopped by today and proposed that, if we weren't concerned with owning our own hives, we come up with some kind of a share program. He would retain ownership of the hives and incur all of the expenses and we would market the honey. He said that he would provide us with bee suits and we could still be actively involved with working the hives. Apparently, this plan involves moving a lot more hives to our property.

    Are you familiar with how something like this would work financially for both parties? What are the advantages and disadvantages to a situation like this? Would we need a contract? Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Welcome to the forum!!

    Souns like a win-win situation to me if you are not wanting to have bees yourself and have an outlet to sell honey.

    How big of a place do you have and how many hives is he going to bring in?? Do you have some place out of the way to put them?

    Would not hurt to get a few things in writing up front just to keep things in perspective. What would be your take of the honey crop besides pollenation?

    The advantages would be....
    no investment in the bees or equipment
    pollination for your orchard
    still get to play in the bees when and if you want to

    The disadvantageswould be....
    having to market someone elses honey (takes time, does he want you to go to farmers markets?)
    partnering with someone (it takes a good relationship to have a partnership)
    someone coming onto your property anytime they want to inspect their bees

    Just a few things to think about. Like my dad always told me "It takes a willing buyer and a willing seller to make a good deal".

    Good luck with it and let us know how it works out.

    G3
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Devil's advocate here.... I see trouble brewing. Stick with your original plan. Work your hives and let him work his. Offer him space to put some of his hives, with no strings attached, if you want. Even offer to sell some of his honey on a percentage, if you wish.

    DO NOT form a partnership, either written or oral. There will be instances not covered in the agreement and there will be discord.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just as a general reference where are you located in Kansas... east, west, central?

    it is likely a good idea first to get some idea of what a 'lot more hives' means? a lot of hives can equate to a huge labor requirement to remove and extract the honey.

    what was wrong with you and 'your mentors' original deal?

    I would not minimize the value of what some beekeepers know and most especially what they know of a local habitat relative to beekeeping.
     
  5. Providence Hill Farm

    Providence Hill Farm New Member

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    I am in the North East corner of Kansas.

    For the 'mentoring' I gave him a 2 for 1 deal on a couple of goat kids. He originally said we could keep half of the honey from the 3 hives at our place and I was very happy with that. His issue is that he likes to produce honey and tend bees but he has no interest in marketing at all. From what he said it sounds like most of his honey from previous harvests has gone to waste. I am very good at marketing my farm products and have a successful goat milk soap and lotion business. I think he just thought that I could add honey and value added honey products to what I already sell and we'd both profit. I really didn't plan on large scale honey production...
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    >>>I really didn't plan on large scale honey production...<<<

    Maybe the beekeeper is planning on this and is planning on you doing the selling. From the looks of your website (very nice I might add) you have a nice business of selling soaps and lotions, and the beekeeper is thinking of taking advantage of it to move the honey. As you know moving the product is the hard part.

    If I was going to do this I would only sale the honey on a consignment basis, any honey that did not move would still be the property of the beek and any honey that sold you would get a percentage of.

    Could turn out to be a good thing and then again you could end up not friends anymore. I did a partnership with two other guys that ended bad. It all came down to who was doing more work than the other and a trust issue over the money.

    Good luck with it and I hope it will work out for both parties.

    G3
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Anytime money is involved i find you need a guideline (contract), beekeeping is not cheap and requires more labor than most people think and another thing, Just for example (not that you would) if you sprayed your orchard with some chemical and killed the bees, or some neighbor did and you got the blame? ( what then?). If you can work out an agreement i'm sure you could sell all the honey you produce.My wife and i went to the farmers market to sell strawberries yesterday afternoon, and people all around know i sell honey ( i've been sold out since last Nov.) and there must of been fifty people ask when i would have honey :thumbsup: . Can you believe they were selling strawberries for $3.00 a pint and quarts for $4.50 :confused: , we were going to sell ours for $3.50 a quart but had to sell ours at their price,( to keep peace) sold most of them but brought 18 quarts back home :roll: . Jack
     
  8. Providence Hill Farm

    Providence Hill Farm New Member

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    No worries about us spraying our land has been all organic for over 20 years. Plus I have a lot of common sense :D I would ask him even if we ever needed to spray anything even if it is organic. Since I also raise livestock and was looking into working the bees myself, I know there is a lot of expense involved. I want to help him market his honey I just know how much time and money that involves as well.

    You are right G3 either wholesale pricing or, if he wants to incur the time and expense of packaging, I could sell it on consignment. Either way it solves the problem of being business partners. Thank you so much!!

    Next question, what is a fair wholesale price range for bulk honey? I asked him the other day but he had no idea and said I should ask around. I don't think he wants to package anything plus I want to learn to make creamed honey and other value added honey products so bulk pricing would probably be best.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    so you are somewhat north of Kansas City. my beekeepers minds eye (utilizing a very dated memory chip) seem to tell me you are also in an excellent bee pasture area. not so far west and to get excessively dry, lots of seed type crops, mixed farmland use and some proximity to market???

    Sioux City, Iowa (and the home of Sue Bee) is somewhat north and east of you????

    the American Bee Journal has an ongoing article that gives you a fairly accurate picture of both wholesale and retail honey prices on a regional bases... case, barrel, pound or whatever.

    these prices may or may not work for you. If you have a bent for marketing they may well not even apply.

    the creamed honey is a nice niche I suspect. lot of possibilities there.

    Like Jack I sell my product via the local farmer's market and I have been sold out since October. There is a lot of difference $$$ between selling honey in small volume and in bulk. at some size of operation small volume sales will just not fly any longer.

    your last paragraph did not add to my confidence in your mentor. most folks that deal in honey by the barrel have a pretty good idea of what it brings by the pound.
     
  10. Providence Hill Farm

    Providence Hill Farm New Member

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    Yes, I believe I am in a very good area for bees. The first honey flow here is from the Honey Locust and I have two wooded acres with a lot of Honey Locusts mixed in.

    I confess I am somewhat concerned myself that this bee keeper has not been forthcoming with any money figures. He just says 'we can work something out'. He didn't give me any clue as to what his goal is, just kept telling me all the things I could sell. I was also a little disheartened that he discouraged us from getting our own hives. So now, instead of adding to our farm I need to think of adding to our business and that doesn't sound nearly as fun...
     
  11. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    I'll do a repete of my original post on this subject.A bee keeping friend on mine has worked out a deal with a local produce market. He sells them honey at $1.75 a pound, in the containers they want most, 1 pound, 5 pounds and such. They in turn sell it for what the market will bear, $4.50 a pound last time I stoped in last fall. They buy a cople thousand pounds a year mostly in 1 pound jars with his label on them. He doesn't have hives there though.

    If your bee keeper doesn't like the marketing then some thing like that may work out for you. sounds as if that is what he is offering jst the money slipt is the problem.

    You will have to work out your own idea what you will pay for capping wax for the lotions and stuff.
    I charge $5.00 a pound for mine and usally sell out with in hours of putting it on the market.


    :mrgreen: Al
     
  12. Providence Hill Farm

    Providence Hill Farm New Member

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    I did have your figures in mind, I was just wondering about pricing without packaging too. In the end he has to have a figure in mind that would make it worth it to him, he just needs to figure it out and tell me. The other thing is, I asked him approximately how much honey he expected to harvest, are we talking 5 gallons or 50 gallons, and all he would say was that every year was different so there was no way to know.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    If you have the resources and more importantly the time then buying hives is not such a huge problem. getting good stock at an acceptable price is something else mind you.

    since you seem to have something of an 'organic' bent, you might also want to establish what that means legally in regards to honey products. if organic is really an important quality you might also want to establish if your mentor and his bees are even close to the organic standard. there is a good possibility that they are not.

    your last sentence (ie his statement of # of product) is generally true everywhere. there are just too many variable to work with although there are crops (typically clovers and oil seed) that are somewhat reliable.