On Selling Nucs

Discussion in 'Products of the Hive' started by sqkcrk, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I know guys that only sell nucs in lots of 100. This is for us who sell one or two or 50 at a time.

    when someone wants a nuc or two, how do you handle things? Do you tell them to come and pick the one they want or do you pick out what you think is a good nuc and sell that to them?

    I'm a slow learner. I don't ever plan on picking out someone elses nuc for them. That has mostly been my policy. There they are. Pick out the one you want.

    But, a "friend" couldn't get here early enuf, so he asked me to have two nucs ready for him when he got here, kinda late to be evaluating nucs. So I did. Two good, queen right nucs w/ five frames of bees and brood. Mostly brood, not much honey. $80.00 each.

    We transfered them into his boxes and he was on his way.

    So, last night, a month later, he calls me telling me that those nucs that I sold him are crap. That they are both drone layers. That I must have sold him nucs w/out queens in them. And that another guy who I sold nucs to said that his swarmed on him soon after getting it home.

    a. No more picking out nucs for beekeepers.
    b. There they are pick out the one you want. If it isn't good one month later I'm not responsible.
    c. 2011 nucs will be $100.00 each. $120.00 for special customers.

    At $80.00 each, I don't care if I sell any or not. I can make $80.00 from that nuc by putting it in my own equipment and not have the high blood pressure, sleeplessness and headache.

    Thanks for letting me vent.
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Did your "friend" look through the nuc before he bought it, frame by frame?

    For the "special customer" I would insist that they look through them with me to see the brood pattern and the queen.

    For all you know he could have rolled the queen doing his daily new beek inspections. I don't doubt you sold him a good strong nuc, the question is how did he manage it after leaving your yard. Do you give any instructions on what to do next with the nuc? Like the one that swarmed, did he know that he needed to expand their brood nest in short order (especially if feeding very heavily)(if he would have done an inspection on it at the time of purchase there might have been queen cells)?

    I would tell them to just pick one out and if they wanted to go through it do so. Those who are buying 50 to 100 nucs at a time know what to expect and do next.

    $80 for a strong spring nuc is a fair price, that is just $16 per frame.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I go through a hive with the customer and confirm all is well, then pull the queen and 5 frames and install in their box. 80 dollars is too cheap. 80 plus 20 for the queen would be much more to the market of today. Then they have seen the queen and the brood pattern, along with anything else they may want to confirm.
     
  4. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I guess I didn't hit the submit button the first time. oops.

    He didn't exactly look through the nuc, it was kinda late in the day, he was in a hurry and there wasn't alot of light anyway. I had checked them earlier in the day.

    That's all I can figure. He rolled the queen while transfering it from my equipment into his and then transfering it again into full sized equipment some time later, who knows when. Or maybe he just stuck the nucs into his equipment, didn't pay them enuf attention, they swarmed when he didn't notice and didn't get laying queens going, for some reason.

    I give advice when asked for it. I'll take the initiative if I think that perhaps the buyer is a novice beekeeper or a newbee. But often people don't care for advice that isn't asked for.

    Education is expensive. I went to college for my intro to beekeeping as a profession. Others learn it other ways. So, no matter where you learn your beekeeping, it's going to cost you. And part of thatexpense is buying nucs and learning how to handle them. And if you don't ask, you are going to get taught anyway. Even if you don't learn.

    I din't have the time to babysit each customer, but I am glad to talk w/ them about any problem they might have and I'll even go look at their hives w/ them, if they want me to and I have the time.

    I offered the guy two more nucs. I told him if he wanted two more to come get them. He didn't say that he would. I asked him over and over what he expected to me to do about his bees. He just kept saying that I sold him crap.

    I got so angry that I put a refund to him in the mailbox this morning.

    At least he called me. I don't know who else he has complained to about his bees, but if he has complained to others I will hear about it. I can't wait for him to come around next year for more bees.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Don't take what I said to be offensive towards you, it was not meant to be. Some people just do not know what to expect from or do with a box of bugs.

    As posted by someone else they require them to have read some kind of bee book before buying a nuc or hive and then have them sign some kind of release form, which is a pretty good idea.
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    was the guy buying the nucs a newbee. I have found I have more trouble selling nucs to newbees. Especially the ones who didnt study up on the bees before they got them. I tell my nuc customers that If they have any questions or need help call me. I have had a few that just wouldnt listen then blamed me when things went south. I hear you on it getting your blood pressure out of wack. I quit selling nucs last year was the last for me. I will still sell some to people I know but dont want the headache for the money
     
  7. Monie

    Monie New Member

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    No matter what kind of business/service you run, you will ALWAYS have a few unhappy customers. They will be the thorn in your side and they will drive you batty if you let them. These people have the I'm "looking for something for nothing" attitude. They moan and complain and try to brow beat you into giving them a freebie. An example: a couple of years ago, a customer came back with her vacuum and wanted to exchange it. She wanted the newer model. When asked when she purchased the vacuum, she said, "Two years ago." She wanted to do a straight swap of her old, beat up vacuum for a new one, and just couldn't understand why we said no. She talked to the store manager, who also told her no. She chewed his butt up one side and down the other. So, you see, crazy, freebie obsessed people are not exlusive to beekeeping. For all you know, those hives could be perfectly fine, and now this guy has his money to boot. I think you'll need to set some clear guidelines for your service. In addition to letting them choose their own nucs, call or email them after they get home to verify that everything is ok. If not then you can take care of it. It's just good business.
     
  8. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    You were offensive? I didn't notice. I didn't mean for my reply to come across that way.

    Tone is so hard to gauge in text messages.

    No offence noticed or taken.
     
  9. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    No, but I do consider him a novice. I don't know why he has such poor luck w/ bees. Some people just can't keep bees, I guess.

    Maybe he was just too busy to pay enuf attention to them. It took him a month to notice he had problems?

    Maybe, since I sent him his money back, I should ask for the bees back? I don't really think I will. Mostly, w/ complaining like his, I don't want to have any more to do w/ him. He seems kinda, how do you spell it, skitzoid (that's how it aught to be spelled, though i know it isn't). Like a cute and sweet rattle snake.
     
  10. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    There's a beek near me who sells several hundred nucs every spring. Prior to sale, every one of them is inspected by the State Apiary inspector to verify they are healthy and have a laying queen. I've bought bees, queens, & equipment from him for years - no complaints.
    BUT...
    On a local beekeeping email list, every spring there are a few folks who complain that the nucs they got were crap, were queenless, had lousy queens, etc. So, it seems to go with the territory. Monie's right - you'll always have a few unhappy customers.

    And I agree with Iddee - $80 is too cheap.
     
  11. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I agree. And there are always those who are just looking to shoot someone else down. When they aught to be asking themselves, and me perhaps, what did they do wrong. Instead of impuning my integrity and knowledge.

    I know I can make $80.00 or more off of a nuc if I put it in my own equipment, so what should I be charging? $100.00 each or $120.00? How many do you want at those prices?

    Thanks y'all.
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    "How many do you want at those prices?"

    If you want to deliver to NC in the spring, I should be able to get you orders for 150 or more at 100.00 each. Just let me know.
     
  13. brendantm130

    brendantm130 New Member

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    I purchased two nucs this year for $116 each. They are locally bread, and seem to be the going rate +/-. So I say charge more, you'll get it.
     
  14. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    the more you charge the better there going to like the bees. Kind of a feather in there cap. Reminds me of several years ago when my cousin owned a full service gas station ( that should put a date to it) a salesman came in and asked if he wanted to sell something I dont remember even what it was. He agreed bought a display and put them on the counter for 99 cents ea. The salesman came back a month later to see if he wanted more. My cousin hadnt sold any of the stock. The guy looked at the display and said he was to cheap. People thought they was junk at that price. The salesman suggested he go to $2.99. He did and couldnt keep them in stock. :D
     
  15. Monie

    Monie New Member

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    That's a good point riverrat. I sold my nucs this year for $90. Next year I'll bump it up $10. I'll add that they were mediums. Next year, I'll offer both. Mediums for $100 and deeps for $115. I'm hoping to get some preorders to get a feel for how many I'll need. I certianly don't want to run short, again. I probably will though. (*~*) I followed up on all my sales. Only one guy had an issue. I offered to send him a new queen, even though I'm not sure what happened to the old one. To me, it's worth it, to provide good customer service. To that end, instead of using the cardboard boxes, I use wooden. It costs about as much to make a wooden nuc than it does to pay for the cardboard with shipping.
     
  16. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Thanks for the good advice and input. I'll take all of these into consideration.

    Iddee, I'll think seriously about that idea. It would take some planning, I'm sure. :) what's your broker's fee? :)
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my bro Iddee's snip...
    80 dollars is too cheap. 80 plus 20 for the queen would be much more to the market of today.

    tecumseh:
    sometimes information is priceless (<likely an oxymoronic statement in regards to the above snip).... oui?

    mark writes:
    We transfered them into his boxes and he was on his way.

    tecumseh:
    I do it both ways somewhat depending on what the customer wants but really prefer to do the transfer with the customer present. I don't mind giving the new bee keeper the 'free' lesson and if they have any objections they should state EXACTLY what their objections are at that time and not later on when the tending of the hive/nuc is beyond my control.

    I do like for the nucs that leave here for the queen to be laying for some time so any possibility of drone laying queens can be reduced to some minimum likely hood.

    sounds like to me the fellow didn't think he needed to feed the bees from the transition from nuc to hive and has now transferred his lack of beekeeping skill/attention and quilt to you.
     
  18. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I think that's a great way to go right now. More and more beeks are moving towards using all mediums, yet most of the main suppliers of Indiana-raised bees are set up for deeps.

    That seems about right.

    You should be able to sell as many as you can produce. Folks like the Roger Graham, Dave Shenefield, Devon Howald & Danny Slabaugh, who produce hundreds of nucs every spring, are always sold out by the end of January.
     
  19. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    I have never experienced a medium depth nuc. I've never had anyone ask for one. Are they in a full size medium depth super? Or what?

    I'm thinking of creating an Adoption Application and Certificate, so each of us knows what we need to know about each other and what our rights and responsibilities are. Or maybe I'm over thinking this thing. :) Something I never do. ;)
     
  20. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I make up medium depth nucs in 5 frame nuc boxes. these are also excellent size for queen mating nucs and will likely over time replace my baby nuc boxes. they just seem to be an easier size to maintain.

    the application and certificate would likely be a nice addition if you could compose it in some ha ha fashion. I do suspect you have let this bother you a bit too much, but I know the feeling well. After a lot of my own hand wringing I decided that the whinners will always whine but once a hive or nuc is in someone else's hand all I can do is give advice and anyone may or may not use this as they see fit.