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Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by crazy8days, Feb 26, 2012.
How many seasons and what minimum of hives does it take to start making profit?
About the same as Golf. :thumbsup: :rolling:
let us know when you find out. and by all means please share your findings ancing: :thumbsup: :beg:
David Hackenberg runs about 3000 hives and I think he reported a large loss last year.
beekeeping is like any other farming entity. You will have good years and bad and will find the bad years usually out number the good. I didnt pull honey off 30 hives last year and still had to feed and pay for fuel. If your looking to make money keeping bees I wouldnt advise getting into them. theres a good chance you will never see a profit. If you are looking for a hobby that will pay back a little of your money than its a good fit. I once read the majority of new beekeepers get out of beekeeing within the first 3 years. Beekeeping is hot hard work with little reward. once this is realized they move on to other hobbies
Like in any other business, when your overhead is lower than your income. Not that I know anything about it in my beekeeping expereience. :lol:
Big numbers are risky. One man operation with seasonal help is much safer bet.
Have friend who makes good living with 400 hives. Selling honey, nucs, candles, queens, local polination
When I first started, the common number to make a living off of bees was that you needed around 300 hives (and only part-time help).
As time has passed and I ask the same question that number has risen to over 500, with some advocating 1,000 hives necessary to make a living. You can make a profit without going anywhere near that number if you have a good market and develope a loyal customer base, but it won't be one that you can rely on or do much with.
I'm not looking to quit my job. I hear people say "you should be able to sell all your honey1" "No problem!!" People say "off two hives first year you might get 100 pounds of honey" Well, $6.00 per pound X100 wound pay a good chunk of my cost. Now, I know full in well I won't come close to that. I know there will be times more would go in than out. I'm not getting into bees for the money. I've always been fascinated with them and what they do for ALL of mankind! My goal is to keep honey, give away honey to friends and family, and sell some. With only having a few hives (so far) and low overhead. I was just wondering.
Please don't think money is the reason I'm only getting into bees, I think they are the coolest, smartest "bug" on this planet. If it wasn't for them I think we would cease to exist.
from an economist view of the world...
profit is really not a useful word in the language of economist... 'rent' is the closest economic equivalent of profit . for the laymen profit often means the difference between expenses and income. in bee keeping this most often will pivot around the yield per hive per year. in years with low yields you may expect some 'loss' and in years with exceptional yields you may expect some 'profit'. in the real world in years of 'profit' you will spend this for all the stuff you could not afford in the years of 'loss'.*
the conventional wisdom by commercial beekeepers I have known would seem to suggest that 750 hives/person is about the numbers required to produce some positive income stream.
*in the world of application vs economic theory really what the issue is for most folks is.. does cash in exceed cash out in any give year (or financial period). so in regards to real world folks and confronting their real economic problems cash flow is much more important than any fuzzy term like profit (or whatever you wish to call it).
2011 was my first year as a beekeeper and i had 2 hives. I harvested 42 pounds of honey and would have had to sell it for $16.75 per pint to break even my first year.
Maybe "profit" wasn't the correct word I should have used. If I don't ask questions I won't learn. No biggie! Thanks everyone!
Strange as it may sound, whether I make any money with the bees is almost irrelevant. I try to make a few dollars to offset costs and maybe even put a few bucks in my boys education fund if possible. But would I give it up if at the end of every year I found out it actually cost me a bit of money instead? Not on your life! Working with the bees has brought more benefit to my life that simply cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents.
How can one place a value on the benefits of standing outside on a warm summer day, working with something as fascinating as the honeybee?
How can one place a value on the relationships and friendships made by joining a forum like this, through our common interest.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, for me the world stops when I open a hive. Value = Priceless! :mrgreen:
And crazy8days, from the last line on your post #9, I suspect you are more like "us" than you can imagine!
If I enjoy a day with the bees, or with other beeks, I made a profit. If I make a few bucks, that's a bonus.
Nicely said :thumbsup: It would make a great signature line.
I completely agree. In the 9-10months I've been a beekeeper, I've sank way more money into my beekeeping hobby than I even hope to make back, let alone actually made by selling a few jars of honey to people I know. I think I've given away more honey as "thank you" gestures and Christmas presents than I sold for money. But I would keep a hive in my yard just to sit next to it in a lawnchair and watch the foragers come in and out, and the "graduation" clouds of new foragers hovering at the entrance. Also, all the fascinating people I've met along the way and all the friends I made are the biggest reward I could ever wish for.
a crazy8 snip...
How many seasons and what minimum of hives
a bit less economic theory and a bit more to my own recent history...
up to the point (at or about year 3 this time around) that I had 18 hives or so I really had no surplus to sell. I gave a few jars away primarily to friends and family and ate the rest. At 40 hives I actually had product to sell and the money from this was essentially spent to improve my honey house and buy more equipment. when I finally got to 100 hives in the good years I made enough income to pay for some more equipment and pay for the feed bill in the not so good years that followed. at this point in time income from selling nucs and queens is more than whatever honey I might sell. selling some 'local honey' is however still part of my primary objective in keeping bees. at this point in time I have no doubt that at almost any reasonable price you will have no problem selling whatever honey you can produce.
obviously my primary concern here is not in making some profit on the bees. I have long thought that $ or profit doesn't adequately represent the real reward of keeping bees.
the one large thing I have had going for me in this little adventure is the full support of my wife (the real QueenBee in this household)... she often tells me that her idea of wealth is a large vat of 'our' honey that sets on our counter top.
the past few years i have slowly started "truck" farming.growing peppers,okra,green beans,cow peas,cucumbers,etc. i want to add blackberries,raspberries,blueberries,& muscadines.that is the main reason i am starting with bees...to help me out with all those berries & maybe some watermelons too.
depending on how my plans turn out it looks like i will be going to the farmers market and selling so i might as well sell some honey there too.one way or the other i hope to profit from my bees be it with money or bumper crops
Wow 90% of these post reflect what it is to be a beekeeper, the other 10% is on the way :hi: