Cost of Increase (increasing costs !)

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Over 30 years my long term average is about the 50lb mark...
Most years 40 to 60 lbs range...
The worst year I still got 30lbs....Best year 100lbs...
Winter losses average at 10% ....
Range 2% to 25%...Spring honey OSR and Sycamore usually 30% of yield...
This is based on running 200 production colonies...and overwintering 50to 60nucs...
On average I feed 3000kgs syrup...
Yields are increasing now I use Danish Buckfast Queens...

You cannot say that.. The mantra is "local bees are best"

We should burn you at the stake for heresy. :paparazzi:
I am with the mantra, as I raise my own queens, but each to their own. There are going to be a lot of flaming stakes ( or should that be steaks) in this country, if we follow mads joking remark
This project is not really about the bees or the cost but about managing client expectations and agreeing a balanced deal on paper. I'd be very wary of the deal so far because (a) the farmer's motives are not clear and his expectations are unrealistic (b) the beekeeper's contribution seems extensive and elastic.

I've entered into a few of these contracts and always want freedom of operation and clarity of ownership of assets and produce. If they pay for management and keep the honey it's £30/hour, which round here is not top money, but the contracted schedule can be trimmed if I'm on the ball; main thing is to avoid swarming and max the bees for the flows.

Boywonder: The financial side is still under discussion, but he is going to be chucking money at me for 1) him owning the hives/stock and 2) me managing said hives. His interest is solely honey (small scale). Probably best to draw a line under that, as that could be a thread in its own right.

PH: Your farmer.... I would be very wary here. Do you really want a "boss" saying I want this and I want that? So keep your independence as any relationship can change suddenly and usually for the worse. Could you cope financially if they turned round and said well I want you gone oh and I want that thousand back, now please? There is always a cost to expansion and the cheapest way is do it off your own bees and if your farmer cannot understand that it does not bode well.

Madasafish: You will supply hives, bees and expertise.
He will supply money and expects honey.
What will you be paid? By honey? Fixed amount or % of crop?
What happens if no honey?

Boywonder: The dynamic here is just a bit different, as the farmer wants to buy the hives (and the bees), and wants to see the bang for his buck in year 1 ... and I am trying to find the most pragmatic and cost effective way of making his wishes come true.

FWofAbW: Hire a solicitor to draw up an agreement with a massive get out of jail plan for yourself!
I have seen this type of deal go pearshaped when the farmer/landowner gets greedy.

The quotes ring my alarm bells and I reckon PH is spot-on: your independence of operation is key. As well as that, when the deal is down on paper, remember to include an exit strategy.
It seems to me you are making this much more complicated than it needs to be.
I maintain 10 hives for several different people each with slightly different contracts/agreements but with all of them I have several different elements.

1 Management - I work out my annual costs for maintaining say 2 hives on a particular site and give them a monthly invoice based on that. I then do the same for each additional hive they may want at a future date.

2 Supply of bees and equipment. - in my initial quotation I give prices for supply of bees and major items of equipment (hives, stands, feeders etc - replacement frames, foundation, medications and feeding are included within my annual costs)

3 Additional items - any additional items say additional supers if there is a good honey flow are charged as required.

4 Honey - I have different arrangements for this depending on initial discussions. Some want all the honey, so for these I charge a rate for the use of my honey room, plus a cost for supplying and filling each jar. I do not as yet label any customers jars.
I have an agreement with one of my.customers that I extract and jar for free and take 50% of the crop. This was quite lucrative this year as she bought my honey portion back for her grandchildren to sell at their charity fete! (60lb)

Since I invoice monthly in arrears I am only likely to ever lose one months money if I had a major fall out with a client but I can just walk away.

I think the main thing to set out in your initial quote is what you will supply within these elements above. If he wants you to get say 5 hives plus bees he knows exactly what it will cost him.

The above has worked well for me over the last 2 years but may not be transferable to a larger scale operation.

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