To bee or not to bee...

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
How much would you regret the loss of time available for your agrarian interests, assuming this would be almost full time? I think @pargyle made a very relevant point regarding what do you do upon his return, as you could be “redundant” if you’re only looking after them while he’s away.
On the positive side, if it’s what you WANT to do with your time and energy, then work out an agreement with him and go for it.
 
Whatever you do I wish you luck 200 colony’s are full time plenty to iron out with them first before you would even consider it and what an opportunity hey?
Even though I’m employed I’m still self employed and have also my own colony’s and trade mark while raising 6 children .
I’m reminded of the saying eggs in one basket.

Good luck I wish you all the best .
 
Another thought, 200 colonies could be a viable number but are they being ran that way at present or is it just a jumble of mismatched boxes and and small splits which have never been ran as a proper business? Whether you ultimately go for it or not I'd suggest a full inspection of EVERY colony asap to find out why someone is prepared to walk away from what should already be a viable business.

A full inspection will also give you a taste of what it'll be like if you do grasp the opportunity.
 
The more I think about this, the more I think an accelerated but organic growth from what you already have, making use of the sales or the exceptional prices ITLD can offer is probably a far better idea.

you would own all of the business and all of the experience in building it. I appreciate that time may appear stacked against establishing a new business from scratch but in the long run you could find the returns come sooner than those from sorting out someone else's mess anyway.
 
I know a lot depends upon circumstances, but 200 wasn't sustainable for us.
Rent, fuel, wages electric etc did not leave much for a rainy day, let alone further expansion.
Now having the three hundred or so is a lot easier, having a few barrels always in stock & a big warming cabinet is a big help, also having a good stock of nucs in the yard sorts out any problem colonies without to much of a time cost.
Storage space, a thousand boxes takes up a lot of room.
Staffing is now an issue, all is fine until they get stung a few times or the bees timing is not convenient for them.
Anyone fancy working bees full time in Shropshire & North Wales?.
 
I know a lot depends upon circumstances, but 200 wasn't sustainable for us.
Rent, fuel, wages electric etc did not leave much for a rainy day, let alone further expansion.
Now having the three hundred or so is a lot easier, having a few barrels always in stock & a big warming cabinet is a big help, also having a good stock of nucs in the yard sorts out any problem colonies without to much of a time cost.
Storage space, a thousand boxes takes up a lot of room.
Staffing is now an issue, all is fine until they get stung a few times or the bees timing is not convenient for them.
Anyone fancy working bees full time in Shropshire & North Wales?.
Many years ago I went to a lecture on bee health given by an ex bee farmer. He said that to make money purely from honey he needed 350 colonies per employee. It was the selling of bees and other hive products that made the money.
I find the same, it’s the contract work that actually makes money.
 
Whenever I have thought about it as a commercial venture, and got as far as a back of the envelope business plan, 200 colonies has always seemed to be the bare minimum for it to be sustainable. Expansion from that would probably be slow, without additional investment.
 
But, the fact remains that 200 colonies should still be a viable business, it may not be sufficient as a sole income depending on personal needs and the way things are run but in my mind there's something wrong if the owner thinks that a multi year holiday will be more use than pushing forward with what he has already. I'd have thought that the sale of decent bees in good hives and the associated kit would have been more profitable for him at the start of his travels.
 
But, the fact remains that 200 colonies should still be a viable business, it may not be sufficient as a sole income depending on personal needs and the way things are run but in my mind there's something wrong if the owner thinks that a multi year holiday will be more use than pushing forward with what he has already. I'd have thought that the sale of decent bees in good hives and the associated kit would have been more profitable for him at the start of his travels.
I haven't been on holiday for at least ten years, and our wedding plans for next year are being made around the bee season.
For us, selling other products other than honey took our focus away from the core business, and what I'm good at.
With a good staff, equipment sales, bees etc is possible, but if they quit, your immediately in trouble.
I'm starting to think the same about standing on markets, we have built up a very good following, but I'm always thinking about what I could be doing, and with the mentioned staff issues it seems to be a battle at the moment.
I know about having various income streams, but don't neglect the core business, which is what I did.
 
It's worth doing the reverse excercise, especially if you want bees to be your sole source of income.
Do a personal budget, actually three.
1. Basic, this should cover all of your basic needs to function as a unit.
2. Comfortable, all of your basic needs plus the normal expected extras like holidays etc, a cusion in the bank.
3. Aspirational, this should provide all of the above plus give the opportunity and freedom to make additional life choices.

Now you have the basis with which to look sensibly at the business opportunity as presented and the potential income generated. Do a business budget with SENSIBLE costs (proberbly between 20-30k annually) and SENSIBLE estimate of income you would be able to generate and see how the two mesh together.
 
James,

There have been a lot of “head” comments on the proposition.
My one would be “if you accept, and it all goes wrong, how would you extract yourself from the agreement ”

You also need to have the ”heart” thoughts - do you want to do this?
will you regret saying no?
could you fit this activity into the rest of your activities?

I trust you make the right decision.

pete
 
Can you get insurance for / put contingencies in place in case of illness or developing a sting allergy (apparently 15% of beekeepers eventually do).
This is called Key Man Insurance.
It will pay-out for a critical illness or disability, which prevents your employee from working. In some cases, with the addition of an ‘income protection’ clause, it may even cover the cost of temporary staff – who are needed due to long-term sickness absence.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top