Thursday, 15 September 2011

Start a Beekeeping Business

(32) Start a beekeeping business

Starting a beekeeping business is an exciting, rewarding and fun endeavour. It is also alot of hard work and demands alot of time! Most beekeepers are hobbyists. Having a hobby and a livelihood are two very different ‘animals’ since one is something you invest time and some money in and the other is trying to make a living for you. Beekeeping is very much like farming, you must stay on top of market demands and be technologically savvy as much of the business is going to depend on how fast you can produce a single product.

Now, you’re going to learn that beekeeping is not necessarily the same. If you expect to make a profit you need to be in the business for a while and follow the trends on what the market is demanding at any time. Today even the humble Beekeeper needs a website if you’re considering modern market appeal along side more traditional methods (ie. Farmers markets, roadside sales, local shops….etc.)

Most companies today are commercialized because small businesses are just not equipped to handle the mass production of honey. Small businesses profits directly depend on how many hives are run as they are paid by the pound of honey and the average amount after weighing the whole season, of one hive, isn’t abundant. Commercial beekeepers average a couple thousand pounds, but farmers have to really push production if they want be financially viable. The selling of honey and beeswax production is a competitive field considering the beekeeping industry functions differently than many organic farmers do in the modern age. Beekeeping is often sub-contract work and many of these small businesses are sub-contracted by the major companies to produce honey under their label and food line.

Although sub contracting is an appealing route to take it should be noted that contract competition is high and the risk of contract loss is present if the companies who hire you aren’t happy with the quality of the product or even work methods. Beekeepers have to base their financial gain through good weather and season with the market demand, and you can’t always predict good weather! The Beekeeper has more to worry about than the Crop farmer since the Crop farmer can make the difference during rainy and lower climate weather suitable to the food they’re growing. Beekeeping is entirely dependent on the activity of the bees and how well they produce honey which is directly related to climates and temperatures. If you’re expecting to thrive in this business understand that there’s a lot of work and time invested into making a successful long term business.

Honey is a product that will always be in demand. Your honey could be marketed directly to consumers at a premium. Farmers markets, roadside produce stands, Christmas tree farms, local restaurants are just some of the possibilities. As stated earlier, a website is a must to reach the broader honey/beeswax purchasing community. Promotion is a chore that needs to be kept up daily and again a website is an effective method for this.

Starting a business in beekeeping has many benefits. There are enviromental benefits, culinary benefits, lifestyle benefits and of course financial benefits. Any and every beekeeper will tell you that there is just no honey on earth that tastes better than freshly harvested honey. Aside from the best tasting honey, locally harvested honey is a natural remedy for many outdoor allergies!

Honeybees account for roughly 70-80 percent of all pollination done by insects and without them more than one third of all fruits and vegetables that humans eat would be gone. The benefits can be seen on a smaller scale as well: If you are a gardener your own plants will be part of a healthy cycle of pollination. When many bees are in the area an improvement in the quality and quantity of vegetables, fruits, and plants that you and your neighbours are growing is most evident. Beekeepers have long believed in the stress reducing powers of honeybee tending. Even though you wont find any scientific evidence, working with bees is a calming, cathartic exercise that brings you closer to nature and the enviroment you live in. Focusing on hive activity and the gentle hum of many contented bees is a fantastic antidote to whatever problems are racing around your mind!

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