“How much does it cost to start beekeeping?” I’m asked this question a lot. Here’s my answer in a blog post.
Bees cost - at minimum - $1,000.00 to start. I know it’s shocking to hear that, but it’s accurate.
When I started beekeeping 7 years ago, I had no idea bees were so expensive. I thought the same thing some of you are thinking reading this…”why are they so expensive”?
Then I started the beekeeping business, and I started buying things as a retailer. I figured out really quick that wholesale costs are not much cheaper than retail costs. If you don’t believe me, call Mann Lake or Dadant and ask them what kind of price break their dealers get.
To be honest, there’s not a lot of profit in this industry. Not for someone like me who isn’t a commercial beekeeper. I know profit/loss because I’m an accountant by day.
The purpose of this business for me is not solely profit. If it was, I would have closed years ago. This business is a mission for me. My goal isn’t to run hundreds of colonies or make thousands of dollars. My goal is to help make thousands of beekeepers.
When I set my pricing for the year, I go as low as I possibly can and still remain somewhat profitable. There have been years where I broke even, not going to lie.
But here’s the great part – bees are absolutely amazing. The things they do amaze me constantly. They also provide so many wonderful things. Honey, Pollen, Propolis, Beeswax…and most importantly – more Bees!
If you have 1 hive, you can split it into 2 the next year. Then that 2 can become 4, and so on. Those splits make money back on your initial investment. Not to mention selling honey, beeswax products, pollen granules, propolis tincture, etc. The hobby can pay for itself over time if you let it.
Pollination of your crops is also a HUGE help! Having bees triples your yield.
After the initial sticker shock wears off, you will see that it’s one of the most rewarding hobbies you can have.
I promise you that I am not a greedy, profit focused person. My intentions are pure, and my prices are thought about and analyzed in great length. I use a local vendor for the bees, and I try to use American made products every chance I get…both costing me more money.
I also tell anyone and everyone that if you have the skills to make your own boxes, do it. If you have swarm traps and land to put them on, find free bees. Not everyone has the ability to make their own stuff or set swarm traps up. Or maybe you want to support my local bee business, just like I support my local vendors. 😊
In closing, I will say that I stand by my pricing. My kits are a great deal. If you buy all the items separately you will spend more than buying one of my kits. And, in a few months, after you are home with your new bees, guess what? I’m available to answer your questions. I doubt Amazon has a “beekeeping help desk” ha-ha!
Thanks for the read and thanks for supporting small business. We are slowly disappearing for sure.