We often have folks email us here at World of Beekeeping about starting a beekeeping business. Often they are looking to produce honey commercially on a large scale or do pollination work. While for many this sounds like a great idea, make your own hours and work for yourself, there are a number of considerations before you think about heading down this road.
Mainly you need to keep bees for at least a few years before you attempt to build a beekeeping business. Why? Because a successful business will count on your ability to keep bees and your knowledge, something that takes time and can’t be done quickly.
You must be able to keep bees alive overwinter and be able to deal with any pest problems that come up, including diagnosis and effective treatment. You’ll need to learn what your bees like in your particular area, when major nectar blooms happen and what specific concerns affect beekeepers and beekeeping where you are.
Finally, to truly get into keeping bees as a business you’ll need to invest in a lot of equipment. While the single hive isn’t too expensive, the price for many hives adds up quickly. Why spend this money before you know if you’re a good beekeeper or even like bees?!
Once you’ve kept bees happy and healthy for a year or two you’ll have a bit more knowledge, you’ll know your local beekeeping community and you’ll have a much better feel for if you really do want to keep bees on a commercial level. So get a hive or two and try it out… and of course learn a bit, and then decide about the business side of things. Plus, you’ll have a bit of extra honey you can sell to get your feet wet in the business side of things even just from those two hives!
Do you keep bees for a living or commercially? What advice can you offer to others who are looking to make money keeping bees?