Many of those who participate in beekeeping see it as nothing more than a simple and enjoyable hobby. After all, Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year, and nothing beats having the ability to collect raw honey in your very own backyard. However, in addition to the reaping the traditional benefits of beekeeping, many smaller operations have invested enough resources to make money while beekeeping, too.
Making a profit from beekeeping varies in difficulty, depending on how much time you’re able to commit and what your business will entail. Fortunately, there are a surprising number of creative and innovative ways to turn your beloved hobby into a potentially full-time job. Here are just a few interesting ways to make money from beekeeping.
First and foremost, packaging and selling some of the honey collected from your beehives is a great way to bring in some extra income. Honey has countless uses today, from recipes, to health products, and more. Plus, since 2006, the retail price of honey has almost doubled, meaning your honey is, in many ways, like liquid gold (no offense, Velveeta).
Other alternatives to honey included beeswax, which can be used to make a number of products, including lip balm, soap, and candles. Selling any of these products made from the wax, or even the wax itself, can bring in some extra revenue, but keep in mind that the price does tend to vary based on the color and quality of the wax.
If you do want to sell any products collected or created from your beekeeping endeavors, the Internet is easily the best resource at your disposal. U.S. e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion and is steadily climbing, and having even a moderately developed web presence can help to skyrocket your business to success.
In addition to offering individual sales, consider offering bulk orders for events like baby showers and weddings. A surprising number of couples are incorporating natural or eco-friendly elements into various facets of their wedding plans, not the least of which include centerpieces and wedding favors. Small jars of fresh honey, homemade lip balms, and handcrafted candles all make perfect wedding favors, and considering the fact that the average couple invites 136 guests to their wedding, every couple that chooses your business to provide the sustainable goodies will bring in substantial revenue, often much more than you’ll get from individual or one-time sales.
Finally, there are many agricultural producers in need of pollination services from healthy, active bees. These services are in such high demand that these farmers will pay to transport your bees to their fields and pollinate their crops. This type of bee ‘rental’ service typically lasts between three and five weeks, and the revenue is significant.
“In 2005, the rental contract cost per hive for almond pollination was $76. In 2009 that rental fee had spiked to a whopping $157 per hive…A recent study conducted by the USDA found that in 2012 the pollination industry brought in more than $655 million dollars in revenue,” writes Mary Hope Kramer on The Balance.
Ultimately, with a little preparation, it’s not hard to make money while beekeeping, and it can certainly be a profitable endeavor. Plus, unlike other business opportunities, startup costs are minimal — typically under $1,000. Being creative with your beekeeping business strategies is the best way to turn your favorite eco-friendly hobby into a full-time career opportunity.