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How to Start a Beekeeping Business

Written by:

Natalie is a business writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Beekeeping Business

Fast Facts

Investment range


Revenue potential

$54,000-$108,000 p.a.

Time to build

0-3 months

Profit potential

$43,000-$65,000 p.a.

Industry trend




Beekeeping is more than just a hobby, it’s good for the planet. Over the last several years, countless people became beekeepers to help the endangered bee population and ended up turning impressive profits. 

When it comes to tasty, all-natural foods, honey is at the top of the list. With more people swapping out sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey is more popular than ever. Demand for beeswax products is increasing as well. In fact, the global beekeeping market expects strong growth for at least the next five years.

But before you jump into that beekeeper’s suit, it’s important to develop your idea and gain the requisite entrepreneurial knowledge. Luckily, this step-by-step guide provides the valuable insight and information you need to start out on the right foot. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and Cons

Before starting a beekeeping business, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.


  • Low ongoing costs — Rearing bees is relatively inexpensive
  • Get creative — Make and sell a variety of unique products
  • Rewarding — Help save the bees!


  • Knowledge required — Must know how to grow and maintain a bee colony
  • Strict regulations — Must adhere to FDA guidelines for edible products

Beekeeping Industry Trends

Industry Size and Growth

beekeeping industry size and growth

Trends and Challenges

beekeeping industry Trends and Challenges


  • More people are turning to honey as a healthier alternative to sugar. The surge in demand is great news for honey-selling beekeepers.
  • Honey is now being used in cosmetics and medicines, further driving demand. Specifically, manuka honey is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 


  • Inflation is raising prices on supplies needed for a successful beekeeping business. For example, the price of lumber needed for hive construction is three to four times higher than ten years ago.
  • Many beekeepers ship their bees to warmer climates during colder months and bring them back in the summer. However, the rising price of gas and supplies has made this process significantly more expensive.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Beekeeping Business?

Startup costs for a beekeeping business range from $3,900 to $9,500. The main costs include bees, beekeeping supplies, packaging, website, and advertising. You can keep costs low by raising bees on your existing property. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your beekeeping business, including: 

  • Bees
  • Honey extractor
  • Smoker
  • Beekeeper’s suit
  • Website
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Licenses and permits$100–$300$200
Marketing and advertising$500–$1,000$750
Beekeeping tools and supplies$1,000–$2,000$1,500
Product packaging and supplies$300–$800$500

How Much Can You Earn From a Beekeeping Business?

beekeeping business earnings forecast

The average cost of honey is around $1 per ounce or $12 per pound. A beehive typically produces 60 pounds of honey per year. After your costs of bees and supplies, packaging, and advertising, expect a profit margin of around 80%.

In your first year or two, you could maintain 75 hives and sell 4,500 pounds of honey at $12 per pound. This would result in $54,000 in annual revenue and a profit of $43,000, assuming that 80% margin. As your business grows, you could increase your hives to 150 and sell 9,000 pounds of honey per year. At this stage, you’d lease additional land and hire staff, reducing your profit margin to around 60%. With an annual revenue of $108,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $65,000. 

What Barriers to Entry Are There?

There are a few barriers to entry when starting a beekeeping business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Growing and maintaining a thriving bee colony
  • Competition with other bee product businesses

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a beekeeping business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an Opportunity

Research beekeeping businesses in your area to examine their products, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a beekeeping business that focuses on health and wellness products.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as beeswax candles or flavored honey.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine Your Products — Honey, Beeswax, and More

You’ll be harvesting honey and beeswax from your bee colonies and selling the raw materials. You might also turn your harvests into consumable products for sale. Your products could include honey, beeswax candles, soaps, or furniture polish. 

How Much Should You Charge for Honey and Beeswax Products?

Current prices for an ounce of honey range from $0.50 to $1.50. Beeswax currently sells for around $10 per pound. If you decide to create and sell products derived from honey or beeswax, your price per item will depend on the materials used and time spent on manufacturing. After your costs of maintaining your colonies, manufacturing, and packaging, expect a profit margin of around 75%

Once you know your costs, you can use our profit margin calculator to determine your markup and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify Your Target Market

Your ideal customers are people who enjoy honey, beeswax, and other bee products. Spread your marketing efforts across social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Where? Choose Your Beekeeping Location

Selecting the right location for your beekeeping business is essential for its success. Look for an area with abundant floral sources, such as a rural landscape or a farm with crops that bees can pollinate. Consider accessibility and safety, ensuring that the location is not in close proximity to residential areas or places where people congregate.

You’ll need anywhere from 6,000 square feet to a couple of acres of land to properly house your beehives. If you have enough land on your property, you can house your bees there to keep costs low. Otherwise, plan on leasing or purchasing a plot. 

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. As your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a physical storefront. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

beekeeping business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Beekeeping Business Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “honey bees” or “beekeeping,” boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for example, “Golden Nectar Beekeeping” over “Wildflower Honey”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Discover over 200 unique beekeeping business name ideas here. If you want your business name to include specific keywords, you can also use our beekeeping business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. However, once you start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Beekeeping Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive summary — A brief overview of the beekeeping business, highlighting key aspects such as its mission, goals, and financial summary
  • Business overview — An in-depth description of the beekeeping venture, including its history, mission statement, and the specific products and services offered
  • Product and services — Clearly outlines the beekeeping products (honey, beeswax, etc.) and services (hive maintenance, pollination services) offered by the business
  • Market analysis — Examines the beekeeping industry, identifying target markets, trends, and potential customer demographics to inform business strategies
  • Competitive analysis — Evaluates competitors in the beekeeping sector, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and proposing strategies to gain a competitive edge
  • Sales and marketing — Details the strategies for promoting and selling beekeeping products, including pricing, distribution channels, and marketing campaigns
  • Management team — Introduces key individuals responsible for managing and operating the beekeeping business, outlining their roles and qualifications
  • Operations plan — Describes the day-to-day activities involved in beekeeping, including hive management, honey extraction processes, and logistical considerations
  • Financial plan — Provides a comprehensive overview of the financial aspects, including startup costs, revenue projections, and a break-even analysis
  • Appendix — Contains supplementary information such as detailed financial forecasts, market research data, and any additional documentation supporting the beekeeping business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose Where to Register Your Company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to beekeeping businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind that it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose Your Business Structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your beekeeping business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole proprietorship The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General partnership — Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) — Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corporation — Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corporation — This refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just needs to elect this structure for tax status. In an S Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

Choose Your State

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online, or by mail/fax. Visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind that, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship, you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund Your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans — This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and a strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans — The Small Business Administration can act as a guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and family — Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a beekeeping business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

Step 8: Apply for Beekeeping Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a beekeeping business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your beekeeping business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability — The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business property — Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment breakdown insurance — Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation — Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property — Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto — Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability — Protects against claims from clients who say they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP) — This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential Software and Tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats — from marketing to sales to accounting — which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as MyApiary, ApiManager, or Apiary Book to measure hive health and performance, plan beekeeping tasks, and log inspections.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, FreshBooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences of filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop Your Website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

However, people are unlikely to find your website unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 


Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Website & SEO — Optimize your website with keywords related to beekeeping, honey, and natural products to enhance visibility in search results.
  • Engaging social media content — Utilize Instagram to document the journey of your bees and the honey-making process, emphasizing the natural quality of your products.
  • E-commerce integration — Ensure your website offers a seamless shopping experience, with clear calls to action like “Add to Basket” for direct purchases.
  • Educational blogging — Create blog posts about the benefits of local honey, the ecological role of bees, and beginner beekeeping tips.
  • Customer engagement — Use newsletters to update customers about seasonal beekeeping activities and the availability of new honey batches.
  • Beekeeping workshops — Conduct workshops to educate people about beekeeping and promote your products directly.
  • Farmers markets — Participate in local farmers markets to sell your products, offer tastings, and provide educational materials.
  • Local partnerships — Collaborate with local businesses to feature your honey in their products and with schools to educate children about beekeeping.
  • Community outreach — Engage in community events related to sustainability to raise awareness about the importance of bees.
  • Honey subscription services — Offer a subscription service for regular delivery of your honey, enhancing customer retention and loyalty.
  • Referral incentives — Implement a referral program that rewards customers with discounts or gifts for bringing new customers.
  • Influencer collaborations — Partner with food bloggers and eco-influencers to promote the natural and sustainable attributes of your products.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Today, customers are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your beekeeping business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your beekeeping business could be:

  • Our products are the bee’s knees!
  • From our hives to your home — honey, candles, and more 
  • High-quality, locally-sourced honey 


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain but your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a beekeeping business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in beekeeping for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in beekeeping. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a beekeeping business include:

  • Beekeeper — Maintaining hives, harvesting honey and beeswax
  • Administrative assistant — Packing and shipping products, handling customer inquiries
  • Marketing lead — Managing social media sites, running advertising campaigns

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Beekeeping Business — Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Beekeeping takes some time to learn, but once you’ve cultivated thriving hives, your profits should thrive along with them. Helping the endangered bee population while selling high-quality, natural products is a sustainable, rewarding way to make a living!

Now that you’ve done your entrepreneurial homework, it’s time to suit up and start the beekeeping business of your dreams.

Beekeeping Business FAQs

How do I learn how to become a beekeeper?

There are many online courses available for aspiring beekeepers. You can take a Beekeeping 101 course on Udemy for around $20.

Is a beekeeping business profitable?

Yes, a beekeeping business can be very profitable. The key to driving revenue will be how unique your honey and beeswax products are and your ability to stand out from the competition.

How much time does beekeeping take?

Beekeeping time varies by scale: hobbyists may spend a few hours weekly during spring and summer on maintenance and monitoring, while commercial beekeepers might need several hours daily during peak season.

How many bees do you need to start a hive?

To start a hive, you typically need a package or nucleus colony of bees, which generally consists of around 10,000 to 15,000 worker bees, along with a queen bee. The exact number of bees required can vary based on factors such as the type of bees (e.g., honeybees), local conditions, and the desired strength of the colony.

What size bee hive is best for beginners?

For beginners, a standard size Langstroth hive with 10 frames is ideal. This type is commonly used and offers a structured system for brood rearing and honey storage, providing ample space for colony growth and easy management.

Should hive be in sun or shade?

Hives should be positioned to get morning sunlight but shaded during the hottest part of the day to help regulate internal temperature and prevent overheating. It’s important to avoid constant shade since bees need sunlight for navigation and orientation.


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How to Start a Beekeeping Business