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3 Steps to Pricing Your Honey

Dec 01, 2020

 

How much should you charge for your honey? Pricing your honey can be tricky. You don't want to be the cheapest honey on the block, but if it's too high, you might not sell any.

 

Here are the steps to take when pricing your honey:

  1. Research your competition to see the range that other honey companies are selling a similar kind of honey at.
  2. Calculate how much you're spending on each item. 
  3. What is your time worth? How much do you need to make in order for it to be worth your time to sell this product?

If you want the fast and easy way to price your honey, go through steps 1 and 2. Once you're ready to start a bee business, see below for a more detailed explanation.

 

 

 

Step 1, Research Your Competition

The first thing to do is see what other honeys like yours are being sold for. If you plan on selling at a farmer's market, go to the local markets. If you want to sell wholesale to retail stores, look at what honeys are priced at in your local stores. 

Make sure you're looking at honeys that are similar to yours. Honey goes for different prices depending on the size, variety, raw or pasteurized, infusions and where it was harvested. 

Step 2, Consider Your Expenses

Add up the costs involved for each product. This usually is the jar plus the label and any other items like a shrink wrap band. This is how much you're spending on each jar of honey. 

Then add in the cost to sell your honey. This might be shipping costs, packing peanuts, packing tape, driving to the store to deliver the honey, the cost of your farmer's market table, or website hosting. This is more difficult to measure, but in general, if you're selling online, add $1-3 per product.

Even with offering free shipping and the occasional broken jar, you should still be making at least twice as much as what you're spending.

Step 3, What's It Worth to You?

The final thing to consider is your time and what you think your honey is worth. This is the bonus step that you don't have to do right away, but you should once you start selling more than $6,000 a year. Once you're making an average of $500+ a month, you're running a business that is taking a considerable amount of time from your life. 

Here's a quick way to calculate how much you're making selling honey:

  1. Calculate how much time you spent taking care of the bees, harvesting honey, selling the honey, and packing orders last year.
  2. Calculate how much money you spent on beekeeping equipment, packaging and any other beekeeping-related expenses last year.
  3. Calculate how much money you made from beekeeping last year. 
  4. Add up how much money you made and subtract from it all of your expenses.
  5. Then, divide that by how much time you spent with the bees.

I know it's hard, or close to impossible, to estimate how much time you spend with your bees, but you should be able to make a rough estimate. If you check your bees once a week, every week, 7 months out of the year and you spend about 2 hours each time you check your bees, you can get a base number. Add in a day of honey harvesting and some extra time for the occasional problem that comes up. This doesn't have to be exact. It's just to give you an idea of how much money you're spending vs. making and how much you're making per hour.

If you're estimating that you're making about $2 an hour, you might want to rethink what you charge or how you're running your operation!

Even if you love keeping bees and going to the farmer's markets, if you sell your honey for too little and aren't making much of a profit, you'll burn out fast!

Especially when the holidays come around and you're busy shipping out orders and you still haven't gone shopping yet, it'll be easier to keep going when you know you're making money.

Pricing Honey Online vs. Wholesale vs. Farmer's Markets

Most retail stores increase the cost of your product by 30-50%, so you will have to lower your product cost by at least 30%. The general rule of thumb is that your honey shouldn't be considerably cheaper at your farmer's market table or website than at the store. 

When selling online, keep in mind all those extra fees like free shipping, hosting, domain name and other online fees (shopify charges $30/month for the lowest plan), packing materials, packing tape, boxes, printing shipping labels, going to the post office and the occasional broken package. 

When selling at farmer's markets, there's the cost of the table and your time. Spending your Saturday at a market instead of doing something else should be considered. Don't forget the expenses for the tent, table, chairs and display.

There's also the credit card processing fee.

Tips on Pricing Honey

  • It's a lot easier to have a sale and decrease your prices than it is to raise your prices.
  • Don't promise what you can't deliver. It's hard to get a customer back after poor customer service.
  • Think about what you can do to make your honey sell at a premium cost. Some people make infusions, cream their honey or add a piece of comb to the jar.
  • If you're selling at a festival where the table costs considerably more than your normal farmers market, charge more for your products. 

The General Rule of Thumb in the U.S.

From what I've seen while keeping bees in Philly and Hawaii, raw, small batch honey goes for $1 an ounce if the jar is 12oz or less. Once you start selling 16oz jars or larger, you usually start to decrease the cost per ounce. 

Don't forget to go through the rules below because if you have fancy packaging or are selling at a farmer's market like the one in NYC, you'll want to up the price quite a bit.

Sometimes honey will go for less if you're in an area where the cost of living is lower. I know a beekeeper in Connecticut who started selling his honey in NYC because he could charge 10 times more. The higher the demand and the more rare your product, the more you can charge. 

Making it Easier to Sell Your Honey

The easiest way to sell any product is to find something there is a demand for. When you find something people want and there's not much competition, you've hit the sweet spot. Here in my town, my former employer said they were always getting calls for comb honey, so that's what I started selling. If you're seeing a lot of local honeys for sale at your grocery store, think about ways you can make your honey unique. 

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