Happy to comment guys as I have nothing to hide:
This season has been completely abysmal and yes we have had cash flow issues due to:
- Order cancellations and refunds issued (in order of requests)
- 95% below average honey yields resulting in loss of revenue this season.
- Sacrificed over 150 of our own colonies to satisfy nuc orders
- Overheads (rent/insurance & Wages for staff)
- Feeding costs to keep our colonies alive due to severe lack of forage
- Overheated (melted down) hives on Kangaroo Island due to a heatwave
And with all of the above, we have still successfully supplied 420 colonies to everyone who has requested us to keep at it for them (actually the last colony was only dropped off 40 minutes ago in NSW!) and we’re in the process this month finishing making up 80 overwintered nucs to satisfy clients who opted for us to have them ready at the start of spring (overwintered nucs are kept in insulated hives and checked weekly overwinter of which we normally charge a premium fee due to additional costs to produce them, however due to the delays in the season we’re also wearing these costs!).
We’re a small business with 2 employees (not including myself or family), pre-orders allow us to order in equipment needed to produce the nucs (we have never hidden this fact and was even disclosed in our earlier advertisements on social media) So yes we spent the funds to:
- Buy coreflute boxes that the nucs are transported in
- Purchase new frames and foundation that are used in the production of nucs
- Order Queens from breeders in advance that are needed for nucs
- Bring in feed early season to boost strength of hives before we split them
- Be able to feed splits to build them up before going out to customers.
- Pay Wages and Fuel for employees to go out and work the hives and assemble equipment over winter…
This way we’re normally able to work efficiently over winter (assembling frames etc) and early season (building up colonies) as we know what the demand is etc.
However this complete write-off of a season really stressed our ability to meet orders. Bees are not like a mass manufactured product you can just simply buy off a shelf, we need to work with the colonies, ambient temperatures and seasonal conditions.It is just simply that this season we had to cope and overcome with many issues.
I don’t like making excuses - these are just simply the facts. I am not the only commercial beekeeper saying that there have been issues this season, even last night on ABC news there was a section on the poor performance this year!
Secondly we work with the Producer of Kangaroo Island which was pre-paid for all the colonies (by supplying them with equipment). We’re effectively a distributor for their nucs. I provided regular email updates to keep everyone praised on the progress and issues.
In addition, over the last 3 weeks I have suffered a health crisis that put me out of action, and I apologise If I was unable to be contacted during this time - I pride myself on my ability to keep everyone updated and we regularly update our social media platform (Facebook) I try to be as open as possible on what we’re currently working on to meet orders etc.
Due to the above issues and having to sacrifice a number of our own colonies this season, we have more than halved the number of colonies we will be producing next season as most of what I will personally be producing will be used to rebuild our own numbers. Therefore we are working with Australian Queen Bee Exporters in NSW who produce thousands of colonies per year and instead we will be delivering package bees in October. In addition we are still negotiating and putting supply contracts in place with other nucleus hive producers in EVERY state of Australia to produce and supply nucs on our behalf - thus spreading the workload over a wider area reducing the production risks.
In regards to refunds, I have worked through all refunds requests in ORDER of receiving the request (which would be the most fairest method), as of last week I had caught up on all pending refunds and have no outstanding refunds requests other than 3 customers who have yet to provide their BSB and Account Numbers. I have not personally paid myself a wage for the last 3 months to ensure that customers and staff are taken care of first!
@Schnucki Schnucki - I presume your name is Max, as this is the only Chargeback request we have ever received, once I had saw that this was received I realised that as I was away sick I had not processed your refund request and therefore did not dispute the Chargeback request and funds have already been debited from our account on the 19th and you should have received it by now, if not shortly (I have no idea how long this process takes).
skeggley - In regards to the name " Bunyip " - I live in a town called Bunyip.
We are in a relatively small industry and community, our Name and Reputation is everything to us and in no way are we hiding or being fraudulent. Nothing is perfect in life, we all make mistakes and I am happy to say that we’re making steps to future-proof us for any future climate/seasonal issues moving forward. I am really looking forward to next seasons honey crop!
I again apologise for any inconveniences incurred.
The Bunyip Beekeeper