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Cost of Flow Hives


#1

Greetings to all. I am very new to bee keeping but have been learning the ins and outs from a large commercial beekeeper not to far from me. I have 7 of the flow hives coming that will go into two Lang 10 boxes on his farm. My concern as I am also getting my own hives is the high cost of the flow hive itself. Will the cost go down because at the $400.00 I spent for just seven of these I can buy 2 complete starter sets plus supers. Although I like the idea of how the Flow Hive works and the way it hhelps keep bees from being disturbs a bit, the cost is very intimidating for someone going into the commercial side of honey production. Any thoughts on this would be very much appreciated. I am in the eastern side of Wyoming near both South Dakota and Nebraska.


Cost comparison
#2

I think the cost will eventually go down, but the main thing to consider is labor saved/longevity of the flow frames and cost. Let’s say that the flowframes save you about 5 hours of labor each harvest along with the various equipment you won’t need to buy and maintain, and the frames cost $400. Depending on your region you might be looking at 2-5 harvests a year from the frames, I’m going to go with 5 since I live in a pretty high flow area. That’s 25 hours saved at the cost of $400 or $8 an hour, which seems a bit pricey still, but with each successful year that number goes way down. If they last five years then you will have saved 125 hours (give or take) and still only put in $400, meaning each hour saved only cost you $3.20.

If these things last at least 5 years then I personally think the labor saved alone would make them a sound investment, especially since it does not mean buying and cleaning a normal extractor.


#3

I agree with @Titankore about the costs in relation to time and harvesting expenses.
The Flow Frames will be on sale again from Friday, so we will know the price then.
If you are concerned about money, you can easily integrate the Flow Frames into pre-existing hives. Which you can make yourself or buy.
There is information here about the dimensions - Building the new hives when they arrive


#4

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#5

Thank you for the reply. I am hoping the cost should drop quite a bit once initial production of the Flow hives passes.


#6

I just got the email this morning from flow hive with new cost. I suppose the inventors thought that the initial start up cost was cheap so those of us who bought early get the deal, since prices have now gone up. I know there is the comment in this thread about cost verses labor, but almost $700.00 for one complete flow hive, not to mention the shipping which will bring it up higher than $700.00 is astronomically extreme. I do realize start up cost for any new business is risky and costly, but the goal as far as competion goes should be to lower not raise, afterall they did get over $12 million from funding which was far more than they originally bargained for. I’m saddened by this extremely high cost and as a small start up business hoping to expand in the furture I am probably going to have to go old school or wait for the Chinese to mass market a flow hive that will be much cheaper and possilby just as good. I hate to say all this but pocket book reality speaks much more clearer to me than a product thats only been tested in a few locations. This looks to me like its turning into a rich mans toy.


#7

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#8

I am starting up commercially, and I do have langstroth boxes and keep getting more because it is far cheaper. I used the Complete Flow Hive as an example of the cost associated with the new released prices. As far as staying on topic, it appears that it was you or Martin that mentioned the video and then mentioned that the bee frames need to be checked before removing the honey. Generally this might deal with lifting to the top, smoking them a bit and then pulling frames to makes sure they are full before extracting honey from the Flow Frames, something not mentioned prior to releasing the videos. The problem with the video is that it makes it appear you don’t need to do this, in fact it makes the claim that you can extract honey with disturbing the bees at all. If you don’t find this misleading at all then I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be misleading but it is, especially since it’s being brought up after the fact.

I am wondering why you are taking this personally? My mention of China is that they copy everything and some things they copy are very well made. Also they generally don’t follow world trade laws and do copy new items and sell for a lot less than you can buy from the original makers, this is something they’ve done for years and not much has ever been done to stop this because the law of supply and demand is that if a product can be had that is as well made as the original and cost half or less than half why would you not give it try? Besides that China doesn’t care what the rest of us think anyway. And my bees come from Texas, and I buy my boxes locally. It’s just that commercially there is always going to be bottom line cost unless of course you’re going to be a hobbyist beekeeper then the cost probably matters little, but for someone like me on a tight budget the cost of items do matter. I’m not trying to be hard nosed here, but I do think that the negatives should be discussed as much as all the positive. But avoiding the negative or pretending it doesn’t exist can spell disaster for start up companies irregardless of their windfall budget. So after this thread I’ ll not mention it again as it seems to not bode to well with you.


#9

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#10

I’m saddened by your reply @tony, the fact that Cedar and his father Stu have been working on this invention for a decade means nothing to you. Supporting authentic and original ideas that have been tried and tested to get a product that is the best it can be for everyone, and you want to get a cheap copy from China. That is why Copyright and Trademarks exist, so that people who put the work into something, get something back. Time and labour has gone into the creation of the Flow Frames, and time and labour will go into the production of future Flow Frames. Manufacturing is happening in Brisbane, Australia, where people are being payed their fair share, as well as the creators and all the staff working on getting the product out there to the public.
12 million is not just profit, which people seem to forget, most of this money is going towards the development of manufacturing plants specifically for Flow Frames and Hives. Do you think it is cheap to create technology and manufacturing equipment?
As for misleading video’s etc., this seems to be veering off the question of “Cost of Flow Hives”.
At the start you said 7 Flow Hives, I’m assuming you meant 7 Flow Frames, and you will integrate these into your existing Langstorth hives? There are prices available for commercial bee keepers, all you have to do is email and ask, with the quantities you are looking to buy.
How much is extraction equipment, how much honey is lost during the extraction process, how much labour is involved in the labour of extraction? These are questions you can answer and see if it is more viable to keep your traditional methods of extraction, or integrate the Flow Frames into your hives.
The price through the crowd funding campaign was lower and always stated that it would be lower so they could get the business off the ground. It’s like an opening sale in a shop. You don’t see people complaining about BMW keeping there prices high because they have been around a while.
People buy what they buy because of quality, longevity, etc. People (I know) also like to support the independent, original creators of products, not mass produced copies.


#11

Keep in mind that the cost of traditional extracting equipment is generally quite a bit more than the cost of the Flow Frames.


#12

What’s going on with the pricing?

That’s a 12% increase!


#13

I do hope the price eventually comes down but how ripped off would crowdfunders feel if the price immediately dropped after it went public? You really can’t win here. It would be kind of nice if they gave us original crowdfunders a life time discount ::wink wink hint hint:: lol.

Over time things may get more efficient and bulk purchase of raw materials may lead to lower product cost that can be passed on to the consumer but until we get the frames and really get to put them to the test it’s all conjecture as to whether it’s “worth it”.

In the mean time I am thankful that the creators of the flow frame have rekindled my love of bees and the desire to keep them so that’s worth chipping in.


#14

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#15

Yes hopefully we can make them cheaper in time. It is quite expensive to set up: manufacturing, support staff, patents, research and testing … and much much more. First priority is to deliver a good quality product that works well and make sure we support the people that have already purchased from us.


#16

I’m sorry that you think I’m poopooing on Stu and Cedar, but that isn’t the case. I’m just being realistic. If you are a rich man and can afford the very best, that’s great! I’m happy for you, but I think for the majority of the people in the world cost does matter and in this age of shinking dollar values a lot of us have to watch our pennies. As far as Stu and Cedar’s work, I commend them. 10 years is a long time to dedicate to research but they aren’t the first to come up with this idea. I’ll provide a link and you can see for yourself that this might be a better quality made product on top of an invention already patented over 50 years ago. In retrospect I do hope this is extremely successful for all concerned but for me until cost drop drastically I will be using standard equipment. When my Flow Hives come I suspect that they will be used in my home garden hives, but for my commercial end I will be using the basic boxes. Heres the link from the US Pantent Office: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2223561.pdf


#17

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#18

I’ve wanted to keep bees for more than 20 years but my perception of complex honey extraction processing kept me away. The attraction of the flow hive for me is the simplicity of the extraction process. My one flow hive will be located on my 2ha property and I’m expecting it will be a permanent feature of the garden. I’m 100% amateur at this game and I suspect many flow hive buyers are the same.

In a world where bees may be in catastrophic decline, anyone able to encourage amateur beekeeping is doing the world a service IMO. The availability of flow hives will mean more people keeping bees. The majority of us flow hive buyers are almost certainly amateurs but who knows? Flow hives may turn some amateurs into flow hive pros. Personally, I will be doing the same with my honey as I do with my other produce, selling enough of it to cover at least some of my costs and giving plenty away to visitors.

I would be very surprised if many professional apiarists moved into serious flow hive production because most of them would be already adept at extracting honey with centrifuges. However, the honey flow device is labour saving and I’m certain many apiarists would want to become more time efficient. Who really knows what changes this innovation may bring to the industry? I certainly don’t. The only claims I make is that I’m 100% amateur, 100% interested and almost 100% ignorant.


#19

I hope you can wait 20 years for the patent to run out


#20

But why is an Australian company pricing in US$ and not AUD$?