As you gain experience in beekeeping, success will almost certainly follow. Before long you will likely have more honey in hand than you know what to do with! This typically brings about the next question, “What am I going to do with all of this honey?” Fortunately for you, while you are asking yourself this very question, someone else is also asking the question, “Where do you suppose I could find some local honey?”.
So, where do you sell your honey? It might seem obvious to try to sell to a local market, gift store, or fruit stand. Although these are tried and true avenues for selling honey, these obvious solutions are not always the best option for a small-scale or sideline beekeeper. First, these outlets demand wholesale pricing, which means that unless you urgently need to unload a lot of honey fast, this option may not be financially worth your while. You are not going to get a top price for your prized honey. Besides, to sell to a retailer, especially a gift store, you will need to invest in fancy jars and labels, which also cuts into your profits. Lastly, retail markets prefer steady and reliable suppliers. No one is saying that as a beekeeper you can’t be trusted to keep your word, but honey flows and seasons are irregular. Sometimes you can run into lengthy periods of drought where you have no honey crop to sell, which might irritate your new customers, who have a year-round stream of customers and want your product to be readily available.
The amount of surplus honey that you have on hand should dictate your strategy. If you do not have much to sell, your best option may simply be word of mouth with your friends and neighbors. At Wildflower Meadows, we have a customer who is a full-time commercial beekeeper who successfully sells his entire honey crop on a word of mouth basis. Another customer sells cases of honey at a time simply to his many neighbors! This is the most cost-effective option since it costs next to nothing in the way of marketing and exacts the highest retail price.
Other selling options include:
- Placing a “Local Honey for Sale” sign in front of your house
- Reaching out to local health food stores, many of which sell bulk honey
- Renting space at a farmer’s market
- Selling to church groups or fund raisers
- Selling directly on the internet or on e-Bay
If you decide to sell honey via the internet, it would be wise to bottle your honey with plastic bottles. At Wildflower Meadows, there was a time when we would occasionally ship honey to friends and family in glass bottles. Big mistake! Not only does glass add more weight, but it was not uncommon for jars to break in transit with gooey honey leaking from the shipping box! Take it from us, for shipping, plastic is the way to go.