Are you thinking about starting a beekeeping business? If so, it’s a great way to turn a hobby into a profitable venture. You can care for the buzzing creatures and produce beeswax and honey, which offer plenty of earning opportunities. 

Plus, you could start this sustainable business from home and help save the bees.  

But starting a business is no small feat, and you may need to step carefully to avoid getting stung. So, where might you start? Don’t worry; we can help. 

This guide covers how to start a beekeeping business, including:

  • Planning
  • Setting up 
  • Organising  
  • Marketing 

How to plan for a beekeeping business

Like most small companies, you’ll need to start your beekeeping business with a clear plan. Let’s go over the main things to consider in your planning. 

Do market research 

If you want to know how to start a beekeeping business, you’ll need to know about the industry and how to succeed within it.

Beekeeping allows you to collect honey and wax, from which you can create many appealing products. Learning about the market environment can show you what niche you might take with your business to find customers

When you conduct market research, look for: 

  • The demand – which products or services are popular for beekeepers and how many customers you could earn 
  • The market size and competition – how many beekeeping businesses are in the UK, and which companies might target the same customers as you 
  • Target audience – who buys from beekeepers or bee-related products
  • Regulations and industry news – developments within the beekeeping industry, associations worth joining, any health and safety regulations you may need to abide by

Learn about beekeeping 

Starting a beekeeping business requires particular skills to succeed. 

You’ll need to be able to care for your bees properly, collect honey, and convert your raw materials into products. Plus, it’s essential to have safe practices for both you and your bees. 

If you’re not an experienced beekeeper, find a relevant course in your area. You can find courses from the British Beekeepers Association throughout the UK.  

To learn more about beekeeping businesses, also try reading some of these books:

Tip! To increase the credibility of your beekeeping business, consider joining a British Beekeepers Association affiliated program. As a member, you can get to know other beekeepers and learn valuable information about the industry. 

Find a workspace 

Before stocking up on bees, think about where you’ll store them. You might perform beekeeping in the garden of your home, rent an outdoor space, or look into using a community garden or allotment. 

Either way, your workspace should have enough room for your hive. Plus, ensure it’s accessible so you can tend to it regularly.  

As you collect honey from your bees, you’ll need a place to store it. Also, find a workspace to convert your honey or wax into products if that’s in your plans. Otherwise, think about outsourcing the production.  

Get some bees and beekeeping equipment 

Honey bees are central to the beekeeping operation, and they come in colonies with a queen, typically held by frames. One colony of bees can cost as little as £75, depending on where you get them. 

To find bees, you could contact your local beekeeping association. Another place to look is the Local Honey Man, which sells British Honey Bees great for beginners.  

Next, find hives to give your bees somewhere to live. If one colony doesn’t make it, you might struggle to earn money from your new business. So consider starting with two or more hives, which you can find here

Aside from the bees, you’ll likely need: 

  • A beekeeping suit with veil and gloves 
  • Flowers for your bees to pollinate 
  • A hive tool
  • A smoker 
  • A bee brush 

Find beekeeping equipment options at National Bee Supplies

Determine your products or services 

Beekeepers can earn money in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Honey 
  • Beeswax 
  • Beeswax candles 
  • Beekeeping courses or lessons 
  • Beekeeping books 
  • Bees (through breeding)
  • Supplies for making your products 

Whichever products you decide to sell might impact your operations and target audience.

On top of this, think about who you want your customers to be. For example, you might start a shop and sell your products directly to the customer. Alternatively, you could sell raw materials to other businesses. 

Create a business plan and budget 

Writing your beekeeping ideas into a business plan can keep you on track as you get started. Apart from the information we covered above, here are a few things to include in your business plan: 

  • Business name
  • Your mission and overall vision
  • Your goals and objectives 
  • Your values 

Also, include a starting budget in your business plan. This budget helps you calculate:

  • Your startup costs – how much money you need to get started. For beekeeping, getting all your supplies will likely take at least £1000. 
  • Your regular expenses – the ongoing costs you’ll need to cover for your business, such as rent or subscriptions. 
  • Your expected earnings – what you’ll earn from a sale and how many sales you hope to make in the first few months or year. Also, calculate what you’ll need to earn to reach a profit.

As you outline a budget, you can determine if you may need to seek external funding sources, such as a loan or investor

How to start a beekeeping business

Once you have a plan together, it’s important to think about the logistics of how to start a beekeeping business. Here are the essential steps to setting up a legal beekeeping business. 

Register your beekeeping business 

Register your business with the UK government to create a legal entity. This process informs the government of your status as a self-employed business owner. You can register your business as either a:  

  • Sole trader – the simplest structure in which you’re legally responsible for your business and have fewer taxes and regulations.
  • Limited company – in this case, the business is a separate legal entity from you, but you’re responsible for more reporting and taxes. 

If you plan to start small with your beekeeping business and maintain manageable startup costs, you may want to start as a sole trader. You could always switch later as your business grows. 

Understand your taxes 

When you run a small business, you’ll need to keep track of and report what you spend and earn according to HMRC regulations. 

Instead of automatically deducting taxes from a paycheck, you’ll need to pay them based on what you earn annually. To determine how much you owe in taxes, you must submit a Self Assessment tax return.

Here are the taxes you’ll likely need to pay for your business: 

  • Income or dividend tax 
  • National Insurance 
  • Corporation tax – for limited companies 
  • VAT – for VAT registered businesses 

Tip! Look into the Making Tax Digital government initiative to streamline the tax process as you will soon need to follow these procedures.  

Find proper insurance 

Insuring your business will protect you from financial risks that could negatively impact your operations. For example, you may need public liability insurance to protect you from injury, damage, or illness caused by your business

Aside from this, you may want to insure your bees and beekeeping equipment. If the bees die, you won’t be able to earn money from them.

How to organise your beekeeping business

Once you start your beekeeping business, consider how you’ll stay organised. Think of small businesses like a beehive. Though you may lead a one-person operation, managing your tasks allows you to keep things running smoothly. 

Organise your day 

With a clear schedule, you’ll know everything you’ll need to get done to keep your business going. Plus, you can break up and prioritise tasks to achieve things efficiently. For example, you might break up your workday into: 

  • Beekeeping responsibilities
  • Production of your goods
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Accounting

Consider using a business management tool like Google Workspace to organise your calendar, contacts, and documents. Then, break up your projects and increase productivity with a project management tool like Clickup

Organise your sales 

Think about where you’ll sell your products to earn money from your beekeeping. For example, you might open a shop or sell them online through your business website

On top of that, determine how you’ll take payment. To make your business more accessible, you may want to accept credit cards

Also, determine what you’ll charge for your products or services. Calculate what you spend to create a product and add a profit margin to ensure you earn more than you spend. 

Organise your finances 

Since you must track and record the money coming in and out of your beekeeping business, it’s crucial to organise your finances. 

You can stay on top of your business finances much easier if they’re separate from your personal ones. So, consider opening a business current account, or an account just for your business. 

But if you’re new to financial accounting for a small business, you may struggle to understand your finances. Accounting software like Countingup can help by simplifying the process and helping you make better financial decisions.

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. 

Start your three-month free trial today

How to market your beekeeping business

To start a beekeeping business and find a steady customer base, you’ll need to market yourself effectively. Let’s go over a few of the essential pieces of a strong marketing strategy. 

Branding

Your business brand is the consistent design, tone, and values that represent you publicly. It’s a baseline for your business marketing, unifying your efforts. 

For example, you might stick to a black and yellow design or incorporate bee puns. 

Branding your business well will help you appear professional and appealing. This public image gives you opportunities to reach more people and increase your reputation. 

When you plan your brand, you can develop a logo to tie your marketing together. On top of this, try designing branded labels for your beekeeping products. 

Digital marketing 

Digital marketing allows you to grow your audience online and reach customers outside your local area. This is a great way to increase your brand awareness and sell goods, especially if you have an online shop. 

Website

First, design a website that introduces your business to the public. 

This website can explain your business’s purpose and showcase your products. Also, make sure it has your contact information and any essential information about your business. 

To establish yourself as a master beekeeper, you might also want to add a blog to your website and write articles about the trade. 

Social media 

Social media platforms are another great way to market your business and reach people interested in your products. You might try promoting your products on platforms like: 

  • Instagram – you could post pictures of your beekeeping and available products. 
  • Facebook – you could post updates about your business, start a beekeeping group, and share beekeeping tips. 
  • Twitter – you could tweet updates about your business, beekeeping puns or jokes, or share beekeeping news and activism opportunities. 
  • Youtube – you could start video blogging about beekeeping to teach your audience and develop your brand.

Farmers markets and fairs  

Consider attending events to promote your business and get your products in front of potential customers. Setting up a booth at the local farmers markets or craft fairs is a great way to earn sales for your beekeeping goods. 

When you attend these events, try sharing business cards with people who stop by your stand. This way, they can learn more about your business after the event.

How to ‘bee’ prepared for the future with your beekeeping business  

Now that you know how to start a beekeeping business, you can use this guide to turn your hobby into a profitable adventure. Soon you’ll be using your bees to create great products that draw in customers. Just remember to:

  • Make a clear plan before you get started 
  • Set up your business legally 
  • Organise your operations for success
  • Market yourself with a strong brand 

To learn more, next check out our article on how to create a business growth plan