why are your hives so cheap?
to be honest, they aren't cheap. I do sell hives for considerably less than other Warré builders that I'm aware of, but a person could certainly build one for even less at home. Émile Warré chose his design to be simple to build for anybody with the inclination, so if that's you, have a look at these plans, stop by the lumber yard, and get to it. if you don't have a few necessary tools, though, it's going to be difficult and you might be better off buying a hive rather than the tools.
the basic Warré hive I offer isn't the only hive I build. I build that hive to fill a niche for affordable hives that seemed to be vacant. I also like to custom fit hives to the needs and preferences of the beekeeper involved, and that custom work does add some expense.
but there are a couple of reasons my hives cost less than others, and they largely have to do with overhead expenses.
no storefront. a storefront would certainly provide greater exposure and likely increase sales, but not without adding considerable expense that would have to be included in the end price. if you're interested, this excerpt makes a brief case against permanent stores that I find compelling. likewise, I don't have a warehouse to pay for.
no fancy website. I won't pretend it isn't obvious that an amateur made this website. that amateur is me. I could pay somebody to build me a flashy (and I'm sure very functional) website complete with streamlined online ordering. that's not really my style. I don't want to impress folks with my website, I want to impress folks with the quality of the hives and with affordable prices. and I like the personal interaction that would be lost if ordering online was an option.
I'm stingy. I find good deals on good used tools that might need a little help to get back to working order. so instead of spending $1200 on a quality used table saw (certainly a reasonable price), I spent $100 and a few days of restoration. so I have fewer tool expenses to recoup in the price of the hives.
I'm not afraid of knots. good lumber can be expensive. so I look for deals. frequently this means I get lumber that doesn't meet appearance standards, but is still structurally sound. blemishes can be cut out or planed off. for pieces that don't need much strength, like the roof, I might resaw thicker lumber. what this means practically is that the basic hive has some character. but my focus is on utility. a beehive's function is more important than its appearance.
I want to spread the good beekeeping word. this is probably true of other builders, too, and I don't mean to suggest that the prices they charge are unreasonable. they aren't. even so, I don't want expense to be a barrier to folks who might want to get started with bees, but don't have a lot of cash to spare. so I offer a good, strong basic hive at an affordable price. if you want some more bells and whistles, it'll cost a bit more than the basic hive, but nothing exorbitant.
I might not know what's good for me. I've been accused of undervaluing my labor on more than one occasion. on more than ten occasions, actually. that may be true. better buy a hive before I get over this character flaw.