Honey bottling question...

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Elizabeth, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    For those who bottle their honey for sale-

    1. What kind of jars/containers/lids do you use?

    2. Where do you buy them?

    3. How much do you pay? and, for what quantities?

    4. Do you pay sales tax on the purchase?

    Looking for feedback as I am in sticker shock at the moment. I pack my honey in reusable glass canning jars. The last time I bought them (about 3 years ago) I paid $3.69/dozen at Big Lots. I use the two piece lids that come with the jars, so my total cost was .3075/jar, complete. I purchased several pallets' worth of them at the time. I also did not pay sales tax on them as food containers for resale were tax exempt in my county. I am almost out of those jars and have been shopping around for them in Minnesota- the best price I have found so far is $5.99/dozen, also at Big Lots, and I would have to pay sales tax on top of that, yikes. I have heard that Dollar general sells them for $4.89/doz, but we do not have DG in Minnesota. And anyway, I checked their website and the jars don't even show up so I am not sure if they do carry them or not.

    I am wondering if I am going to have to quit using the canning jars and go to a one-use jar. I can get those from a wholesaler 3 hours away for around .42/jar with lid, but I still have to pay tax, and I hate to use jars that will be tossed after one use- goes against my principles, aaargh...

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I always used canning jars like you, and just added the cost into the price, explaining to folks that they were reusable jars and bring them back for refilling at a discount.

    If you are selling honey, you need a tax number so that you can collect sales tax. Just present your sales tax number to your supplier and tell them that the jars are for re-sale for the exemption.
     

  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the reply, bare.

    FWIW regarding sales tax, it is not always true that you must collect sales tax. Maybe where you live, but I have never lived anyplace where food was taxed. In Florida I did not have to apply for a tax number- I just signed a statement with the jar supplier that I was purchasing the jars to use for food which would be resold- that satisfied the requirement there. I haven't bought jars yet in MN but we have purchased rabbit feed at Fleet Farm and we just told the cashier that we are feeding meat rabbits for resale and they granted us the sales tax exemption on that- not sure if it is that simple when buying containers, but I am looking into that now.
     
  4. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here's another question, since we haven't discussed prices here in awhile, I don't think? How much are you charging for your honey?

    We are selling pint jars (approx 1.5 pounds of honey) in our area and through the internet for $6/jar, plus shipping if applicable. We offer it to forum members on three forums for $5/jar plus shipping. We are about to start selling at a farmer's market and are wondering if we can sell our Orange Blosson honey there for $7/jar to help offset the cost of membership, transportation to and from the market (50 miles away) etc. At these prices we feel as if we are at the low end of what we can profitably produce honey for. I have not raised my prices in over 5 years, yet as everyone knows, the cost of just about everything has gone up (bees, woodenware, treatments, equipment, fuel, jars, etc). I am making less profit on my honey than I was 5 years ago :no: , and I have invested thousands of $$$$ into the apiary since then.

    I am not sure that I can/should increase my prices by another .25/jar to cover the cost of the containers, but I guess I might have to. It stinks though, because we work really hard to be able to offer good, raw, natural honey to our customers at a price that they can afford.
     
  5. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Good point, I forget that I live in such a backwards state that collects sales tax on necessities. Guess I was thinking you'd still need a tax number to claim exempt on supplies.

    I'm always rue to raise prices, so wait until the competition does and follow suit. Course then, if you don't have any local competition, go by store prices, which I haven't seen lately, but never had any problem beating.

    Then there is the "other" theory, keep raising your prices until folks pause before yarding out their checkbooks then back 'em off a bit.
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Elizabeth,

    We use a number of different type of jars depending on the market. A lot of our honey gets sold in 1 lb plastic deli tubs. Those run us about 15 cents a piece from GFS (Gordon Food Services).

    We also use pint and half pint canning jars. A pint is 20 oz by weight and a half pint is 10 ozs by weight. In Ohio we are only allowed to sell by weight.

    We also use 12 oz plastic bears and various sizes of polycarbonate queenlines. These are better for shipping to customers that aren't local.

    Last but not least we have 3-4 types of fancy blown glass bottles with corks. Those do well at holiday gift shows. We also do things like small teddy bears holding the plastic squeeze bears.

    What we find is that having a variety of packages/sizes allow us to better meet the needs of our customers.

    Our base price this year is $5 per pound. I expect we will sell out around April/May (like we did this year). For the fancier packaging we just build it in to the pricing.

    Losses were slightly higher than I anticipated this year but I want to hold the price at $5 till next season. Our goal is to increase the amount of other products we can offer our customers.

    Mike