I am in the same boat, she who will never see this post *Whew* is not aware of what I have paid out already. My original post was really to get an idea of potential income to off set expenses, replacements and possible expansion. Of course the most important reason of starting bee keeping is to get my own honey.....nah not even, but I don't look at retiring but just getting a couple of beer tokens once in a while.I think all in my first hive cost me around $1000 in my first year. $200ish for the hive, $250 for suit, gloves, smoker etc, $250 for Nuc, $150 for baverol / apivar / apistan anti varroa treatments plus $150 for honey buckets, strainer etc. Plus fees for inspection and registration.
As a hobbyist I calculate hives cost around $100 per layer for a 3 to 4 high full depth hive by the time I've got frames, nuc etc.
I could reduce that I some areas but played with top feeder, hive doctor vs wooden bases, frame feeders, plastic frames etc.
I've got 4 hives and am about $2500 in outlay over 2 years. I now also have a sense of what I do and dont like in gear, am ready to try making my own splits and have spare frames ready for supers etc.
Hope this helps as a rough guide to my experience as a noob.
Honey - i got around 40kg this year of multi floral which returned $20 per kg for sale via a community org as a fund raiser. We have orders for next year lined up. People like raw, local honey. Demand exceeds production. Next year I expect double that in honey as I should have 4 mature and producing hives. This year had 3 startups.
If my wife sees these numbers I'm possibly a dead man - but as I explained, over 2 - 3 years it will pay off as long as I dont count my hours of work (play).
The girls are worth every cent IMHO but i will never be a rich man from bees.