I had bees that didn't make it through last winter, so I already have all the equipment, I just need some bees this year.
To start out as a beekeeper, you need a hive stand, a hive, and a full bee suit. I have read so much information on where to keep the hives, and there are a million different perspectives on it. Some say they need overhang to protect from winds and rain, some say it has to be in a spot with the most sun light, some say that too much sunlight can overheat them, and they need shade. Ultimately, you have to work with what you have, and try it out to see what's best for you.
Considerations for where I keep my hive include can the dogs knock it over in their excited oblivion when they bolt out into the yard; is it near where the kids go sledding; Is it too close to the pool or where people hang out; etc. The spot I chose, is a little shadier than is ideal, but it's what works best for our layout.
The hives were placed on the hive stands and painted. We had previously had problems with Wax moths (The chickens had a nice snack of them) - so I made sure that the hives were thoroughly cleaned out for their new inhabitants. We ordered bees in January, for a Spring delivery.
We placed two orders for bees, one for a nuc, and one package of bees. This is exciting because its two different ways to incorporate the hives, and I will be able to record and share it with you here. Now, trying to be patient for our new arrivals.