Before you buy anything, talk to someone in your local beekeepig club. Usually you can find the club or local beekkeepers through your county extension office. A full hive setup can cost roughly $300. You will need a hive base, at least 2 hive bodies, a queen excluder, several supers, frames and a top to start. You also need to buy a queen and bees. Then you also have to get protective gear, hive tools, a smoker and other equipment. It is easy to spend $400 to $500. for everything.
Be very, very careful about buying used hives & frames. If the old equipment is infected with foul brood or any other diseases your bees will also be infected and you could lose the hive. Most states require that hives be registered and inspected by the state on a regular basis for disease.
You should buy a good book like "Beekeeping for Dummies" to get started but your best resourse is finding a club. Our beekeeping club, www.ycbk.org sponsers 10 new beekeepers every year and give them a basic hive setup & bees to get started. They also assign a mentor to work with them and help when ever need.
Good luck! Beekeeping is a great, fun hobby! We started last year with 1 hive and now are up to 3!
They don't take nearly the time that chickens do - although they are fun to watch. There is nothing much to do during winter. You only have to do occasional inspections and harvesting the honey. You do have to watch for mites and disease and treat if necessary. Just like chickens.
One of the best things is that once you get to harvest the honey (which can be over 40 lbs per hive) you can sell it! Around here it sells for over $3. per lb! In a couple of years you will have paid for all of your start up equipment by selling the honey. The only problem is that you will probably want to buy more hives!