Wednesday, 28 May 2014

09:33 – I just shipped the last biology kit we had in stock, but I have another 30 in progress. I should be able to finish those today or tomorrow, depending on what else comes up. We’re also down under two dozen chemistry kits in stock, so I need to get another batch of 60 of those started.

In 2013, my goal was to double 2012 revenue. We didn’t quite make that, finishing 2013 at about 185% of 2012 revenue. Starting 2014, my goal was to double 2013 revenue. Through today, we’re running about 170% of January through May 2013 revenue. Of course, it’s the quarter covering July through September that will determine our year’s results. Last year, our revenue for that three month period matched the other nine months combined. And we did about a quarter of the entire year’s revenues just in August. Which is why I’m working hard to get finished-goods inventory built up in time for the rush.


12:35 – Using stamps.com rather than USPS Click-N-Ship just saved me $3.04. The USPS web site doesn’t offer first-class parcel as an option, and the least expensive Priority Mail option is $5.05 for a small flat-rate box. So I used the stamps.com software running on the Dell Windows 8.1 laptop to print a first-class parcel label for $2.01 to ship a four ounce box.

Stamps.com supposedly supports Linux and Mac clients via a web-based app. I couldn’t get that to work with my main system when it was running Linux Mint, but since I’d upgraded it to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, I decided to give it another shot. It worked fine, right up to the point where I tried to print the postage label. A box popped up telling me that I had to install a small app before I could print postage. That app is a Windows .exe file. So much for supporting Linux and Mac clients.

So I fired up the laptop and ran the stamps.com software. Everything proceeded smoothly until I tried to print the postage label. When I did that, a box popped up warning me that I was using the “hide postage” option. Apparently, the USPS is very sensitive about that. The box warned me that if the weight was incorrect or there was any other significant issue, USPS would probably revoke my hidden-postage privileges. Okay, so I clicked on the button to show postage. The app then popped up another box that asked if I was really sure I wanted to show the postage amount on the label because hiding postage improves deliverability. Eh? No matter which of their suggestions I accepted, I’d be violating the other. So I chose to hide postage, just to see what the label would look like. The package, hidden postage and all, is now sitting in the queue to be picked up. If the Postal Police come after me, they’ll never take me alive.