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June 7th, 2008
09:41 am

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Egg delivery service business-enabling web application
So, we sell eggs now, see...and it's time to start thinking about our web presence and how to properly Do Things.

So, I'm asking Dr. Internet: How should we best keep track of orders so that we know on any given night which invoices to prepare and print, how many dozen eggs I'll be taking with me, and where? Preferably I'd like there to be some way for people to put in their own requests for deliveries and preferred times which I can confirm and have entered in the system. The system should allow for blackout dates and exceptions. I should be able to assign customers to "clusters" or "routes" so that if one person in a cluster confirms an order, other people in that cluster would be constrained to that day for that week's delivery. The user interface should be simple both for me in hand-entering orders that come in by phone or in-person, and for customers. There are numerous other requirements rattling around in my head that I don't want to take the time right now to stop and put into words, and I'm sure you reading this probably have suggestions either based on what I've written so far or what you've liked or disliked about other applications you've used, either as a customer on the "front-end" or a service provider or vendor on the "back-end." I respectfully request your advice.

Oh, and if you're here in the "Metro DC" and you want farm fresh eggs, do let me know!

p.s. Tumble Rock Farm needs branding and collateral, too...must ponder. Those of you who frequent or vend at Farmers Markets--what sort of setup should we have? What makes you stop at one stall or stand and what makes you skip past one?

Current Mood: awake

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From:coleoptera
Date:June 7th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
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I stop at stalls and stands that have something I want or something similar that seems novel or potentially better quality, but honestly, I mostly like patronizing the same people routinely.

Or I did back in NC.
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From:happypete
Date:June 7th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)

No comment on the main question?

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When will I learn to not ask PS questions; those are the only ones that people answer...
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From:rubberella
Date:June 7th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
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i'm sure there is some scheduling software out there,that someone can recommend.

As for the invoicing part, you'd need simple accounting software (ex:Quickbooks-that's what I use) that can keep track of your inventory, customers, billing & who has paid. I can't express that even with a beginning venture like this how important it is to keep track of that stuff from the beginning as it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

farmer's markets: http://www.localharvest.org/
looks like if you choose your area you can list yourself on there or it gives you info on how to join the markets,etc.

hope what i have to say helps :)
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From:happypete
Date:June 7th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)

Thanks...

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yep...I'm using Quickbook Simple Start [Freeeeeeeeeeee!] to keep track of basics. In my case I don't keep track of inventory, because my inventory is perishable--and I can visually see it every time I open the fridge to take some out or put some in. But sales--because I have to take out sales tax in Virginia, even on "groceries" like eggs--and accounts receivable...that's important stuff.

Eventually I'll be able to run reports so I can see how much money I'm losing doing this.
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From:dcseain
Date:June 7th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
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A calendar-based system, with blackout ability for hours and days would be ideal. You could use email submission combined with Google Calendar initially, i suppose, limiting any given day to a specific geographic area.

Then there's the route-planning. How do you plan to initially limit your delivery area? Especially with price of gas, limiting the delivery zone to your vicinity and to-from work route, if going to office, seem best bets initially.

I presume you are registered for sales tax in VA, but what about WV, DC, MD? Seeing as you are selling a good, i know sales tax - at a lesser rate - applies in VA as you're selling food in the form of groceries/produce. DC and MD exempt food, don't know about WV.

Commiting to the "DC Metro" has you covering, at minimum, Loudoun, Prince William, Fairfax, Arlington counties in VA, plus the cities, DC, and at least Montgomery and Prince George's in MD. That's a very large area, especially with the traffic herebouts.
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From:happypete
Date:June 7th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)

I've got the legal side handled..

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I'm a registered vendor in Virginia. I'm not sure if I can register as an out-of-state sole prop. to sell in MD and VA without an FEIN. I can in Virginia. They just gave me a special "V" number that takes its place [and maps to my SSN, internally, no doubt].
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From:happypete
Date:June 7th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)

I'd probably want to take a look at the Google Calendar API...

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...and wrap some sort of MVC around it, using a calendar as the "appointment-centric" data store.
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From:deboranter
Date:June 7th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
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well i don't have any answers to any of your questions. but i would like to buy some eggs.
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From:happypete
Date:June 7th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)

I'd love to sell them to you...

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You're close in to town? Perhaps we can meet in Herndon at Lunch-time once a week to make the exchange?
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From:deboranter
Date:June 7th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)

Re: I'd love to sell them to you...

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that would be lovely. I'm getting ready to head out of town for a week and only need a dozen a week if that's ok. Lets start week of 6/23. how much?
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From:geminigirl
Date:June 7th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I stop at stalls with nice displays, which have good looking product. For some things, I'm enticed by samples-produce for example or baked goods. The crowd has to be either not too large, or moving quickly enough that I'm not going to wait too long.

But the big draw, if I've never been before-a good display. Now, what constitutes "good" is kind of subjective. I want to be able to see what you've got clearly, know what your prices are, and get a glimpse of the quality of your stuff with a quick look so I can decide to stop or go.
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From:dark_blade
Date:June 9th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
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I don't know anything about the software stuff or running a business or deliveries..

However, I stop at stalls with clear signage and displayed product. Are you washing your eggs? If not, and if you aren't refridgerating them, I suggest a sign that tells people they still have the natural coating and are safe at room temp. Lots of people don't know that.
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