Fortunately, they just recently launched a php-based shipping calculator api. I'll head over to that thread and vote for it. I'll put it here just in case you'd like to take a look (and maybe put in a good word with the team!)
Thank you for the quick response!
I'll give the EE forums a shot to see if anyone has tried something like that. I appreciate the offer for developer recommendations, and may ask for those references in the near future! (^_^)o