Do you have a g-mail account? If not, you should. If you do, do you use Google Drive? If not, you should. Not that I’m telling you what to do here…
A couple of years ago, my school became a 1:1 school where every student had an iPad. It was great! But with technology comes learning new things – LOTS of new things. One thing we were required to learn and use is Google Drive. UGH. If you’re a teacher, you know what I mean when I say…one more thing on our plate. But little did I know that Google Drive is Life. Changing. For real.
Google Drive is a cloud based storage system for your files. You can access them anywhere with internet. You can even change the mode of certain files to be accessed offline. You can use it on your phone, iPad, tablet, or computer. It is always at your fingertips.
Within Google Drive are applications – Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and even Sites! These programs are equivalent to Microsoft’s programs (Word, Excel, etc.). So if you know those programs, you’ll learn these quickly! Although not everything converts seamlessly.
I use Google Sheets for EVERYTHING. I have become quite obsessed with spreadsheets. I use them for orders, expenses, lists, etc.
When using this at school – I never really thought about utilizing it in my own businesses. Duh! I saw a few other cookiers using some sort of online form for taking holiday orders and LOVED that idea. I am the worst about replying to messages, writing things down, keeping everything organized. Every holiday would come around and I would be so paranoid that I forgot someone. My very first big holiday I (no joke) used tally marks to keep track of how many cookies I needed to make. Keep in mind…holidays are big and are usually around 1,000 cookies. Yup. I about lost my mind. AND I forgot people. I needed a new strategy for the next holiday.
Enter: Google Forms
You can create an “order form” for your customers to fill out. They can enter different quantities or even personalization for the cookie options. All you have to do is create the form and share it via link with your customers. The best part – the Google Form automatically generates a spreadsheet for you. No counting, no tallies, no millions of messages. All your orders are found in one place.
I’m going to share step by step directions on creating your Google Form. I will also insert any little tips I think of along the way. I have tweaked my forms each time and feel I have a good system down. I am also going to share with you how I organize my spreadsheets and add in formulas so I don’t have to continually do the math! Bear with me – this is going to be a long one! But if you’re not super tech savvy or have never used Google Forms, I hope you’ll find it useful!
HOW TO CREATE A GOOGLE “COOKIE ORDER” FORM:
- The first step is to log into Google and open you Google Drive (9 square little grid in the top right corner).
- Click on the Blue Button that says “New” and then click on “Google Form”
- Your new form will look like this:
Give it a title! (Ex: LC Sweets Back to School Special 2017)
- Include your details/instructions in the “description” section under your title.I always include when the orders are due, pick up dates, as well as pick up location. If you require payment upfront, you might make a note that invoices will be sent and payment is required to book.
- Question 1 & 2 are always their name and their phone number. There are different types of questions that you can create. For these, it automatically defaults to short answer – which is what you want. I also make these “required” by click on the little switch in the bottom right.
- Also, if you have multiple pick up options, be sure to include a REQUIRED multiple choice question for them to respond to.
- Now it’s time to set up your options! Each option will be a “Question.” For my question type I use a drop down and a long answer. The drop down will allow them to select quantities and the long answer will allow them to include personalization. After I select Dropdown, it will give me a place to type in my options. Option 1 put “1”, Option 2 put “2”, and so on. I usually do about 30 options. This part is a little tedious, but you won’t have to do it again. You will be able to duplicate the question.
- Add your picture of your option. Your customers want to see YOUR samples! Use the little picture icon to the left of the question type option. **Side note: Don’t every use pictures of someone else’s cookies to sell your own. Each cookier works hard to make their own samples, you should too!**
- Now duplicate that “question” for every option that you have. In this case I have 2 other options. Down at the very bottom of your “question” there is an icon that looks like 2 papers stacked:Change the question and the picture.
- If you have an option that might have personalization. Add a new question after it (using the little plus symbol to the left of your previous question). I usually make this a “Long answer text” question so they can type in whatever they need. Some customers feel the need to write me a whole little note to make sure I know what they mean 😉
- For the personalization questions, I add in a description. Click the 3 little dots in the bottom right corner and then click on description. I usually say “Please include any personalization you would like. Ex: “Name,” “Welcome Back,” “First day of 3rd Grade.” I like to give them examples so they don’t go crazy. Most usually stick with something along those lines.
- Repeat the steps for each option/personalization.
- At the top of the form there are some options you can change. The art palette allows you to change the color scheme of the form. The eye allows you to preview the form as your customers would see it. The gear allows you to adjust settings. Under the settings – ALWAYS require it to collect email addresses. If you require pre-payment, this will help you with organization for invoicing. I also always have it send them a response receipt, that way they have record of what they have ordered.
And your form is complete! Sometimes I send the link to a friend or my husband and have them look it over to make sure it works smoothly and I haven’t missed anything. Once you’re ready – you can share the link with your customers and start taking orders!
To share your form: Click “Send” in the top right corner of the Google Form.
Click on the little link icon. It will give you a crazy long link. Check the “Shorten URL” option to get a shorter link. (Why is this even an option – does anyone really want a longer link?!) Use the link to post to your FB or IG. You can even send it out via e-mail.
The link to the form I created for this post is:
Another AH-MAZING thing about this Google Form…You can duplicate it and just change out the pictures and headings for future orders! You do not have to create a new one from scratch every time (unless you just want to…).
Now to the part that makes me GIDDY! The spreadsheet. Are you prepared to be amazed?
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GOOGLE “COOKIE ORDER” FORM SHEET:
Now you are welcome to just leave your automatically generated sheet as is, but I want to show you some easy ways to organize it and calculate your numbers.
- Open your sheet from your Google FormClick on the Google Sheet icon. This will open the automatically generated spreadsheet. Click on “Create a New Spreadsheet.” Once you have done this, you won’t have to do it again. Your spreadsheet will automatically update as long as your customers still fill it out. **Be sure to delete the link any and everywhere when orders are closed so your customers don’t try to sneak orders in after the due date!**
- I went ahead and filled out my form 3 times to be able to show you how I organize it. This is what it will look like when you first open.
- I “hide” the “Timestamp,” “E-mail,” and “Agreement” columns by clicking the little arrow next to the column letter. Basically hide whatever columns are not relevant to produce your order. I do leave the phone number so I can quickly text them if I have a question or need to remind them to pickup.
- I adjust the column widths to be as small as they can while still being able to read the headings. When you have a lot of options, it becomes a pretty large spreadsheet!
- I add in a column to the right of their name for the amount owed. If you do pre-payments, this could help you to send invoices. You could also add a “paid” column if you wanted. To insert a column, click on the drop down arrow next to the column letter and click “Insert 1 right”**One note of something I did not show – If you have multiple pick up dates, you can sort the sheet according to those dates. Click on the column header and “Sort Sheet A-Z or Z-A.” The way I have my dates typed out, it will just group them together, not necessarily in order.**
- Under each column of numbers I am going to add a formula that will add them up. This will give me a total number for each option. Click on the cell at the bottom of each column. I usually skip one or 2 cells. Then click on the “Functions” button. It will give you a drop down menu and you will click “SUM.” **Make sure you are in the cell where you want the total to go.** Once you click on SUM, it will add “=SUM( )” into your post. It will be waiting for you to click on the appropriate cells to add up. Click on the first cell in the column, hold down shift and click on the last cell in the column. It will then change the formula to include those columns. Hit ENTER. You should see it has totaled the numbers in that column
- Now you could repeat that step for every column, or you could work smarter – not harder. Hover over the cell with the formula in it. Put the mouse right over the bottom right corner and it will turn to a cross. Click and drag horizontally across the row. Don’t worry about the columns without numbers…you can delete those when you are done. This automatically copies that formula across your spreadsheet. You now have your count for baking/decorating. I know that I will need to make 26 mini packs, 3 kiddos and 13 apples.
- Now we are going to get a little complicated. I had to bring in reinforcements for this part. My husband is an Excel genius so I knew he could make all my Google Sheet dreams come true. We are going to have the sheet automatically generate the total $$ owed for each order. The first step of this is to create another row underneath the heading row. You do this the same way as a column. Right click on Row 2 and “Insert 1 above.” In this row you are going to put the price of each item. (Minis are $5 each – except when they order less than 3…we will address that later, Kiddos are $7 and Apples are $5). After you have entered the price/item. Click on the Row 2 so it highlights the whole row. Then click on the little money sign “Format as Currency” and it will recognize that that row is referring to money.
- Click on the first person’s cell for their total. We will use this cell to create the formula. You’re going to use this formula (adjusting to the appropriate columns/rows) “=(G3*$G$2)+(H3*$H$2)+(J3*$J$2)”You are having the Row 3 multiply by the Row 2 in each column and then adding them all together. The “$” in the formula are super important. They do not represent money in this instance, but rather a symbol that will keep that part of the formula constant for the next step. **It might be a good idea to double check to make sure your math and the formula came up with the same answer to ensure you entered everything correctly.
- Next you’re going to copy that formula by clicking and dragging down the column vertically (like we did with the totals in Step 9). Again, the “$” symbol in the formula is crucial for this to work correctly.
- The last step is to create a “Total” for the money you have earned. Click on the cell below the money owed totals and repeat Step 7.
You are now a Google Form using, Google Sheet using , holiday cookie order taking MASTER. I hope you NEVER use a piece of notebook paper and tally marks ever again!
Whew. I’m pooped. Please let me know if you found this helpful! It really will make this blog post worth every word and screen shot! And check back later, I will be sharing how I get organized and sort for cookie pickup days.