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If you sell products online, making purchase order (PO) forms is an everyday process. Just like peanut butter needs jam, ecommerce businesses need to complete purchase orders.
For many people, Google Forms is the go-to tool to achieve this. It’s a great starter form builder that’s simple to use and free for anyone with a Google account.
But while making a purchase order form in Google Forms is possible, it’s not straightforward. It takes a few workarounds, an app download, and a bit of patience. Not to worry—we’re here to walk you through it.
A purchase order form is an agreement between a vendor and a seller about what is being sold, for what price, and at what time. PO forms should be legally binding documents that provide the vendor and the seller with a clear understanding of the transaction.
Any business selling goods or services, online or in person, needs a purchase order form to legitimise the selling process. They’re essential for bookkeeping, filing and organising money, handling returns, and settling any potential disputes that might come up.
Technically, you don’t need to process payments within a PO form, but the two processes are often combined purely for ease. For small businesses working alone or with a small team, the fewer forms to make, the better.
If you can process payments within the PO form, you’ll cut down on steps in the payment process, which can boost your sales and customer satisfaction ratings. After all, a purchase order form without a purchase is just a form.
Alright, let's walk through how to use Google Forms to create a purchase order form that accepts payments. Afterwards, we’ll go over the challenges you might face doing so, and offer a more efficient, easier solution.
Navigate to Google Forms and choose from a blank form or one of the provided templates. There is an order form template available, but it doesn’t include any payment questions.
You can title your form however you like, and adjust the limited customisation options: text, header image, and background colour are your main options for stylisation.
To add a field, select the add question icon from the popup menu on the right. You can choose from a limited number of question types, like short answer, multiple choice, multiple choice grid, and date/time.
There's no dedicated payment field in Google Forms. To sell anything via Google Forms, you’ll need a third-party solution (we’ll get to that in the next step).
First, you’ll need to add a field for every item you intend to sell. Multiple-choice or dropdown questions work best for product listings.
If you have variations on your item, like t-shirt sizes or types of tea sets, list each option with a price as an answer.
If a customer wants to buy more than one type of item? Unfortunately, there’s no built-in way to do this. Instead, you’ll need to list each item individually and add quantities as answer choices.
There’s also no way to manage stock through Google Forms, so you’ll have to manually update item availability. You’ll also have to calculate the price for each answer option, as Google Forms can’t automatically calculate the price based on quantity.
Don’t forget to include fields for all the additional information you’ll need:
Payable Forms is the most popular workaround for selling via Google Forms. To find it, click on the three-dot menu at the top right of the form builder and select add-ons (the puzzle piece icon).
This will take you to Google Marketplace, where you can download Payable Forms. Follow the instructions to install it. You’ll need to allow several permissions, including allowing the Payable Forms to delete any cell data in Google Sheets.
Once installed, Payable Forms will guide you through how to set up your Google Form to accept payments.
There are four main steps:
There are a few things worth noting:
Once you’ve confirmed that all your products are listed and your prices are correct, you’re ready to share your form. To adjust the privacy, head to Settings and open the dropdown menu under Responses.
Your privacy settings are up to you, but to make your purchase order form functional, you’ll need to toggle on Collect email addresses, and toggle off Restrict to users in your organisation and Limit to one response.
Payable Forms requires you to gather customer emails in order to function, and the latter settings allow customers to purchase from anywhere, as many times as they like.
Click the purple send button to share or embed your Google Form.
Before you do, though, go ahead and click the eye icon to preview your form and make sure it’s up to snuff. You’ll want to make sure everything is looking great before sending your purchase order form to your customers.
When processing payments and invoicing in Google Forms, you’ll run into several roadblocks.
The most obvious roadblock you’ll face when adding payments to Google Forms is that there’s no dedicated payment field. You have to use a workaround to get paid. That means more hoops to jump through for both you and your customers.
Without a dedicated payment field, you’ll need to get creative about how to list your products and services. You’ll find that forcing a multiple-choice question to become a product listing is like fitting a round peg in a square hole. It just doesn’t work.
One of the more annoying issues you’ll face with Payable Forms is the fees. For every purchase over $2.50, Payable Forms will charge you, the seller, a minimum of .25% of the unit price. That fee goes up for products listed at $75 and over.
.25% might not sound like a lot of money, and for the occasional seller, it's not. But when you’re running an ecommerce business, those numbers add up.
If you sell 30 mugs a day at $20 each, you’ll end up paying over $500 in fees in a year! That’s just for a single product. Add that to all of your products and services, and you’re looking at a serious loss in income.
As a free form builder, it’s understandable that Google Forms doesn’t come with a plethora of customisation options.
That might be fine if you’re using it to create a simple quiz, but when you’re using it to create purchase order forms for your business, it’s a pretty big roadblock.
There’s not much you can do to make your Google Forms not look so much like… well, a Google Form.
You can add a header and a few images, but if you want to create a unique, branded look that reflects your business, you simply don’t have the tools you need.
Customisation is about more than just looks. 75% of people judge a company based on its website, and 94% of people say web design is the first reason they mistrust a website. Making payment pages professional and effortless is an investment in your business.
If you’re looking for an easier, more professional way to create purchase order forms, Paperform is the perfect solution.
Our digital suite of tools has a fix for every roadblock you’ll run into with Google Forms, plus a heap of additional features designed to make running your business as easy as possible.
With Paperform, you can start selling online in no time. Add a product field and list as many items as you like. You can add available stock (updated automatically based on sales), allow customers to purchase multiples of each item, and add eye-catching images for each product.
Unlike Google Forms, listing prices in Paperform is intuitive and easy to alter at any time. You don’t have to double-check your currency or force a multiple-choice field to act like a payment field. You can add products, prices, and stock, all from one place.
Just add your payment fields, connect with your preferred payment gateway, and let the money roll in. And don’t worry about adding tax by hand—Paperform automatically calculates and adds the appropriate tax. No need to break out the calculator.
Paperform never takes a cent of money processed through your forms. Your profit goes exactly where it’s supposed to—your wallet.
Need to take subscriptions? No problem. Collect one-time payments and donations or charge monthly or weekly fees. Just add a subscription question and enter your details. Let Paperform handle the rest.
You can even add custom discount codes, coupon codes, or any other unique fee you might need. Our calculations feature can complete Excel-style functions, so you can calculate even the most complex rates and problems in seconds.
And with thousands of direct, or Zapier integrations to choose from, you can connect with your favourite tools and automate key business processes. Connect to Quickbooks, create tasks in Trello, or upload customer data to your CRM—there’s an automation for everything.
With over $84 million processed through Paperform, you know we’re doing something right. Small businesses, non-profits, and solopreneurs alike benefit from our payment pages. It’s a one-stop shop for beautiful, professional solutions for your business.
Thinking about making the move from Google Forms? You can easily migrate your forms over to Paperform with our Google Forms import tool.
With more than 82% of Americans making payments online, your business needs a purchase order form that’s easy to use, powerful, and beautiful.
Paperform can help you do that—and a whole lot more while we’re at it. Give it a go on us with our 14-day free trial, and see what you can create with a tool that’s got beauty and brains.
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