How can I enforce cancellation fees for missed appointments?

When clients don’t show up it can have a huge impact on your livelihood. As lovely as your customers are, they won’t spare a thought for your business if their priorities change and they can’t make an appointment. However, there are four ways you can reduce cancellations and no-shows in your business:

1. Have a non-refundable booking fee
This secures the client’s appointment. It could be a percentage of the treatment or the whole value, it’s up to you. If clients don’t comply with your policy then they forfeit the fee. However, do not use the word “deposit” because you have to refund these.

2.Put a cancellation policy in place
Make it clear on your website, price list, social media and when taking a booking over the phone that you have a cancellation policy. It’s at your discretion how far in advance they need to cancel but anywhere from 24 to 72 hours is advisable. 

If the client cancels their appointment within your policy’s time frame then the booking fee can be transferred across to their next treatment or refunded. If they cancel after the time your policy states, then they lose their booking fee and will need to pay it again when they make their next appointment.

3. Send SMS and email reminders
You could argue that it’s not your responsibility to manage clients’ diaries, but a quick text or phone call can help reduce no-shows considerably. It’s also your chance to potentially upgrade a treatment with an add on.

4. Create a rule that serial offenders can only book in on the same day
Life happens. Sometimes clients will have to work late or their children are sick, so be mindful of this. However, if you have a client who constantly cancels last minute, tell them they can only book in on the same day due to their busy schedule. That way they won’t be charged if they can’t make the appointment.

Kerry Beavis is owner of home-based salon The Revive Company in Wixams, a Professional Beauty Regional Awards judge and winner of PB’s Therapist of the Year 2016 award.