Charging for late cancellations / no shows


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Sassy Hassy

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2004
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Well that's it! I vowed I'd never do it but after today Iam going to start charging for late cancellations (ie less than 24 hours notice) and failed appointments. I am fed up with people taking the michael. Today we had 2 sets of infills, a pedicure, manicure, facial and massage all cancel with about 1 hour's notice for each. I wouldn't have minded but we turned away a load of business as we thought we were fully booked, so I had a very bored therapist doing loads of cleaning today. What do you guys do? I was thinking of charging 25% of the cost of the treatment onto their next visit and make sure I really advertise that we will do this. Do you threaten it, or do you actually do it - and do you lose clients a result? I'd rather lose the cost of 1 failed appoinment than completely lose a client. Any ideas?
Gosh, this is one of the most frustrating areas of this business isn't it? If you think of it this way:- you make an appt for a haircut, something comes up, even if it's something trivial, you call them and even if it's only an hour before you're due, you apologise and presumably do not have a guilty conscience about it. A week later you go in for your rebooked haircut and are told you will have to pay another third (or whatever) on top of your usual price, how would you feel? If it was only the first or second time you had been to this establishment, would you go back?????????????
I get upset when people cancel too and still have to pay the tech's wages for doing nothing when no money is coming in and I have turned away other business.
If a regular was doing this on a regular basis then I would have a quiet word and usually the problem is sorted but if it's a new(ish) client I really don't want to take the chance of missing out on YEARS of future business from them. Sorry, I know it doesn't help you but just think of the business building and the GOOD public relations which will have people coming back again and again.
Thanks. I have always considered it one of those annoying and frustrating things too when people cancel last minute and haven't charged a fee for the reasons you state. I guess it was just so many in one day and I was really brassed off. I was just interested to see if anyone does do it and if it does work or if you do lose clients and get their backs up?
Hi there

Have you put a statement on your price list or appointment card saying they should give you 24 hours cancellation notice otherwise you will charge x%, make sure your clients see it, it might also be an idea to put this statement on a consultation form which they have to sign. If they refuse to pay a cancellation fee then you can say they signed and agreed to it, surely that would be a binding contract?

If they are regular customers and the treatment is eg over £25 you could stipulate they need to pay a deposit as they book the next appointment.

don't do anything at the mo, but if I decide to charge a cancellation fee I would definitely advertise it - one girl phoned up and said she was too hungover to come in today, perhaps when she turns up for her next appt I should say the same!!!!!
in the salon, i work on a commission basis, so its a big deal to me if someone doesn't show - i could have booked someone else in the slot. I ALWAYS take a phone number and we tend to make a comment at time of booking, along the lines of "this is a very busy time for us, so if you are unable to make your appointment or will be late for whatever reason, please ring asap".

Also, for some reason, when someone rings asking for an appointment that same day, when we have to offer an alternative day that they subsequently book, you can almost guarantee they have rung round EVERY salon/tech until they can be fitted in there and then and don't show for the appointment they booked. With these people i tend to ring them the afternoon before "just to check". These ones invariably say 'sorry, got them done yesterday by so and so'. I also have a bit of a hit list - i have one lady who out of about 10 appointments has actually only turned up for 3! I had another client, who missed an appointment and the next morning, i found an envelope addressed to me, with a post-it note inside saying sorry - and a £50 note! The service would have only been £35!

I think it is nigh on impossible to enforce a cancellation charge...they won't turn up to pay it! me thinks its only the likes of the TOP salons and techs (our famous award winning geeks) that are in a position to take credit card numbers to secure would certainly put me off making an appointment! Anyway, not everyone has a credit card and unless you charge it there and then, it may not even be authorised.

I must say this is a very frustrating subject. I have added a cancellation policy to the bottom of my record cards and the client signs it. SO i ASSUME she has read and understood the policy. Since i introduced it my no shows and cancellations have been cut by 70%. We are ofcourse simpathetic to clients if an emergency comes up, customer relations is very important to us. We also have a cancellation list on hand. I do make a note on the no shows record cards though, and when they next come in if they dont have a good excuse they pay up!
I agree this is a sensitive subject and i think every case should be judged on its own merits. If someone keeps doing it then you really could do without them any way, but if you get some genuine reasons then its gonna be difficult to make em pay a percentage.

i do have on my client consultation forms which they sign, to say a cancellation fee may be charged if less than 24 hours notice given on a cancelled appointment.

I haven't as yet had to enforce it so i suppose i am very lucky, but i'm not too busy at the moment, so we'll see.
thanks all for your comments. I like the idea that they have to sign that they are aware we operate a cancellation policy - even if we don't enforce it. I have also noted that people who you book for a later date than they asked for are often offenders, and I am going to have a try at phoning people 24 hours before their appt just to remind them (had another today who thought her appt was next week!). I don't have too much of a prob with no-shows as I do ask people tophone if they can't make it for any reason. I guess I was sounding off yesterday as it was so many people on one day. would still like to know if anyone does strictly enforce one and how it works. Cheers
I know this is an old thread but thought I would bump it up to see other Geeks opinions on this subject, your policies and how you enforce them.
In the last 3 days I have had 2 no shows, 2 cancellations one 30 minutes before the apt. and one 30 minutes after the apt was due to start. ARRRGGGHHHH!!!! Thats over £100 of apts. I am down and I could have booked other clients in.
I made the decision that clients who dont show will have to pay a 50% deposit if they want to make another appointment.
Does anyone else have problems with this and how do you deal with it?
In the salon I work in we charge people full apt price if the keep failing their apts or if they repeatedly cancel with no notice. Obviously sometimes things come up like people cant help so thats why we only do it when they keep on.
Thanks for your reply ~ How do you enforce this policy Louise?
Things do come up and I understand sometimes it isnt possible for clients to call at the time. My 2 no shows were 16-18 year old lassies 1 is a regular since before Christmas and the other her friend a new client. I text them ~ their preferred contact method not mine ~ 2 days before to confirm their apt's with, 'yep perfect' - then they dont turn up.
My client that was booked for 11am today (apt. booked 1 week ago, she specifically asked for Friday morning) phoned at 10.40 to say 'oops I cant come as I have gone shopping in the next town instead'
I am finding this really disheartening at the moment.
why dont you take a deposit of 50% that way you can either hold till they re-book or they lose but that way you dont make a massive loss!:wink2:
Cec said:
Hoho, done it again... answered an old thread... :-D


Cec - Thanks for replying, good advice
I bumped this thread up because when I did a search this thread highlighted the problems I am having so didnt want to write a duplicate thread.

How do you deal with new clients who phone to book in - do you tell them their is a cancelation policy over the phone? If they dont show how do you enforce it? I dont want to put new clients off but I cannot continue with this level of no shows. Its difficult.........
My policy, which I include on the documentation and aftercare sheet (although I use common sense on when enforcing it) is 24 hours notice must be given for cancellation, or if they fail to keep to this and cancel at shorter notice, then any future appointments are then subject to a booking fee. The booking fee will then be taken off the cost of the service if they turn up!

My booking fee is £5 but you could charge a percentage instead. Its just a bit kinder than an extra cost on top, but hopefully stops them doing it again. OK, I take the hit on one appointment, but it keeps things 'friendlier' for the future.

If you take credit cards, you could also take the number, and tell them a canellation fee will be charged to it if they don't give proper notice, althoughI know not everyone does accept cards on here, as I don't at the mo.
Hoho, still don't have a policy, but I am pretty lucky on the whole ... that was a really bad day!
We've done it again with old threads haven't we!! I really must start looking at the date!!:grr:
i charge and tell them (also on back of appointment card) 50% of appointment cost for first time(they only have to give 3 hours notice) 100% thereafter, if they dont pay it, i NEVER do them again, after all they are actually costing me money, why should i kiss their butt? all walk-ins have to pay 50% deposit, if they dont pay, i don't put em in the book, anyone who has incurred a cancelleation fee in the past has to pay upfront for their appointment, if they dont like it, they are more than welcome to get their nails done by sweaty betty down the street, i don't care anymore, i'm sick of people who are only too willing to take money out of my pocket, i am better off without them
It is most frustrating. I once had to come home early from a trip & arrange for a baby sitter to cover an appointment which the client didn't turn up for.

We are trying to get all our clients on a mobile phone & anyone we think might not show gets a subtle text message in the morning.


all my existing clients know they need to give me notice of 24 hours to give the opportunity of an appointment to another client who's waiting. i find all of my clients, unless something unforeseable comes up, are very considerate,as often they have been relying on a client themselves to give adequate notice so they can get in. i dont like having my time being wasted by habitual appointment changes and wont tolerate a no show. i keep records of no shows and they are NEVER:evil: booked again. no second chances,unless they, or immediate family have been hospitalised,lol.

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