Needing to move clients to a different day due to a last minute holiday


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Sep 30, 2023
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Hi everyone,

I’m a self employed hairdresser renting a chair within a salon.

I potentially have a last minute holiday approaching in the next coming weeks and on one of the days I’ll be away I have a few clients booked.

I was just wondering if it would be acceptable to ask them to move to a different day that week?

The salon owner I rent the chair from believes this is had business practice and has expressed to me previously that moving clients should only be done in a situation that is 100% necessary,

I just need to know the correct etiquette and if this is an acceptable procedure or not.

Many thanks!
Hi Kyleredpath, welcome to the forum.

I would agree that it is bad practice to move clients around, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Things do crop up from time to time. However a holiday is not a good enough excuse in my opinion for you to be moving clients. You don't want to get their backs up. So it would have been better for you to pre warn them about the possibility that their appointment may be subject to change as you didn't have a clear date for your holiday.

They have no qualms about cancelling us, but if you have a good relationship with your client booked on the day you could just ask them if they would swap. Make it a one off and not to repeat.

Doctor, Dental, Hospital and other healthcare issues or other emergencies are what they are. A priority and that's the only acceptable reason for cancelling.

As I have got older myself and I have rather a high level of older clients I have had to be more fluid with my appointments. A last minute emergency is far more common now and can leave a whole morning empty which isn't good for my bank balance. So then I may offer it to another that's due in on the day or a day later. It works for me and likewise emergencies have cropped up for me over the years. Give and take really, so I hope that helps. :)
I sometimes need to rearrange clients, usually to remove unfilled gaps in my schedule and accommodate another potential booking . It feels really rude to inconvenience someone that booked in advance in order to accept a last minute enquiry but I do need to be practical.

I usually write something like, “I am really looking forward to seeing you again on X day and time but I wondered if you have any flexibility to come at another time/day? I have some time available on X or X and I wondered if it would be convenient for you to come on one of these other days/times? i am terribly sorry to inconvenience you, please let me know if this might work for your schedule”.

I don’t mention the reason why I need to reschedule, and I’m careful when I see the client to remember to be grateful and thank them for rescheduling. Again I don’t say why I needed that time, I just say how much I appreciated their flexibility.

It is bad form and it’s really unprofessional, but we are real people with real lives and we shouldn’t be slaves to our schedule. Whether you can “get away with it” depends on the quality of your relationship with your clients. I had a booking yesterday because the client had been cancelled - and it was in my diary for a fortnight so it wasn’t a last minute emergency. The client was clearly aggrieved, I got the impression that he felt that his loyalty should not be tested in this way. From his comments afterwards I think I exceeded his expectations so he may well return to me - or at least by open to the idea of changing therapist.

You’ll have to weigh up the benefits of a last minute break with losing these clients permanently.
Not professional to be honest. You must have known you had these clients before you booked the holiday.
You'll have to be very nice to them when you ring (don't do it by message).
Be prepared to loose a few!
I feel everyone is getting a bit heated on this topic. At the end of the day we’re not doctors and our clients (unless it’s for a special occasion e.g wedding) doesn’t need their hair or nails done as a matter of life and death!

It might feel unprofessional but everyone moves appointments as life changes, and that’s ok.
If you’re self employed it’s one of the perks and disadvantages of being so, you can take holiday when you like, however miss out on pay.

You said in the next coming weeks, I think this is adequate notice to inform clients and rebook them either before or when you get back.

My clients move their appointments all the time and I’m always accommodating to them, I obviously don’t move them around but if I’m unwell or book a holiday I ask my clients to move…and they’re always happy to do so.

I think your manager is being a bit mean, she makes money from you and shouldn’t be telling you how to run your business. If it was next day fair enough but don’t be made to feel like a bad person for booking a holiday that wasn’t 6 months in advance!

Also if my hairdresser called me saying she had booked a holiday next week but was able to do my hair either before, or if it wasn’t an emergency I could do after her holiday, I would be absolutely fine with this and wish her a lovely holiday as she works so hard….I’m not that self important to to think she was being “unprofessional”
as ashley says, its part of being in business. If you're as accommodating when it comes to re-arrangements then i'm sure they will be fine

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