Let’s talk about the dreaded cancellation policy. It’s something you have to do, but it’s nobody’s favorite thing. It feels mean and confrontational, but it doesn’t have to! We’ve put together our tips on how to create an effective cancellation policy. One that will hold your clients accountable for respecting your time.
Here are a few examples of cancellation policies:
- “There is a 72 hour reschedule/cancellation policy. Any changes with less than 24-hour’s notice, or no-show, will result in the full charge of the service.”
- “Appointments must be cancelled or rescheduled 48 hours in advance or 50% of the service will be charged to the credit card on file.”
- “Please give 24 hours notice when cancelling or rescheduling to avoid a $25 fee.”
- “If a client is more than 15 minutes late, the appointment will be cancelled and the client will be charged a no-show fee.”
The first step is to clearly define and write out your cancellation policy. These are just a few examples, base yours on what works best for you and your clientele. For example, if your appointment slots are harder to fill, consider using a policy that requires 48 to 72 hours notice for cancellations. This way will allow you more time to work on getting the time slot filled.
Give your clients an incentive to keep their appointment.
Require a credit card at the time of booking in order for the appointment time to be reserved. This gives your clients an incentive to keep their appointment. And also gives you the power to charge a late-cancellation or no-show fee, recouping a small portion of the income from a missed appointment.
If you’re really uncomfortable with asking for a client’s credit card information to keep on file, you can charge a non-refundable booking fee instead. If you choose to, you can let your clients know that the booking fee will be allocated towards the service fee as long as they keep their appointment. This way will help you feel more comfortable while still giving your clients an incentive to keep their appointment.
Have your policy clearly stated.
It’s important to have your cancellation policy listed on your website, Facebook page, service menu, marketing materials, and consent forms. This eliminates any confusion and backs you up if a client tells you they didn’t know about your cancellation policy.
Some may say it’s okay to be flexible or offer one “get out of jail free” card, but we fundamentally disagree with this. It’s so important to stand your ground and be consistent with all your clients. If you allow one freebie, then repeat offenders will ask for another freebie. All it takes is one time to show that your serious and once they get charged for missing their appointment, they’ll think twice before they let it happen again. We understand that unexpected things happen that are outside our control from time to time. But you’re also losing out on income every time a client doesn’t show up to their appointment. Your time is money and deserves to be respected too!
Did you find our tips helpful? Have something to add? What’s your cancellation policy? Let us know in the comments below!