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Booking Fees

Why You Should Be Taking Non-Refundable Booking Fees

We’ve all been there; our next client is due to turn up and already a couple of minutes late. You have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that they’re simply not coming. But no phone call. No text. No nothing. Not only is it frustrating because you could have booked someone else in, but you’ve lost out on revenue. 

When clients don’t show up or cancel at short notice it has a huge impact on the livelihood of your salon. This isn’t acceptable. Set your boundaries, make sure clients understand that your time and your appointments have a value and unless there are very extenuating circumstances (and at your discretion) you still expect to be paid for that time.

Here are four ways you can reduce cancellations and no-shows in your business…

1. Introduce a Non-Refundable Booking Fee

A non-refundable booking fee not only secures the client’s appointment, but it gives you peace of mind that some of the costs are covered should they not turn up. It could be a percentage of the treatment or the whole value if you have several hours booked out, it’s up to you. If clients don’t comply with your policy, then they lose the fee. It’s not a deposit so don’t word it as such, it is a fee for your time allocated to them. Putting something like this in place will also set apart the clients that are serious about using your salon’s services and those who aren’t. 

2. Have a Cancellation Policy in Place

You should have a very clear cancellation policy in place. Make it visible on your website, price list, social media, and also include it with any booking confirmation or when taking a booking over the phone. 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 at your discretion. If they cancel after the time your policy states, they lose their booking fee and will need to pay it again when they make their next appointment.

3. Send SMS and/or Email Reminders

As long as you have the appropriate GDPR in place, a quick text or phone call can help reduce no-shows considerably, many booking apps include this facility. It’s also your chance to potentially upgrade a treatment with an add on. It might sound silly, but many clients lead busy lives, and a missed appointment can simply be a case of forgetting. 

You absolutely shouldn’t be losing out on money for no shows. So, the sooner you implement these three steps, the sooner you can retain clients without losing out on no-shows. But always remember, you want your clients to return again and again, so always approach the topic kindly and considerately.

4. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to repeat offenders

We’ve seen this a lot recently. Therapists worrying about problematic clients. If clients are cancelling or constantly rearranging appointments then they are not working for your business. Don’t let them impact your life, if clients are causing you anxiety or upsetting your staff then politely suggest you are not the right fit for them and send them on their way. Put it to bed, move on and worry less!

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