What do you think your stylists dread more, getting a phone call from a client canceling an hour before their appointment or getting no call at all and twiddling their thumbs waiting for a no-show?
Neither situation is exactly desirable at any salon. But what if we told you there was a simple way to make cancellations and no-shows happen less often? Well, there is—a cancellation policy!
In this article, we’ll go over why every salon should have a cancellation policy, what your policy should include (with examples), and a few other tips to help reduce salon cancellations.
Why Your Salon Needs a Cancellation Policy
Outlining your salon’s cancellation policy may not be at the top of your to-do list, but for the sake of your staff and your profits, it should be. Here’s why:
Protect your staff and business from losing money.
If a client cancels their appointment last-minute and you have no cancellation policy, then you and your stylist are simply out the money. The time and resources you set aside for each guest are valuable. A cancellation policy is like a form of insurance that makes sure they don’t go to waste if a client doesn’t show up.
Discourage last-minute cancellations.
According to industry research, 27% of spa booking cancellations happen on the same day as the appointment, and 37% of cancellations occur two days before. If guests know they’ll have to face a penalty if they cancel without enough notice, they’ll be more likely to show up.
Having a cancellation policy in place also encourages guests who truly need to cancel to do so as far in advance as possible, giving your stylist a better chance at rebooking their time slot.
Make your salon look more professional.
When you respect your stylists’ time and money, your customers will too. A cancellation policy adds a professional quality to your salon business and lets guests know you’re serious about your work.
What a Salon Cancellation Policy Should Include
A good salon cancellation policy will be detailed and easy for clients to understand. When you create yours, make sure you cover all the important areas below.
There are two components your salon cancellation policy must be absolutely clear about—time and fees. Let’s talk about the first one.
Start building your policy by determining what you want your cancellation timeline to look like. How close to the day of their appointment will you allow clients to cancel without penalty? When will you start charging a fee or forfeiting deposits? Will you charge for late arrivals?
These are the timeline-related details you’ll need to have finalized and communicated in your cancellation policy.
Along with a timeline, the other facet of your salon cancellation policy that you must be straightforward about is the fees you’ll be charging and when. The most common structures for cancellation fees are to either charge a flat rate based on how far out a client cancels or a percentage of the services they booked.
Explicitly state how cancellation fees will be calculated and when in the timeline they apply and, if applicable, increase.
Definition of Cancellation
Your policy should also outline what situations are considered cancellations at your salon.
For instance, does a guest who calls an hour before their appointment to reschedule for another day have to pay a penalty? Or is that technically a reschedule, not a cancellation? Will you have criteria for distinguishing between reasonable and unreasonable cancellations, such as canceling for illness or a family emergency?
Also, be sure to define what’s considered a “last-minute” cancellation. This may be an hour before a client’s appointment or the entire day of. You’ll probably also want to mention that no-shows will fall into the cancellation bucket and be charged a fee too.
Consider how you’ll take payment for cancellation fees. Most salons will take a deposit when the appointment is made, which would then be kept if the client cancels outside of the acceptable timeline, or secure a card on file during booking to charge if needed.
How to Cancel
In addition to the components listed above, a fair salon cancellation policy will also include instructions for clients who do need to cancel. This ensures clients have a chance to cancel far enough in advance to avoid any fees.
You’ll need to decide which cancellation methods are acceptable for you and your stylists. This may include a text to the stylist, messaging them on your salon’s app, calling the salon, or reaching out on social media. Make it clear what steps guests need to take to cancel and avoid charges.
Salon Cancellation Policy Examples
Even when you know what you need to say in your salon cancellation policy, it can still be difficult to put it into words. That’s why we’ve put together a few examples of possible cancellation policies to help inspire you.
We value the time and needs of every client. To help us provide the best services to as many clients as possible, we ask that if you must cancel your appointment, you do so at least 48 hours in advance. Missed appointments or appointments canceled with less than 48 hours of notice will be subjected to a fee of $X. Thank you for your understanding.
Our stylists’ time is valuable, just like yours. We ask that you respect that time by kindly notifying us of appointment cancellations at least 24 hours in advance. If you’re unable to cancel your appointment within that timeframe, the following fees will be incurred:
- 24 hours or more in advance—no fee
- Less than 24 hours in advance—50% of the cost of services booked
- No-shows—100% of the cost of services booked
We understand that life happens, and appointments sometimes must be canceled. If you need to cancel your appointment, please let us know 24 hours or more in advance. Appointments canceled with less than 24 hours of notice or no notice at all will forfeit their 50% deposit for services booked.
Tips for Reducing Salon Cancellations
The bottom line is that you don’t want your clients to cancel, and clients don’t want to cancel and be forced to pay a fee. By taking steps to help reduce cancellations and no-shows, your salon can bring in more money and satisfy more clients.
Here are a few tips to help you make high cancellation rates a thing of the past at your salon:
Clearly communicate your cancellation policy.
An effective way to deter cancellations is to make the consequences of canceling loud and clear to your clients. Communicate your cancellation policy at multiple client touchpoints, such as:
- On your website
- A sign at your front desk
- In your email signature
- On social media profiles
- During the online booking process
Send appointment reminders.
Research shows that reminder text messages reduce no-shows in medical practices by 38%. Although it’s not a doctor’s office, the same concept can be applied at your salon.
A lot of the time, cancellations and no-shows happen because clients simply forget about their appointment and either make conflicting plans or don’t show up. Reminding them of upcoming appointments via text, email, or phone call is a great way to prevent cancellations.
We recommend sending a reminder 24-48 hours before their appointment.
Build stronger client relationships.
When your clients have a strong relationship with their stylists, they won’t forget about or want to cancel their appointments. Your staff should take the time to get to know their guests and personalize the salon experience to make them look forward to every appointment.
One easy idea to try is to start a salon loyalty program. Offering rewards for clients who consistently show up and book with you will keep them coming back and spending their money.
Make booking easy for guests.
Your clients are the ones who know their schedules best. When you give them complete visibility into your stylists’ calendars and the tools to self-book, they’re far less likely to cancel. They’ll also have an easier time remembering their appointment when they go through the process of booking it themselves.
Including pre-payment options during booking can further incentivize clients to show up for appointments.
Start Reducing Cancellations at Your Salon Today
A clear and fair cancellation policy is an excellent tool for reducing cancellations and no-shows at your salon. And with SalonBiz’s payments feature, you can easily enforce your policy and deter cancellations in the future.
The payments feature allows you to easily accept and process credit, debit, and gift card payments, store cards on file for future transactions, automatically charge cancellation fees, and automatically create batches from all your payment sources. Save time, make more money, and deliver a more seamless guest experience.
Book a demo today to learn more about what you can do with the power of SalonBiz!