Don’t have a cancellation policy? Here’s why you desperately need one.
As a business owner we want to work with our clients, we want our clients to be happy - but at what cost? We might lose a client if we stand up for ourselves or protect ourselves and our income, but is that really such a terrible thing?
Let's start by looking at the cost of a cancellation. You have one client cancel on you, let’s say that service is $80. One cancellation per day for a week is $560, per month that’s $2,400. That’s $28,800 a year! Roughly 4,800 Starbucks drinks, 288 nail fills, an entire car or a downpayment on your first home. When you look at the numbers on a larger scale you quickly realize that a cancellation policy (that you adhere to) - is vital. That’s a huge loss of income. At the end of the day, you are running a business and it’s important that your clients understand this. We are in the business of lashing and making a living, not the business of friendship.
We always say that great clients will show respect and have no issues paying a cancellation fee. They respect you, your business and your time. A client who doesn’t want to pay a cancellation fee can easily be replaced by someone who will. It’s that easy. Never be desperate for a bad client. Mutual respect in the beauty industry is a thing of the future… We no longer live in a world where the client is always right.
Make sure your clients are aware of your cancellation policy. Create a pop up on your website. If you use an online booking system there is usually a place to explain your policies, send out a newsletter or text message. Never be shy to stand up for your business, taking all of these steps to educate and communicate with your clients will only make it easier to explain to your clients in future why you need to charge them - should they cancel.
We also know that sometimes situations come up that are completely unpredictable and out of our control. It’s important to work with your clients while protecting yourself. If you have a client that has never cancelled late, comes every three weeks for a fill and their car won’t start because it’s -30 outside. Explain to your client that you are happy to waive your cancellation policy and educate them on why and explain that this is a one time pass. It’s also incredibly easy for clients to take advantage of kindness and what’s the old saying, give an inch - take a mile. So create boundaries and learn to communicate with your clients so they understand your point of view and how cancelling an appointment last minute directly impacts you.
Stick to your guns and charge late cancellations. You’ll very quickly find this problem you once had is no longer a problem. Perhaps that problematic client you once had now won’t book with you because they know what will happen if they cancel - is losing this kind of client really a bad thing? Probably not and that vacation to Mexico is looking pretty damn good because you haven’t lost out on $28,800.