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There’s one in every group. We’re talking about that well-meaning friend who’s always flaking out at the last minute. Accommodations: Check. Transportation: Done. You’re all ready for the trip you’ve been planning for months, and then somebody cancels — leaving you back at square one. 

It’s the same way with salon cancellations. You’ve reserved a slot for a guest, turned away other clients and diligently prepared for the appointment, too. Moments before it’s go-time, your client calls to cancel — or, worse, doesn’t call and doesn’t show.

Even top-of-the-line salons deal with the headache – and financial strain – of cancelled appointments. In fact, you’d probably be surprised by how often it happens. That’s why many salons and spas lay out cancellation policies for their clients. Here’s a look at how those policies work, and how you can benefit from instilling this added precaution at your studio.

Be Proactive

Smart stylists and technicians call their clients a few hours or a day prior to scheduled sessions. They’ve got a dual motive for employing this tactic. A quick call reminds clients about an upcoming appointment they might have forgotten, and it buys salons a little time to squeeze in waitlisted clients, if an existing guest won’t be about to make it after all. A simple way to minimize your time on the phone: most online booking platforms will send your guests automatic reminders, asking them to confirm with a simple yes or no.

Offer Rebooking

To avoid wasting valuable time waiting on no-shows – and to reward clients who give ample notice for cancellations – some salons institute a rebooking policy. If a client gives at least 24-hour notice for a cancellation, these business owners won’t charge for missed fees; rather, they’ll offer a rebooking, so that guests can schedule a new appointment at a more convenient time.

Charge No-Shows

Of course, no matter how proactive and cautious you are, you’ll still have clients who don’t show up to their appointments. When this happens, many salons will typically charge a certain percentage of the fees for the missed appointment. Three strikes, and we recommend politely telling your client that you are unable to work with them. Your time is money, and it’s ok to pick and choose your clientele!

This might seem harsh, but it’s usually effective. Establishing a strict no-show policy protects your salon studio, and it sends a message to clients, too: Appointments should be respected, but if something comes up it’s very easy to cancel within a reasonable time frame.

Amber Perkin, salon owner and colorist, shares how her salon business processes the cancellation of appointments:

“I discovered that having a cancellation policy in place helped weed out clients who weren't planning to be loyal or respectful of my time — and it left room for those who do value my time.” 

Amber uses an app to send out text reminders seven and two days prior to appointments.

“If a client cancels less than 24-hours before, or they’re a no-show, it counts as a strike. After three strikes, they will either be required to give a deposit to make an appointment or be refused service. And, for any services predicted to take more than two hours, or for services being done on holidays, I always require a deposit. Deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, and are applied to the appointment cost.”  


Every good rule has an exception, and cancellation policies are no, um, exception! Let’s say a client can’t make it in due to extreme weather or a health issue. As long as the excuse feels valid and legitimate, last minute cancellations are acceptable. Remember, cancellation policies are all about mutual respect!

Author Bio:

Robin Vinz Salvador does digital marketing for Bound for Style; you can reach him at robin@boundforstyle.com.

United States

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