Do you know what your greatest expense is?
Wages and rent.
At least that’s the case for the majority of salon owners.
No wonder late cancellations and no-shows have a direct negative impact on your salon profitability.
If not managed right, it’ll eat from your income while costs remain constant. This is not an equation that rimes well with a profitable salon.
To run a successful salon business, it’s vital to know your booking schedule with as much notice as possible.
But, unfortunately, sometimes clients do not follow through or ask to reschedule last minute.
As a business owner, you will, of course, be as accommodating as possible. But it’s not always possible to find a new time. Neither is this a cost you can afford to carry.
By implementing a clear, direct, and easy to find salon cancellation and no-show policy, you minimize dealing with frustrated clients and protect yourself and your staff from costly last-minute changes.
But what should your salon no-show policy cover? And what’s the right salon cancellation policy wording to use to not sound harsh?
I decided to find out.
In today’s article, I’ll share a list of options to include in a salon cancellation policy. I’ve also put together a standard salon cancellation policy template and example that you can download and adapt for your salon.
1. The 24 Hour Policy
One of the most universal salon policies is the 24-hour policy. This policy asks for 24 hours notice when canceling or rescheduling an appointment to avoid being charged for a portion of their booked services.
To achieve this, you’ll have to capture your client’s credit card details when booking. Your salon software should be able to support this and even make adding a credit card mandatory.
The below image shows how this works when using Mangomint for online bookings.
The problem is that bookings are not always made online but via phone or in person and it is both awkward and time-consuming to ask your client to read their credit card details out loud.
Mangomint solves this using their “Express Booking” feature which sends a text to your client after they, for example, book via phone. They can then add all the details using a secure page and you can avoid that awkward discussion.
To learn more about how you manage cancellation policies and capture credit card details using Mangomint, read their cancellation policy guide here.
The 24-hour policy is effective in the majority of cases despite its simplicity as it is both a blanket statement covering most situations, but also a reasonable policy client will not be frustrated with.
Being understanding in your wording also goes a long way so as not to come across as stuffy or inflexible. An example of the basic 24-hour policy is as follows:
Salon understands that sometimes schedules change and therefore requests at least 24 hours notice when canceling or rescheduling your appointment. A credit card is required to hold your appointment. Appointments canceled within 24 hours or for which clients are a “No-Show” for will incur a charge of 50% of the service amount.
2. The Tiered Policy
A tiered policy builds off the basic 24 hours policy in that it offers more flexibility and options for your clients, depending on the service they have booked with your salon. If your salon offers last-minute bookings or group bookings for parties and bridal events, implementing a tiered policy may be the best way to ensure complete transparency with your clients.
A tiered policy can and should remain simple and clear. Confusing both your clients and front desk staff won’t be beneficial to anyone despite even the best of intentions. This means that while you are now offering different options for how much notice a client needs to give, having a different notice period for each and every service is not necessary and should be avoided. Instead, consider what situations you may need more or less notice for.
For example, group bookings take up much more time for your staff, so more notice will be required in order to refill those appointments slots. Alternatively, an appointment made that day won’t require as much notice since your staff was already scheduled to be in the salon that day regardless. An example of this added wording is below:
Please note that appointments made within 24 hours may instead be canceled or modified at least 4 hours prior to the appointment time in order to avoid a charge of 50% of the service amount.
Group bookings of four or more people require a notice period of 72 hours (3 days). For each guest that fails to show up without required notice a charge of 50% of the service amount will be incurred on the card used to reserve the booking.
3. Lateness Policy
Another good specification to include in your policy is specific wording regarding lateness. When a client arrives late to an appointment they are technically not a no-show and may demand their full service, even if the service cannot be completed by your staff in the remaining appointment time.
Trying to explain this to the client in the moment may potentially lead to frustration for the client who has now made the trip out to your salon only to be denied service.
This can be avoided by incorporating clear definitions of what’s to happen in the event that the client is late into your booking system or on your salon’s website.
There are various ways to go about wording this depending on the flexibility you have with your staff and schedule, however, it is important to note that this wording should remain the same once written, rather than modifying it for peak times of the year, so as not to switch it up on your clients. Due to this, the wording should give your clients a bit of flexibility with traffic and other timing issues, without it being a burden on your staff during peak times. An example of this is as follows:
Please note that if you are over 15 minutes late for your appointment we may have to reschedule your service if it cannot be completed in the remaining time frame. All attempts to reschedule in a timely manner will be made. If we do not hear from you 15 or more minutes into your scheduled appointment time it is considered a “No-Show” and your card will be charged for 50% of the service scheduled.
4. Policy to Protect Clients
Perhaps your business is located in an area with volatile weather that may require you, as a business, to close your doors for a day every so often. Waiting until road access to your salon is safe or electricity can be restored is, of course, paramount, and sometimes these things happen despite ample preparations.
If this is the case, ensuring goodwill is maintained with your customers is a top priority throughout the salon closure. After all, word-of-mouth is the absolute best form of marketing a business can get, and doing all that you can to maintain positive relationships with your clients even during inopportune scenarios will encourage that positive word-of-mouth.
To maintain this goodwill with your customers, you can easily add language that reverses your policy to benefit the client. Doing so tells your clients that you value their time, schedules, and patronage, not just their money. See below for an example of this wording:
Salon values your time and feels that it is fair to honor the same policies we hold to our clients. Should Salon need to cancel on a client due to unsafe weather conditions weather, power outages, or other unforeseen events with less than 24 hours notice we will honor 50% off your next identical service and do all we can to reschedule your appointment in a timely manner.
5. Salon Policy Exceptions
As mentioned earlier, keeping track of your clients via a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) or other appointment system is helpful in numerous ways.
Another way to incentivize clients to make an account in your system is to include a policy that provides limited exceptions for last-minute appointment changes or cancellations. By incorporating this wording, you are coming across as very understanding of your customer’s needs while building your database and keeping track of their appointment history.
It is due to this that you can even offer this flexibility as you can make sure that they are only taking advantage of this feature on rare occasions. If you choose to add this flexible policy to be precise in your wording like so:
Here at Salon we understand that accidents and emergencies happen that prevent 24-hour notice for canceling or rescheduling your appointment. Salon members are given one (1) grace appointment a year for last-minute scheduling changes, cancellations, or no-shows. Please inquire at our location on how to sign up for free today!
6. Flexible Salon Policy
Some salon owners still prefer a more flexible policy solely based on sending out reminders and encouraging people to inform the salon if they need to cancel or change their appointment.
Using reminders is great even if using this alone opens you and your staff up to last-minute changes and no-shows.
You should contact your clients around 48 hours before their appointments to confirm. This is expected by clients today and is easy to implement by automation within your scheduling system.
If you use Mangomint, you have exceptionally good support for automation, and you can configure when you want your reminder notifications to be sent out.
A flexible policy can be worded as such:
Here at Salon we will do everything we can to accommodate appointment changes and cancellations as required. Please give us a call at your earliest convenience to modify or cancel your appointment.
Get the Right Software to Support Your Appointment Management
Having the right salon cancellation and no-show policy in place is crucial. But to reinforce it, you need to be able to accept bookings with credit card upfront and send reminders to your clients ahead of their appointment.
To help you decide on the right software for your business, I’ve compiled a detailed guide to help you find the right salon software here.
There’s also a detailed guide on how to use software to reinforce your cancellation policy on the Mangomint website which I strongly recommend you check out.
Download Your Salon Cancellation Policy Example & Template
Ultimately, the amount of detail you provide in your salon policy is up to you and what your business needs at this moment in time. With that being said, the more detail you provide in your policy, the clearer the expectations are for your clients when they book their appointments and the clearer the timing expectations are for your staff.
Below is a salon cancellation policy PDF template that you can download. I am also linking to the guide from Mangomint which includes another example you can edit to fit your salon.