5 things beauty therapists can do to stop last-minute cancellations

Run your beauty business like a boss
25 January 2023
3 minute read

Is there anything more frustrating than a client cancelling at the last minute? Although life happens and sometimes clients do have to cancel last-minute for valid reasons, others might take advantage if you don’t have the right set up in place to protect your time and money.

Jean-Michel Chalayer, co-founder of LeSalon and Storefront, knows first-hand just how much of a challenge this is for beauty professionals. In this article, he shares useful tips on how to set the right rules and boundaries to make last-minute cancellations a thing of the past.

Over to Jean-Michel…

I find that there’s nothing more annoying than losing income from a customer who cancels last-minute or does not show. You’ve scheduled time for them, paid rent, sometimes even arranged childcare – and then they cancel on you as if it’s of no consequence.

As a business owner, it hits you twice as hard: you lose not only a source of income but a chunk of your own valuable time as well as the cost you incurred to free up that time. Argh! But after many years of running my own at-home beauty service and working with hundreds of other therapists to improve their businesses, I’ve learnt how to eliminate last-minute cancellations.

So, here are my five tips to help you:

1. Request payment upfront

The first and most important step to protect yourself from lost income is to request payment before the appointment.

How much should you ask for upfront?

Many businesses require the full payment upfront: food delivery services, airlines, supermarkets. So why not your beauty business?

An alternative would be to ask for a deposit. In this case, I’d recommend requesting at least 50% of the payment upfront, or whatever’s necessary to cover your costs.

Regardless of how much you charge upfront, make sure you do it. When clients hand over their hard-earned money, it becomes a commitment. Just as you don’t want to lose money, clients don’t want to waste theirs either. This puts both parties on equal footing.

💡 Top tip: Don’t call it a deposit, but a 'non-refundable booking fee', as legally customers are allowed to claim back a deposit.

2. Automate: use a booking system

The simplest way to add prepayment to your business is to use a booking system. Not only will it automate the appointment-taking process (and save you late nights answering emails, direct messages, etc. and managing your calendar), it will also allow you to take payment as part of the booking flow.

This means that before their appointment is confirmed, your customer will have to process their payment and as it’s part of the booking process, it feels natural.

At this point I’d be crazy not to plug my own business, Storefront. Storefront is an easy-to-use app that makes mundane admin simpler, giving you more time and energy for focusing on your main priority: client treatments.

What does Storefront offer?

  • Personalised website and booking URL
  • Booking widget
  • Payment processing
  • Payment link for upfront payments or deposits
  • Non-refundable deposits
  • Customisable menu and website within one app
  • Revenue target tracking
  • Revenue tracking for your accounting

3. Set clear terms and conditions

Having clear terms and conditions (T&Cs) is key to protecting yourself against no-shows and last-minute cancellations. They are your rules that someone must follow to be able to book a treatment with you.

Three rules for good T&Cs:

  1. Logical
  2. Easy to understand
  3. Short and to the point

Here’s an example you can tweak for your own use:

All appointments need to be paid upfront and in full before they are confirmed. Rescheduling and cancellations are possible up to 48 hours before your time of appointment.

4. Send email and text reminders

Sometimes, last-minute cancellations and no shows are the result of confusion: your client simply forgets about their appointment. We all do it, we’re only human.

The best way to avoid this is to send reminders to your clients. I’d recommend sending a reminder 24 hours before the appointment.

Once again, this can be simplified and even automated by using a booking system like Storefront.

5. Don't serve repeat offenders

This is a tough one. Hopefully it’s not something you’ll have much experience of. But if you find that a particular client lets you down more often than not, you may want to consider refusing to serve them again.

As a business owner, you deserve the same level of respect that you give to clients. Save yourself for those who value your services.

That’s it. Implement these steps and reduce the pain of no-shows. It really boils down to three things:

  1. Know your worth as a business.
  2. Develop the confidence to set rules and boundaries.
  3. Automate processes where it’ll save you time and money. If you’d like to see how Storefront can help, book a free consultation.

This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.

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