“I’m sorry, I know it’s really close to my appointment, but something came up and I won’t be able to come in.”
There’s no lash technician in the world who hasn’t heard this or a variation of it at least once in their career. At least they had the courtesy of letting you know rather than just not showing up at all. Still, it hasn’t left you enough time to book someone else in that slot, which especially for a business that’s just starting out could be disastrous.
With a cancellation policy in place, you can stop worrying about missed appointments and all the problems they cause in their wake (“I was counting on that client to be able to pay this month’s bills!”). If you haven’t created one yet, here’s a quick guide on how to do it.Read more: How much money can you make doing lash extension
Be Clear and Firm with Your Policy
First things first, you need to sit down and decide what your cancellation policy will look like (this article will help give you an idea). And don’t be shy or embarrassed about pointing it out or standing your ground when it comes to enforcing it.
Lash work is how you make your living, and if someone doesn’t respect your time and skills enough to pay a deposit, then they’re not worth having as a client either. After all, a complainer will always find something else to complain about, especially if you bend to them one time!
Here is an example of a well-written cancellation policy:
Here at _________ lash salon, we understand unforeseen events happen and you may need to cancel an appointment. We ask that you give us 48 hours notice so we can adjust our schedule to accommodate other clients and inform our service provider. If we are unable to fill the time slot we reserve the right to charge a cancellation fee (deposit) to the credit card on file totaling 50% of the session.
No Show Policy:
We reserve the right to charge a no show fee to the credit card on file totaling 100% of the service to those who do not show up to an appointment. After 2 no shows you will not be able to book an appointment unless it is paid in full at time of booking. Absolutely no refunds.
If you are running late to an appointment we ask that you call us to let us know, otherwise we will assume you will not be showing up and may release the appointment. If you are less than 15 minutes late we will try our best to make your lashes as full as possible in the time allotted. You will still be charged full price. If you are more than 15 minutes late we will try our best to accommodate you but reserve the right to apply the no show policy. Please keep in mind we will always do our best to accommodate your session.
Make it visible
When you are done setting up the policy, write it down in clear and understandable language, and make sure to have it up anywhere your clients may see: your salon, your website, your social media profile. Also, if a client makes an appointment over phone or text, make sure to explain the policy clearly before confirming the appointment.
Read more: The 7 worst things a lash technician can do
Deposits, deposits, deposits
How much should the deposit be?
Lash care and extensions are not cheap, and your time should not be cheap. To protect themselves from losing money on cancellations, many salons (and not just in the lash industry) require a deposit. We strongly encourage you to ask for one too. It can be whatever you want, but 30-50% of what you’d charge for an appointment is typical.
The goal of a deposit is to help you cover the costs of running a salon even if your client doesn’t show up. So, if you set it at a lower amount, it won’t help much on that front. With a larger deposit, you’re not only able to have more cash at hand to pay a bill or two, but you’ll also be paid for the time you’ve spent at work during that cancelled appointment. After all, you may not be working on lashes, but there’s still other things to do like cleaning and sorting lash supplies.
A deposit will also ensure the person will actually come because they’ve given you part of the money already, and an understanding client will have no problem paying that amount ahead of time.
Cancellation fee instead of deposit
Another option, which you could have alongside, is to set up a cancellation fee at a smaller percentage than the deposit. Clients can opt for this for appointments that don’t require deposits or in emergency situations. However, note that if you don’t have an online booking system set up, cancellation fees can be much harder to collect.
Refunds or no refund?
Things can happen in people’s lives that are out of their control, so if you feel like there are some situations where it’d be ok for a refund to be made, consider each situation case by case.
Is she your loyal customer?
For example, one of your loyal clients who visits you regularly and is always on time ends up cancelling an appointment just a few hours before. It turns out they’ve had something else come up that they can’t miss, possibly a personal emergency. You know this is very unusual for them and that they’re always punctual, so in this case you can build the relationship further and issue a refund.
Is she always late?
On the other hand, another client who was late for their previous appointment and is now a no-show is calling and demanding a refund of their deposit. You are not at all obligated to give it to them. Be firm and let them know of the cancellation policy again. They clearly do not value your time, so even if they threaten to not come back again, it’s their loss._
We hope that these tips help you to create a solid cancellation policy that will keep both you and your clients happy. Most clients will be glad to follow it, so don’t be afraid of sticking to your guns when enforcing it.
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