A salon cancellation policy is one of your most important tools when dealing with client no-shows or last-minute cancellations. Ideally, every appointment that you schedule will never need to be canceled or rescheduled. But, you already know that running a salon means that you need to expect the unexpected.
We definitely don’t live in a perfect world. Having clear salon policies in place will give your staff and clients the guidance and tools necessary to handle these situations. That way, everyone can be treated fairly and nobody will miss the opportunity to receive the services and appointments that they need.
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many salon businesses forget this step. A straightforward general booking policy tells clients and stylists what to expect, right from the start. Let’s look closer at what a booking policy should include.
A salon’s general booking policy should cover the following things:
Acceptance of policies: This should state that by booking with your salon, each client accepts the following policies. This will help prevent any confusion or arguments, later on.
Cancellation policy: Most salons require a minimum of 24 hours notice in order to cancel or change an appointment. After this time, they usually charge at least 50% of the service fee, to cover their losses. This amount is often more, of clients booked multiple services in one visit.
Pre treatment form policy: For safety reasons and depending on the services offered, some salons require that customers fill out in-take forms, prior to their visit. If these forms are not filled out, the salon has the right to refuse service.
Appointment refusal policy: This is also connected to health and safety. Your salon has the right to refuse service because of any concerns such as lice, skin infections, open wounds, etc. This could also be extended to cover covid 19 countermeasures such as refusing service to anyone with a continuous cough or fever.
Complaint / redo policy: You’ll want a clear process in place to help staff and customers in cases where they need to make a complaint or request a redo. Most salons have a short window (usually 24 or 48 hours) for redo requests to be made.
Late arrival policy: Don’t overlook this one- you’d be surprised how often it comes up. Most salon’s allow for a 15 minute “grace period” for late arrivals. If someone shows up after 15 minutes, the appointment is usually treated as a no-show.
No-show policy: These are the worst-case scenarios that you want to prevent and discourage at all costs. Remember to send 24 and 48 hour reminders to your clients before their appointments (salon software can automatically take care of this for you). No shows are usually charged 100% of their appointment fee.
Booking fee: Many salons charge a booking fee (anywhere from 25-50% of the service fee) at the time of booking. This helps ensure that nobody forgets about their appointment or cancels it unless absolutely necessary. After the appointment, you can simply deduct it from the service fee.
Every time someone books an appointment for services at your salon, they make a commitment to show up at that time. Your salon promises to have staff ready at the appointment time. If everything works out the way that it should, clients get the opportunity to receive services, staff have enough notice to prepare, and everybody wins. This is why appointments are very important.
Salon owners also need to anticipate the unexpected, such as late arrivals or cancellations. Having a policy in place for these events will give your staff the direction they need to make adjustments to their plan or deal with last-minute hiccups. This will make your salon look more professional.
Additionally, if a client cancels an appointment without giving enough notice (for example, many salons require at least 24 hours notice), you are able to change a cancellation fee. This can be very important when you’re trying to maximize your appointments and avoid having any losses from gaps in your calendar.
Can hairdressers charge a cancellation fee? In fact, most salons do have a hair appointment policy that includes a cancellation or rebooking fee. This is most often included with some text along the lines of:
“In the event that you need to cancel or change any service appointments, we respectfully request at least 24 hours notice. If you forget or cancel your appointment without 24 hour notice, please understand that this will result in a charge.”
Most salons require clients’ credit card information and keep a credit card on file at the time of booking, for just this reason. Be aware that some clients may contact their banks and claim that they didn’t make any purchases when you charge a cancellation fee, so be prepared to see an increase in chargebacks when this happens.
The best cancellation policies give staff and clients the option to make changes with a reasonable amount of notice, if they need to cancel. Having a timeframe to cancel or change services without penalty will result in more rebookings, giving customers the opportunity to receive services and making sure that staff members can still fill that appointment time. Most salon cancellation policy wording allows changes with up to 24 hour notice.
If you have a waiting list for services, you may need to take this into account, as well.
If a client must cancel any service appointments at the last minute, make sure to have a process to cancel an appointment for them. The best practice is to make sure that they understand the cancellation policy when they book their appointments. Prior to your appointment with a client, have them read and sign off on the cancellation policy and clearly outline any charges that could result.
You can also give them a copy of the page, for their records. Appointments are very important and use your staff’s time, as well as the clients’. A cancellation policy is a way to acknowledge that you value each other’s time and can help to build a trusting and respectful relationship.
Another thing to include is an appointment arrival time. Most salon services take a while to complete, and you don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to see their stylist on time. Late arrivals can push everyone’s timetable back. In most cases, a 15 minute window is a reasonable amount of time.
This helps to keep things running smoothly, which can be very important on busy days like weekends, or when you want to avoid having anyone on the waiting list miss their chance to receive a service. Arriving on time is just as important as arriving at all.
To help you get started, here’s a salon cancellation policy sample. You can make your own adjustments to this information in order to meet your salon’s needs:
We want to give every client the time and attention that you deserve for your service. We understand that sometimes circumstances arise and you need to make adjustments to your plans. If you must cancel or rebook your appointment, we respectfully request at least 24 hours notice.
Cancellations or missed appointments without 24 hour notice will result in a charge of part or all of the service amount.
Please understand that your appointment time was set aside just for you. Appointments made within the salon mean that we’ve reserved a space and stylist, specifically for you. Appointment dates for services help us to make sure that clients don’t miss the opportunity to receive services. So, we want to make sure that everyone is available to fill that appointment time.
If you cancel your appointment without giving at least 24 hours notice prior to your appointment will result in a charge of 50% of the service amount. Any “no shows” will be charged 100% of the service amount.
Depending on the services booked, in the case of multiple services at a single appointment, a cancellation without 24 hour notice will result in a charge of 100% of the primary service amount and 50% of any additional service amount.
The cancellation fee and any service fee will be charged to your credit card on file.
Our salon booking policy and hairdressing cancellation policy is intended to ensure that we have the opportunity to fill any last minute availability. We don’t want to make any clients on the waiting list miss their chance to book an appointment or receive a service. Please understand that we’re committed to offering you the highest possible level of service during your appointments with us.
In order to help facilitate smooth booking and cancellations of appointments made within our salon software, our salon requires a credit card on file when booking your service. For some of our services, we have a salon deposit cancellation policy. This deposit amount will be applied to the final total for your service, on your appointment dates.
If you need to cancel because of a personal or medical emergency, please contact us as soon as possible, and we can decide how best to proceed.
Remember, a clear salon cancellations policy is the best way to avoid any confusion or hurt feelings, down the line. Your salon policies criteria should cover most situations but still allow employees or management to be flexible with loyal clients if it’s appropriate.
Above all, make sure that you roll out any changes to the policy in meetings with your staff. This will help them to be at their most professional and explain it all to your clients.
Having a salon cancellations policy in place will make everyone’s life easier. It will help you to avoid income loss from missed appointments and no-shows.
It will also help to encourage clients to give you enough notice when they need to make any changes to an appointment or service. This way, you won’t miss the opportunity to fill an empty space on your schedule.
And if you love these ideas or have some other ideas that you've used in the past to promote your salon business, why not share them with the Belliata community in the comment section below. We would also be delighted to answer your questions, as well.
Effective cancellation policy to reduce the negative impact of patient no-show https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/jors.2013.1
Service Cancellation and Competitive Refund Policy https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/mksc.1080.0457
A Cancellation Policy?: You're Joking! https://search.informit.org/doi/pdf/10.3316/informit.401485613314456