It’s true that every business has the potential of paying too much for operating costs, and the salon industry is certainly no different. Between rising fuel costs and stalled supply lines for everything from cleaning supplies to hair color to the perceptual increases in insurance, rent, utilities, etc., you end up paying more for everything it takes to run your salon. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
The strain on your business is more of an opportunity cost, where circumstances prevent you or your team from earning money. I’m talking about late cancellations and no-shows, and here’s why it’s a problem…
Let’s say the average ticket in your salon is $100, and you have only one opening on the schedule because of a last-minute cancellation or no-show per day. If your salon is open six days a week, that is $600 a week or $31,300 annually in lost revenue. Remember that you still have to pay your overhead for that portion of your day, so your actual losses are higher.
We’ve all heard every excuse in the book for a client’s tardiness – from late-running meetings to accidents and worse-that-usual traffic, even personal issues; the list is endless. If you already use Rosy, I would recommend that you take a look at your cancellations report. This is going to help you identify how much revenue you are losing.
Even with the best practices in place, which we’re about to get to, there will still be that ONE client who doesn’t show up for their appointment. As you know, no-shows and late cancellations are nearly impossible to fill last-minute or recapture that loss financially. That empty chair or treatment room can cause a loss of momentum for your workday and cost your salon operating expenses and lost revenue. You might be able to fill the spot if your salon has a waiting list. Also, should you learn of a cancellation while working on another client, consider talking with your guest about the new opening. You can avoid losing your momentum for the day and help make up any revenue by offering them additional services.
However, no-shows are in a whole other category. In most cases, we find that the client simply forgets their appointment or confuses the day or time. Even in our electronic world, some clients still enter wrong information on their calendars or become side-tracked during their busy day. A handful of clients will end up canceling and rebooking, which may or may not be accommodated by the service provider’s schedule.
But you know the saying…. no-show once, shame on you. No-show twice, shame on me! This special type of client will book appointments and simply choose not to show up with little to no regard for their service provider. Without having clear boundaries and expectations in place, they will continue to be a costly drain on the business.
So, how do you cut the number of late cancellations and no-shows?
Having clear communication in more than one way, more than one time, is the key to solving or at least reducing this no-show problem. Embrace your software’s communication tools, including appointment itineraries, appointment confirmations, and reminders by text and email.
I recommend setting up your communication like this: after every appointment is made, have an itinerary automatically emailed out. The email can be customized to include your cancellation policy, where to park, what to expect on arrival, etc. Then have a confirmation email or text go out 48 hours before the scheduled appointment. This way, if they cancel, you still have time to schedule someone else. And finally, send out a reminder text 1-3 hours before the appointment to make sure your client is on time.
Confirmations are an essential part of a salon’s operations. I remember working in a busy salon and between taking care of the guests, answering incoming calls, and meeting the needs of service providers, it would take all day for the receptionist to get through a day’s worth of confirmation calls. And half of those calls meant leaving a voicemail because there was no answer. When your salon software allows you to automate confirmations and reminders, it frees up the time otherwise spent on the phone each day. It also allows the client to confirm via text and will adjust automatically on your schedule.
We all have to admit that cancellations and no-shows involve behaviors that have been both tolerated and permitted. It’s easy to look the other way, instance after instance, but in the grand scheme of things, you do need to face that you’re enabling the behavior and encouraging it to continue.
So, how do you discourage such behavior? It’s simple: place a value on your time, not just your service. Taking deposits for your services or at least requiring a credit card on file to book any appointments are both great ways to make sure your clients respect your time. This practice will financially protect your salon and incentivize your clients to show up for their appointments.
If you opt not to take deposits for all services, at least consider the option for time-consuming services such as color and extensions or ones with a higher cost to you and your business or for all new clients.
To take deposits and or enforce a cancellation policy, first, you’ll want to have a solid set of rules in place. To get you started, we’ve created a cancellation policy checklist that you can find here:
When using Rosy, we show you any pending cancellation charges. Ultimately this is your business and you should be in control, so if you believe your client gave you a valid enough reason for canceling or not showing up, you get to choose to charge them or not.
Next, look for a payment processor that allows a card-on-file option so that you can both take deposits for services and offer contactless checkout.
Whether done for all services or not, deposits can help solidify the value of your team’s time and let your clients know that your salon needs to be compensated for the time booked, whether they show up or not. You’ll find that when there is a financial investment, clients are more likely to respect your time, pricing, and business practices. The goal is to reduce this # and keep the revenue in your business!
So, are you ready to take back control?
Curb Cancellations & No-Shows by:
- Using Automated Confirmations & Reminders
- Taking Deposits
- Enforcing your Cancellation Policy with a Card on File Requirement
Set your salon up for success using RosyPay – Rosy’s integrated payment processing.