It makes sense that you’d want to do everything you can to prevent no-shows for appointments at your salon, studio, or spa. When clients don’t come in for their scheduled service, you often lose the revenue for those blocks of time, which you’d of course reserved for them.

Unfortunately, missed appointments and last-minute cancellations are common. Sometimes, there are real emergencies that keep clients from getting to you. Other times, they simply forget. And yes, some people just don’t have enough respect for other people’s time to keep their commitment. But regardless of the reason, the result on your end as a beauty, health, or wellness business operator is the same: lost time and money.

There will always be missed appointments and last-minute cancellations. Sometimes, it truly can’t be helped; and despite your best efforts, even when it can be helped, it’s still ultimately out of your control. It’s just part of any business that depends on scheduled service times with a customer, client, or patient.

But you can certainly take steps to help prevent no-shows for appointments at your salon, spa, or studio. They’ll reduce missed appointments and late cancellations, and therefore cut down on time and money lost due to these situations. So, it just makes good business sense to implement these tips.

Tips to Reduce Missed Appointments

  • Make it quick, easy, and convenient for clients to cancel; your online reservation system should offer this feature, and it’s always great if your clients can just send you a text.
  • Send out appointment reminders about 48 hours ahead, as many no-shows are simply due to forgetting. If your online reservation system can be set to do this automatically, take advantage of the capability; other effective options include emails, phone calls, and texts. It’s even better if you send these out in two ways.
  • Create a cancellation policy and make sure all clients see it. Some business owners charge a fee for missed appointments or those canceled with too little notice (generally less than 24 hours). This can minimize the cost of no-shows. But some owners don’t create a penalty, as many clients resent it, even if they’re in the wrong; this can lead to losing some clients’ business permanently, rather than just the cost of one appointment. Also, some clients plead their cases to avoid paying, which can create uncomfortable situations and potentially put you in the position of making exceptions in some instances, but not others. And if you make an exception for a client once, they may expect it again. So, while you should have a cancellation policy, the question of whether there’s a consequence for violating it can be tricky, and every salon, spa, or studio owner must decide what they’re comfortable doing.
  • Offer an incentive for not missing or last-minute canceling a certain number of appointments in a row. It’s a unique twist on a frequent buyer program, and it’s a positive alternative to the negative incentive of charging a fee. For example, offer a 25 percent discount or a free bottle of a hair or skincare product on the seventh appointment in a row the client makes it to.
  • Give clients the option to pre-pay for appointments, and maybe even offer a small discount when they do. If they’ve already paid for the appointment, they’re much more likely to show up for it.
  • Consistently deliver exceptional service to foster loyalty in your clients. Delighted clients are more eager to get to their appointments, and are more likely to feel guilty about missing one or canceling one with short notice.