Articles > WWYD- What Would You Do? > Do Clients Deserve A Discount If You’re Running Late?
Last updated: October 03, 2023

Do Clients Deserve A Discount If You’re Running Late?

close formula

What Would You Do: Should Clients Receive A Discount For Waiting?

We’ve all been there: Waiting on a client only to have them show up late holding an iced coffee complaining about “traffic.” A late start to an appointment can throw off an entire work day, but is it fair to compensate clients when you’re running behind? 


We recently shared a client’s opinion on this very topic and you guys had A LOT to say! Scroll down to read some of the BTC Community’s take on discounting services for clients who wait and other options you can take that don’t include lower ticket prices! 




Check out the original post below!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by (@behindthechair_com)


Stylist/client relationships are all about mutual respect so let them know if you’re running late


“For one…99% of the time I can foresee running late. I always text my clients as far in advance the day of if I’m running behind. I would want the same courtesy. I usually never run behind more than 10-15 minutes max, but if it’s a significant problem, then I offer to reschedule them and comp a percentage off their service for the inconvenience. It takes 2 seconds to text someone ‘Hey, I’m running behind by 10, 20,30 minutes…are you okay to move to such and such time so you don’t have to sit here waiting on me? So sorry about that! Just wanted to give you a proper heads-up.’” – @alchemy__aesthetics_


“I give 5-10 minutes. Or I would have to reschedule. But If I’m 10 minutes behind, I try to quick text them!! If I’m way behind for some unforeseen reason, I offer compensation. All in all, a good, regular clientele [will] always treat you well, and you know how to book them accordingly…even if you’re extremely booked.” – Julie Kobal


I think she’s right 🤷🏻‍♂️ but I don’t charge reschedule fees or take deposit as I know life happens for either the stylist and or client soooooo it’s a sketchy situation 😂 because we could also run late and it’s not fair for the guest to sit and wait. So all we can do is plan accordingly and only do what we can handle in respect of our client’s appointment timing cause they also have a life and places to be. I’m old school—no late fees, no cancellation fee, just go with the flow. As long as there is communication, we will all come to a happy medium 🤷🏻‍♂️” – @argenis.pinal


Adjust no-show policies to accommodate running late or canceling on a client


“I don’t have ‘late fees.’ But we do require a deposit for new clients and cancelations. If a client is excessively late, they have to be rescheduled, simple as that. If I am excessively late, I will refund your deposit…We have no problem talking about it.” – @jacobhkhan


“We don’t charge late fees, but we do have a cancellation policy in play that we honor. But we also added that should your stylist cancel on you with less than 24 hours’ notice, then your next experience with that stylist will be 50% off. The only fine print is if it is related to Covid, the pandemic or a proven emergency. You all know that one stylist that can’t hang and calls out every Saturday with a flat tire 🤣– @cuomocromeans


“Discounts for mistakes or issues, sure. For being late or running behind? Maybe not. However, I would only charge for a no-show, not someone being late. If they were so late I couldn’t do the service, I’d prebook them for ASAP. It’s a give and take, not an us versus them. They’re clients, not enemies! ❤️” – @gavinhairstylist


Make up for lost time with a complimentary treatment


“If I’m running late I usually provide a complimentary treatment!” – @emilyfarley


“I honestly think it depends on the situation. If I run behind more than 15 minutes, I usually try to comp the client something like a conditioning treatment or a trial-size product. I do want to show respect for the client’s time. Yet, when my doctor runs behind it doesn’t bother me that badly because I’d like to know they are being thorough with me as well as all their other clients. I think everyone deserves a little grace here and there, especially if the end result of the work is 💯”  – @happyhaircloud


“If I’m late, they get a sincere apology and free product or treatment. If they’re late, they don’t get part of (or their entire) service depending on HOW late. If it’s too late and we have to reschedule, they owe me 50%, which is the same as a no-show. Has never failed!” – @ashleysilvanohair


Establish a grace period for late clients—but let them know it will affect their appointment


“If a client is 15 minutes late, I give them the reschedule option or I will take them, but they must wait longer and forgo a blow-dry if getting a cut or color or both. If they have a regular time slot and I seem to be running late all the time we will work [out] a better option for them. That’s usually toward [the] day’s end when [the] domino effect kicks in. There’s always a way. If they can’t bend under now-and-then circumstances, and you can’t, then they need to go elsewhere…” – Vinny Marna


 “Sometimes it is in fact entirely the stylist’s fault for ‘trying’ to get someone’s hair to do something in a time slot that’s not long enough…let’s be honest, we have all been there. Education and experience help coach you into a place where you are comfortable telling your client, ‘Because you only booked for a retouch today, I only have X amount of time with you. Let’s use that to do step one of this color service today and get you booked for the rest while you’re processing.’ I also try to let clients know when I’m running a little bit late as well…and I agree with everyone: If someone is more than 15 minutes late for a haircut, it’s a reschedule. More than 30 minutes [late] for a color, it’s 50% of the service, plus a reschedule.” – Melanie Pelton


If you are consistently late, it might be time to adjust your schedule 


“I don’t disagree with this sentiment. 🤷🏼‍♀️ So many stylists jam pack their books and end up overbooking, which in turn leaves the client feeling ignored. Their time is important too. It’s important to respect that. I think BOTH parties should be REASONABLY understanding in late show-ups. Because let’s face it, 💩 happens on both sides here. Sometimes, things that are completely out of the [each] party’s control. If you’re consistently 15 minutes or more late, perhaps you need to book more time/charge more money.” – @danaepeznolabeauty



Remember: You are the professional, if a client has an attitude it may be time to move on


“LOL nahh I don’t want you in my chair with this attitude! Everyone gets the same quality hair—if that means me running behind, it is what it is. You want to pay for quality but get rushed hair?” – @hairbysarayah


“15-minute grace period is what I give my clients, and what I expect in return. I also call when I’m running behind. Often what clients don’t understand: If we are running late, it’s often due to our clients coming late. I’m sorry, but I’ll pass on any client bringing that attitude to my chair.” – Melissa Harlan


“I’ve never in my life charged for a client being late. Only no showing. Also, it’s supply and demand. We have lots of customers but there is only one of us as stylists. If you don’t like a late fee, go elsewhere.” – @swannybabay


“Is the client being paid to sit in that chair? NOPE. Is that client going to lose wages if she can’t sit in that chair? NOPE. The situations are NOT comparable. It’s not a question of whose time has more value. It’s a question of who loses money when that time is wasted!” – Victoria Lys Hunter


“The way hair color is now, it’s nearly impossible to know to the exact minute how long it will take for each client. All my clients know that their appointment is at 2-ish. If I’m super late, I do always knock a little off the price.” – @jillpaintsdenver


And never forget: 


“Lol, if I’m running late, feel free to ask the client in my chair for that money because they are 100% the reason why🤣Lindsey Rae


Click here to read more responses on the BTC Instagram and Facebook Page!