Articles > Business > What Would You Do: Enforcing A New Booking Fee—Is It Good For Business?
Last updated: August 16, 2019

What Would You Do: Enforcing A New Booking Fee—Is It Good For Business?

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Instagram via @tara_k_o

Yet another client has canceled on you last-minute, and you’re fed up. Is it time to introduce a 50 percent booking fee or will enforcing a new policy ultimately hurt business? We reposted the above Insta from Tara Oehlmann (@tara_k_o) and asked the BTC Community if they thought a booking fee would be beneficial for business. See what they said below!


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This Policy Is A Great One To Implement



“I started doing this recently and haven’t looked back! It means I’m not out of pocket and others stick to their appointment. When I’m already busy, it ensures my time is managed efficiently, as opposed to a last-minute cancellation and then hours of free time.” – @stephen_mcnicol


“I think this is great! I’m booked out 3 months at a time, and before I had this policy people canceled last minute, showed up late or no-showed. Now that I have it, people don’t do that anymore. Time is money; $50 deposits don’t cover the cost of the time you wold have spent on a $200+ service, and last-minute cancellations/no-shows give you no time to get someone in.” – @erin_scissorhands


“I charge a 25 percent deposit on all new clients, and I never have no-shows anymore. I work by myself and my rent is high. In the day of Instagram, you get a lot of people who book but really don’t want to pay, so they don’t show up.” – Amber Buxton


“Getting new appointments off social media is a hit or miss for me lately. A $50 deposit to hold an appointment seems fair for a 2-hour service. Also, charging a non-refundable reservation fee for people who frequently cancel day of or no-show and want to reschedule isn’t a bad idea. I’m not 100 percent booked so I don’t prefer these types of clients but there needs to be compensation/consequences for unacceptable behavior. I know it is the nature of our business to not have a guaranteed daily wage, but it is also about cultivating a clientele that is respectful of your time or understands they may pay a penalty if they cannot.” – Gigi Khaziran


“This practice depends on the stylist’s book. If you are 100 percent booked with solid clientele and new guests can’t get in any earlier than a month, then it’s a good idea. When stylists have a waitlist and new clients don’t understand how busy your chairs are, the deposit fee helps not waste the stylist’s time. I require 50 percent deposit for new guests only because my loyal, long time guests know how hard it is to get on my book so they don’t play. Guests aren’t paying for just your time, they pay because of your value.” – @e.rene_fifthandmae


“I use an online booking platform and everyone that books online is required to put a card on file. If they no show or cancel less than 24 hours, we will charge 50 percent of that service. It’s been awesome!” – Sierra De Jong


“I agree 100 percent. I work in a salon with ZERO cancellation policies and have driven to work many times and sat around for hours due to no-shows or same day cancellations for a 2-hour color service. A cancellation policy is only professional and fair.” – @haircolorbyamt


“I don’t charge for any cancellations, but I’d like to. If the same client becomes habitual, and I mean I give you many chances, I just stop doing their hair altogether. My clients are booked back-to-back and when a client cancels last minute, I can’t just call another on my waitlist and tell them to be on their way. Sure, give me 20 minutes and I’ll be right there, but it would run me late with the next client which isn’t fair to them. I end up losing money…I don’t give them too many chances before I move on to somebody who will show up. I understand that emergencies come up, but your emergency isn’t always my emergency.” – Tamara Davidson



It’s Probably Not The Best Idea



“I personally don’t believe in any exchanging of funds for which I haven’t completed work, period. So I have never required a deposit to book. If you no-show on me, you simply can never book a service with me again. However, I respect other stylists’ decision to do so.” – @katyaramalbeauty


“If you feel the need to charge every one of your clients a fee to secure an appointment with you, you’re more than likely grossly miscalculating somewhere along the way. What this is saying is, ‘My clients are flaky and they no-show on me all the time!’ That could be one of two things. One, you’re not as good at your job as you think you are OR (more likely) two, you have chosen bad clients. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a good clientele. It takes time to weed out some of the people that are not great clients…My advice is to be a little more selective. You don’t have to take every person that walks into your salon. Find your people, and when you do, you will be fully booked all the time with a waitlist of potential new clients. Charging your loyal people a 50 percent booking fee is ridiculous.– Jackie Heusdens


“What exactly constitutes as an ’emergency’? What if your client got called in to work—is that an emergency? What if their kid missed the bus, and due to having to take them to school, they risk the stylist being mad over tardiness? Is that an emergency? Is it fair that what the client may view as an emergency is taken lightly by the stylist? The only person who has anything to gain here is the stylist, and if you lose a client over difference in views did you really gain anything?” – @darling_emes


“I don’t require a deposit unless it’s a wedding that I’m driving to and need to block a whole day for. Otherwise, my system requires a credit card to book new clients. My issue wasn’t with current clients but new ones not showing up or cancelling extremely last minute. I charge 25 percent of the service they book if they don’t show. Since starting this, it’s only happened twice! I don’t think it’s fair to take money right off the bat, but they should put a card and take 50 percent if they don’t show up.” – @marian_scissors


“So if YOU cancel or reschedule on clients do you give them 50 percent off? I’ve gotten new clients who left their previous stylists because they were constantly cancelling and moving appointments around.” – Stephanie McCleskey


“Unfortunately for a lot of us we depend on that money. I do not believe a salon should charge at the time of the booking, but a cancellation fee is not unheard of. My time is my money. If a client is not understanding of that or does not fully respect that, then yes, they should pay for last-minute cancellations. If they are sick, that is a different story. I do not charge for unforeseen circumstances like car accidents, sickness, etc.” – Michelle Ryman


“I give all my clients the chance to be good loyal clients. It’s only if they abuse cancellations and really hurt my business that I let them go after a warning. If they are good clients, I never complain if they have to change their appointment every now and then.” – Holly Ellis Clark


“If you’re so busy with new clients regularly than I suppose you can take a super hard line on this issue. But perhaps being a little understanding goes a long way. I’ve been doing this 15 years and I’ve seen some mistakes happen. But I never punished any of my good clients for it. Being gracious and knowing life isn’t always perfect will come to reward you.” – @ginagreenberg


See what others had to say on Instagram and Facebook!