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Last updated: March 10, 2023

Tired Of No-Shows + Cancellations? Read This!

how to deal with no shows and cancellations hairdressers business strategies to make more money booksy salon software
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Instagram via @behindthechair_com

Reduce Scheduling Issues With These Salon Business Tips

The No.1 cause of hairdresser headaches: When a client calls to cancel their appointment last minute, or EVEN WORSE, they simply don’t show. Common side effects include gaps in scheduling, money lost…and repeated offenses may result in a client-stylist breakup. 


We get it. Cancellations and no-shows are tricky to handle, but there’s an easy way to get ahead of these problems! Start implementing policies that will incentivize clients to show up or give proper notice.


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The Problem: Last-Minute Cancellations + No-Shows

Without a cancellation/no-show policy established, a client is not incentivized to give you advanced notice for missing an appointment—other than courtesy, of course. While we love our clients, every service is a financial investment in OUR BUSINESS, so incentives will help with accountability and keep the client-stylist relationship stress-free.


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The Solution: Smart Strategies To Consider


  • Prepayments: Require a deposit, whether it’s a percentage or a fixed dollar amount. When the appointment is fulfilled, deduct the deposit amount from the overall cost—easy! Have a cancellation/no-show policy established, so if the client doesn’t show, you will keep the initial deposit.


  • Cancellation Fees: When a client schedules their appointment, keep a card on file. Establish a cancellation policy that works for you—decide how many hours/days in advance the client has to cancel without a fee—and waive or process the fees accordingly.


  • Send Reminders: Text/call as a friendly reminder before an upcoming appointment date. This is KEY to setting up clients for success—especially if they pre-booked way in advance!


hairdresser business text reminders from salon to clients booksy
Instagram via @booksbybiz


Other Key Tips 


  • Communicate: Once you’ve established cancellation/no-show policies, make sure to clearly communicate these changes with all new and existing clients. 
    • Use social media to share new policies
    • Remind clients when booking their appointments
    • Send out an additional email reminder after booking


  • Keep A Cancellation List: Sometimes, life happens and a client slips up—but if it becomes a pattern, make note of clients with chronic no-show/cancelling issues. You will know when enough is enough and it may be time to let them go.


  • Insurance Policies: If you aren’t ready to implement a deposit for everyone, start with “high stakes” services: First-time clients or longer appointments like corrective color or foil transformations.


Don’t Know Where To Start? Try This!

Use scheduling resources like Booksy salon software that offers no-show protection features like prepayments, cancellation fees and a “trusted clients” tool for loyal clients. Click here to read a full breakdown on every feature.


Creating A Cancellation/No-Show Policy: What You Need To Know

  • Choose how many days or hours in advance a client must cancel before getting charged a fee
  • Avoid confusion by creating a custom message about policies that lives forever on your salon’s profile—this is the perfect place to explain to a clientele why a policy is necessary. 
  • Select services that deposits/fees will apply. For example: Excluding free consultations.
  • Create a list of “trusted clients” who always show up to exclude deposits/fees


The Impact: Maintain Your Income 

Consider the long-term impact of no-show policies! Booksy did some helpful research based on average percentage changes in cancellations for Booksy providers. After ONE month of implementing No-Show Protection settings, providers had 20 percent fewer cancellations.


For example: If you book an average of 100 appointments a month with an average service of $40, here’s the impact according to Booksy.


  • Cancellations fees mean fewer no-shows, which would generate an extra $240/month in your pocket
  • Implementing a 50 percent prepayment on all services results in $400 of revenue from clients who didn’t show up for their scheduled appointments


Pretty cool, right? Remember: Every salon is different, so your policy will not necessarily look the same as anybody else’s. You’ve got this! 💪


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Instagram via @behindthechair_com


Read more scheduling tips in this article—“BTC What Would You Do: Does Prebooking Really Matter?”


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