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Salon Cancellation Policy Guide

Protect your time and income with a clear cancellation policy. Learn what information to include, proper methods of communication, and tips for enforcing your policy.
By Josephine Hulburd Schultz | October 25, 2021

Why is a salon cancellation policy important?

Your time is valuable and every unfilled appointment slot takes away from your earning potential. Having a fair but firm cancellation policy allows you set expectations while safeguarding your income.

While no-shows and cancellations are inevitable, a well-written and communicated policy can reduce unexpected loss of income, encourage clients to follow through with their appointments, and even assist when dealing with chargeback disputes.

How to word your salon cancellation policy

When wording your salon's cancellation policy, be clear and concise. Don't leave room for any misunderstandings. Be fair—an overly strict cancellation policy can deter clients from booking or cause frustration if the policy is unreasonable. Be firm and make sure the language of your policy is definitive and enforceable. Avoid using phrases like "we ask" or "please allow" as this language can be misconstrued as a suggestion rather than a requirement.

Ask yourself the following questions when writing your salon cancellation policy:

  1. How much time is needed to fill a canceled appointment?

    A 24-hour minimum notice is standard for most salons but consider the specific needs of your business. This timeframe is best determined by how long it would take for you to fill the appointment or notify your waitlist about the open time slot.

  2. Should there be a cancellation fee?

    Decide if you want to recoup some of your losses by charging a fee for late cancellations. This can be a fixed fee, non-refundable deposit, or percentage of the service price. Consider the cost of an unused time slot for the duration of the service.

  3. What happens if a client no-shows or reschedules shortly before their appointment?

    You get to decide how no-shows and clients that reschedule just before their appointment are handled. Often, no-shows are charged a higher fee than clients who cancel or reschedule late. Again, this can be determined by how quickly you can fill the opening with last-minute appointments such as walk-ins.

    Additionally, you need to decide at what point a late client is considered to be a no-show. Many salons have a 15-minute grace period before late arrivals are treated as no-shows. To determine a suitable grace period, consider the length of the appointment and how it would affect your schedule and other client's appointment times.

Salon cancellation policy examples

Here are some examples of cancellation policies. Feel free to use these at your salon:

  • For appointments canceled or rescheduled within 24 hours of the appointment time, we charge 50% of the service total. “No-show” appointments will be charged 100%.

  • For appointments canceled within 24 hours or “no-show” appointments, we charge 100% of the service total.

  • For appointments canceled or rescheduled within 24 hours or “no-shows”, we charge 50% of the service total.

  • For appointments canceled within 24 hours of the appointment time, we charge a $25 fee. For "no-show" appointments, we charge 50% of the service total.

How to communicate your cancellation policy

During booking

Communicate your cancellation policy while the client is scheduling the appointment. Clients are made aware of your policy at the time of booking so expectations are set and misunderstandings are avoided. For example, My Little Beautique's online booking states, "By booking this appointment you agree to our cancellation policy" and gives a concise version of their policy.

After booking

Reiterate your cancellation policy in your appointment notifications. Your policy can be included in your booking notifications, confirmation requests and appointment reminders. Be sure to use a system with automated messages so your client communication is reliable and handled without any manual work.

Your website

Detail your full cancellation policy on your website. Provide a link for clients to view the page upon booking and prompt your clients to visit the page in your appointment notifications.

How to enforce your cancellation policy

The cost of unused appointment slots can add up so you should never feel guilty for protecting your time and income. Firm cancellation policies encourage clients to show up and respect your time. Think of your cancellation policy as an incentive not a penalty.

Clearly state your cancellation policy during booking

Communicate your cancellation policy and have clients effectively agree to the policy by booking and confirming their appointment.

Make sure to remind clients

Send appointment reminders and give your clients notice of your cancellation policy at least once before the minimum cancellation timeframe.

Require a card-on-file, deposit, or prepayment to reserve an appointment

If your booking system allows you to require a card-on-file in order to book, take advantage of that feature. This makes it easy to enforce your policy without having to go back and forth later. Alternatively, you can require a deposit at booking and use this as your cancellation fee. If you require full prepayment of the service at booking, refund the client in accordance with your policy.

This step can be streamlined with salon software that gives you the option to require a card-on-file or deposits before booking certain services.

Charge or invoice the client for the canceled appointment or "no-show"

Charge or invoice your client according to your policy. Send them a receipt notifying them of the fee. If applicable, offer them a way to reschedule the appointment.

Having a firm but fair policy is part of upholding the value of your salon and services. Cancellations and no-shows are inevitable but you can set yourself up for success with good communication and a strong cancellation policy that protects from lost income.

Manage Appointments with Mangomint

Mangomint makes managing clients and appointments easy. With a variety of scheduling features and best in class online booking that allows for cards-on-file and deposits, Mangomint makes it easy to enforce your cancellation policy. Our customizable automated message feature allows you to add your cancellation policy to your appointment notifications and streamline client communication.

Our next-generation salon & spa software is designed to reduce costs and increase profits with smart automations and a beautiful client experience from booking to checkout.

To learn more about our software, please book a live demo or start a free trial. We'd love to show you what Mangomint can do.

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