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Posted by Hanna Cesek, Oct 25 2017 6:03PM

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Cancellation policy and enforcement

That sounds like a very serious title, but I was just wondering what people's cancellation policies are and whether or not they actually enforce them. I've had a few last minute 'postponements' recently, and as the clients are not technically cancelling, I would feel bad asking them to pay even just a percentage. What does everyone else do?
Jennifer Spall
Oct 25 2017 9:14PM
Last minute rearrangements are difficult but you should ask for a percentage if you cannot fill the appointment. If it becomes a habit I would charge the full fee if the reason was trivial. I had a lady who always arrived late until I cut the time of her treatment down to reflect her late arrival. She was never late again.
Carol Eves
Oct 25 2017 9:51PM
I usually give everyone the doubt once but explain that usually I expect full fee if cancelling less than 24hrs. Am quite lucky my clients are ok with this and if they offer the money when they cancel I only ask for half. Have been using this policy for twenty years now. Don't feel guilty, your time is important. You have to value yourself in order for others to do so.
Maureen Abson
Oct 25 2017 10:11PM
I do similar to the previous two posts unless it's for a genuine illness in which case I would rather they cancel than pass it on. If it's a newer client and it's the first time then I would comment that usually I charge for late cancellations and that's usually enough to ensure I either get proper notice or people just offer to pay (or on some occasions post it through the letterbox).
Shelley Foster
Oct 25 2017 11:21PM
Hello. I'm having the same dillema at the moment. Lots of cancellations and posponements. Am thinking of taking a non-refundable deposit for bookings it's got so bad. What a nightmare.

I'll be interested to see what anyone else has to say on the subject... just wondering if it would actually put people off booking in the first place.
Dawn Bradley
Oct 26 2017 8:04AM
One day in June this year,75% of my appointments were on-the-day cancellations and no shows.
I emailed each client personally and asked for payment. Some were shocked and said they weren't aware of my cancellation policy. Some paid. Some didn't. I haven't heard from a couple of them since. However I cannot run a business on unreliable clients. I'd rather have the space in my diary to offer new clients, than be messed about by unreliable and disrespectful clients.
I now publish a lengthy cancellation policy on my website AND MORE IMPORTANTLY I have set up a booking system with pre-payment for those clients that have cancelled in the past and not paid. You can still set up bookings without pre=payment for your trusted clients if you want to.
Since then if I've had late cancellations (one) I have still been paid. It's amazing how reliable people become when they've already paid.
Compare yourself to an airline - you don't just turn up on the day and pay for a seat!

Value and respect yourself and your business.

Here is my policy:

Here is my booking system. You can see how easy it is to use.

I'd appreciate the referral if you join 10to8. It's completely FREE! This is my referral link:
Hanna Cesek
Oct 26 2017 8:39AM
This is so helpful, thank you all for taking the time to post such in-depth replies, I really appreciate it.
Sue Hannaford
Oct 28 2017 12:06PM
Absolutely you need to charge. I have a 24 hour cancellation policy which is in my first appointment confirmation emails. I also mention it when someone is booking especially if they aren't on email. First timers it's difficult. Sometimes you just have to take those on the chin - but be grateful that you aren't getting unreliable clients! If people are surprised I explain it, nicely, like this. Imagine your workplace phoned you up and said oh don't come in tomorrow... you might think great - a day off ... then they say, oh and we aren't going to pay you ... THEN the light bulb goes off in their head. If it still doesn't, I explain that I have costs, eg rent to cover and this is how I earn my living and pay my bills. That time is reserved for them and with late cancellation OR REARRANGEMENT (same thing) it doesn't give me time to give the slot to someone else. My policy is always not to charge if I am able to fill the appointment. Here are my ts and cs - feel free to pinch!

Obviously if you want to waive the charge at any time you can! I generally waive for those who have gone into labour!!! and any expectant dads in the same boat (if you know what I mean!).
Dawn Bradley
Oct 31 2017 9:28AM
thanks sue.
I've just used your cancellation policy wording to tweak mine.
Hanna Cesek
Oct 31 2017 11:35AM
Thanks Sue, that's really helpful.
Hanna Cesek
Nov 1 2017 5:29PM
There's a really good article here if anyone's still interested. This one line really hit home:

"Your policies will affect the whole profession. In essence you are teaching people how to treat you and the whole profession."

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