How To Stop No Shows

Mrs.Highbrow No Shows

Everyone with a salon of their own has to deal with this from time to time: no shows. Whether it's last-minute cancellations, or people who don't show up at all, it's so frustrating! You've reserved time for someone, other clients may be disappointed and suddenly there's a gap in your schedule. If you're wondering not just how do you deal with no shows but also how do you prevent them, we've got you covered. 

- By Desi van Dijk

Have you ever done the mental math of how much money you lose if you have regular no shows? Say you have four no shows per week and you charge an average of €50 for a treatment. No shows add up fast and you'll hit a missed turnover of at least over €800 per month!

If you calculate this figure on an annual basis, that's obviously a lot, especially knowing that your costs for rent, electricity and personnel continue regardless. You can see why it's so important to reduce the number of no shows you have each week.

#1 Send A Confirmation & Reminder

Make sure you let the customer know not once but several times that he or she has made an appointment. After each booking, online or offline, it is good to send a confirmation by email or SMS, and after that, send a reminder. Do this 24-48 hours in advance so that the customer can cancel in a timely manner, should the appointment still not work out.

  There are several types of software that easily do this automatically, for example through the booking system Pro tip: you can often start a trial period to see if this system works well for you!

#2 Be Clear About Your Cancellation Policy

It's so important that you clearly communicate to your client what will happen if he or she does not show up for the appointment, and you really don't have to worry about scaring off clients with a cancellation policy. Above all, it's actually best that your client knows where he or she stands.

Put in the confirmation what your policy is regarding cancellation or postponement, as well as in the reminder. For example, send a reminder 48 hours in advance and give the customer one day to reschedule or cancel the appointment free of charge if it's no longer convenient.

If the client cancels within 24 hours before the appointment, you can charge 50% of the treatment or the entire treatment, and if you communicate this clearly in the confirmation and reminder, you'll find that clients will not fall over this later and you will have far fewer no shows.

Need some inspiration for a friendly but clear email? Read our example below.

Confirmation Email

Hi Rose,

Thanks for your booking! We'll see you for a Henna Brow Treatment on Wednesday November 1st at 10:15 am.

Please be aware that making a reservation means you agree with our cancellation policy that an appointment can be changed or canceled free of charge up to 24 hours in advance by telephone or e-mail. If you cancel within 24 hours, then we will charge 50% of the treatment cost, regardless of the reason.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


The Beauty Room

Reminder Email

Hi Rose,

Here's a reminder of your appointment for Henna Brows on Wednesday November 1st at 10:15 am.

Are you no longer able to make it? Let us know by phone or email up to 24 hours before the treatment, so that we can fill that spot with another brow lover ;) 

If you cancel within 24 hours of the appointment or don't show up, we will be forced to charge 50% of the cost, regardless of the reason.

See you soon!


The Beauty Room

No Show Email

Hi Rose,

We missed you for your Henna Brow treatment on Wednesday November 1st at 10:15 am!

As you have read in our cancellation policy, appointments must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance to give other beauty lovers the chance for an appointment. Per our policy, we must charge you 50% of the treatment cost, which we ask you pay before your next appointment.

We hope to see you very soon! 


The Beauty Room

#3 Ask For A Down Payment

Alternatively, you can choose to have your customers pay in advance. Though it might feel a little impersonal, especially for regular clients, you can easily implement this for specific cases to combat no shows. For example, when someone regularly fails to show up, you can choose to ask for a 25% or 50% deposit, or when you offer a very expensive treatment, you can consider it as well. If you have a very full schedule or simply can't afford no shows, you can also start working with down payments. Think of it this way: you pay for a ticket to the movies or a festival in advance, too!

If your client does cancel his or her appointment in time, you can refund the deposit or reserve for a subsequent treatment, which will also be stated in your policy, so every client knows where he or she stands.

#4 Maintain A Good Client Relationship

When you are clear and open about your policy to your client, you'll see that there will be a lot of mutual respect and this will automatically prevent no shows. However, it is important that you also respect your customers' time, so make sure you treat your clients at the agreed time and postpone appointments as little as possible.

Read here about how to make sure you minimize no shows. Because remember, the more you respect your clients' busy schedules, the sooner they will accept yours, and the fewer no shows!

I Still Have Some No Shows. What Now?

Now that you have done your best to prevent no shows as much as possible, it is important to be clear about what you will do if you still have to deal with a no show. Not only is it good for your clients to know where they stand, it's also good for you. If you have a clear cancellation policy, it is more than normal to be strict.

It may seem excessive, but once you have your strategy and cancellation policy in place, it is important to stick to it. You won't be taken seriously if you don't follow your own policy, so try to word your salon's cancellation policy so that it is polite, yet strict and clear.

Keep Track of No Shows

Having someone forget their appointment once or get very sick last minute can happen, of course, but it's important that you have a clear idea of which clients often give a no show.

Do you work with an online system and keep a record of each client? You can also keep track of the no shows in this system. For example, you can put an asterisk after someone's name if this customer gives a no show, and if the customer has 2 or more asterisks after his or her name, then you can think about whether you want this customer to schedule more frequent appointments. Consider for yourself: is this customer making me more money than this customer is costing me?

"A First Time I See It Through The Fingers."

It's always good to see what cancellation policies your colleagues have in place. We asked Francien Vermeer of First Expression in Hoorn how she deals with no shows.

"Basically I have a rule that you can cancel up to 48 hours in advance without charge. Especially for a permanent makeup treatment. With such a long treatment, I would also really charge immediately if someone doesn't show up. In addition, I usually wait 10 minutes before calling. If someone forgot the appointment and I still have space later in the day, I offer that spot. If someone cannot come, I tell them about the 48-hour rule and that unfortunately I have to charge the amount should this happen again. The first time I often turn a blind eye. If it is a regular customer who always comes to the appointment, I say: you are always very neat so it can happen once. But then I tell them what my rules are for next time. If it's a new client who doesn't show up right at the first appointment, then the next time they can pay half of the previous treatment."

Give Yourself Confidence A Boost!

In any case, make sure you are content with the terms and conditions and cancellation policy you have in place, because only then can you go 100% for your business. Want to get even more self-confidence in business now? Then enroll in our free course "More Confidence As a Beauty Boss. In a weekly 5-week email course, our CEO Ska van Buren will teach you all the ins & outs as a beauty entrepreneur.