BUSINESS • Apr 07, 2024

How To Stop No Shows

Mrs.Highbrow No Shows

Everyone with their own salon regularly has to deal with it: no-shows. Last-minute cancellations or people who simply don't show up. It's super frustrating! You've set aside time for someone, other clients may be disappointed, and suddenly there's a gap in your schedule. How do you handle no-shows? But also, how do you prevent them?

- By Desi van Dijk

You may have calculated how much revenue you lose as a result of regular no-shows. For example, if you experience three no-shows per week and your average treatment charge is €50, you can quickly determine that this results in a loss of over €600 per month.

If you calculate this on an annual basis (€7200!), it becomes evident that it is a significant amount. Moreover, considering that your expenses for rent, electricity, and personnel will persist, it becomes crucial to minimize the occurrence of no-shows.

#1 Send a Confirmation & Reminder

To prevent no-shows, it is essential to communicate the appointment multiple times with the customer. After each booking, whether online or offline, it is advisable to send a confirmation via email or SMS. Additionally, sending a reminder is also beneficial. This should be done 48 to 24 hours in advance, giving the client an opportunity to cancel if the appointment no longer fits their schedule.

There are several types of software that easily do this automatically, such as through the booking system You can often start a trial period to see if this system works well for you.

#2 Ask the Client to Confirm the Appointment

It requires additional effort, but especially for pricier and lengthier treatments like permanent makeup, it is beneficial to request confirmation from the client. This can be done via email, text, or phone, 24 to 48 hours before the scheduled appointment. By doing so, the client is encouraged to take the appointment seriously, thereby decreasing the likelihood of a no-show.

In the event that the client does not respond to the request for confirmation, you can consider it as an indication that something might be amiss. In such cases, it is recommended to proactively reach out to the client to verify if the appointment is still on track.


#3 A Clear Cancellation Policy

It is crucial to clearly communicate to your clients the consequences of not showing up for their appointments. There is no need to fear that implementing a cancellation policy will deter clients. Most importantly, transparency about the policy is essential for clients to understand the terms.

Furthermore, it is a legal requirement to clearly communicate your cancellation policy, especially if it includes consequences for no-shows, such as payment for the treatment regardless of attendance.

Therefore, include your cancellation policy in both the confirmation and reminder emails. For instance, send a reminder 48 hours in advance and allow the client one day to reschedule or cancel the appointment free of charge if it is inconvenient.

If a client cancels within 24 hours before the appointment, you can charge 50% or the full treatment cost. Clearly outlining these terms in the confirmation and reminder emails will prevent misunderstandings and reduce the occurrence of no-shows.

Keep your emails concise
to enhance readability and message comprehension. It is best to send two emails: a confirmation and a reminder. If the client fails to attend the appointment, you can send a follow-up no-show email as a gentle reminder.

#4 Ask for a Down Payment

A good way to discourage no shows is to have your client pay in advance or request a 50% deposit. You can introduce this for specific cases to combat no shows. For example, if someone regularly fails to show up, or if you offer long - and therefore more expensive - treatments, such as permanent makeup. Also, if you have a very full schedule or simply cannot afford it, you can start working with down payments.

By the way, it is not unreasonable to implement this in all cases. It is more convenient for you and clearer for your customers. Consider it this way: you pay for a ticket to a festival or concert in advance. If you ultimately decide to attend, it remains your responsibility.

If your client does cancel his or her appointment on time, you can refund the deposit or reserve for a subsequent treatment. But of course this too is neatly stated in your policy, so everyone knows where they stand.

#5 Ensure a Good Relationship with the Client

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

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

Example Confirmation Email

Hi Liza,

Thank you for booking for Henna Brows on Wednesday, November 1 at 10:15 am.

Making a booking means you agree to our policy. This means that an appointment can be changed or cancelled via phone or email up to 24 hours in advance at no charge. Do you do this within 24 hours? Then unfortunately we are forced to charge for the complete treatment, regardless of the reason.

See you soon, we look forward to seeing you.


The Beauty Room

Example Reminder

Hi Liza,

We would like to remind you of your appointment for Henna Brows on Wednesday, November 1 at 10:15 am.

Are you unexpectedly unable to come? Please let us know by phone or email up to 24 hours before the treatment, so we can make someone else happy with a coveted spot.

Do you cancel later, or don't you come at all? Then unfortunately we are forced to charge you for the treatment, regardless of the reason.

See you soon, we look forward to seeing you!


The Beauty Room

Example No Show E-mail

Hi Liza,

Unfortunately, we have been waiting for you in vain for the Henna Brows treatment on Wednesday, November 1 at 10:15 am.

As you have read in our policy, appointments must be cancelled at least 24 hours in advance. So that we still have a chance to make someone else happy with a beautiful treatment. Since this did not happen, we are forced to charge for the complete treatment. You can pay the amount prior to your next appointment.


The Beauty Room

Keep track of No Shows

Of course it can happen that someone forgets their appointment or gets very sick last minute. But it is 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? Then you can also keep track of the no shows in this system . Has the customer failed to cancel on time 2-3 times or more? 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 can't 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's a regular customer who always shows up neatly to the appointment, I say: you're always very neat, so it can happen once. But then I tell them what my rules are for next time. Is it a new client who doesn't show up at the first appointment? Then they can pay half of the previous treatment the next time."