BUSINESS • Aug 02, 2021

How To Deal With No Shows

Your favorite playlist is on, the water is topped off with fresh lemon, and your treatment chair is squeaky clean. But, the minutes pass and your client doesn't show up. How do you reduce the chance of no shows beforehand & what do you do when they happen? We're breaking it down.

#1. Send a confirmation & a reminder

Rule number 1 is to send both a confirmation and a follow up reminder to every single client who books an appointment. is an easy way to do this, or there are a number of systems out there that allow you to keep a calendar for treatments, send automatic reminders, and manage your client base. Try out a system for a few weeks until you find one that works for you. Tip: most systems offer a free trial period!

#2. Be clear in your policy

Make sure your policy is incredibly clear for clients! For example, a client may cancel her appointment up to 24 hours before her treatment at no charge, but cancellation within a 24 hour window will mean she is responsible for paying a penalty of 25 to 50% of the cost; a no show would mean she must pay 100% of the treatment cost. It's up to you to determine your policy!

Of course, situations like a pandemic may require a change in policy, so be sure to clearly state any changes that may be in place due to the current measures.

#3. Create an agreement with new clients

A way to further reduce no shows is having every new client sign an agreement listing policies like your no show rules when they visit your salon for the first time. If you aren't comfortable having clients sign an agreement, place your terms and conditions clearly on your website and have clients agree to these terms at the time of their booking. 

#4. Payment in advance or deposits

Another great method to reduce no shows is having clients pay in advance for their treatment or make a deposit of 25% or 50% of the total cost. If a client doesn't cancel within the proper amount of time, she'll lose the deposit, but if she cancels on time you could refund the deposit or offset this amount towards the next treatment she books. Whichever you choose, be sure to state this clearly in your policy!

#5. Repeat your policy regularly!

Our final advice: keep repeating your policy! It's common that clients don't read messages in full, so in order for something to really stick, it must be repeated several times. Simply put, be sure that your policy is repeatedly communicated to your client! Have your policy printed at the bottom of appointment confirmation and reminder messages, in the personal booking agreement, on appointment cards and stated on your website! 

When your client arrives on time, let her know how pleased you are to see them, encouraging them to be on time again for the next appointment! If you have an unexpected no show, call your client and then use that time wisely by ticking off the to-do's that you never get around to.

The 5 No-No's of No Shows

If you do have a no show, there are a few things you should absolutely avoid doing.

  1. Don't express your frustration on social media! We understand the temptation but this may come across as unkind towards your clients who do show up on time. 
  2. If a client doesn't answer their phone, let it be. Do not call them 10 more times! They are clearly unavailable or they do not want to be, so save your energy and approach them at another moment. 
  3. If your client rushes in 30 minutes late, resist the urge to still help her. While you want to perform as much brow magic as possible and increase your turnover, doing so could disappoint clients who keep their appointments, bog down your schedule, and discourage clients from being on time in the future.
  4. Don't remove the no show client from your database in frustration! Life happens and something unexpected may have come up for her. As long as she paid the agreed upon costs, you should be happy to help her again if this is her last no show.
  5. Don't put everyone in the same category! If you've had a loyal customer for years and she has a good reason why she cancelled at the last minute, do turn a blind eye. It can be difficult not to judge in the moment, but always remember how you would like to be treated by your favorite hair dresser!