Manicure Now, Pay Later?

Think of that moment when you’ve finished a great nail service and the client asks if she can pay another day.

As you sit in stunned silence for a few seconds, what is running through your mind? I wonder if I can pay my electric bill another day? Or for groceries another day? Hmm…

This is not a new concept. Think back to the Popeye cartoon — if you’re old enough to recall that — and Wimpy’s regular request: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Then jump to today, with buy now/pay later credit cards and offers of no interest for six months on furniture, and more. You can begin to see why people feel they deserve to have things they cannot currently pay for. Understanding the insanity, however, does not pay your bills, buy your products, or get back your lost time.

What can be done to prevent this situation? Remember the motto: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If we can avoid being put in this spot in the first place, it could be a huge help. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Credit card numbers on file
  • Pre-paid appointments
  • Prominent “payment due at time of service” signs
  • Agreement on pricing during the consultation

What are some other ideas you can share?

When you find yourself placed in this situation, there should be an added charge. Since payment is not at the time of service, a late fee should apply, such as 10%-20%. You could accept a check dated with the time it may be cashed that includes the late fee, with the understanding that if returned to you, the check charge itself will be $50. There is also the option of making a note of credit card information with the date to be charged and again the late fee.

This should not occur more than once. Inform the client that this is not salon policy and you are making an exception this one time. If they attempt to do it again, the late fee doubles and they will now be required to pre-pay for appointments. If you do not have the computer software to take pre-payments, the client can purchase a gift certificate. A third offense should result in being fired.

Ideally most people realize a salon service requires immediate payment; however, those that choose to pretend they don’t know this or use your “friendship” to get around it will take an inch if you give it and run miles. We don’t get to pay for our hamburgers later — salon services are no exception!

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