I want to start requiring a nonrefundable deposit for special-time appointments. My posted hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. by appointment only. I am ridiculously flexible with my schedule, and let people book earlier and later if they can’t get in during normal hours. Recently, I had a 7:30 a.m. no-show! She was supposed to get services totaling over $100, and I forfeited holiday plans to accommodate her. She comes every two weeks, so I can’t lose her, but this is the second time she’s no-showed. What should I do? And how would I go about informing current clients of the new policy on off-hour deposits?
As a nail tech and salon owner, I can totally understand your dilemma. I have no-show and last- minute cancellation policies printed on my menus and appointment cards, just so I can refer to them if I need to. But in reality, if I try to uphold them, the customers just don’t come back — either they are embarrassed or angry. So, yes, most of the time you lose clients when you enforce these policies.
Instituting a deposit is hard when you have never had one, but I think you need to. I find a small white lie helps to alleviate any hard feelings. I would say something like, “My new software (or my salon owner) requires a deposit for my appointments now. Would that be OK?” Just be careful you don’t NOT charge a friend of hers. You could say it’s just for early or after-hours appointments, since those are the high-demand time slots. I try to give everyone one “oopsie,” but after that, no-shows are unacceptable, especially in this day and age of cell phones. For Pete’s sake, call or text and cancel!
— Traci Dungan is co-owner of ProFiles Salon in Fort Myers, Fla., and Profiles Backstage, a salon consulting business (www.profilesbackstage.com).
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