How Do You Handle Late Clients?


If my client is 15 minutes late, I won’t apply polish; if she’s 30 minutes late, I’ll reschedule her appointment.


One late customer can throw off the entire day, so to avoid upsetting my schedule, I enforce a late policy. If my client is 15 minutes late, I won’t apply polish; if she’s 30 minutes late, I’ll reschedule her appointment. It’s not fair to my other customers to run into their scheduled time.

Kim Taylor, Exquisite Design (Columbus, Ohio)

I learned early on that you need to tell new clients your policy on tardiness. If they’re 10 minutes late, they must reschedule unless I have no one after them. If you let a first-time client slide once, she may think you can take her late anytime.

Michele Debo, The Nail Chateau (Millbrae, Calif.)

I have a sign that says, “An appointment canceled with less than 24 hours’ notice or a missed appointment will be charged at full price.” I have to educate my clients that being self employed means I don’t get paid for just sitting here.

Kathleen Fenison, Finishing Touch (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.)

If the client is 10-30 minutes late, I’ll give her three choices: a fill with no polish, an acrylic manicure, or I’ll reschedule her. If I have a client right after her, I’ll explain that it wouldn’t be fair to make her wait. You should always allow extra time for consistently late clients. You have to give a little in order to build a clientele.

Paula Parroti, From Head To Toe (Paducah, Ky.)

Clients should respect your time just as you should respect theirs. I understand things happen, but if it’s repeated, then something should be done. If they are 5-10 minutes late, I won’t do nail art; if they’re 10-20 minutes late, I’ll give them a polish change, but no fill; after that, I’ll reschedule their appointment.

Michelle McKinn-Iriart, Tanicure Salon (Bakersfield, Calif.)

To let my clients know that my time and theirs is important, I’ll give them $5 off their service if I’m running behind 15 minutes or more. If my client is 15 minutes late, I will reschedule her. I discuss timeliness at their first visit to set the foundation.

Alicia Bryant- Mayes, Elegant Nails by Alicia (Denver, Colo.)

The last thing you want to say to a client when she first walks in is, “You’re late.” She will feel very embarrassed and it starts the service off uncomfortably. It’s also rude when she isn’t given a chance to explain first. I’ll greet her nicely and let her settle in, which makes her feel welcome. If she’s extremely late, I’ll tell her that I won’t have time to finish her service, but we can start and see what we can do. During the service, I’ll explain to her that timeliness is very important since I have a schedule to keep up with. Again, I would make her feel comfortable so she feels reassured about booking another appointment.

Sherry Hawks, The Nail Girls (Lake Tahoe, Nev.)


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