Reader to Reader: How do you handle a client who forgets her checkbook or cash?


Readers recommend a gentle approach unless the problem is chronic. 


<p>Illustration/Chris Murphy</p>For a new client, I’ll tell her that I will drop by her home the next day and she can leave an envelope for me with the payment in her mailbox. A regular client will usually bring in the payment immediately.

Gloria Williams (Chicago, Ill.)

I just had this happen and I told the client, “That’s OK, I understand. It’s happened to us all at one time.” To save her embarrassment, to retain her as a client, and to show good faith, I told her to drop off the payment by the end of the day. She did just that. I trusted her, she liked my work, and I know she will be back.

Patricia Potter

All About Nails & More (Stafford, Va.)

If she’s a regular client who has forgotten her wallet, I’ll have her return later that day and pay for the service. But if she’s a new client or an unreliable one and she tells me prior to the service, I will reschedule the appointment. I also have every client fill out an information card on her first visit, so I have both her home and work numbers and addresses if I need to track her down.

Guin Deadman

Hair We Are (Clifton, Colo.)

If she’s a new client, I’ll ask for her driver’s license as collateral until she brings in the payment. Once I was asked by a social worker from a local hospital to do a full set on a teenage girl. At the end of the service, the girl said the social worker would drop off the payment. I forgot about it, but three months later, I received a check in the mail for the full set.

Lisa Van DerMeer

Nail Biz & Co. (Cedar City, Utah)

If she’s a long-standing client, I’ll give her a self-addressed stamped envelope and ask her to mail me a check. If she’s a new client, I’ll suggest she go to the ATM machine across the street.

Kim Taylor

Exquisite Design (Columbus, Ohio)

I’m relaxed about this embarrassing situation because it could happen to any of us. I simply tell the client to catch me on her next visit. Being understanding has netted me several extra tips. For the occasional client experiencing financial difficulties, I will hold a postdated check until her next payday or I’ll find an “honorable” reason to give her a free service, such as a birthday or 20th unmissed appointment. For the most part, the client sees right through my honorable reason and becomes even more loyal.

Jen Lodge

Touch of Class (Avon Park, Fla.)

We have a good, trusting clientele and we will have the client drop off or mail in a check or cash the next day. New clients usually offer to go to the ATM down the street and come right back to pay.

Kerry Marmandis

NailTique (Norwood, Mass.)



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