Enough is enough! If you’ve had your fill of no-shows and cancellations, you know it’s time to put a proper cancellation policy in place and to start taking deposits from clients when they book.

6 helpful tips to put a deposit policy in place and lose the no-shows

The only thing is, you’re nervous about how your clients will react. What if they refuse? What if they go elsewhere? We understand. And although this is unlikely, we want to help and to give you the confidence and tools to put that policy in place and say goodbye to wasted time and lost revenue.

1. Let your clients know in advance

Communication is key! Send an email or text message to clients, or put a notice on your salon’s front desk, to let your clients know you’ll be putting a new policy in place. Give them a few weeks’ notice and time for this to sink in. Let them know your new policy means a deposit is required for all new bookings and there’s a charge for cancellations made within 24 hours (or whatever time you choose) of appointments.

Let clients know you’re happy to chat with them about this and make sure all your staff know and can refer any clients to you for those tricky conversations. Stay friendly, polite and firm. Let your clients know you value them, love doing business with them and this policy is only in place for the kind of customers that don’t show up (never them of course!) and end up costing everyone.

2. Blame it on your accountant, investors or software!

Sometimes it’s handy to be able to blame someone else! So you can always say you’ve got a new accountant or investor (you don’t have an investor? They don’t need to know that!) who’s insisting on this new policy to make the numbers work.

Or say your new booking software will not let clients, or even you as the salon owner, proceed to the next step when making a new appointment, unless a deposit has been paid (which is true by the way!)

3. Get vulnerable and tell your clients how much no-shows cost you

Instead of little white lies, you could go for good old honesty. Tell your clients that no-shows cost you thousands in lost revenue each year and this means prices have to increase for everyone. Tell them how frustrating this is and the best possible solution is a booking policy that weeds out the no-shows and helps everyone stay positive and profitable.

4. Sell it like a budgeting scheme

Buy Now Pay Later is massive. You may even offer it in your salon. Putting a deposit policy in place means clients pay some of their treatment costs upfront and the rest at their appointment. It’s a great way of spreading the cost of their treatment. Sell it not like a negative, but a positive! 

5. Deposits are everywhere now

The world’s a different place post Covid. It’s far more common now for restaurants, salons, heck even chiropractors, to ask for a deposit when you make a booking.

You’re no different from all these other businesses trying hard to stay afloat in this tough old economy. As deposits become commonplace, you may hopefully get less resistance from clients towards paying them.

6. The clients that are really fighting back, are they the kind of clients you want anyway?

If someone is really resisting paying a deposit that could be a red flag. You know when you get a bad feeling about a client? Well, a deposit is certainly one way of weeding out the unreliable customers who never really intended to show up for their appointment and were only booking ‘just in case’.

Better to find out they’re unreliable upfront rather than on the day. Surround yourself with positive, loyal customers who you love doing business with, and those no-shows? Let them go somewhere else. Maybe somewhere that doesn’t have a deposit policy?

If you want more information, here’s a handy guide to setting up deposits or your cancellation policy.