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Appointment no-shows are a reality hair stylists face frequently. It’s like being stood up by a date – but at your own expense, literally. Each year, salons and solo entrepreneurs lose thousands of income – not to mention the wasted time and energy waiting for clients to show up.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to discourage habitual tardiness and cancellations. There’s no one-size-fits-all policy, but these tips from our #HolisticHairTribe might give you some great ideas on how to handle no-show clients.

How to Handle No-Show Clients

Communicate your policy.

Before implementing your cancellation policy, be sure you have communicated it well with your clients. This prevents clients from saying they have not been informed, and trains them to take your time seriously. Make sure it’s highlighted on your website and in your salon. Always include it in your email blasts. Putting it in your brochures is a good idea as well.

Create a cancellation window.

Specify how far in advance your clients need to notify you of any cancellation. 48 hours? 24 hours? Creating a cancellation window allows you to fill in your books on short notice. Have them confirm their appointment on that designated window, and remind them of the policy you have in place in case they fail to do so.

Tyler Fenix: I’m implementing 48-hour policy right now. 24 doesn’t give me time to fill. I’m also charging for no-shows and starting to communicate that all appointments will be subject to credit card for reservation.

Allow some leniency.

Some cancellations are unavoidable. Life happens. Unless they’re habitual no-shows, giving some leniency allows you to retain clients and improve your relationship with them. We recommend “forgiving” at least one missed appointment.


Emphasize the fees.

Missed appointments cost time and money. Communicating with your clients about late or cancellation fees will encourage them to honor their appointment with you. This strategy has been proven very effective in reducing no-shows.

Megan Rae Bailey:

This issue was really easy when I used Style Seat. Clients had to put in their credit card info to book an appointment. If they cancel less than 24 hours before, they will be charged 50%, no shows were charged 100%. If you can enforce it, they learn really fast how important your time is.

Angela Batson:

I have a 24-hour cancellation policy posted on web and in salon. I charge the full amount for a no call / no show, and 1/2 the amount for late cancellation. I also go over all of this when client calls to book their first appointment, as well has preferred payment and directions. I also do reminder calls the day before as to give client opportunity. Most clients accept and graciously pay. Just be up front from the beginning!

Educate your clients about the value of time.

As holistic hair stylists, our time is gold. One missed appointment can cost us money. Unfortunately, some clients are unaware of this so telling them to confirm and show up on their appointment will help them respect your time. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder. 😊

Anne Hehn: Be real with your client. Tell her what it does to your business and how it doesn’t allow you to fill that spot very easily. This can be done in a kind manner. I’ve had to do it a few times. I was pretty blunt with one of my clients about it. She now NEVER misses an appointment and generally shows up a few minutes early which is incredible because she is a habitually late individual!


The Business Side of Beauty. 2016. Creating No-Show Policies. Retrieved from

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