TECH TIP - Should I charge a cancellation fee?
We've all been there, you're just starting out in your nail tech journey and you're delighted (and a little bit scared!) every time a new client reaches out to book their first appointment with you. You bend over backwards to accommodate everyone as you can't quite believe that you're lucky enough to get to be doing a job that you actually LOVE!
Then the first cancellation comes. Usually the night or a couple of hours before the allotted appointment and now you're left with a gaping hole in your day and out of pocket to boot. It's not a great feeling, but these things happen, they can't be helped - right? Yes, you are right, these things DO happen but this is now your livelihood and it costs money for you to open your doors each day and if you let each no show or last minute cancellation slide, you could be significantly financially impacted, especially as your business grows.
Charging a cancellation fee as a nail tech is a common practice in the beauty industry and can help protect your business and compensate for lost income due to those 'can't be helped' last-minute cancellations. If you're feeling hesitant about introducing a cancellation fee, here are some factors that will help you implement one and communicate it to your clients:
- Industry Norms: Research the standard practices in your local area and among other nail technicians. Find out if it is common for professionals to charge a cancellation fee and what the typical amount is. This will help you determine whether it aligns with your business model.
- Policy Clarity: Clearly communicate your cancellation policy to clients upfront, whether it includes a cancellation fee or not. Make sure clients are aware of the consequences of canceling or rescheduling appointments at short notice. This transparency can help manage expectations and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.
- Time and Resources: Consider the time and resources you allocate to each appointment. If you set aside a specific time slot for a client and they cancel at the last minute, you may lose the opportunity to fill that spot with another paying client. Charging a cancellation fee can help offset this loss.
- Frequency of Cancellations: Assess the frequency of cancellations or no-shows you experience in your business. If you frequently encounter last-minute cancellations, implementing a cancellation fee can act as a deterrent and encourage clients to honour their appointments.
- Flexibility and Client Relationships: Take into account the flexibility and understanding you want to offer your clients. Some situations, such as genuine family emergencies, may warrant waiving the cancellation fee.
Ultimately, the decision is yours as to whether you implement a cancellation fee and you may decide to use your own personal discretion on a client by client basis. In our experience, we have found the open communication of a cancellation policy that is reiterated at the point of booking each time, offers a clear understanding between tech and client and avoids any awkward interactions as you both know where you stand on the subject.
Do you charge and cancellation fee and has it had a positive affect on your business? We'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!