5 Tips for Setting and Enforcing Your Policies

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Fun and games aside, do you enforce late and no-show policies?

Industry-standard for top-tier artists is charging a 50% deposit upfront. This guarantees that your clients understand that they are committed to a time slot and prevents them from backing out of it at the last moment. This is a non-negotiable policy because you run an appointment-based business and you cannot make money during the time you reserved for them if they don’t show. This allows you to mitigate a portion of your losses when this happens.

Having constant no-shows isn’t the “nature of the business” — it’s an indication you aren’t running your business efficiently. Time to step it up, sis!

Your policies have to work for your business so that you can run it effectively without compromising on the service you provide and without compromising on having your time and income wasted.

Creating a policy around no-shows is a simple and bullet-proof way of minimizing those losses. A few pointers on how to get this going:

  • Keep credit cards on file: Whether it’s a long-time client or a new one, each one should either have a credit card on file or submit a deposit to secure their appointment.
  • Send out Reminders: Set up 72-hour and 24-hour auto-reminders that require your client to confirm the appointment.
  • Cancellation fees: Cancellations < 48 hours should incur a 50% appointment fee. Cancellations < 24 hours or no-shows are subject to a 50-100% appointment fee and a requirement to prepay in full to reschedule.
  • Be transparent with clients: Be sure to discuss these policies thoroughly and upfront so when the day comes, they aren’t shocked.
  • Enforce your policies: Setting your policies is only half the battle – you need to enforce them with little to no exceptions. 

Remember, enforcing policies that your customers agreed to in advance and ones that allow you to mitigate losses for you, your staff, and your business isn’t mean. It’s standard, it’s necessary and it secures you against significant losses at the end of the year.

Just like cutting out discounts and knowing how to charge what you’re worth, valuing your services enough to charge clients when they fail to show up for their appointments. By having these policies in place, you are showing that you know the value of your offering. It sends a message that your services are worth turning up for.