Did you know that an estimated £1.2 million is lost by the hairdressing industry every year because of no show appointments?

Yes, no show appointments are not only inconvenient and frustrating, they can cost your business money, too.

Unfortunately, they are also a fairly common occurrence in almost every salon!

There are however, a number of things you can do to help protect your business from the financial effects of missed appointments as well as keeping them to a minimum.


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What do no shows cost your salon business?

Think about your average appointment value. It could be anywhere from £35 for a cut and finish to over £100 for a colour service.

If you have even just two no shows a week, you could have lost up to £800 worth of business.

Over a year, this could equate to almost £10,000 worth of missed appointments – a significant amount of money to be lost.

Related: What to do When You Have Unfilled Appointment Slots

Can hairdressers charge for a missed appointment?

So, what does the UK law say about missed appointments?

You aren’t allowed to impose unfair penalties on clients who don’t show up for hair or beauty appointments. And, you can’t force them to pay for a service they didn’t have.

You also have to walk the fine line between protecting your business and not putting off clients for good. If a client feels stung for missing their appointment, it’s likely they will tell their friends about the bad experience they feel they have had.

Try to keep your clients on side, especially if it is only the first time they’ve missed an appointment. Make sure they know about any cancellation policy you have before they book.

And, always speak to them before you decide to enforce a fee – they could have had an emergency or health problem that stopped them from coming. Do your best to be reasonable and understanding.

Are there any strategies to help reduce no show appointments?

No show appointments are always going to happen. Sometimes, clients face circumstances out of their control. Other times they might just genuinely forget during a particularly busy week.

But, if you feel like missed appointments are becoming a far too regular occurrence in your salon, check you are following these strategies…

Send reminders to your clients

It should be standard practice in your salon that you remind your clients that their appointment is coming up a day or two beforehand.

This is a great way to actually help clients – if they had forgotten, they’ve now got their new hair treatment to look forward to! A lot of the time, clients don’t actually want to miss their appointment, so a helpful reminder is often appreciated.

If for whatever reason your client realises they won’t be able to show up, it also gives them a chance to let you know. With 48-24 hours notice, it might still be possible for you to find somebody else to take their slot.

Reminders also help you build a relationship with your clients. A friendly courtesy call or text message shows them that you really do value their time, so they are more likely to value yours in return.

If you don’t have time to speak to or text every client personally, see if you can set up automated reminders instead.

Try and find a pattern

If no show appointments are still being a real nuisance, it’s time to investigate.

Are there certain days or times when you experience the most no shows? Or, perhaps certain stylists are getting more than others?

Have a chat with your stylists to see if you can figure out if there are any reasons why clients haven’t shown up.

It could be that your clients aren’t 100% satisfied with the service they are getting. It might be worth working on improving the feedback they get from clients to help you find where the problems lie.

We have a whole blog post on how to get more meaningful feedback from your salon clients with some more tips.

Work on client relationships & loyalty

Clients who have a strong relationship with their stylists are more likely to be considerate of your salon’s time. In fact, you will probably find that most of your no shows aren’t coming from your favourite regulars!

So, it’s important that you work on connecting with every single client who walks through your door. Show them you value them by offering loyalty programmes and rewards. Even just a simple thank you can go far.

Take a look at our blog on how to build loyalty with your salon customers for more.

Salon cancellation policy – what should it be?

Finally, the best strategy against no show appointments is to have a salon cancellation policy in place.

Some salons and hairdressers feel a little uncomfortable doing so, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Try wording your salon’s cancellation policy to sound polite but firm and clear.

So, what type of policy should you have in place?

3 Salon cancellation policy examples…

Whatever your cancellation policy is, it’s important that all of your clients are aware of it. Put itn on your website, Facebook page and print a copy for your salon reception.

1. Time based cancellation notice

Most salons have a minimum amount of time they expect to be notified of a cancellation. This is usually 24 or 48 hours. If clients don’t cancel within this time frame, a fee is sometimes imposed. This is up to your discretion, but is often up to 50%.

If it is the first time the client has missed their appointment, or they have a good reason for it, it’s a good idea to let them off and simply reschedule for them.

2. Asking for a booking fee

For big treatments that will take a few hours, such as hair colouring, some salons choose to ask for a deposit or booking fee. This helps protect you from financial loss a little, as a no show could mean you lose half a day’s work.

Be sure to let clients know in advance that this won’t be refunded if they don’t cancel within your required time frame. If they do miss their appointment, you can hold their booking fee to reschedule for them.

3. ‘3 Strikes’ policy

This helps you weed out any repeat offenders that constantly let you down. If a client misses more than three appointments in a row, consider taking extra measures with them – such as asking if they would mind paying for their appointment upfront or asking for a deposit.

Try to be sensitive when doing this. Make sure you have a good understanding of why they have missed their appointments to avoid offending or upsetting them further.

What should you do when a client doesn’t turn up?

Like we have already said, no shows aren’t completely unavoidable.

So what should you do when one does inevitably happen?

Most importantly, give them a call. Something may have happened to them, so it’s always good to check they are ok.

Once you have spoken to them, decide what is best to do next. Be as understanding and reasonable as possible, as this will protect your business’s reputation. If they are a loyal client, reschedule for them. If they have repeatedly missed appointments, it might be time to ask for a fee.

If your client cancels with a couple of hours notice, do what you can to fill that slot. Advertise it on your social media or start building up a ‘stand-by list’. These are your clients who can come in at short notice who might be grateful to get to see you earlier than planned.

No shows and last minute cancellations can be both costly and frustrating. All you can do is remain professional, put a fair policy in place and be as flexible as possible where you can.

If you are looking for professional hair salon supplies then visit Salons Direct for the latest products and tools!

More salon management advice from our blog…

Budgeting 101: How to Set a Salon Financial Plan That Works | Should You Be Using Booking Apps For Your Salon or Barber Shop? | How to Deal With Online Reviews & What to Do About Negative Ones