Business Builders

How to Establish a Clear Salon Cancellation Policy


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Every salon owner has been there. Whether we are on the receiving end of a cancellation or we are the ones canceling plans, cancellations happen and they are a part of everyday life.

However, for salons specifically, cancellations can be detrimental to the business’s scheduling and revenue. While there is no way to completely avoid cancellations happening to your salon and stylists, you can adopt and create a clear salon cancellation policy that prevents you from not being able to rebook cancelled time slots and losing money.

Not only will we show you how to establish a clear salon cancellation policy, but we will also teach you how to enforce it. This may be a learning curve for your stylists, clients and salon — especially if you haven’t had a cancellation policy in place — but it’s something that is critical to keeping your salon afloat.

How to Establish a Salon Cancellation Policy

If you’re ready to create a salon cancellation policy that works for your business and people, follow the steps below!

Establish Cancellation Pain Points with These Questions

As you are preparing to create your salon’s new cancellation policy, there are a few questions you should ask yourself and your people in order to create a policy that protects and benefits your salon. These questions will help you identify your biggest pain points around handling cancellations.

  • What are the financial and scheduling consequences of a cancellation?
  • How could the salon mitigate those or recover from those?
  • How far in advance does it take for stylists to fill an open spot or cancellation with a new client?
  • What dollar amount or percentage of the total cost of a client’s visit would allow us to accept a cancellation without it hurting the salon?
  • How do cancellations usually occur at our salon and how soon before an actual appointment?
  • Are there a lot of no shows?
  • Do cancellations affect how stylists are using hair salon supplies? Does the salon have too much stock left over?
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Create Rules and Policies

Based on the responses to these questions, you will have identified the biggest issues for your salon that are caused by no shows and cancellations. Understanding these pain points will lead you to create policies that not only prevent cancellations, but also set your salon up for success when it comes to adapting and rebooking. Here are some guidelines for cancellation policies that work. Be sure to customize these policies to reflect your salon’s needs.

  • Require clients to cancel within a time period that allows you to reasonably fill the available appointment. This could be 24 hours or two days.
  • Create a rule that if clients cancel after the ideal cancellation time that they are required to pay up to 50 percent of the appointment cost.
  • Make clients put down a deposit to secure their appointment. If they don’t cancel in time or they are a no-show, you keep that deposit.
  • As you create your cancellation policy, build in clauses for clients being late, too. For example, if a client is more than 20 minutes late, they will have to pay an additional $50. If the client is more than 30 minutes late, their appointment will be cancelled and they will have to pay 50 percent of the visit or they lose their deposit.

Ask for Staff Feedback

As you create policies, it’s a good idea to run these rules by your staff and other stylists at your salon. You want to make sure that your cancellation policy is reflective of everyone and aims to protect your stylists and business. You can also ask for feedback early on in the process to ensure you keep your stylist’s needs in mind.

Make Your Cancellation Policy Known

Once you have crafted a cancellation policy that feels true to your salon, make sure your clients and stylists are notified of it. Your cancellation policy should be posted throughout your salon, website and in every booking email. You can also include your cancellation policy on your salon’s voicemail.

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Update Your Cancellation Policy as Needed

Similar to purchasing new salon accessories, you may need to refresh and update your cancellation policy here and there to accurately reflect your salon needs.

Enforce Your Cancellation Policy

Creating the cancellation policies is the easy part, but enforcing the policies may be tough. There are several keys to ensuring you enforce and implement your cancellation policy successfully. This is how to do it:

  • Make sure your policies are realistic for your salon and your clients.
  • Make clients aware of your cancellation policy and give them a clear date when the cancellation policy will go into effect.
  • Make sure your cancellation policy is communicated to clients as they book their appointment in multiple ways. Include the cancellation policy in the booking email, on your website and have your receptionist remind clients of the cancellation policy when they call to remind clients of their appointment.
  • When a client books an appointment, make them read and agree to terms and conditions, which will include your cancellation policy.

Hopefully with these policies and practices, salon cancellations will not cripple your business.


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