Tips to Help with No Shows and Last Minute Cancellations

Tips to Help with No Shows and Last Minute Cancellations

And how to let THAT client know nicely, they can no longer get back on your


Do you get a lot of no shows and last-minute cancellations?

How do you handle them?


Let’s talk about some “DO’S and DON’T’S” just from my personal experience from helping salons professionals.

I have a couple of stories to help with what NOT to do.

I was reading this this blog post from a salon professional and I was really blown away with what she did.

She wrote a letter…Okay, she got like five no shows in a week, which is she said, was pretty
unusual for her BUT, it freaked her out.

So, she sat down and wrote a letter that went something like this…

The beginning of it, she said this goes out to eighty percent of you, the other twenty percent please ignore the letter.

She goes on to write that she can no longer reschedule no shows and last minute cancellations.
She went on to explain how this affects her business. How this is her livelihood, that when this happens, it affects her entire family, she can’t pay your bills, she can’t take care of her children and so on and on.

The letter was a serious guilt trip!

Ok…now to me, if I was in the twenty percent and I got that letter I would probably no longer go to her. WHY? Because, I would be thinking back to the ONE time that I had to cancel last minute. It was due to an emergency/conflict that I could not get out of, but would wonder if she’s referring to me?? I would NEVER want to upset her in this way. I will just find someone else.

Yes, no shows and last minute cancellations effect our business, however, putting a serious guilt trip on 100% of your clientele, may not be the best approach.

YES, you want to confirm! But be careful how you do it so they do not think it is okay to cancel.

Here’s another story. I know a hair stylist that confirms her appointments the morning of and she
sends a quick text.
“Hey I’m headed to the salon you coming? ? ?


What does that tell the client? “Oh, I guess she hasn’t left yet, I could probably cancel. I really want to go shopping.

This stylist gets a TON of cancellations last minute. She has always done this and lets her clients know HOW FLEXIBLE she is.

So, she has trained her clients that it is OK to cancel and not even show up…don’t do this!


Here are 3 TIPS Help get less cancellations and last minute no show.

1. When placing the appointment:
a.  Make sure to read back the time and date, tell them if anything comes up to please let you know one to two days ahead so you can refill their reserved time slot.
b.  Have your set policy on ALL materials. IE: appointment cards, website, Facebook page etc. You could even have a small sign at the front desk.

2. Confirm appointments:
a. Send Email two days before.
b. Confirm don’t remind the day before and morning of…until you get a confirmation back that they will be there. (It usually only takes one text or call. See verbiage for confirmation below)

3. Don’t guilt trip them, just know 3 times and they are out! See below how to easily let them know they can no longer go on your schedule.

Of course there are emergencies and of course you know and I know it’s going to happen once in a great while.

Third time and you are out! How to easily let them know they can no longer get on your schedule. 🙂 We are talking about those clients who do it over and over again. IF you have a system in place ie. a policy in place and you teach your clients then you’re going to have less no-shows and cancellations.

This is what I do…For the client that no shows or last minute cancels three times, they no longer get on my schedule. Now of course I don’t tell the client that, this is what I do….

I say to them, in a very genuine sincere voice…

“Hey Susie client, listen, I know that you are super busy and I completely understand, I am too. So why don’t we do this…. call me when it works for you. When you have a day or afternoon open, give me a call that morning and I will see if I have an opening.”
You could add, if you felt the need…. ”That way you don’t have to feel bad that you can’t make it…Okay.”

Be sure to Love on them and acknowledge you know they are busy and let them know you are too. This way, neither of you have to be upset that they can’t make their appointment. And if they happen to call on a day you have an opening, then guess what, you get to see Susie and if NOT this way it’s not going to mess up your schedule.

IF you don’t have an opening the day she calls…simply say, “Sorry, I am all booked up. Call me the very next time you are open. I am sure it will work out soon.” (Don’t let her back on your schedule) I do this and after a few times of no openings and finally get in, they no longer cancel again. You just have to sweetly hold your ground and teach them how you want to be treated.

TO CONFIRM: Never ask if they are coming. Simply say “Calling/texting to confirm your “nail, hair, wax ect.____ appointment for tomorrow, date and time. I look forward to seeing you. Your name and salon name.


1. Don’t use the word “remind”. People don’t want to be reminded, they just need confirmed. “Remind” indicates that they need reminding, because they just may forget. For people who always keep their appts that is negative. You want a positive confirmation. 😉

2. Don’t use the word “cancellation”. Instead use the word “unexpected opening”.  “Cancellation” says to the client it is ok to cancel. “Unexpected opening” says to the client…oh wow, that never happens!

EXTRA TIP 2: When scheduling clients ahead because, you don’t have an opening, let them know you will call them sooner if you get an “unexpected opening”. Tell them that it doesn’t happen very often, but once in a great while someone gets sick.  Then keep track of who those clients are so, you can call them when you get a no show or last minute cancellation “unexpected opening”. 🙂

I hope these TIPS Help you with No Shows and last minute cancellations. 


PS. If you would like more tips on client building, please go to and check out my 15 unique must do’s to catapult your business and build your clientele fast.

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