When to Charge for No Shows

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The building is open. You’re there. You have all the supplies you need. But you’re missing something—the client! You wait a few minutes then maybe text them or try giving them a call.

No answer.

Fifteen minutes goes by. You check your calendar to make sure you got the time and date right. You did.

Now half an hour has passed. You try calling them again. Still no answer. You want to give your client the benefit of the doubt, but you did give them a call to remind them the day before and they said they’d be there.

After almost an hour it becomes apparent that all your preparation has been wasted. You’re out money, time, and possibly sleep. You might even be out potential clients you had to turn away because this absent client was already scheduled. This is about the time when the the question pops into your head: Should I charge my client for the no-show?

It is a fair question to ask, though a difficult one to answer. On the one hand you don’t want to offend your client. On the other hand, massagepracticebuilder.com notes that not charging implies to your client that your time is not important. So, what do you do? Here are five tips to consider when deciding whether or not to charge a client.

  1. Have you let your clients know up-front that you will charge for no-shows? If your clients are already aware of your policy for no-shows, you might have justification for charging them. If you haven’t outlined your policy, it’s never too late to start.
  2. Is the client a repeat offender? Everyone is late or forgets things once in awhile. Is this your client’s first missed appointment? Maybe it would be best to let this one slide and just gently remind them that next time you might have to charge them. But what if this is a habitually late or absent client? It might be time to put your foot down.
  3. Consider the money. Say you charged your client for a no-show and they became offended and announced they’ll never come back to you. Is the money you’re charging for the no-show worth the potential money you are losing from that client? In some cases, especially from clients who are always late or absent, the loss of money might be worth it. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
  4. Consider your client’s time as well. Now put the shoe on the other foot. What if you are late for, or miss, an appointment. Do you think your client deserves a discount because of their wasted time and preparation? Maybe, maybe not, but it is important that you think about your clients needs as well as your own.
  5. Treat clients the way you’d like to be treated. If you were a client and accidentally missed your appointment, how would you want to be treated? Consider that question when you are considering charging clients for no-shows.

Do you have something to say about charging for no-shows? Have an experience you’d like to share? Please comment below.

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