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Free Business Tool – reduce no shows and missed appointments fast

No shows, missed appointments and last minute cancellations – if you work in the beauty industry it’s happened to you. They are recurring challenges faced by EVERY Nail Technician, Beauty Therapist and Hair Stylist.

The problem with no shows and missed appointments is that they always cost you money – lots of it. If you go through your diary and calculate how much money you have lost through no shows and missed appointments, you would probably cry.

What a lot of Nail Tech’s don’t realize about no shows is that they cost you the loss of two treatments. If you had known in advance (I.e. 24 – 48 hours before) that a client was not coming in for her treatment then you could;

  • Move that client and reschedule her appointment – (Keeping money coming in)
  • Put someone else in her place. (I.e Keeping money coming in)

These days people are busy, they have high pressure jobs, kids to look after and lives to live. Sometimes life just happens and your client has a crisis or a sick kid, so it is an occupational hazard that no shows and missed appointments will happen. HOWEVER, you want to do everything in your power to make sure that they happen as little as possible.

In today’s “Knowledge for Nail Tech’s” Business Training, I am going to show you how to immediately minimize no shows and missed appointments by 80% because if you want to build a successful, profitable business, you are going to have to your guard your time and use it wisely. Here are three steps to drastically reducing no shows and missed appointments.

Step 1 – Time is money, so get serious about protecting your time

In an appointment based business like a nail bar or beauty salon, you exchange your time, in the form of a nail or beauty treatment, for your customers money. This means that every day, you have a limited amount of hours to trade. Waste those hours and your income drops. Whenever you have a limited resource, you have to protect it and manage it wisely.

No shows and cancellations

The first step to reducing no shows and missed appointments is to understand what your time is worth.  I find that Nail Techs and Beauty Therapists in general are just too casual with the way they manage their salon diary because they don’t understand the value of their time

How much is your time worth?

When I was involved in selling Salon Software, one of the first steps to helping a client to take her business to the next level was to make her aware of her salons per minute operating costs.

Here’s how you do it. Take a look at your expenses last month. These include your salary, take home commissions, light and water, rent, phone bill, insurance, product orders, consumables, tea, coffee etc… Let’s assume for this example your expenses came to R20 000 for the month of December.

Divide this figure by 22 days. If you are closed on Sundays and Mondays this means you work an average of 22 days per month. If you are open for more days or less days then change the number accordingly.

R20 000 ÷ 22 days = R909 per day. (This means your salon must make a minimum of R909 per day if it is going to be profitable)

Divide R909 by how many hours a day you are open. I.e. 8 hours a day.

R909 ÷ 8 = R113 I.e your salon must make a minimum of R113 per hour.

Divide R113 by 60 minutes to get your salons per minute operating cost.

R113 ÷ 60 = R1.89 per minute.

In this example, it costs me R1.89 per minute to keep my doors open. That may not sound like a lot. But what this means is that my business must make at MORE THAN R1.89 EVERY MINUTE minute of EVERY DAY  if I am going to cover my costs, be profitable and keep operating next month.

So, if a client doesn’t pitch for her one and a half hour gel nail appointment I have lost at least R170. (90 min x R1,89) That’s why it is not OK if a client just doesn’t pitch.


When you understand what it is worth you will stop allowing clients to mess you around!

Step 2 – You teach customers how to treat you

You have to get serious about your time, because if you aren’t serious about how you manage it, your customers will see it in your speech and actions and then they will abuse your time.

In life and in business you teach people how to treat you. For example – a client just doesn’t pitch for her Friday 2pm Gel Nail appointment. The next time she sees you she says, “I’m sorry I didn’t make it last Friday” Because most Most Nail Tech’s and Beauty Therapists are super friendly people who want to give great customer service they usually reply, “Don’t worry about it, it’s OK.”

But the truth is, it is not OK. As we saw above, your clients no show cost you a substantial amount of money. We live in the day and age of mass communication, it takes 30 seconds for a client to send an SMS, WhatsApp or make a call to notify the salon. No action is an action, so when we don’t speak out against the no show, next time the client doesn’t feel like showing up she thinks, “Last time Vaughan said ‘don’t worry it’s OK’ so I’m sure he won’t mind this time either!”

Instead of saying, “Don’t worry about it, it’s OK.” you should politely tell your client that your time is valuable and next time you expect a call. Make sure that you also print out the poster below and put it up all over your salon. Let the poster educate your client so that she gets the message loud and clear.


Click to download the Poster (6Mb)

Step 3 – Use these best practices for eliminating no shows and missed appointments

1. Setup Salon Policies and Procedures.

Decide in advance what your policies towards cancellations, no shows and late comers will be. Put these policies and procedures on your treatment menu. Every time you hand out a treatment menu, show the new client your policies and procedures and explain it to them. Educate, educate, educate – if you don’t make clients aware of your policies and procedures, how will they know?

2. Print out the poster and let it educate your client

As mentioned above, print our the “no shows and missed appointments” poster above and put it up all over your salon.

3. Use an automated sms reminder system

I have found that using an automated SMS appointment reminder system minimizes no shows and missed appointments by more than 80% in 30 days. There are so many systems out there and the good news is that they are very cheap. In fact, I have found that if an SMS prevents just one no show for the month, it more than pays for itself. Not only that, SMS reminders are a value added service. In our busy world, customers appreciate the reminder.

4. Get tough on late comers

With treatments like massages and facials, you can compensate for a late client by shortening the treatment. Unfortunately you cannot do this with nails. If a client arrives too late, you won’t be able to complete her nails without making the next customer wait.

This means you need to decide in advance what your cut off time will be. So, for example, if a client is later that 20 minutes, she needs to be notified that her treatment cannot be completed before the next client arrives and because she is more than 20 minutes late it will need to be rescheduled.

Remember, when a customer arrives late, and you start her treatment, this has a knock on effect  for the next customer. Why should the next customer, who arrived on time, be forced to wait because the client before her was late? Never reward a late client at the expense of a loyal, punctual customer.

Make sure that you put this cut off timme in your treatment menu policies and procedures and educate the client in advance. Remember – prevention is better than cure!

Never cancel, always reschedule

If a client does phone or message you to cancel, make sure that you don’t let her cancel, rather reschedule. Here’s how you do it. “Hi Jane, I am really busy for the next few weeks so lets reschedule because if we don’t you won’t be able to get your nails done for the next 8 weeks. Let’s reschedule instead. If have an opening on Tues at 3pm or on Saturday at 9am. What suits you best.?”

Notice that I didn’t ask the client “Would you like to reschedule?” because this leaves the door open for her to say no. Instead I said “lets reschedule” and then I gave her two options, one for the week and one for the weekend. Nine times out of ten the client will reschedule if you take this approach.

Fire repeat offenders

If a staff member is always late or never arrives for work, what do you do? You fire them. The same is true of customers. Remember that not all customers are equal and not all customers are good for your business. So, if you have a client who is always late or who is in the habit of not arriving, then fire them.

Here’s how you do it. The next time she phones you politely say, “I am so sorry but I can’t see you. I am fully booked for the next three months, but Salon ABC down the road can see you.” Then send her on to your worst competitor.

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