No shows are no fun… a letter to all clients

By Lori Crete | Business Building

Jul 18

Missed appointmentNow this doesn’t usually happen to me but this week it did… this week I had 5 hours of no-shows!

I am not going to lie; one of them really got under my skin in a big way!

The no-show that bothered me the most was that of a local beauty biz school instructor. And sadly, she has done this twice!

I consider myself an educator in the beauty biz industry and as such, it really bothered me that a beauty school instructor – someone who clearly knows better – would do this. She’s not respecting the very same boundaries that she should be teaching her students to create and uphold in their businesses.

She’s not practicing what she is hopefully preaching.

Oh and in case you are wondering…

Yes, she was sent a no-show invoice for the appointment and has been removed from our online booking system until the invoice is paid.

My week of no-shows, combined with the struggles I see each and every one of us dealing with on a daily basis, is what triggered me to write this letter for all clients to consider when booking with a beauty biz practitioner.

Dear Jane,

Fortunately, this letter is not meant for 80% of clients who visit estheticians, hair stylists, nail techs and massage therapists (approximately) every four to six weeks for a beauty TLC appointment.

This message is meant for the 20% of clients who need a gentle reminder or maybe a new awareness surrounding a dilemma that directly affects an industry that is full of practitioners who are committed to helping you look and feel your beautiful best.

Now before I jump into the dilemma, let me first give a big heartfelt thank you to the 80% of you who really don’t need to read this letter. You are the 80% who view us as the professionals that we are – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

For the 80% of you who commit to the appointments you make, who run on time, and who would never no-show on a practitioner – thank you.

You are the 80% who enable us to generate levels of success that allow us to invest in the best products and continuing education to provide you with amazing results.

You, beautiful 80%, are not only the reason we love what we do, you are the reason we can pay our bills, support our families, put food on our tables, and keep our business doors open.

For the 80% of you who understand that it takes mutual respect to run a professional beauty biz – Thank You!

Now for the other 20% of you, let’s talk…

To those of you who minimize, or worse yet, completely disregard, the policies of a beauty business, I want to help you understand what happens when you decide to no-show, or chronically run late to your appointments.

Maybe you don’t understand this, but when you choose to not show up for the appointment you scheduled, the practitioner you booked with does not get paid. 

Most beauty biz practitioners rely on their bookings to pay for the necessities of life.

Before deciding to no-show for a future appointment, please consider how you would feel if you showed up at work and your boss informed you that they were going to deduct hours of your pay each week because they felt like it.

Here’s the thing, when you no-show for your appointment, you are essentially taking money away from the practitioner.

In a service business where appointments must be booked for services to be rendered,  your appointment time is reserved for and dedicated to you and only you. They can’t ‘sell’ that time to someone else if they don’t know in advance that you aren’t going to be there.

If you will kindly give your practitioner a 24-hour cancellation notice, they can usually fill the spot and everyone wins. It’s not a lot to ask and it makes a huge difference.

Now, for those of you who may show up but always run late, let me share what happens in that scenario… most often it means that you will lose out on your investment (at least part of it).

Here’s why…

Your practitioner may be forced to rush, or will be working under pressure, which results in the quality of work being less than what it would otherwise be.

You won’t get the full benefit of what you are required to pay for. In this case, you may feel slighted, but the practitioner will feel crappy too. As a practitioner in this business, I can tell you that we all want to give every client our best. We take great pride in our work and it feels awful to have to do a rush job and be unable to give you 100%… no one wins.

I know I speak for many when I say that we practitioners, go to work every day with our clients’ best interest at heart. We love our work and our work is providing you with great service. When you show up on time, this gives us the ultimate opportunity to provide you with a fantastic experience.

I will conclude this letter by saying beauty biz practitioners understand that clients are human too and as such, we all make mistakes. And, we know that emergencies will come up too. We are always willing to work together for a win-win and even give a free pass when it’s the right thing to do for an 80% type of client who encounters the rare urgency that prevents them from being able to make it in.

Thank you for respecting our policies and allowing us to show up as professionals who are grateful for the opportunity to earn your business.

Live Beautifully,


And before closing, I want to share a final thought for all you beauty biz practitioners too…

If we all took a step in the direction of creating – and enforcing – strong business boundaries we would start to see a positive shift in how are viewed and respected as professionals. Strong boundaries are the foundation of a strong business.

Eliminating no-shows, chronic late-runners and those last-minute cancellations begins with gaining the confidence to create and honor our business policies.

Is there anything that you would add to that client letter? Join the conversation below.


About the Author

A finalist for American Spa Magazine’s 2017 Women in Wellness Mentor of the Year, Lori Crete is a highly sought after industry expert and licensed celebrity esthetician. Owner of Southern California’s Spa 10, she is also the founder of The Beauty Biz Club™, a success-based society dedicated to helping beauty practitioners around the world fill their schedule, increase profits and break through to the 6-figure mark.

  • Susan Keefe says:

    This letter has struck a cord with my business as well. I have all the late cancellation and no-show policies in place. Those policies are listed on my website, as well as when they book their appointment on-line to the emails that are sent out to confirm appointments. I even go so far as require a credit card to book. However, there has been a tremendous increase in no-shows and cancellations in the last 6 months. It’s hard to run a successful small business with this blatant disrespect for my time.

    I was thinking about sending out a newsletter with a letter similar to the one you have written. I must stick to my policies without fail and not give “best clients” a pass. All clients should be treated fairly and equally.

    Thank you for confirming what I need to do…invoice clients who no-show or last minute cancel.

  • Very well said! Bravo.
    Let’s start setting & re-enforcing business boundaries in out industry Our time means money and clients need to know it.

  • so this is a summer epidemic. I enforced my Reservation Policy last year at this time. And our June was still a mess with this problem (even a year later). We get people showing up 24hrs late, cancelling last minute, the list goes on. Our clients book online, THEY select the date/time, THEY put in their credit card, they get an immediate confirmation email and 2-days before their appt they receive a text AND email reminder. The top of the emails say PLEASE READ in all caps (followed with all our info and policy). And if you can believe it, when they are appropriately charged they still call or email asking why and to be refunded their money.

    And yes, it is insulting. But worse then anything, it effects my attitude when I’m with my clients who are there. I hate that.

    All that to say, knowing that this epidemic is happening to many reminds me to not take it personal and give my ‘80%’ the best of me!

    • Lori Crete says:

      Please don’t take it personally. It’s not personal at all, it’s just a lack of understanding on their part. When people are disconnected from the reality of how our businesses run, they don’t see how their actions directly affect our families in many cases. That’s the whole point of educating them – to help with fixing that disconnect.

  • Stacey says:

    Wow! This must be the universe testing us because I decided last week to actually enforce my policies. One client who had continuously cancelled at the last minute, cancelled at the last minute again last week. I sent her an email that she would have to pay for the missed appointment, she actually replied back to disagree, lol. I kindly explained why she would need to pay for the time she reserved and that the policy was in each confirmation and reminder email. And you know what, it feels so good and I believe that by enforcing my policies, I’m sending a message to the universe about the quality of clients I want to see. Thanks Lori, I always enjoy your timely information!

  • Hi Lori, what a great letter, may I have your permission to use this for my own business. I’m about to start a whole new venture and this would be a great way from the very beginning to establish my own policies. Thank you, Hélène, in Greenville, SC?

  • Yay! Even though I now require a credit card for those who book online, it has greatly reduced and weeded out the serious from the not serious when booking an appointment. I like the way this is addressed in your letter Lori!

  • Brooke says:

    I’m currently working on a 24 hour cancellation policy. It’s ridiculous how many people feel empowered to do this to us many times over.

    • Lori Crete says:

      I’m not sure they feel empowered or entitled to do it. I think it’s more that they don’t understand our business and that’s the change I want to create.

  • Llinda Jenkins says:

    Well stated Lori!

    This happens much to often with “new” clients, which is exasperating!

  • Well said. I like that you appreciated the 80% before you brow beat the others. It’s always such a touchy subject to word properly.

    • Lori Crete says:

      I have tremendous gratitude for the 80% and I have gratitude for the 20%. My intention is not to “brow beat” anyone. The intention is to educate the 20% because I truly feel that the breakdown happens because they do not understand the impact of their actions. We as industry professionals have not consistently acted as professionals. We like being nice and accommodating to our clients and in some areas that’s desirable. However, the area where it’s unacceptable is in our business systems and operations.

  • Good for you for charging that client instead of saying “oh, that’s OK”. It’s not OK. Once people realize the impact on your bottom line, they either care enough to apologize sincerely and straighten up, or not. If not, then they become someone else’s headache. Thanks for all your great ideas, Lori!

  • Love, love this. I had three hours of no shows in one day.

  • Amen, sista! Thank u for stating so eloquently a consistent problem!

  • Gina Barron says:

    I also recently put out something very similar in my newsletter. I lost about $500.00 in a week due to last minute cancellations. It really drives me crazy when I hear that they can’t come in because they have to stay for a meeting. It tells me that their work is more important than mine. I use the same analogy that it’s like someone deducting money from their paycheck if someone cancelled a meeting on them. It took me a long time to get tough with my clients, but I do think they will respect us for it, and if they don’t then that is a client we do not want!

  • Bridgene says:

    Great letter. This is policy to clients and is on display at my salon.

    As a small salon cancellations hurt me dearly, please allow 24 hours notice of cancellation to avoid being charged for the missed appointment.

  • Nakia says:

    I absolutely love this letter and will use excerpts from it my next newsletter and on my website. I have a small practice and had one last minute cancellation and two no-shows this week; that was approximately $225 worth of appointments. The no-shows were second time offenders who got a pass the first time. I contacted them both via phone and email. I offered them the opportunity to schedule another appointment and mentioned the no-show fee will added when they checkout during their next service. My colleague thinks that was a bit harsh especially since I am a new small business. I explained to her, that I am professional and am always on time prepared for my clients and that I expect the same.

  • Kimberly Rose says:

    Love this letter as it has been a big problem for me this August. It seems like it is every year, but this August, every day someone has canceled or no showed me.
    Do you charge the full apt fee, or not ? I have been charging 50% of there apt fee. What do you think ?

    • Lori Crete says:

      Hi Rose, what to charge them is a personal decision for you to make. Some people charge the full price and others charge a reduced amount since it’s just the time that is being ‘used’ and not any of the resources you’d use in providing your services (products, equipment, linens, etc)

  • >