How to reduce no shows at your spa or massage practice


Are you struggling with too many no shows? Clients that fail to show up can cost you hundreds and even thousands of dollars over the course of a year. And if lost revenue wasn’t troubling enough, no shows also cost you the time you could have spent attending to other things such as doing inventory on retail product offerings, working on new promotions, or networking for new clients.


While it can be uncomfortable to confront no-shows and you may be concerned about losing business, in the long run, clients that are not responsible don’t help you move your spa or massage practice ahead. It is best to set a policy in advance to deal with no shows and late arrivals and make clients aware of your expectations.


Set a policy and stick to it

A no-show policy may involve 24-hour notice of a cancellation or change in time, notification before a certain hour in the morning, or a set number of hours before the appointment.  Be clear when communicating your policy that you will charge for failure to show up without calling to cancel unless there is a legitimate emergency.


Post the policy where clients are sure to see it. At reception or in the changing areas are good places to put up a sign. Explain your policy clearly with each new client and, if necessary, periodically remind your existing clientele about it. You also can add something to your website, especially if you have online booking capability.  


At least 24 if not 48 hours ahead, you or one of your staff should call, email, or text the client as a reminder. If you don’t reach a client in real-time, ask them to respond by phone, text, or email to confirm.


Stand firm

Decide how you want to deal with clients who, despite your best efforts to communicate your policy, fail to show up. Maybe you want to give them one pass for a no-show and then have a professional but frank discussion about how their behavior impacts your business.  After one failed to show up, you may want to charge clients for a no show. If that becomes our policy, make it clear in your written and verbal communications. If someone continues to disrupt your business operations because they fail to show up, you may want to end the relationship.  Always explain why, however.


Clients who consistently want you to bend your rules on their behalf generally don’t serve your spa or massage practice well in the long run. Strong relationships that help a business grow are based on mutual respect and trust.


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