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25 Apr 2021

How to deal with Cancelations and No-shows

How do we deal with cancelations and no-shows in our massage practice?

We need to think about whether we are seeing a lot of no shows and cancellations? If we are, we might need to assess why this is happening. Our clients need to respect our time and our business and if they aren’t, its possible¬† we might be attracting the wrong type of client.

If you are only having a few no shows and cancellations the key is to make sure your massage therapy business has a clear cancellation policy. This cancellation policy needs to be really visible, send it out via email and lay out your boundaries to both new and old clients. In this policy make sure you include timeframes and penalties. You can choose whatever feels right for your massage therapy business and once this is in place you have the ability to be flexible!

Depending on the circumstances you can decide whether or not you charge your client for missing their massage appointment. Maybe you feel like their reason was genuine and you can let them know that on this occasion you will wave the fee as a favour. Some massage therapists let all first time offenders off the hook but its entirely up to you!

Having a clear cancellation policy is step one in how you can handle no shows and cancellations as a massage therapist but often enforcing it can be a little trickier. I really recommend using a booking system that requires clients to pay up front for their massage appointments. This removes so much hassle both for you as the therapist and also for clients who can head straight off after their massage treatment. This saves you needing to chase money and gives you more control over the cancellation process.

If they wanted to pay on the day and then cancelled you have a right to enforce your boundaries and ask for the money when they come to see you next time. If they don’t come back, you don’t want them as a client anyway, simply black list them from your books and focus your energy on your wonderful clients who respect your time and pay you for your skills.

With Covid-19 we will need to be more flexible as massage therapy business owners as we do not want people with suspected symptoms coming into our clinics. It doesn’t make sense ethically or financially to risk it. We can end up with our massage clinic being closed for weeks and be even more out of pocket, yet alone the impact we could have on our clients.

Setting up a cancellation list is a better way to keep your spots filled than risking clients turning up when sick because they don’t want to pay a cancellation fee. It makes more sense to add a clause to your cancellation policy that removes the fee in cases that are Covid-19 related.

Yes you will get some clients who lie to you but hopefully the majority will understand and respect you and your massage therapy business. Just keep in mind that sadly some things are just out of control but this won’t be forever!¬†


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