How to Charge (and Prevent) No-Shows


Over the years, we’ve very unscientifically discovered the eight events that may occur when faced with an inevitable client no-show. Common behaviors include (but are not limited to):

  1. Checking the time on your phone—then checking your watch against the clock on the microwave to make sure it’s correct.

  2. Confirming the appointment in your Acuity dashboard. And confirming it again.

  3. Double checking the day of the week (because social distancing can make it dicey).

  4. Refreshing your email roughly once every 4 seconds to see if they’ve reached out.

  5. Mentally sending them good thoughts and hoping they’re okay.

  6. Wondering about your cancellation policy, and if you’re covered in the event they miss their appointment.

  7. Stressing over the potential lost revenue from the client no-show after it’s clear they’re not coming. 

And the last option?

8. Having a painless process for what you do if and when a client stands you up.

Here’s how to reduce no-show appointments—and handle them when they happen.

1 | Polish up your cancellation policy.

The occasional cancellation or no-show is completely normal, so it’s important to have a solid policy in place when it creeps up. There’s a balance to strike between protecting your business’s boundaries and taking care of your customers. (After all, we’re all in this to do our best by our clients.)

When creating a cancellation policy for your beauty business, coaching clients, or massage business, remember that you’re still a (very) nice person. Cancellation policies don’t punish clients—they protect everyone. 

Our pro pointer? To craft a complete cancellation and no-show policy, keep it clear, concise, and effective. If the idea of building in these boundaries is making your shoulders tight, we’ve made an entire guide of in-depth tips.

Get the guide on how to create a cancellation policy. >>

2 | Start accepting deposits & vault cards.

One of the best ways to reduce no-show appointments is by requiring deposits or payment info when clients book. For both of you, it shows accountability and emphasizes how mutually valuable the session is.

You can either require payment in full, a deposit, or a valid credit card that isn’t even charged when they book. (This lets you securely store their payment information in the vault when you use Square or Stripe as your.)

No matter which option you opt for, they all ensure you have their payment info on file, just in case you need to charge for no show appointments down the line.

Here's how to start accepting payments. >>

3 | Charge their vaulted cards if/when the time comes.

Getting stood up can be a real bummer, so it’s reasonable to wonder whether or not to charge for the missed appointment. It’s always your choice to waive a cancellation fee, depending on your client’s situation. Maybe you run a beauty business or massage business, and your client got sick at the last minute—so it could be totally reasonable to cancel and keep you both safe.

That said, there will be times when it makes sense to charge their card on file, based on the terms you’ve outlined in your cancellation policy. It’s not doing them any sort of disservice. In fact, upholding your agreed-upon policies shows the mutual respect you both have for your business and its boundaries. 

You can charge a client directly from inside Acuity. Just click on the appointment from your or . This opens up the appointment details, where you’ll click Make Payment.

From there, it’s simply an option of charging the card on file. For a full run-down on how to collect no-show or cancelled appointment fees, check out our helpful walkthrough.

4 | Prevent future cancellations every way possible. 

Sooner a later, a cancellation is going to pop up and a client will unexpectedly ghost for an appointment. Instead of waiting in a video conference your coaching clients aren’t dialing into or (understandably) fretting, there’s another major way to further minimize the number of people who miss a meeting. 

Besides keeping your policy clear and requiring deposits, utilize automatic email & SMS text reminders.  According to our 2019 Acuity industry survey, 89% of those who use the automated reminders report that their no-call, no-shows and cancellations have become fewer and farther between.

No-shows are no fun. But you can fine-tune your process for when they happen. 

Reinforcing your policies don’t make you the bad guy—they make you a business owner who has established boundaries. There will be instances where it makes sense to charge a card on file, and that is completely fine

You always know what’s best for you and your clients, and now you can create the perfect cancellation process that shows compassion for you both. It all starts in your Acuity dashboard.

acuity advice, no-shows, small business automation, small business