(There were some website errors that made this blog unable to be viewed, so I’m posting it again!)
Brace yourselves…I’m going to bring up an uncomfortable topic: appointment cancellations and no-show fees. I’m a very caring person, and it makes me sad when people miss their appointments, because they are truly missing out on feeling better.
I spent the first 12 years of my massage therapy career just letting it slide when people skipped appointments. In some cases, there was even a “no-skip” policy. But I was afraid to follow through with the penalties because I thought I would lose business.
When I decided to come back to practicing and owning my own business, I knew that I had to be the dreaded Enforcer. Now, this is a job that I don’t particularly like, and as my business grows I plan to hire a billing accountant to handle my dirty work for me.
Here’s the scoop: When you come in for your first appointment, you sign paperwork agreeing to pay the full amount, whether you show up or not. Cancelling an appointment with less than 48 hours’ notice will run you a 50% fee. If it is a “no show” or under 24 hours you are responsible for the full amount of the session. This policy is also on my website and on the booking site.
Unfortunately, I still have customers either argue the fee and not pay it, or just stop coming altogether. There are some who are pleasant, honoring the agreement and paying without asking questions. Those are my favorites. I love my customers, and it’s always uncomfortable for me to have to send out this bill, not knowing how they’ll react.
My suggestion is to pay for a block of time, instead of paying per massage. That block of time becomes yours, and no one else can have it. Now, that street goes both ways. If you don’t show up or decide to cancel last-minute, I can’t fill that block of time with another paying customer–another customer who could benefit from a massage. Hence, we have the no-show fee.
Trust me, I find no joy in sending people this bill. It’s caused me to lose some irritated clients in the past, many of whom could probably use a good massage. Quite frankly, I need clients who will respect my time. This is not my hobby, it’s my livelihood.
I’ve talked with many massage therapists, and most of them refuse to be their own Enforcer. It’s not a pleasant job, and I’ve been “letting it go” long before Frozen came out. I soon realized that after one pardon, many clients became repeat offenders. It’s time to learn from Clint Eastwood and become…the Enforcer.
I just want to thank you for your continued support and respect. If you have any questions at all about the cancellation policy, please leave a comment or email me directly at [email protected], or call us at (978) 577-5905.