To start with, you should know that I've been in the industry for almost 2 decades and have built an amazing clientele. It can be difficult to get in to see me last minute, and I typically am booked out for at least a month or two. I don't even schedule out breaks for lunch or anything else so that I can see as many clients as possible during the day.
This makes every single appointment space incredibly valuable. Due to the fact that my most scheduled service is the Brazilian Wax, I'm in a situation where there's a high likelihood of new clients losing their nerve at the last minute and late cancelling or no call no showing. When I made the decision to switch to online booking I knew that I was opening myself up to a potential catastrophe with having people who weren't likely to follow through with their booking, it was one of the scariest decisions I've made as a business owner. And then sure enough, a few weeks into the new booking site, I had a day where the majority of clients were new, and half the day late cancelled or no call no showed. To make matters worse- when I went in to charge the fee for late cancelling, I realized that the cards had been blocked. The owners had actually gone in and locked their cards so that no purchases could go through.
The most ridiculous thing is that I firmly believe that those types of clients- who are super nervous about coming in for a Brazilian Wax, know from the moment they book it that they aren't going to follow through with it. They also don't take into consideration that they're taking a space away from a paying client who would actually show up. If you aren't ready to come in for a service then simply don't book. Wait until you're ready and just book someplace where you can get a last minute opening for that day!
As a small business owner, I also can't afford to process refunds. Not only is that literally taking money out of my pocket, but it also affects my rating with the credit card processing company. Clients are able to reschedule their appointment with me at their convenience simply by going into the booking app. As long as they haven't missed the 24 hour late cancellation cutoff, they can do it in five minutes! Square makes small business loans available to it's customers based on how much you process and how much of a risk your business is. A high rate of returns would damage that rating and lower my score with them. This would lower the amount that they're willing to lend to me. I wasn't sure how potential clients would react to this policy at first, but I've had very few issues regarding it since I started. I attract clients who respect me and my time and are happy to do whatever they need to do to make sure that my business is successful. The clients I attract are all of the same mindset and energy- we all understand that success vibrates at a much higher frequency than what I call "Broke Bitch Energy".
Making the decision to adopt the "Prepaid & Nonrefundable" policy was the best thing I've ever done. It's virtually erased any issues I ever had with late cancellations or clients not showing up. In my opinion more service industry businesses need to adopt the same policy, it really does save you from financial disaster when it's the first nice day of weather and everyone decides they'd rather be at the beach, or it's snowed an inch and they'd rather not go outside. You and your business are deserving of clients who understand and value your business position.
PEOPLE SHOW UP FOR THINGS THEY'VE PAID FOR!
The clients I attract respect me and my time, just like I do theirs. I love that the clientele I've got is comprised of some of the most talented and amazing women who I've been really blessed to have in my life. Seriously, the women I've got around me have just been beyond anything I could've dreampt. I wont name any names, but my clients are some of the most powerful and successful women in New England. I love that they drive sometimes up to 2 hours to come see me- and I am forever thankful for their support & mentoring.
Of course there was a time when I was nervous that it would look tacky or sketchy, The feedback I received is that clients love having it be paid before they come in. It makes it nice and easy for them to come, have their service, and be on their way. For me, it provides the security of knowing that my income is consistent and secure- it was absolutely the best decision I have EVER made. If you're a business owner in the beauty industry you should definitely consider going this route, the peace of mind it brings is incomparable!