This afternoon, I stood by my window and watched ponytailed moms and beaming grandparents get tugged through the parking lot by their confident little toddlers. My salon is next door to an 'itty bitty' fun spot for kids. I often joke that it's like watching the parking lot outside of a club on a Friday night. Everybody is looking pretty, walking in with their friends, and ready to have a fun time. And then later you see them all walking out, hair a sweaty mess, missing a shoe, and in desperate need of a nap.
I was actually watching for my next guest who was about to be late. As the minutes ticked by, I started to worry that she was stuck in traffic and stressing out about it. I hate being late and it's hard for me to relax after I rush in to where ever I'm supposed to be. When I sense that in my rushed guests, I put a little organic lavender on the towel before I wrap it around their shoulders. Once you're in my chair, I want you to forget about everything else for a little while and feel like you're really doing something nurturing for yourself.
The minutes continued to pass and she was late enough to make it impossible for me to do her hair in the time left. I didn't want to make her feel bad, but I needed to know if she was okay and if she was coming. I sent her a text, but when she didn't respond, I knew I wasn't going to see her.
I have a cancellation policy that I rarely have to employ. It's about trust for me. I have a three strikes rule for existing clients and a one strike rule for new ones. If someone stands me up too many times, I don't let them back on my schedule. Being stood up makes me wonder if they're okay, or if they don't think enough of themselves to know they'll be missed, or if they don't think enough of me to let me know they're not coming. I want to make you aware of a few ways that 'no-shows' impact an appointment-based service professional like myself.
AN APPOINTMENT IS A PROMISE
When you book a service with a professional, it's a promise between the two of you. You are saying that you'll hire them for their services and they're saying that they won't let someone else take that spot. It's an agreement on which both people depend. This is where the trust comes in. As a service provider, I need to trust that when a guest says they'll hire me, they mean it. I get messages on a daily basis from guests who are trying to get in sooner than my schedule allows. Not only do they have reserved time that others want, but the time itself has a price tag.
TIME IS VALUABLE
I love spreadsheets. I love programming all of those little cells and connecting them to other little cells so that when I enter information, the rest of the sheet reflects the changes. I made one for the salon to help me set the prices for my services. I have every product priced to the gram and every overhead item priced to the minute. That's what gives me the price range you see when you're booking your services.
Even if I don't use products on a guest, the time they booked in the chair still has a price tag. It's the overhead divided down to the minute of the work week. This is why a missed appointment costs money. It's not just an inconvenience for me and the waiting list of guests trying to get in, it's broken trust.
I rarely get stood up. I serve an average of 70ish people per month and, not only do they show up, they hardly ever cancel their appointments. I feel extremely lucky because I know how amazing that is. That's what makes the very few stand out. I know that life happens, that people forget or get sick, and that's why I have the three strikes rule. I think that if life is happening to you a lot, or you forget or get sick often, then it's starting to make life happen to me and I can exercise a little control over that.
G O O D V I B E S
I'll never ask for a card number or make a guest pay for an appointment they 'no-showed'. It's not about money for me. It would be if it happened often, but it doesn't. It's about trust. My work is creative and it's a journey that we're on. I learn your hair as I go. What works for one may not work for another because we're all unique. Mutual trust is crucial because you have to trust that I'm who you want leading you to your best hair and I have to trust that you value you me and what I do.
GOOD VIBES ONLY
I don't hang on to bad experiences. There's no life in them. Stuff happens sometimes and we all have to give each other the grace to be the flawed humans we'll always be. You never know what another person is going through, so be kind to one another. Set boundaries and create structure to keep others from taking advantage of you, and then thrive in the freedom that enables.