Time Waits for No Client: Dealing with No-Shows and Late Arrivers

Written by Shelly Steadman

“But I had an appointment at 12:30 and it’s only 12:50. So, I’m not understanding the issue.”
“Oh, gosh was I supposed to be there today? I’m so sorry, I’m terrible at remembering appointments.”
“Hey, I hate to do this last minute but I’ve got to cancel today’s facial.”
“I’m only 30 minutes late, why can’t you still take me back? You guys don’t look busy.”
“Haha! Better late than never, right?”

 It would be great if clients would just show up when they are scheduled. As an aesthetician, I’m sure you’ve had late clients and no shows aplenty, but it never gets any easier to deal with the fiasco one person can create in your day. Fifteen minutes late might not sound like a big deal to a client, but to us, it’s eye twitchingly annoying. Clients like these are the reason I have a vertical line between my brows (had a vertical line – long live Botox!). So, what do you do? Continue to let clients sashay in whenever they want? The answer is no, dear friends.
You’ve got options, but the “so sorry, the line at Starbucks was ridiculous and then I couldn’t find a place to park,” tardy offender is really not going to like it. The least severe option is to simply turn these clients away or charge a late fee that’s a bit on the hefty side. However, I’ll warn you, I had a client who just factored her late fee into her service costs. Another option is to nix any sort of pre-booking and if they complain and insist on being able to pre-book, take a credit card and inform them they will be charged the full cost of a service if they do not show. Lastly, you can fire them. Your odds of winning the lotto are greater than changing the ways of a chronic time eater. Don’t waste your energy and the opportunity to grow your client book by hanging onto bad clients.
But wait – what about the aesthetician who has no control over which clients stay or go? Great question! Unfortunately, the answer is, you don’t have any options ― not a single one. Although almost every spa has a late policy, many do not uphold clients to said policy simply because it’s problematic. Confrontation is uncomfortable for everyone and telling a client no can lead to lose of revenue, trash talking on social media, or bad reviews on the company’s landing sites. I get why management sometimes turns a blind eye. That doesn’t make it better for the poor esthy that has to deal with the fallout. If you are in this situation, have a sit down with your manager and explain what’s been happening. Ask if he or she has suggestions on how to deal with the problem. Good managers love to find solutions to make everyone’s life easier.

Shelly Steadman 2019Shelly Steadman is a licensed aesthetician and educator with over 11 years’ experience in the skin care industry. After spending the last six years of her career behind a teacher’s podium training new aestheticians, she transitioned back into a treatment room. Steadman is currently working as an aesthetician at artistrySPASALON in the beautiful city of Franklin, Tennessee.

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