April 19, 2024
Salon no-shows costly for stylists

BELMONT, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Walk into the William Henry Salon on any given weekday, mirrors at nearly every turn will show the reflections of hair stylists deep in their craft.

“I had to work at the it-salon, just because the people were fabulous,” a salon owner Jenny Woodring said.

As the owner of one of the oldest salons in the area, Woodring says their work speaks for itself, over the years earning the trust of clients that keep coming back. Recently, even more new faces are looking back at themselves across the salon.

“I have never seen the influx that we are currently seeing,” she said.

While bookings are constant and each station, for the most part, is full, more often these days, a chair that should be filled is left unexpectedly empty.

“It has always happened in our industry,” Woodring said. “It is just happening more.”

Within the last year, she has noticed a trend; an uptick in customers who are booking an appointment, only to leave their stylist high and dry.  In the service industry, it’s called a ‘no show.’ Even though stylists are usually left waiting for their next appointment, it’s wasted time that Woodring says is costing them money.

“It’s a huge financial impact. If somebody decided to not show or cancel a reservation at the very last minute, we don’t have the opportunity to refill that time. So, it is just potentially whatever that service was, is money out of the pocket, and in this case, it is money out of the stylist. That’s how they live. That’s how they all live,” she said.

The exact impact of a no-show varies, but, say once a week a customer cancels on a $200 cut and color. That’s four cancellations a month, 48 over a year. All of those no-shows end up adding up to $9,600 in missed revenue.

“When you have a business that is setting aside resources to prepare for and service a customer, that presents a big problem for a small business,” consultant and Professor of Marketing at Pace University Larry Chiagouris said.

Like Woodring, Chiagouris has also spotted a rise in serial cancellations. Whether it’s due to a change in customer loyalty, the popularity of impersonal online book platforms, or a consumer base that is simply forgetful, Chiagouris says it is not only impacting stylists.  

“Personal care, hair salons, medical appointments, people canceling, the dentist, people always cancel the dentist by the way because no one wants to go to the dentist.  But the number of cancellations the frequency of cancellations has been increasing,” he said.

When time is money, the clock can only tick for so long until business owners start charging customers whether they show up or not.

Websites for businesses across Charlotte are now displaying detailed cancellation policies. Some require customers to pay 100% of the price of their service if they either don’t give enough notice before canceling or pull a no-show.

“It’s wild. I’ve seen it pop up more in Charlotte recently for some of the restaurants, and I get it. If you think about it, everyone has to make money, right?” Better Business Bureau VP of Marketing and Communications Juliana O’Rork said.

O’Rork says even with the rise in cancellation policies across the city, her office has not received any consumer complaints against businesses that enforce them. 

But that does not mean that consumers are not caught off guard by these fees.  Some are even turning to their credit card companies to dispute charges.

“Each policy is different and if a business doesn’t have a policy and they want to create one, we would certainly advise them to seek legal guidance or legal counsel just to make sure that they are following any laws that their state might require,” O’Rork said.

So, what are the legal parameters surrounding cancellation policies? 

Queen City News spoke with several attorneys across the region who say no state statute outlining what policies can be implemented. 

However, all agreed that to prevent being taken to court by a customer who is fighting a cancellation fee, business owners should make it very clear what their policies are and how they plan to enforce them.

“It’s not just protecting itself legally, but it’s less likely to lose the goodwill of a customer,” Chiagouris said.

For some stylists at William Henry, charging a cancellation fee does not align with their beliefs.

“Things happen and so I would want to have grace,” Lauren Eagle said. While she has had two no-shows within the last week, Eagle chooses not to charge a deposit for booking or a penalty for last-minute cancellations.  Like the hair on her client’s head, she is cutting her losses.

“I personally probably wouldn’t go back to that business in any aspect, whether it be nails or an aesthetician or anything that I see out of the hair world because I would want the same thing done to me as I do to others,” Eagle said.

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