This past week I had two clients cancel their appointments with less than 48 hours notice. Neither had emergencies.
This is a problem for a small business owner like me.
I recently started requesting a two-hour deposit for first-time clients because as their date approaches, some people get nervous about decluttering or about me seeing their home. Their ego does not want them to change, so they cancel. I learned a deposit prevents that.
My contract clearly states clients must give more than 48 hours notice to cancel, and if it’s less than that, they don’t get the deposit back.
Though my contract states it, I had not asked for deposits from returning clients because I felt a relationship had been established. I felt there was mutual respect for each other’s time, which is why I work efficiently because I know I am on your clock.
These cancellations were returning clients. Shame on me.
I am now changing my ways and will collect a two-hour deposit — our minimum work time — for ALL appointments. I will also now request at least three days or 60-hours notice to cancel your appointment.
I schedule ONE client a day because most organizing jobs take three to six hours. I typically work during the hours of 9 am. to 3 p.m. I end my days at 3, so I can pick up my children from school — a perk to owning my business. This work cannot be done in the evenings. It’s exhausting for the client and not something you can do after a whole day at your job. (I do work on the weekends, FYI.)
So when someone cancels, that’s the only client I had. It’s not like canceling on your hairstylist who has nine other clients and will get paid by them. I only have one a day. (You should not cancel on your stylist either, especially if you made the appointment months ago. She is also a small business owner.)
In the summer, there is no school, so I book a babysitter to go to work. I had a babysitter booked for one of these jobs. Now, the babysitter does not get paid. One client who canceled told me to go have a good time since I had a babysitter booked. I do not book a babysitter to go to the spa. It’s so I can work.
I am currently booking clients into September. If I have 60 hours notice of a cancellation, I can move someone into that open slot. Less than 48 hours is harder for another client to move their schedule around.
I respect my clients’ time. I request they respect mine. Requiring a deposit will get your attention.
I only want committed clients. A deposit will keep clients committed to decluttering their houses and getting them on a higher level of living. Because I promise if you work with me, your life with change for the better. Working with me is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. I pretty much guarantee it. After I am done with homes, I have seen people get new jobs. I have seen people find new love. I have seen people be the happiest they’ve been in a long time.
I count on this money to make a living. While I love my job, I am not doing this as a volunteer. This is how I make money. When clients cancel on short notice, I don’t make money.
Please, please respect small business owners’ time and money. Canceling at the last minute is disrespectful. Most businesses won’t return your money if you cancel. (Think airlines.) Every doctors office has cancellation fee policies. Heck, my barre class has a cancellation fee. It’s because you have taken up their time.
Yes, emergencies come up. I can work with emergencies. But when you’ve had an appointment on the books for a month and just decide the day before to cancel, I am going to keep the deposit.
When you declutter, you get rid of stress in your life, so you won’t take it out on others. Less stuff creates an ease — and it’s easier to show others grace and courtesy because you have shown yourself grace and courtesy.