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Rude Clients Cost Australian Salons $250million in Lost Sales

Australian hair & beauty salons are losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year because of no-shows and the lack of deposit-taking policies for fear of upsetting clients. According to new survey by Perth-based Worldwide Salon Marketing Lty Ltd.


The vast majority of more than 100 salon owners questioned revealed they had no policy of taking deposits to secure appointments, and even it they did have a cancellation policy in place, it lacked ’teeth’.

According to WSM founder & CEO Greg Milner, the results are a wake-up call to the industry. “If salons want to be taken seriously by their clients and stop hemorrhaging money, they have to take the lead from industries like travel, hospitality and entertainment, which simply refuse to take bookings without payment,” he says. "Customers accept those policies completely. Try booking a concert ticket and telling them you’ll pay when you get there. It just doesn’t happen.”

The survey of 125 salons reveals:

  • 88% do not take deposits.
  • The average annual loss through no-shows is a whopping $10,000 per salon, with one salon reporting a staggering $52,000 - even though fully 80% of salons claimed they sent appointment reminders by text message.
  • Extrapolated across Australia’s approx. 25,000 hair & beauty businesses, the losses represent $250 million annually.  
  • Of the 12% of salons who insist on deposits for appointments, the average annual losses dropped to less than $2,000
  • Asked ’How many times must a client ’no-show’ before you no longer take bookings from them?’, 31.5% said three times, while another 32% said “I always let them book another appointment because I’m too scared to lose the potential business.”

It appears the industry is beset by fear. According to one respondent, “We do have a cancellation policy, but rarely enforce payment, as so few other beauty clinics do so. Clients will not come back.”

But that fear appears largely unfounded. Said another salon owner, “We started taking credit cards or a cash deposit on February 1st this year, for the first time. It works a charm, no more no shows, the clients now know we’re serious.”

The survey shows that among those salons which insist on deposits or pre-payments, the rate of no-shows drops dramatically across the board. “It also positions the salon as a business to be respected,” says Mr Milner. “It’s just plain rude to book a one or two-hour appointment and simply not turn up. You wouldn’t dare do that to your doctor or dentist because you respect them too much. It’s about time hair & beauty professionals swallowed a small teaspoon of cement, and hardened up,” he said.


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