No Shows & Last Minute Cancellations


Recently I’ve been asked by a number of float center owners if we charge people for no-shows.

When we first opened we had no cancellation policy. No-shows were pretty common, particularly with daily deal coupon purchasers, and we simply ate the loss of not filling our tanks for that day.

It wasn’t until we started offering acupuncture and massage therapies at the shoppe that we decided to start charging a fee. Because we still pay our practitioners if we have a no-show, we knew we just couldn’t eat the cost. We’ve also been told it is an industry standard in wellness-related businesses to have a cancellation policy.

Because of this we decided to implement the following:

  • We require a 24 hour cancellation notice

  • If we received less than 24 hours notice, we keep half of the funds of a full priced session

  • As an unofficial rule, we do not charge the client if s/he reschedules while on the phone calling in with less than 24 hours notice

  • Any time a client books online they are required to include their card information (we use MindBody for online scheduling)

  • Any time a client books over the phone, we get their basic information and their credit card information, even if they are calling in with a daily deal coupon

  • We always let them know that we will not charge their card today, it is simply to hold the appointment because we have a 24 hour cancellation policy

At the Float Shoppe we go out our way to bend over backwards for customers, and it’s usually completely worth it. However, the more you let no-shows slide, the more you begin to feel like you are being taken advantage of. In implementing a cancellation fee, we invoke a sense of respect between ourselves and the client that goes both ways. As Amy of Nashville Float told me, “it breeds respect. I honor their time, they honor ours”.

Since implementing this, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in our no-shows (near zero),  meaning our tanks remain full and more people are experiencing floating on a daily basis. We attract customers who are respectful of our time and resources and we are able to deliver to them a wonderful unique experience.


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5 responses to “No Shows & Last Minute Cancellations”

  1. mark Avatar

    great piece Dylan, and when I get my centre open I will be applying the same policy.
    Cannot believe other people do not follow this simple basic step. Had quite a heated twitter debate about this topic, and one very large experienced centre (who we all know, and I respect on most points) were dead set against it. Madness. Without credit card details, the prospective client are not showing they value the session, especially if its a voucher booking. And by not implementing it, you are not giving them reason to treat you as a professional business.

    I used to own a bar/restaurant and my no-shows reduced by EIGHTY PERCENT, the minute I took credit card details with a reservation…

    1. Dylan Schmidt Avatar

      Hi Mark!
      Thanks for your comment. I think it brings up the point that there are more ways to approach a problem than just the one I wrote about. If we all approached business the same way, we would all still be using Windows and god knows what smart phones would look like today.

      While I strongly believe in taking credit card information, if it works well for a business not to, then I think that’s great. They may have a large number of customers who do not use or trust credit cards and requiring it could alienate their customer base. Just one thought of many potential possibilities for why you would not want to take card info.

      Either way, I appreciate the discussion and am curious if others have found different solutions to this problem that seems to hit float centers particularly hard.

      Thanks Mark!


  2. Sandra Calm Avatar

    When we implemented this practice, I was nervous about the amount of time it would add to our scheduling process, in addition to it being a hassle for clients. Some part of me felt guilty when asking for card information over the phone, and I anticipated that people would be irritated by the request. This is probably because such a request of me would send me searching the house for my purse and debit card, spilling a glass of water and stubbing my toe along the way, but what I’ve found is that it’s far easier than that. Most people seem to have their card at hand, and requesting this information is neither bothersome nor time-consuming.

  3. East Coast Float Spa Avatar

    Just wanted to say thanks for your Blog – for a new Float Spa it’s been a great resource. We appreciate you sharing the knowledge!

  4. Graham Talley Avatar

    Great post Dylan! I thought it was interesting that you started after you brought on practitioners. We’ve gone back and forth several times on the prepayment issue, because it IS frustrating when you have an empty appointment for no reason.

    At Float On, we only have float tanks. We do call-aheads two days beforehand, and we have a stated 24-hour cancellation policy. However, we don’t really enforce it. If someone gives us less than 24-hour notice more than 2 times (we track it with notes in their account) we’ll start taking prepayment.

    We get still get the occassional no call / no shows (NC/NS’s, as we call them), but not very many at all, and we always chalk the lost revenue down to marketing expense for getting to be extra reasonable with all of our other customers.

    Just tossing out a slightly different approach – it’s definitely not the ‘right’ way to do things, but it is another option to throw in your bag of tricks.

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