24 hr. Cancellation Policy

So last night I called my first time client to confirm today’s window cleaning appointment. She informed me that her husband decided to clean them himself. I’m positive she wouldn’t have even thought to call had I not called her first. Very glad that I didn’t just show up this morning which I have been known to do (not recommended). Luckily it was a small job, but irritating nonetheless. In the 5 years I have owned my business I have never incorporated a 24 hr. cancellation policy. It rarely happens that someone cancels with such short notice, but when it does it’s a pain in the ass. It effects my weekly goal and also prevents me from scheduling another job in its place.
Do you have a 24 hr. (or more) cancellation policy? What do you charge for that (percentage of the job or flat rate)? Have you ever invoiced that fee to a client? I’m afraid if I charged this fee I run the risk of losing any future business. Just curious what your experience is with this issue.
I will be adding a this to my estimates going forward.

In my opinion, if someone is rude enough to cancel without notice then they are not going to be the type of person who pays a cancellation fee. You may think that if they cancel last minute, then you don’t need them anyway. Sometimes busy people do need to cancel last minute so it is possible you may lose a potentially good customer. We have been in business since 1999, do not have a cancellation policy but still get very annoyed with last minute cancellations.

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I don’t have one and I can really only think of one time recently that I got screwed. I showed up at guard shack and they do the normal thing and call the homeowner to let me in until the guard informed me that the homeowner wanted to cancel their appointment lol. Never called the guy back. Waste of a 30 min drive.

Some guys here have good luck with charging a deposit at the time of scheduling. I’m sure they will be along shortly

Before I started taking a deposit, I’d say one in 4 jobs would cancel last minute / no show / etc.

Trying to charge someone post-cancellation damn near ended me up in a fistfight 5 years ago

We take a $100 deposit on every single residential job. We also take a 30% material charge on every single commercial job over $200.
Cancellations are VERY rare now, Maybe twice a year.

There are only a handful of people a year that are leery about giving a deposit. Fine by me.

No deposit = no work.

This is what I tell my clients…Once you are on my schedule you have a reserved spot twice a year. If you ever cancel, I will have to put someone in your spot and it will take years to get you back on my schedule. Meaning…You will never get back on!

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All of my scheduled work right now, is by call/text/e-mail. I’ve not had much of the last minute cancellations. I do remind people at 1 week and 24 hrs before the scheduled appointment. No fee at this point.

I am about to delve into online scheduling, I think. With the online route, I will ask for a $50 deposit, and there WILL be a cancelation fee. Heard from enough guys that already do that route, that have went the deposit route because of people playing around.

You have to expect a SMALL percentage of people will not call you when they want to cancel. This may be a good time to redo your company policy, say, if they are more than XX miles from you, they need to put a deposit down with CC or at least have them sign a cancelation policy fee agreement.

We take a $100 deposit from all new clients, or 20% for jobs over $700 or so. Refundable up to 48 hours prior to service. I’ve made several posts going into more detail about it, you could probably find those by doing a quick search. People are used to paying deposits for many scheduled services- I think it makes us appear more credible that we require them.

So for those of you who take deposits, what happens if the customer wants to pay you with a check or cash? Do you go to their home and collect before the appointment?

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