Why do people cancel w/out even calling you:(

We had a nice size residential job scheduled today that cancelled. The woman called us from a flyer w/ a coupon of $25 off. She ended up moving and needed her house done for a bridal shower. I wasn’t present when my sister did the estimate and she gave a price for i/o, basic screen cleaning for 47 windows of $450. It actually would be more (around $780) but she didn’t want some of her upstairs windows and back windows done along w/ skylights. The home was in a gated community w/ 5 million dollar custom homes. I was so excited to hear that we gained entry into a huge community, that I spent till midnight making some colored flyers to pass out after we finished the job. Well, when we got their the owner wasn’t there. Her daughter was home but said her mom had to fly to california because “something came up”. She then asked if we could finish the interior windows by 8:30 am and we arrived at 7:30 am!!

Well I didn’t hear what was being said inside but as I was bringing all the equipment to the front I knew something was up. Usually either my sister or brother in law give me the thumbs up to start and I could tell it was going to be something stupid. Sal & my sis come out and say “pack it up, were not doing it”. They told me about how the daughter was leaving and we only could do it if we could finish in an hour. (insides)

What I don’t understand is why in the world did she not call. We wasted so much gas driving there and some people think you have nothing better to do. Annoys the heck out of me! My sister ended up calling her back and she immediately picked up and said she had an emergency to attend to and she will reschedule. I don’t know, looking at the job, it didn’t seem like it would take that long but I only saw the front. I figured it was smart to hold off because their was an expensive glass cabinetry that we would be doing. Plus, I had about 8 high windows that were at least 2 1/2 stories high. It was marble flooring p/ all white furnishing. Definitely, a job you wouldn’t want to rush thru!

What do you guys think? I was thinking the lady cancelled on purpose because the husband might of thought the price was too high. She explained over the phone that the daughter was supposed to call us but never did. Hopefully, we can get this job scheduled for next week if the lady isn’t a flake!

Oh, and we tried to pass out those flyers but the idiot contractor in the gated community tipped off the security guy. I saw the patrol man pull up and I asked if it was ok but I already knew what he was going to say. So we took down most of our flyers and got outta there. I hate how these HOA’s don’t allow that but I guess you just have to do direct mail. We didn’t even see any signs that said “no soliciting” but all these gated communities are strict like that. I heard of some window cleaners actually jumping over walls to pass out flyers but that is just crazy. The fines here are enormous if you get caught.

You guys have any suggestions with handling cancellations at the last moment?

Get a credit card beforehand and enact a minimum charge to hold an appointment/cancellation service charge (apply to future appointment as appropriate.)

Not much you can do man, you’re going to get customers that feel the entire world revolves around them. It may have been the daughters fault. I had one similiar, I was ready to just dump the account after getting the run around, to find out later it was the spoiled daughter with this “I’m so special the world owes me attitude”. The mom was very down to earth and the ideal customer…

People are different - otherwise life would be boring.

I like this idea - I guess there are things you can do. Although I’ve never accepted credit cards and probably never will.


I had this issue more then once last year and it was costing me too much. I now require a credit card to hold the booking. Cancel with in 48 hours of service and there is no charge. Inside the 48 hour window 25% charge. Cancel on site the day or work 50% charge. Once I put this policy in place I was surpised how many “Important” things that came up, were no longer that important.

Thanks for your input guys. Is it expensive to set up a credit card/debit terminal? How does the fees work out?
I think having one is also good because more people are likely to get the service done when they have that convience.
It’s a fact that people are more likely too spend more with credit too.

I was thinking for the time being to have it say on our estimates that we require 48 hours notice for any cancellations.

It happens. Miscommunication. I wouldnt lose sleep over it. As I have mentioned in past posts about fliering a gated community, it doesnt go over well with residents because that gate is supposed to keep out the undesirables. I would look at it as you breached their security. Get addresses and send them a postcard.


Starting March first I will be taking credit cards deposits on all jobs except for repeat customers. I would say last year alone I had 15-20 last minute cancellations. It sucked, but it was also my first year in business, and I pretty much did no marketing at all, so its not like my schedule was rocking at any given point. This year, a completely different story… I plan on being booked out weeks in advance.

Reminds me of the fun I had with this one clown last summer…


For credit cards, Im looking into the “squareup” gizmo for the phone…If you search it on here there is a topic on it. Its free and the rates are comparable…You can only use it on certain phones…Im going to give it a try

We’re bound to run into those types every now and then. I had someone 50 miles away pull that on me back in November, insisting he emailed me a few weeks prior to cancel. Not true. I wish I had instituted a credit card deposit that day and may well do that. I’m fighting it, but maybe Mr. Nice Guy is Mr. Stupid Guy sometimes.
Jerry, I’d just make sure you keep above reproach with getting the word out to others in that community.

I have found you don’t even need the processing. For one if someone gives you a CC they are serious about having the work done. Second, just letting them “Think” you are going to process the card for a cancelation will in most cases hold the booking. I have not had anyone who wanted to cancel want me to charge them for not doing the service. But if it does happen I have processing. But in all honesty depending on the call and the situation, it’s the last thing I want to do. I would rather the customer think I am doing them a favor, not charge them an rebook. But that’s only on a 48 hour cancel. If they are not home, that’s a charge.
I heard the square processing is pretty good. Have not tried it yet but plan on using it this year. I don’t take a deposit. I used to and it became a numbers headache for me. Two quicksbooks files, between two offices were just causing issues as to who paid a deposit and who did not. Again I find just getting the CC# is enough.

You could also let them know at the time of booking that you charge a cancellation fee of $25.00 (or whatever fee you want to use) for appointments that are cancelled 24 hours in advance. If the crew shows up and no one is home (forgot) It will be $45.00 charge. You can also do like most dentists do and do a reminder call the day before just to make sure. If it is a weather related reschedule, I wouldnt charge them for that, I would just book them on the next available date.

You can rack up some serious $$ paying crews and fuel driving to a job that you cant do.