How do you take care of yourself in your business? What systems or structures do you have in place for appointments and payments? As a service professional, are you requiring your clients to pre-pay before an appointment?
I’m looking at you, coaches, energy healers, intuitives, massage therapists, estheticians, any independent practitioner offering a service. (This might seem like a no-brainer to most of you, but there are still hold outs.)
You are a living breathing human.
You have a certain routine and schedule to keep in life.
You have expenses.
And your business has expenses.
Your time is valuable.
Your energy is valuable.
Thus, it is smart to have your clients pre-pay for their appointments not only to secure their own commitment to working with you, but as their honor of “your time is valuable and I will show up for my appointment.”
Requiring clients to give you money before a meeting will change how you do business and it will change WHO you work with as well. It requires people to actually SHOW UP, in all the metaphorical and physical ways. They’ll be more committed to making a shift in their life from your service. You absolutely deserve this from your clients.
AND when YOU show up for your clients this way, be present to your own current desires and boundaries, you have SO much more time to create an even better presence in your business and life. It frees up energy that can be used to create MORE. More prosperity, more clients, more JOY in life! You have every right to say, “these are my requirements”, to set your business boundaries. If you are worried about it repelling your clients or it being an inconvenience to them, what does it do for you?
How do you implement this into your business?
1) Start NOW. Don’t wait, don’t give people a grace period, don’t grandfather people in to your old system.
2) Use an online booking system. A friend uses SimplyBook.Me and loves it, and I will be using this system myself soon. It’s FREE (for up to 50 appointments a month, and a low fee beyond that number), this is a no-brainer. It syncs with your own calendars, allows clients to pay immediately, and can be added to your website (in most cases). But there are certainly many other systems available to use that fit your business.
3) If you don’t want to use a booking system, at least take their credit card number over the phone or send them an online invoice (via PayPal or Square). And then actually CHARGE it immediately.
4) Implement a cancellation policy. Do not waver on this policy. A minimum 48 hour cancellation notice is standard, but make it what works for you.
5) Refunds? I highly suggest a strict no refund policy. I certainly know emergencies come up and appointments really can’t always be kept. My own policy is that clients get one opportunity to reschedule (with a 24 hour notice), but that’s it. No refunds, period. Ever. Decide for yourself how refunds work best for you.
6) BE CLEAR up front with everyone about your system. No exceptions.
In my own work as a service provider for many years, I would just take appointments and then wait for the client to show up. A few too many times, I would wait and wait and wait ….. and then I would get angry that the client didn’t respect ME and my time of driving to the office (where I pay rent and utilities), setting up the space, getting paperwork ready, etc etc. Even if it were a phone client, I would spend time getting ready before the appointment.
As soon as I changed my policies and starting using a booking system and taking pre-payments, my business changed. No shows stopped. I could relax, I was assured not only of my schedule but my income, and the quality of my clients improved. I started working with clients who were truly willing and ready to accept the work I offered and their lives were enhanced.
In my current business, it’s no different. I ask all clients to pay before I do any work or have any meetings. This is simply for ease of process and knowing we both commit to the work.
The realization of my time being valuable was hard at first, since I had LOTS of time back then, but when my client base grew and I had to be more organized, I personally became more committed to not only ME in so many other ways, I became more attentive and ready for the clients that respected my boundaries and policies. It was a win-win for everyone and my business grew.
So what are you going to do today to set up these structures for your business?