Is My Cancellation Policy Fair?

There are a ton of opinions about the fairness of cancellation policies in Facebook groups, group chats, in group practices & probably even etched into a petroglyph somewhere. Fair is fair, & fair is subjective, so let’s look at the fairness of cancellation policies.

I want everyone reading (or watching, or listening) to know that there isn't a right or wrong here. You must set policies in your practice that you've thought through & that you'll uphold.

As a parent, I can confirm that things don't always go as planned, & you may have to cancel on your client last minute. Let’s look at the options:

A: Hold your policy as is. You may have to cancel sometimes. You aren't charging your clients if you cancel. I'd expect you would only cancel if it's needed, not on a whim like wow, it’s so nice outside I’m canceling my next client. I'm guessing your clients would assume the same. 

While things don't go as planned all the time, it doesn't mean things go wrong last minute all the time. One of my kids had significant health issues for about two years. Most of the time, I could reschedule a client for later the same week. I had to build some added just-in-case time to my work hours to do that, but we’re also talking about extraordinary circumstances & 5-7 appts/week. I also learned to rely on family & friends more during that time & trust that my clients knew I was a human & a parent who needed time to h&le human-parent things.

B: Another option would be to waive the late cancellation fee in the event of illness or injury, which is what I do. If my client or their kids are sick, I don't charge a late fee. Don't adopt that just because it's what I do. Crunch the numbers, search yourself & see what fits best for you.

I adopted that when I was pregnant with my first daughter & caught every single cold or bug that came within a half-mile of me. I was so sick of being sick. Honestly, my clients still came when they were ill, & I just kept getting sick, but it was worth the effort. As I saw how much less predictive my life was as a parent, I kept the policy. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just a choice I made in my practice that works for me.

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