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Most service-based businesses benefit from an official policy on how to handle scheduling, moving, and cancelling appointments. For pole studios and instructors, this information should be clearly communicated before your students signs up for a group or private class. Continue reading for tips on what to include in your policy and how to enforce it.
What is a cancellation policy?
A cancellation policy stipulates the logistics for how to cancel a previously booked appointment and any charges or repercussions because of that of cancellation.
Your terms should be very clear and could include things like:
- The minimum time frame to cancel a class or session without charges such as a class canceled not less than 4 hours before returns to the student’s account as a credit.
- What happens when the class or session is canceled within the minimum time frame, such as a class canceled within that 4-hour window does not become a credit on the student’s account and is forfeited.
- How to rebook a cancelled class. If relevant, how to access account credits using your specific system or process.
- Understanding any additional charges for cancelling a class/session or in the case of multiple canceled classes/sessions. For instance, you may institute additional fees for habitual cancellations such as $5 for every 3 classes canceled.
- Details about deposits if relevant. Maybe you book private parties and have a minimum deposit that must be paid up front. Clarify how much that is and how it is paid as well as when the deposit and the final remainder is due.
- Details about refunds if relevant. You may choose to honor refunds, or you may only process credits or even transfers of credits between individuals. Note, that even if you stipulate that you do not give refunds, this does not prevent your business from possibly receiving a “charge back,” a reversal of disputed electronic payments, from a credit card company or bank.
After you clearly define your policies, make sure they are published on your website, in your online scheduler, and/or in any paperwork or waivers you have your students accept as part of taking classes with you.
How do you enforce a cancellation policy?
If you use an online scheduler for your group or private classes, like our partner WellnessLiving, you can automatically set global settings for your business to manage the cancellation policy enforcement. Usually, these settings are flexible so you can un-enforce them as well if relevant, on a case-by-case basis.
If you do not use an online scheduler, take copious notes! It can get tricky if you have a lot of students to manage.
Having a cancellation policy is a common business practice inside and outside of the pole industry. Being clear in your policies shows professionalism, provides accountability for your students, and can make running—and growing—your business easier!