Deposits are a way of life, we save them for homes, leave them for holidays and hand one over to our landlord. They are either a part payment (like when booking a holiday) or an insurance policy (like when renting). So why exactly do we ask for one as a hair salon, and why do we sometimes ask for one, and other times not?
At Rockalily Cuts the majority of our clients are pre-booked. This means we're not like a barbers, or a SuperCuts, where people regularly just turn up, and ask for an appointment. People book their appointment with us, often far in advance, and they're not always local to us. Appointments may be a simple trim, or a complex colour change that will take 6 hours.
This means that if we have a last minute cancellation or even worse, a no-show, its unlikely we can fill that spot.
We certainly don't take deposits for all appointments, and luckily we don't have many no-shows. But we do take a lot of deposits, and it may not seem obvious why and when we do, and why and when we don't.
Have no fear, I'm here to share the thinking behind deposit requests. If you own a small business, you may want to think about why and when you take deposits too.
1. We take a deposit to reduce the risk of a no-show. It's less about punishment of a no-show, I mean £30 for a 6 hour spot doesn't even begin to cover the loss of revenue. It's to reduce the risk. If you've paid a deposit, you're much less likely to forget the booking.
2. We take the deposit to really make you decide if you're sure you want the booking. Booking in a colour transformation can feel exciting, and liberating, but sometimes the reality just doesn't match up. If you're asked to pay a deposit, you are forced to confront this reality when booking, rather than the night before.
3. We take deposits on appointments that are often cancelled last minute. For us, this is vintage styling appointments. If you've booked a hair up for an event you're going to, its very common for the day to run away from you, and you just decide to do your own hair. These are often on the weekend too, and are spots that are high in demand. We often take deposits for these, as time has taught us that they're often cancelled with no much notice. Deposits make this much less likely to happen.
4. We take deposits on dates that are in extremely high demand. This may be for a variety of reasons, but if a day is particularly busy, and we've had to turn a lot of enquires away, we may ask for a deposit. All no-shows are painful, but they're especially painful when there were a lot of people desperate for that spot.
5. We take deposits off clients who have cancelled in the past. We have to minimise our potential losses, and if your schedule has been chaotic before, we may take a deposit next time, to reduce the chance of a repeat offence.
These 5 reasons mean that you may sometimes be asked for a deposit, and sometimes not. It's rarely personal, it's just business.