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7 appointment cancellation policy templates for your business

appointment cancellation policy template

Last-minute cancellations and no-shows are commonplace for service businesses. But with an appointment cancellation policy, you can improve your customer attendance rates and set clear expectations for clients.

In this article, we share seven cancellation policy templates along with three real-life examples. We also explore three ways to reduce cancellations after you adopt a new policy. 

7 appointment cancellation policy templates

The cancellation policy you put in place depends on the type of appointments and business you have. 

Below are seven cancellation policy templates for five kinds of businesses: repair services, healthcare practices, restaurants, fitness classes, and salons.

1. Simple cancellation policy template

If you’re looking for a more general template as a springboard for your company, you can use this simple cancellation policy to quickly outline expectations.

We understand situations arise when you may need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. To do so, we request you notify us at least 24 hours in advance. This allows us to offer your appointment slot to another client on our waiting list.

Cancellations or rescheduling requests made less than 24 hours before your appointment may be subject to a cancellation fee of [define amount]. No-shows without prior notification will incur [define amount] of your appointment cost.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with this policy, as it helps us maintain efficient scheduling and service quality for all our clients. In case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances, please contact us directly to discuss your situation. We may be able to waive the cancellation fee at our discretion.

2. Repairs service cancellation policy template

For repair services, missed or canceled appointments could shave hundreds of dollars off your bottom line. You can set clear expectations for new clients by explaining your cancellation policy upfront.

At [service company name], we value your time and strive to provide prompt and efficient repair services. Please provide us with 24-hour notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. This allows us to adjust our technicians’ schedules and allocate their time to other clients.

For cancellations or rescheduling requests made with less than 24 hours’ notice, we charge an appointment fee of [define amount] to your account. Failing to show up for your scheduled appointment without prior notification will result in [define amount] of the scheduled service cost.

Please note this policy helps us maintain our quality of service and availability to our clients. We understand emergencies can and do occur, so we consider such situations on a case-by-case basis. There is a possibility of waiving the cancellation fee.

3. Healthcare practice cancellation policy template

If you’re running a hospital, clinic, or private practice, you can use this cancellation policy template to share your expectations and late notice fees.

At [healthcare practice name], we understand circumstances can change, and we request patients notify us at least 24 hours in advance if they need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. This allows us to manage our schedule effectively and offer the time slot to another patient in need.

Cancellations or rescheduling requests with less than 24 hours’ notice may result in a cancellation fee of [define amount] charged to your account. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in ensuring we can provide timely and efficient care to all of our patients. Please note we consider exceptions for unavoidable emergencies on a case-by-case basis.

4. Restaurant cancellation policy template

If you’re in the food service industry, you know empty tables lead to less profits and lower morale. This is an effective cancellation policy for business owners looking to recoup the costs of canceled reservations.

[Restaurant name] understands that plans can change. However, we appreciate your cooperation with our cancellation policy.

For reservations, we request a notice of cancellation or any changes to your booking at least 24 hours in advance. Failure to notify us within this timeframe may result in a cancellation fee of [define amount] charged to the credit card provided at the time of booking. This policy helps us manage our seating and dining arrangements, ensuring we provide exceptional service and dining experiences to all our guests.

We thank you for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you.

5. Fitness class cancellation policy template

If members of your gym need to cancel an appointment, you can use this cancellation policy to avoid unnecessary no-shows and keep your seats (err, yoga mats) occupied.

At [fitness center name], we value your commitment to staying active and healthy.

To ensure fair access to our classes for all members, we require you to make cancellations at least 12 hours before the start of class.

Cancellations made after this notice period will incur a charge of [define amount] or a class deduction from your package. No-shows will result in the same penalty.

This policy allows us to offer unused spots to other members and maintain a seamless scheduling process. However, we understand unavoidable emergencies can and do happen. Please contact our office to discuss unexpected schedule adjustments with our team.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in creating a supportive fitness community.

6. Salon cancellation policy template

With this cancellation template, you can encourage customers to rebook if schedules change.

At [beauty salon name], we request all cancellations or rescheduling be made at least 24 hours in advance. This avoids a cancellation fee of [define] of the scheduled service cost.

No-shows or cancellations made within less than 24 hours of the appointment time will incur a 100% charge of the scheduled service.

This policy allows us to efficiently manage our stylists’ schedules and ensure we can accommodate the needs of all our valued clients.

As we understand that emergencies arise, we will consider exceptions to this policy on a case-by-case basis.

Your understanding and cooperation are greatly appreciated as we strive to provide the best possible service to everyone.

The above six templates have the essentials you need to construct a cancellation policy. 

But if you want a template with a little more detail, check out the example below:

7. Detailed cancellation policy template

If canceled appointments are a big problem for your company, you can use this detailed template to answer FAQs upfront. Consider adding them to your appointment confirmation and reminder emails (and link it in appointment reminder texts) so customers are made aware of them.

At [business name], we understand schedules can change and unforeseen circumstances can arise.To ensure we can accommodate all of our valued clients, we kindly request adherence to our cancellation policy.

1. Cancellation Notice:
Clients must notify us of cancellations or appointment changes at least 24 hours in advance.

To cancel or reschedule, please contact us directly at [contact information] during business hours.

2. Late Cancellations:
Cancellations made within 24 hours of the appointment time will incur a [percent] charge of the scheduled service cost.

This fee compensates our team for the time that was set aside specifically for you.

3. No-shows:
Failing to show up for your scheduled appointment without prior notification will result in a 100% charge of the scheduled service cost.

Repeat no-shows may result in having to prepay for future services or lead to an inability to book future appointments.

4. Late Arrivals:
We understand delays can happen. However, clients arriving more than 15 minutes late may be asked to reschedule. We may decide to treat tardiness as a late cancellation and apply the applicable fee. This ensures we can provide the best service to you and our other clients.

5. Exceptions:
We recognize emergencies and special circumstances can occur. Exceptions to our policy are made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of [business name] management.

6. Booking Deposit:
For certain high-value services, we may require a deposit at the time of booking. We apply this deposit to your service total or refund it in accordance with our cancellation policy.

7. Refunds:
Cancellation fees and deposits are non-refundable except in the case of [business name-] -initiated cancellations (or qualifying exceptions as determined by management).

Contacting Us:
For any questions about this policy or to make any changes to your appointment, please reach out to us at [contact information].

By booking an appointment, you acknowledge and agree to our cancellation policy. This policy allows us to manage our schedule and provide the best service to all clients.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Thank you for choosing [business name].

3 appointment cancellation policy examples

Let’s look at a few real-life examples of appointment cancellation policies.

T-Gardens hair salon

T-Gardens is a Japanese hair salon based in New York City. Here’s the appointment policy listed on their booking page:

T-Gardens' appointment cancellation policy template

Ohana Surf Project

Ohana Surf Project is a Honolulu-based surfing instruction and rental business. 

Here’s the cancellation policy you see when you buy one of their surfing packages:

  • Customers will receive a full refund with at least 48-hours notice of cancellation.
  • Large group bookings of 9 or more are subject to a 72-hour cancellation policy.
  • You must contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about rescheduling.
  • No-shows and decreases in the number of students within the 48-hour cancellation policy will be charged the full price.
  • Rescheduling between 48 and 4 hours before your lesson is subject to a rescheduling fee.
  • Lessons rescheduled within our 48-hour cancellation are no longer eligible for refunds.

Bucktown Wicker Park Dental

Bucktown Wicker Park Dental is a Chicago-based dental practice. You can find their cancellation policy on a dedicated webpage:

Bucktown Wicker Park Dental appointment cancellation policy

5 essential features of a good cancellation policy

Set your cancellation policy up for success with these five best practices:

  1. Have a clear cancellation timeframe: Let your customers know when you’ll accept cancellations with or without a penalty. Whether it’s 12 hours, 24 hours, or 48 hours before their appointment, be sure to let them know in advance. 
  2. Keep cancellation and no-show penalties simple: Customers probably won’t read your policy front to back, so keeping things short and sweet ensures they get the basics at a glance. At the same time, be sure to clearly communicate cancellation or no-show fees so customers know what to expect when booking an appointment with you. 
  3. Collect payment details upfront: Collecting credit card information and payment details shows customers you’re serious about cancellation fees. And since your booking requires more effort than clicking a button, it reinforces your customer’s commitment at the door.
  4. Have them acknowledge and agree to the policy: There should be a checkmark on your booking form (or a signature required) acknowledging your customer is aware of your cancellation policy. 
  5. Make it available to customers where relevant: There’s no point in having a cancellation policy if it’s buried where nobody can see it. To ensure customers don’t miss the memo, embed it in your appointment booking page, your terms and conditions page, and your order confirmation email to make sure customers don’t miss it.

When should I and when shouldn’t I charge a cancellation fee?

You need cancellation fees to prevent last-minute cancellations and no-shows. However, you may want to consider waiving them if customers absolutely need it. 

You should charge a cancellation fee if the customer cancels their appointment after your cancellation deadline and doesn’t offer a reason or explanation for doing so.

However, you may want to waive the cancellation fee if:

  • The customer has an actual emergency
  • Your existing clients were not aware of your new policy
  • A customer canceled before you rolled out your new policy

How to reduce appointment cancellations

Want to lower your cancellation numbers?

Here are three more strategies you can use:

1. Send appointment confirmation messages

One of the best ways to make an appointment ‘sticky’ for customers is by sending an appointment confirmation text. 

Some of your customers will prefer email only, but others will be happy to receive text messages. 

In your booking form, make it clear they’re opting into receiving text messages from you. This will help you stay compliant with texting regulations.

Get inspired with these 24 appointment confirmation text templates.

2. Send appointment reminder messages

Similar to appointment confirmation texts, appointment reminder texts help customers prioritize their appointments and show up at the right time. 

It’s useful to send a reminder one day before a scheduled appointment along with key information (like your business’s location). Then once you see the impact of sending these messages, you can also test sending another reminder one hour before their scheduled appointment time.

Start sending reminders with these 25 appointment reminder text examples.

3. Make it easy to reschedule over text

Sometimes customers have to reschedule well ahead of their appointment, which is where an easy rescheduling process comes in handy.

With the help of templated message snippets, you can instantly respond to rescheduling requests and give clients tools to reschedule appointments themselves. Simply paste your calendar link into your snippet, then save your text template for future use. Now, everyone on your team can respond to rescheduling requests in seconds.

Snippets in OpenPhone

Manage your appointments better with these resources

Managing cancellations and no-shows with a cancellation policy isn’t a nice-to-have for your business. It’s necessary to make sure you’re staffed adequately and you don’t disappoint your customers. And it protects you from potentially losing money on last-minute cancellations, just like an insurance policy.

Insure your business against no-shows and cancellations by drafting a cancellation policy today.

Looking for more resources to manage appointments for your business? 

Here are a few more resources on our blog:

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