Should you charge for No shows?


A no show occurs when an appointment is scheduled and attended by the allocated service provider but not the customer. Assuming that there was no processing error and the appointment was previously cancelled a No Show will represent a loss of revenue and affect productivity unless there is a fee imposed.

No shows and cancellations are distinctly different. In this post I address only no show appointments defined above.

A driving school should consider it’s policy on No Show appointments. Considerations include;
1. Should a fee be charged?
2. How much should be charged?
3. How practical is recovery of any fee if the original booking is unpaid?
4. What are the fee sharing arrangements with service providers?

Determination of a policy will ultimately relate to the business model employed. Some driving schools operate on a book and pay model. Others rely entirely on the service provider collecting fees at the time of the appointment. Most use a hybrid of both models.

If the business does not collect the service price, offset a prepaid voucher or receive a deposit, at the time of booking or prior to the appointment, it is unlikely that any fee will be recoverable.

Experience shows that customers will not come back for fear of being charged for the no show fee. The flight of an otherwise valuable customer. If you are loosing too much money from no show appointments them you need to reconsider your business model!

it is also true that some customers who have paid upfront and therefore forfeit the fee in accordance to clear terms and conditions may become disgruntled and negative towards the business. However, most consumers when clearly aware of terms and feel that they are not being scammed will accept the position. They may seek to negotiate which should be seen as a positive outcome. Reasonable people understand that the no show resulted in a loss and needs to be compensated especially when every effort had been made to communicate the terms, to confirm the booking and to remind them of the appointment.

Establishing clear and enforceable terms and conditions is important. Communicating them at every customer touch point is also essential. Terms should be communicated as follows;
1. Website
2. Email correspondence
3. Verbally when becoming a customer
4. Verbally by service provider during the initial appointment
5. At the time of enforcing the terms

Driving School Manager software facilitates a systematic method for implementing no show charges with full disclosure of terms, integration on email, SMS confirmations, reminders and finally through the customer portal website for self service.

Tony Commisso FCA, BA (Accounting) Tony is a an experienced business adviser and chartered accountant and former a partner with Deloitte. He has operated a successful driving school in Canberra, Australia and through application of his professional skills and passion for excellence has developed a range of specialist skills in the successful operation and growth of driving school businesses. He has co-founded Elpo Technology Pty Ltd a developer of a comprehensive online business solution for driving schools which includes a customer ecommerce interface and leverages modern cloud technology for managing a mobile workforce of driving instructors.

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