How to Fire a Client

We all have clients who brighten our day.

Then we have those clients who brighten our day when they leave or don’t show up at all.

I know that in this day and age when most of us are trying to build our client base, to talk about actually firing clients seems counterproductive to say the least.

However, how often do we see a particular name in the book and our heart sinks. We know it’s going to be a long day, we also know that we are not going to feel good after that client leaves.

Our profession is a particularly demanding one. It requires physical stamina, but also mental stamina. Our clients need our full attention and let’s face it we spend most of our day happily serving our clients, making them not only look good but also feel good and most of them are really happy, which makes us happy too.

However, that one client who instills dread in us can ruin a whole day. There are some people whom you just cannot please. Whatever we do, however hard we try, we just can’t seem to get it right, yet she insists on coming back. She nit pics about everything in the salon. The coffee is never right, the shampoo isn’t good, and so on and so on.

You do not have to put up with this. Not only does it ruin your day, but it also makes you counterproductive for the rest of the day and for the rest of your clients. It’s hard to be creative when you are upset and stressed, so there comes a time when you have to fire those clients.

The last thing you need is a client badmouthing you in the community, so when you have to fire one, you need to do it tactfully. Probably the best way to do this is to tell the client that you just don’t seem to be able to meet her obviously high standards and you are going to suggest another salon that may be able to please her. This will let her down gently and hopefully she will go away. Sometimes clients don’t realize just how difficult they are, but the fact is if they are reluctant to leave and sometimes the actual firing is a wake up call.


There is also another type of client that really costs you money and needs to be fired.  Take a look at your appointment book for the past year and pinpoint all of the clients who frequently do not show up for their appointment. This is a huge loss of income to you.  Some salons have a policy to charge these clients, which can be quite a hassle if you can actually get the money out of them, but again, it costs you to chase them. The only thing you have to sell as a salon is time and every hour has a cost. You book accordingly to offset your costs and make a profit and if you have no shows who produce huge gaps in your day, then you are out of pocket. Not only do you not make a profit, but you don’t cover your expenses.

Make a list of these people and put them on a “do not book” list. When they call for their appointment, simply tell them that you are unable to book an appointment for them unless they are willing to give you their credit card number and explain to them that the full amount of the service they wish to book will be charged if they don’t show. This will usually sort them out.

I know this seems harsh, however, if you add up the amount of money that you have lost because of no shows you will be shocked. So get that appointment book out and get rid of those bad apples.

Marion Shaw is a salon business coach and consultant with  Salon Biz Essentials and owner of Busy Bus Publications. Also check her out on Facebook.  

One Comment

  1. Meesh wrote:

    This advice can apply to various situations – thank you!

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