There’s nothing worse than scrambling to shave your legs, trying to find your stockings and applying your lipstick all at the same time because your client booked at the last minute.
We all live busy lives, and that means that many of us can’t even accommodate last-minute bookings. Perhaps you have university classes to attend, a day job, or small children that mean you can’t be waiting at the phone to take a booking 24/7.
Whatever the reason, it can be good to know that you have bookings in advance. Knowing your workload in advance means:
So, how can you encourage clients to book in advance? Here are my tips.
If you want your clients to book ahead of time, you need to be sure of your future plans too. If you know you have future commitments, make sure to update your availability as soon as possible.
It can help to have a real-time calendar with specific dates and times available, rather than generic availability (i.e., Mon-Fri 9am-10pm). However, providing more specific availability can be a privacy concern for some. If this is the case, try creating a password protected availability calendar that you can give regular clients access to.
I’ve never found discounts for early bookings to work particularly well. However, I have found penalising last-minute bookings to be effective. For example, you might charge an extra $100 for same-day bookings. Remind clients who contact you for last-minute bookings that this extra fee applies. They will either book regardless of the charge (yay, extra $ for you!) or learn to book in advance.
If you really don’t want to take last-minute bookings, then you need to BE CONSISTENT. It can be tempting to say ‘yes’ to that booking to earn an extra few hundred dollars. But I always try to think about my business in the LONG TERM rather than SHORT TERM. I aim for LONGEVITY, not QUICK CASH.
If you have consistent availability and consistent ‘rules’ around how far in advance people must book, clients will eventually learn. I have always had specific days off. At first, I would CONSTANTLY get messages asking me for bookings these days. I have consistently turned these enquiries down, stating that I am not available these days. Over time, clients have learnt that this is a firm boundary for me and no longer ask if I am available on these days. Instead, they work around my schedule and ensure they can see me on the days that I am available. And I still make money regardless. You need to be firm and continuously reinforce your boundaries, while thinking about what you want your business and life to look like. You are in control. The worthwhile clients who really want to