How to Decrease No-Shows at Your Pet Business

How to Decrease No-Shows at Your Pet Business

There are fewer things more frustrating in the pet business than having your detailed schedule thrown off by a client who doesn’t show up. It’s an occurrence that happens a lot more frequently than you might think. 

No-shows are frustrating for several reasons: your daily schedule is thrown for a loop and a spot that you could have profited off of is now empty with lost profits. Although it may be impossible to run your pet business without any no-shows, there are several ways to drastically reduce your number of customer no-shows. 

1. Have your customers pay a deposit

How do your customers pay for your services? Is it through online payments? Cash? Check? And when do you collect those payments, is it before or after you complete your services? 

A great way to avoid a no-show and encourage customers to prioritize showing up is by setting a deposit before appointments. This deposit can vary, but we suggest having your pet owners put 20-50% down on your appointment. 

We know that most pet-care business software systems don’t support appointment deposits, but if your business uses RunLoyal Pet Software, they can easily customize setting deposits for services and receiving those deposit payments online while securely saving their customer payment information.

2. Charge a no-show fee

Customers are far less to cancel their appointments or simply not show up if they are aware of a no-show fee. 

This fee doesn’t have to be a large sum by any means, but simply letting your customers know about your no-show policy is a soft reminder to show up to their appointment. You can kindly remind them of your no-show fee several ways:

  • Appointment reminder email
  • Text reminder
  • Highlight in customer agreements/contracts
  • Have a sign/banner in your facility advertising your no-show policy 
  • Include a no-show policy statement on your website and visible after someone books an appointment
  • Include your policy in your business voicemail/on-hold recording 

3. Send your customers appointment reminders

Reminders are a quick and easy way for you to remind your customers of their upcoming appointment. Life is hectic and we’re only human, so those soft reminders can be a huge help for people that run a busy schedule. 

You can create these appointment reminders through SMS, in-app messaging, emailing, and calling your customers a day before their upcoming appointment. Calling definitely takes more time for your staff so we highly suggest using one of our other options if you can. 

4. Implement a cancelation policy

Similarly to our second point, charging a no-show fee, creating a cancelation policy is another great reminder to your customers of their appointments. A cancelation policy is different than a no-show fee, as this rule can have harsher consequences to your customers if you are really struggling with a large number of no-shows. 


We suggest that your cancelation policy should look something like this:


“We have a 48 hour cancelation policy. If you cancel your reservation  within 48 hours of your appointment, you will be charged 50% of your total appointment cost.”


Those numbers are interchangeable but that is a great template you can use to implement in your own facility. If you are really struggling with avoiding no-shows, then we suggest upping that policy from a 48 hour cancelation to 24 hours. 

And if that still doesn’t make a difference, you can charge them 100% of their appointment for missing their reservation. 

5. Each customer gets one freebie 

There are obviously certain circumstances that warrant missed appointments or forgetting to cancel. Emergencies happen and you don’t want to enforce your policy on one of your customers if something serious has come up.
You don’t want your customers to be upset if you do have these strict policy so we suggest giving each customer one “freebie,” where they get one missed appointment. 

We just launched the first Express Check-In Kiosk Tablet for pet businesses!


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