Late Arrivals Policy for Massage Therapy Sessions

All businesses have policies. One policy that most massage therapists can be sure of testing to its limits is the one about how to handle late arrivals and no-shows.

Your Time Is Valuable

Some businesses charge for the whole hour even if the client arrives with only 20 minutes left for a session. Some will pro-rate the fee to the time left. If a massage client cancels less than 24 hours in advance, some businesses charge at least some percentage of the hourly fee, if not the entire fee. Other businesses don't have a firm policy, but decide how to handle each situation as it occurs.

You need to decide what is acceptable for you and your clients and stick to whatever you decide. Having no policy in place, however, sends your clients the message that their time is more important than your own, and that perception can be bad for business.

Impact on Your Massage Therapy Business

Whether you're in a position to create your own policy or to influence the policy where you work, here are questions to ask yourself when deciding how you'll deal with late arrivals:

  • Would I enforce this policy even if I did not have another massage client scheduled for the next time slot?
  • If a client did not agree with my policy, would I make an exception?
  • Would I make an exception for regular massage clients the first time they're late?
  • Would I communicate the late policy to clients before their first appointment so they would be aware of the importance of arriving on time?
  • Would I post this policy on a sign in the reception area?
  • Would I print this policy on my appointment cards?

"I chose AMTA because they are committed to advancing the profession."

Jackie R., AMTA member since 2011