Cancellation policies and how to enforce them is a hot topic that comes up all the time, whether it be while I’m consulting or in my own private practice. The common questions that come up are “Should I enforce a cancellation fee”, “How much should the fee be” and “When should I enforce it”. Here are some of my tips for how to handle cancellations.
Have a cancellation policy in place
Have the policy in your paperwork and go over it with your clients in the intake.
Know your clients
If you work with teens or children, you know they get sick often. Having a full rate cancelation fee for these clients may not be ideal.
Offer a one time “No Charge” cancellation
My practice allows one “No Charge” cancellation to clients. We send a form to the client, through our Therapy Notes portal, letting the clients know that the charge will be waived this time.
Communicate the charge with the client
When a client calls to cancel, our office staff will always review the cancellation policy with the clients. If I need to charge a late fee, I have a form that the client will fill out, stating they are aware of the charge.
My private practice, Caring Therapists, uses Therapy Notes for our EHR. Through Therapy Notes, our clients receive an email reminder 48 hours before their scheduled appointment, then a 24 hour text reminder, which allows them time to cancel within our policy.
For my private practice, we have a 24 hour cancellation policy. If a client doesn’t cancel within the 24 hours, we do charge the full session rate. There are some therapists that will charge a standard fee, $25, $50 or $75. That is something that is completely up to you.
Amanda Patterson is a private practice consultant who helps therapists create business and marketing plans. She’s the owner of a group practice, Caring Therapists in South Florida. She’s the founder of My Private Practice Collective, an online community for therapists in private practice.