The Smell of Sweet Deposit Money

Published on May 1, 2014 by Jodie Michalak

Many tattoo artists and shops require appointment deposits because their time is valuable. If you’ve ever no-showed at your doctor’s, hairdresser or dentist’s (understandable) appointment, then you can’t complain too much about the roles being reversed.


Things happen, emergencies come up, and life sometimes just gets in the way. (Even in the way of a scheduled tattoo appointment.)


When your customer books their session, you’ve entered into an agreement. They show up, you show up. You do the work and then get paid.

When one of you fails those agreements, things turn pretty sour. (AND it does go both ways, so be careful calling off from work and in turn disappointing your scheduled customers.)


The good news is you can do your best to prevent these situations from happening in the future.


A deposit of $50-$100 is fairly standard to collect from your customers during an appointment booking.


You can ask for this deposit over the phone and manually enter their credit card information (with consent of course) or you can collect these fees after sketching their initial design.


The most important part is to credit this deposit to their final bill; it’s only yours to keep if you get blown off.


In addition, you’ll need to determine how long in advance your client may cancel before being charged.


Some tattoo artists request 24-48 hour cancellation notifications. While not much, these few hours will help you perhaps fill a spot with a client anxiously awaiting their turn in your chair, or you can schedule your day around the new opening.


While most people who have lost their deposit understand, be prepared for the irate customer who comes back swinging, pleading they weren’t aware of the policy or that they had a life-threatening emergency, which at times will be the case.


Whether or not you decide to cut a no-show appointment some slack is entirely dependent on first whether you  can afford to, and second that  you expect it’s only an isolated incident.


Either way to protect your business reputation, it’s smart to post this deposit policy on the back of  their appointment card, on your social media and websites, as well as hanging behind the register at the shop.


What happens if your client is a repeat offender? This can happen too. Perhaps they allow you to keep the deposit cordially each time, but they still don’t value yours.


Perhaps it’s then time to cut them off. Whether that’s with you or the whole shop  rides on  the popular vote and management procedures


Once your shop has established a no-show, no cancellation policy backed by a deposit, you can at least ensure you’ll get paid for a portion of the tattoo appointment.


Which maybe next time that means you could get PAID for reading this, which I promise I have not started offering.


(I’ve got a Voodoo doll, after all.)




Image courtesy Evol Ink Studio


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