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Setting up your practice's cancellation policy

Last minute cancellations can lead to delicate conversations with clients regarding whether or not they’ll be financially responsible for an appointment fee, or if the late-cancelled appointment will be written off as a financial loss for your practice. Either outcome can be tough to navigate and having a defined cancellation policy for your clients is a great way to set expectations for when the situation arises. 

In SimplePractice, you have flexible options for selecting the cancellation policy that works for your practice. In this guide, we’ll cover:  


Setting a cancellation policy in your account

To set up your cancellation policy:

  • Go to: My Account > Settings > Practice Details and scroll down to the Cancellation Policy section
  • Use the dropdown menu to select the cancellation window you’d like to have in place and click Save to update the policy for your practice:SelectCancellationWindow.SimplePractice.PracticeDetails.png

You’ll see the options for allowing cancellations are as follows:

  • Don’t allow. Always request to call me
  • Allow at least 24hrs before appt
  • Allow at least 48hrs before appt
  • Allow at least 72hrs before appt

Note: When considering your practice’s Cancellation Policy, it’s important to understand that allowing cancellations means clients will have the option to cancel an upcoming appointment, within the designated time frame, via their Client Portal or via Text Reminders, if these features are enabled. Cancelling an appointment will free the client of any financial obligations for the appointment.


Understanding what the cancellation window means

For some background information, any appointment cancelled outside of your approved cancellation window will be updated to the Late Cancelled status. In SimplePractice, this status will appear as a red appointment on your Calendar and it will hold the client financially responsible for the appointment fee - appearing as a balance due for the client after an invoice is created. 

If a client cancels within your practice’s cancellation approved window, the appointment will instead be considered Cancelled, appear orange on your Calendar, and the client will not be billed for the appointment fee.

Tip: To learn more about appointment statuses and how to make adjustments to them, see our guide: How to change an appointment status.


Allowing cancellations via text reminders

If you’d like to take advantage of the automation options for having your clients cancel through the Client Portal, or through Text Reminders, you’ll need to select a cancellation policy that allows cancellations within a set time frame. 

With the Don’t allow. Always request to call me option selected, clients must call you to notify you that they won’t be able to make an upcoming appointment. This means that the options for clients cancelling via the Client Portal or via Text Reminders won't be available.

Tip: We’ve seen that allowing cancellations through the Client Portal, or via text, can help reduce No-Shows for your practice. If you’d like to make adjustments to your current cancellation policy, see Setting the cancellation policy in your account to learn about updating your cancellation policy and to review the available options.

If you allow clients to cancel within one of the available set time frames (24, 48, or 72 hours before the appointment start time), your clients will be able to cancel directly from their Client Portal, if its enabled, or with cancellations via text enabled, they’ll be able to cancel through a link sent via text.

Even with these options enabled, if the approved cancellation window has already passed, clients will no longer have the option to cancel an appointment without contacting your practice directly. In these cases, the appointment status will need to be updated manually from the Calendar Fly-out.


What if I don’t want to charge my client for a late cancellation?

If there’s an appointment that was cancelled outside of your cancellation policy, you still have the option to waive the appointment fees if you’d like. If the appointment status is set to Late Cancelled, the client would still be invoiced for this session. This is easy to fix by updating the appointment status to Cancelled so that the client is no longer responsible for the appointment fee. To do this: 

  • Navigate to the client’s profile and click the Billing tab.
  • If an invoice already exists for the appointment, you can delete the associated invoice. 
  • Then, head to the Calendar and click the appointment to open the Calendar Flyout.
  • In the top left corner, click the Status drop-down, then select Cancelled (No Show and Late Cancelled will still charge the client the full fee. Only use these statuses if you plan to charge the client).
  • Now the session won’t need to be invoiced, but you’ll have a record of whether or not the client was scheduled.

Tip: To learn more about appointment statuses and how to make adjustments to them, see our guide: How to change an appointment status.

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