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Setting up your practice's cancellation policy

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-canceled 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:

  • Navigate to Settings > Scheduling > Calendar
  • Under Cancellation policy, use the dropdown menu to select your preferred cancellation window


  • Click Save changes

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

  • Require a phone call to cancel
  • At least 24 hours
  • At least 48 hours 
  • At least 72 hours 

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. Canceling 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 canceled outside of your approved cancellation window will be updated to the Late Canceled 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 Canceled, 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: How to change an appointment status.

Allowing cancellations via text and voice reminders

If you’d like to take advantage of the automated options for clients to cancel through the Client Portal, text reminders, and voice reminders, select a cancellation policy that allows cancellations within a set time frame. 

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 directly cancel their appointments within the chosen time frame. 

Clients can cancel directly from their Client Portal if online appointment requests are enabled. Clients can also cancel through text and voice reminders, if enabled.

Tip: We’ve seen that allowing clients to cancel appointments 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.

Once the approved cancellation window has passed, clients will no longer have the option to cancel an appointment without contacting you or your practice directly. In these cases, you'll want to manually update the appointment status from the calendar fly-out.

If your cancellation policy is set to Require a phone call to cancel, clients must call to notify you that they won’t be able to make an upcoming appointment. This means that the option for clients to cancel via the Client Portal, text, or voice won't be available.

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

If there’s an appointment that was canceled 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 Canceled, the client would still be invoiced for this session. This is easy to fix by updating the appointment status to Canceled 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 Canceled (No Show and Late Canceled 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: How to change an appointment status.

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