How much should Cancellation Fee be?

You are here:

There is no doubt that if you don’t already have a cancellation policy for your company, you should mark it as the number one priority on your to-do list for this week. 

Time is money, so make the most of it. There are several activities that you have to perform to plan for and hold meetings with your clients. 

An effective cancellation policy and the contract may be considered one of the most valuable elements that can assure you that your time and income won’t be impaired by the inconveniences or insensitivity of your clients. 

Here we will help you set the right charge for your own cancellation policy. Keep reading the article to know in detail what a cancellation policy is and what a fair cancellation policy should contain. In short, we will cover complete detail on how much should a cancellation fee be.

📝Key Takeaways:

  • This article covers the top things to include in your cancellation policy.
  • Discover what you can charge from your customer as cancellation fees and various other terms that keep your business going.

What are the Cancellation Fees?

As a general rule, consumers are permitted to cancel a service if there is a problem, such as if the service is not delivered as promised.

A cancellation fee also serves as a means of protecting businesses.

Clients who cancel services without following your terms and conditions are charged a cancellation fee.

A cancellation can be made on a pre-booked service, an appointment, or a subscription.

As soon as your customer starts using the service, you will have the opportunity to ask them if they want to cancel. These cancellation fees are commonly included in the terms and conditions of your company.

While it is common for large corporations, such as airlines and hotels, to impose a cancellation fee, small businesses can also benefit from these fees as they provide certainty for them as well.

Small businesses may need help to maintain a budget, and losing a big contract may be a real headache.

Do you intend to charge a standard rebooking fee, a percentage of the service cost, or do you want to do something else altogether? If your client cancel or missed appointment at the last minute, you should specify exactly what they will be charged and how much they will be charged. It may be a fee or a percentage of the job.

5 Cancellation Policy Every Company Should Have

The purpose of a company’s cancellation policy is to limit to what extent and how clients can cancel an appointment or service without incurring penalties. 

Though, you need to spent time preparing the cancellation policy terms and conditions but at the end of the day it is beneficial to your company. 

Every cancellation policy should include the following elements to ensure it is relevant to clients:

1. A cancel charge service 

The cancel charge service is one of the essential policies you can include in your company cancellation policy. This cancellation charge refers to those charges that shall be payable by a Customer under the Minimum Contract Term or renewal period if they had terminated the contract earlier than the stipulated termination date.

2. Late penalty fees

When your company suffers a financial loss from missed appointments, you should be penalized based on the loss. For some clients, a financial penalty can serve as a very effective deterrent as it serves as a powerful deterrent. 

Knowing that even if the appointment is not held, the client will lose that money if the appointment does not take place may make them less likely to cancel. 

There is a good chance that you’ll reduce the chance of cancellation by setting up a known business charge, even if you aren’t going to charge the fee.

3. Information for cancellations

It is essential to clearly state how you would like to be notified if a cancellation happens. Is there a time frame within which you need to make a call?

Would you like written confirmation of the cancellation? Could a text message be considered an acceptable method of communication?

If you are not clear on these points, you won’t be able to hold clients accountable when the time comes.

4. Time to cancel

If you intend to charge a late cancellations fee to your customers, your cancellation policy should specify precisely when you expect them to cancel without charging them any fees. 

It may be possible to customize your business and timeframe based on the circumstances of your business and the nature of the services you provide.

Suppose you arrange the cancellation timeframe before your business goes and arranges all the necessary resources for your customer’s appointment. In that case, you will likely tailor it to fit your business’s needs. 

Usually, if your company provides food service, for your business to avoid suffering loss due to late cancellations, you would need at least a 48-hour short notice period.

5. Signature policy 

To charge a late fee to new or existing clients, they must first accept the terms of your policy for you to charge them. Ensure that your company’s cancellation policy is included on all estimates, quotations, and contracts so that your clients can review and acknowledge it with their signatures before signing up.

To estimate quotations, you can start to implement InvoiceOwl. It is a leading software that helps you estimate the correct cost you can add to your cancellation policy.

Create Accurate Professional Looking Quotes With InvoiceOwl

Stop wasting time on creating estimates and invoices manually when you do it using InvoiceOwl. Yes, book your FREE trial!

How Much Should You Charge for Cancellation?

It is up to you how much you should charge as the cancellation fee from your client since there is no set amount you must charge. When creating an effective cancellation policy, one of the most important things to focus on is defining precisely how your customers will be able to cancel their engagement with your company.

If you set up the cancellation charges, you need to be fair enough to ensure that you do not scare your customer off due to the cancellation charge. 

An average cancellation fee can range from 5-10%, depending on the nature and local laws. To maintain your credibility in the market, you should not charge if someone purchases your products or services by mistake and immediately cancels it since it might ruin your reputation. 

Suppose, for example, any customer in the future books with you to receive products or services from you, but then, as they are about to receive your products or services, they suddenly cancel. To cover the costs associated with distance and other associates, you charge a cancellation charge of between 5 and 10 percent.  

When to Charge the Cancellation Fee?

Following your business cancellation policy, you should charge a cancellation fee whenever the following scenarios occur:

  • You must charge the appointment cancellation fee if the client cancelled the appointment at the last minute
  • If you are unable to access the work site
  • The client does not show up for the appointment

Despite this, not every cancellation of an appointment deserves to be charged a fee. It is not a good idea to charge a cancellation fee:

  • To make your new policy known to your clients who have not been informed of it yet
  • The cancellation policy does not apply to jobs canceled before its implementation
  • If a client cancels an appointment within the time frame, you have set for cancellations.

Working to Prevent Last-Minute Customer Cancellations

It will be easier to avoid charging customers for last-minute cancellations if you can avoid most of them. With the help of automated appointment reminders and other communication methods, you can prevent your clients and providers from becoming frustrated by cancellations. 

Here are some ways that your company can reduce the number of no-shows and last-minute cancellations that it encounters as a result of its home services:

Keep the customer up to date with appointments

The notification via text is easy to find and enables customers to easily add their appointments to their calendar apps as soon as they receive the notification. 

Make sure that you set up a text reminder for yourself 

Some customers forget about the appointment until the night before, even if the appointment has been confirmed. This is where automated appointment reminders comes into play and notify the client regarding the same. 

If you are running late, keep your customers informed about the situation 

Your customer may be tired of waiting, so they may call and cancel the appointment even though your tech is on his way. Ensure you notify your customer of the new expected arrival time so they do not cancel their reservation out of frustration.

Don’t make it difficult for your customers to contact you 

If you don’t check your voicemail or constantly send your phone calls to voicemail, you have no ground to stand on. If this happens, you aren’t able to prove to your customer that they tried calling you to cancel but couldn’t get through to you.

There is nothing more annoying than last-minute cancellations 

Sometimes, they aren’t worth addressing in the first place. Reducing chronic cancellations in the future could pay off much more than focusing on the next customer and turning down appointments from those who are chronically absent. 

It may be worth rethinking your policies if cancellations at the last minute become a costly problem and become a nuisance instead of a convenience. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the best time to charge my cancellation fee?

    In most cases, you can charge a cancellation fee if the client fails to give you reasonable notice of cancellation or non-attendance. As a result, you must make a ‘reasonable’ effort to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.

    As far as reasonable efforts are concerned, it is about the length of time that you are given notice of their intention. Additionally, even if the client explains why they chose to cancel, you may still be entitled to charge a cancellation fee.

    Nonetheless, suppose your client cancels their appointment or does not show up for a scheduled appointment due to circumstances out of their control, such as extreme weather conditions. In that case, you will not be able to charge your client a cancellation fee.

  2. Is there a legal way to charge a cancellation fee?

    A business is generally required to follow these practices to ensure that it does not lose money due to no-shows or cancellations received at the last minute. These practices are legally in place.

    Businesses or service providers are often not paid until “someone is in their chair,” so charging a cancellation fee is the only way to compensate for their losses in event cancellation.

  3. What is a fair cancellation policy?

    Ideally, a good cancellation policy will include a fee or penalty for the cancellation and enough time in the notice of cancellation so that you can rebook the reservation.


As a business owner, you have complete control over your cancellation policy. You can always decide to waive the service fee if a loyal client typically arrives on time but cancels late for some reason. 

Have you ever had a first-time client that lost their way and had to miss their appointment? There is an easy way for you to avoid your penalty. 

No-show fees and late cancellation protections exist to assist you in building a successful business and nurturing healthy relationships with your clients. You decide how to use them.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

United States