Well, technically, she's a potential client, since she hasn't hired me yet.
Well, technically, she did hire me, but I haven't worked for her yet. therein lies the dilemma.
I was to have worked for her today at 11:00 a.m., but she phoned me at 9:15 a.m., and said that since her son was home sick, and since there were people working on her driveway, and her three dogs had to stay in the house, she thought it would be better if I didn't come today. I agreed.
I have a line in my reminder emails that states my cancellation policy. It says that if you cancel a scheduled session, you pay a cancellation fee which increases as the date gets closer. You cancel on the day-of, you pay the full fee. She acknowledged the fact that I charge a cancellation fee when she called, so she knows the policy... but ultimately, it's up to me to pursue it.
- Should I pursue it and charge the fee?
- I feel awkward about charging her for the whole session, which I should do under my policy for canceling with less than 48 hours notice.
- It was entirely her fault for canceling, and it wasn't because of an emergency, just a scheduling conflict.
- I certainly would have booked another client for today if she hadn't reserved the time
- I also turned down a squeeze-me-in appointment with my doctor about my ankle ouchie this morning because I was booked to cook
- If I stick to my guns, will it create bad blood?
- If I don't stick to my guns, will she be the kind of person who will take advantage of my make-nice attitude?
- Do nice girls finish last too?
- When is "business is business" not a good enough reason to adhere to your own policies?
- I'm certain she can afford to pay the cancellation fee.
- I'm the owner of my business, I get to bend or break the rules at my discretion...but do I want to set a precedent with her, or myself, for breaking the rules I wrote?
- If I break this rule, will she expect me to break others?
On the plus side, I have been cooking for her consistently ever since. They seem to love my cooking, they're a nice family, and their checks clear every week. On the minus, I've gone to her house to cook when her kids were sick, when kitchen was infested with ants, when I found the head lice remedies on the bathroom counter.... and it makes me wonder if I didn't have a cancellation penalty, would she have asked to postpone, sparing me the ickyness of insects, parasites and snot-nosed kids? (And suddenly I'm itchy all over, recalling those bazillions of ants... eww!)
It's up to me to make the decisions that affect my business and my relationships with clients, but I'm torn. I want to keep the policy so that it has "teeth" and people don't randomly cancel (which used to happen more frequently) but I don't want to keep it from having people cancel when they really should, and I don't want to impose it on people who have true emergencies (ummm, which this wasn't).
What would you do?
Last thing I ate or drank: honey dijon kettle chips
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