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You have a patient booked for 8 a.m. on a Monday. You arrive at your office a half an hour early to prepare for the patient’s arrival and wait for them past the appointed hour. When they do not show up at 8 a.m., you give them twenty minutes before seeing the next patient, who happened to be early.

How would you, then, calculate that time into a no-show rate? And more importantly, why should you?

no-show rate

Why your time matters.

Unlike other elements of our lives, we cannot recover the lost opportunity of time. In business, this is the lost opportunity of an appointment slot that goes unfilled. Each unfilled appointment slot in a schedule cost money.

A no-show slot is even more expensive. A no-show means that the time was assigned to a person who did not show up, and therefore did not contribute to your bottom line. Additionally, they prevented that time from being given to someone who would have added to the company’s revenue stream. 

For the health of your business, seeing 100% of the appointment slots filled with paying clients is likely your goal. So the question is, exactly how much are no-shows costing you? Below we show you how to calculate it. By knowing exactly what the cost is, you can make more financially calculated decisions.

Calculating Your No-Show Rate

Like any industry, some businesses have a lower no-show rate than others. These successful businesses have gotten to where they are by understanding their situation and addressing the underlying issues. You can’t take on the problem if you don’t have all the data. Here’s how you start:

1. First you need to find your average number of daily no-show appointments. It’s important to find the average number of daily no-shows: no one day is going to give you an overall view of what is going on. The best way to average this number is over 30 days. Track your no-show clients for 30 days and then take the total number and divide by 30. This number will be your daily average.

(As a note, it’s important to keep track of those that are true no-shows, and not count empty slots that are actually appointments that were rescheduled).

2. Next you want to calculate the number of daily appointments that you book. Again, you want the average number over the course of a month. If you’re not already tracking your daily appointments, this is a good time to start. Add up your daily appointments for 30 days and then divide by 30. This number will be your daily average.

Once you have these two numbers as averages per day on a monthly basis, divide the average number of daily no-show appointments by the average number of scheduled appointments.  

Let’s use an example. You have an average of 42 appointments scheduled in one month. Also, pretend you have an average of 6 no-shows per day in a given month. So your calculation would be:

6 ÷ 42 =0.14.

Your no-show rate would be 14%.

Many businesses have no-show rates somewhere between 2% and 15%, numbers which vary greatly based on the location of the business (urban, suburban or rural) and the type of business (legal, medical, beauty/salon, etc.).

What Does Your No-Show Rate Cost You?

Once you know your no-show rate, you can take the time to estimate how much each client no-show costs you. This will help you see in real numbers the impact that no-shows have (a way to incentivize you to make the changes necessary to reduce no-shows). Also, this can help you see the way forward to making changes. For example, does it cost you more to retain a no-show client than to generate new clients?

Did you know that appointment reminders have been shown to decrease no-shows by as much as 80%? This means by using appointment reminders you can affordably increase your business’ revenue. Give it a try!