How to Calculate and Improve No Show Rate

In this blog post, we'll explore the intricacies of calculating the no-show rate, explore its significance, and discuss strategies for reducing it. We will also provide you with a quick no-show rate calculator!
Calculating No Show Rates

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?

As businesses strive to optimize their operations and enhance customer experience, one crucial metric that often comes into play is the “no-show rate.” Whether it’s a medical practice, a restaurant, or a service-based business, accurately measuring and analyzing the no-show rate can provide valuable insights into operational efficiency and revenue management. 

What is No-Show Rate?

The no-show rate is the percentage of scheduled appointments or reservations that customers or clients fail to attend without providing any prior notice. It is a metric used across various industries to evaluate the reliability of customers and the effectiveness of appointment management systems.

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 or cancel their appointment in advance, 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.

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.

Why your time matters

How to Calculate 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.
  3. 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.  Then multiply the number by 100.  This gives you your no-show rate.

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.).

No Show Rate Chart

No Show Rate Calculator

Use the calculator below to easily determine your current no-show rate:

3 Steps to Reduce Your No Show Rate:

Step 1: Interpret the Results

Now that you have calculated your no-show rate, the first thing you need to do is interpret the results. This will allow you to gain insights into not only the impact of the no-shows but also the potential cause and solutions.

When are most of your no-shows? Is there a particular group that is responsible for a majority of no shows? Are most no-shows during a specific part of the day or week? All these things provide valuable insights into addressing the average no show rate.

Step 2: Implement Strategies for Addressing No Shows

The next thing you should do is implement a few strategies for addressing no-shows. Some of the suggested strategies are:

  1. Implement or adjust your appointment reminders: If you are not already using an automated appointment reminder solution, consider implementing one. If you are already using an automated reminder system, take a closer look at how you are using it. You may need to adjust a few things such as outreach type (call vs text vs email), or sending multiple reminders for an appointment. Check out our reminder templates to reduce no shows.
  2. Require a confirmation for the appointment: If you require your patients or customers to confirm their appointments, you stand a better chance of having them show up. Most automatic appointment reminder software will allow you to accept confirmations. Follow up manually with the patients that have not confirmed their appointments.
  3. Implement penalties for not showing up: Even implementing a small fee for no shows can encourage your patients or customers to show up on time for their appointments. At the very least you may get actual cancellations that will allow you to fill vacant spots. Even if you don’t really enforce these fees, just letting your customers know that there are cancellation fees, could help.

Step 3: Monitor Over Time and Adjust for Improvements

Now that you have analyzed your average patient no-show rate and implemented strategies to attempt to improve it, it’s important to monitor your results over time to see how effective your strategies are.

Create a spreadsheet with your average weekly no-show rates and then update it every week. This way you can continue to determine if your strategies are making significant improvements.

Set aside a couple of hours per week to gather and monitor your no-show data. Continue to adjust and try to figure out which strategies are working, and which are not. 


Calculating, understanding, and monitoring your no-show rate is extremely valuable for all types of businesses. By taking the time to analyze your no show rate and really understanding not only the numbers, but the reasons, you can make vast improvements over time. It also gives you a chance to improve customer satisfaction, optimize office resources, and streamline work effectiveness.

Reducing your no-show rate does not happen overnight. It requires proactive measures, continuous monitoring, and adjustments. By following the strategies outlined here, you can be well on your way to increasing your bottom line, decreasing no shows, and improving your overall customer satisfaction and office effectiveness. 

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