I have noticed more and more providers requiring deposits for their time and services.
You may have noticed this too.
I was initially quite surprised by this occurrence.
You may have been too.
However, providers are constantly dealing with the threat of cancellations. Cancellations have the ability to hurt one’s livelihood, especially when special accommodations or arrangements have been made for the appointment, or when a provider’s time in genuinely limited. This becomes especially important when a provider is traveling or on tour, and when a provider is low volume.
When a provider is traveling, there are many expenses involved. Plane tickets, incall, advertising- all of the normal expenses of business increase exponentially, specifically when visiting a major metropolitan area such as Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco. A 1 week trip to New York City can easily cost a provider thousands of dollars upfront. Last minute cancellations can devastate a provider in this situation. As a frequent traveler, I am all too familiar with this situation. Deposits greatly reduce this threat and protect a provider’s financial health. Many providers are no longer touring unless they receive enough deposits to cover their expenses. This is an incredibly smart business decision, as it is an easy way for providers to protect their financial interests while traveling. For many of us, traveling no longer makes sense if we are running the risk of financial loss.
Please respect a provider’s request for deposits if you would like to see them in your city.
Another situation that leaves providers vulnerable to cancellations is when they are truly low volume. No matter the reason for one being low volume, if only seeing a handful of clients each week or each month, a few cancellations can easily push one into financial discomfort. That is not to say that higher volume providers are not affected by cancellations. Cancellations can still throw off one’s goals and result in wasted time — nobody likes their time being wasted. Although a heavy client load does allow for a little more financial wiggle room in the face of cancellations, not everybody has the time, energy, desire, or ability to take on a large enough client load to be able to comfortably absorb cancellations. In my experience, most providers do not want to take on a client load that large — I certainly do not.
You may be worried about losing your deposit in the event the provider cancels the appointment, no-shows you, or otherwise goes missing. If you are concern about this, you probably should not visit with this person.
Not every provider is able to require deposits. Those who are able to typically have a strong online presence, and have built themselves and their business up with integrity. At this level, it would make no sense for a professional to run off with your deposit. Firstly, it is typically only a fraction of the full rate they will receive upon meeting. Secondly, a provider can easily be slandered for running off with people’s money. The detrimental impact of this on one’s business and livelihood is not worth a couple hundred, (or even thousand) dollars. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build a positive presence and reputation in this work. Your deposit is not worth risking one’s hard-earned reputation.
If you are not comfortable giving a deposit, then do not give one. Simply move on to another provider. There is nothing wrong with this.
Deposits allow providers to reduce the financial risks and burdens of cancellations. After a rash of cancellations and a number of life changes, I have decided to require deposits. My availability has been significantly reduced, and without deposits, it will no longer make sense for me to continue in this work.
Starting January 1, 2018, I will require a (nonrefundable) deposit for all appointments.