Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy

Daniel A., December 29, 2021

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Every career path has its own highs and lows that come with it, physical trainers are not excluded from that. One of the best parts of the job is being able to help and deal with people of different personalities and worlds than you. However, the same aforementioned qualities can be considered in a negative connotation as well. That said, you definitely need a personal trainer cancellation policy. We’ll explain how, and what to do.

Due to several different factors that we will discuss, clients, though they are the backbone of your operation they can cause you frustration as well. As a trainer, nothing is more frustrating than clients who cancel. Canceling without notice or even canceling with prior notice still leaves a gap in your schedule that you may not be able to fill in time with another client. Though it is business it can almost feel personal to you because you literally plan your life around the setup of the sessions. Whether for a valid reason or not time is being wasted sometimes.

Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy Because Time is Valuable

They say time is the most important currency that we have even though it’s never been known how much of it any one person has. With that being the case, nobody likes to have their time wasted in any situation, especially in their professional life. Yet, even with this knowledge and feeling everyone shares it still happens very often. Inevitably you will run into moments like this but it will happen much less once you set the right boundaries to protect yourself from clients that cancel out of the blue. Funny enough, it will significantly improve your understanding of how to keep clients as personal trainer. Some suggestions for this issue include:

Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy
  • A cancellation policy
  • Stay consistent with scheduling
  • Checking in with clients
  • Terminate the client from your program
  • Utilize free time

Though cancellations will always be something to be dealt with and you can never have it 100 percent perfect, these suggestions will give you some control and peace of mind in dealing with these more difficult clients.

Cancellation Policy

A personal trainer cancellation policy is an agreement that you and the client share that defines the exact measures and consequences for canceling sessions. The stipulations are up to your discretion and it is best you instill this into your program prior to launching it. A standard policy usually states that there needs to be a 24-hour prior notice for cancellations. Also, clients physically sign off on this so that it is known that the information was clearly conveyed. The consequence of not canceling at least 24 hours prior is usually to charge the client for the session as if they were there. It is very inconvenient for you, as a trainer, to get less time for notice than that because it doesn’t allow for you to fill that time slot with another client. Additionally, you may have forgone some event in your personal life to make time to train them so it is a waste of your time that you should be compensated for.

One of the best things you can do for your client is to let them know what they are getting into before they start it. A cancellation policy should be well defined so that both parties can avoid wasting each other’s time if the client has obligations or disagreements that do not fit the guidelines. Remember it is totally up to you how flexible you will be with your policy but do not get taken advantage of.

Consistent Scheduling

A consistent schedule with your clients can help prevent a lot of stress that would come from a client’s cancellation. Clients will end up canceling a lot of scheduling is topsy turvy. For example, if you see a client on Wednesday week one but on week two you see her Friday, there is not any consistency there. With there being a lack of consistency you set yourself up for future cancellations because surely their schedules will not always have space to be that flexible. 

If you have a client that is canceling frequently you may want to assess if there is a possibility of having those sessions on a certain day or couple of days. This action will narrow down the potential for disappointment as it was a pre-existing conversation to free up specific time periods for the workout session. Also, the client will likely be more focused and prepared to get down to business due to the expectations set.

The Persona platform can help you and your clients with scheduling. Once you input the information into the app it will be able to keep track of your sessions, track usage of packages and collect payments owed for them. Utilizing this function of the app makes having this conversation with the client about canceling so much easier because it serves as a solution to the ordeal. This is actually a topic much discussed on the best podcasts for personal trainers.

Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy is Key

Checking In

If you are dealing with a client that is constantly canceling or just so inconsistent that it will hurt their results, your immediate course of thought is probably to cut ties with them. You may feel you’ve done everything you can to salvage the relationship and their workout progress. On the other hand, you are only seeing the external affairs that the client(s) is dealing with. 

Checking in with a client can give you a deeper look into what is happening with them as to why they are canceling and being inconsistent. There are various reasons that might end up being the cause of their actions. Some of which may be the stress from work becoming overwhelming, family issues, or overall unplanned uncertainties happening. No matter what the problem is, it still benefits you to know what is going on if the client is willing to share that with you. A great way to do so is to review our list of questions personal trainers should ask clients.

It is also important to consider that part of checking in can mean finding out that the client is unhappy with your services and may not know how to communicate that to you. Though a hard pill to swallow, you must remember that everyone does not take to all services the same. 99% of your clientele may love your services and workout programs but that doesn’t mean there can’t be that one that does not find it pleasing. The goal would be to find out what you could possibly do to help change their feelings or opinion on your personal training business.


Business can be tough sometimes and in physical training one of the more difficult parts can be terminating the training sessions with a client. Clients can also terminate the partnership with you. An important piece of information to remember is, as previously mentioned, you may not be the trainer for that client and it is OK. It happens more often than you would think where maybe scheduling doesn’t align or commitments can’t be upheld and it’s best to just part ways before the situation becomes personal.

Another reason a termination may be necessary is if the client has not abided by the program you have set up. Every now and then, you’ll run into this kind of client that is not at all very serious about their fitness journey. They don’t carry themselves professionally with you and make working together with an issue all around. These are the type of clients that you have to let go of once you’ve had all the appropriate conversations letting the client know there needs to be a change in their actions. An interaction like this doesn’t have to be negative or boisterous, remain the professional that you are and speak candidly about your experience with them. You can be stern but nonconfrontational simultaneously. This may help the client in the future as they may be able to learn from their mistakes and hopefully find a training program that can really help them. It’s clear then, that a personal trainer cancellation policy is an absolute must.

Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy is a Life Saver

Utilize Free Time

Whether you know prior or they are sprung upon you at the last second it does not give you, the trainer, an excuse to waste time. The goal should be to always be as productive as you can, even if you do have a personal trainer cancellation policy in place. For example, if your sessions get canceled at the last second but you are already at the workout facility then you can get your own workout done or if you are home then you can get ahead on future scheduling/training regimens for your other clientele. Also, you can make sure you check in with your other clients to remind them of upcoming sessions and what they should be prepared for. This is a great example of how to motivate clients as a personal trainer. Wallowing in “why they canceled” or “how you could’ve stopped this from happening” will do nothing for your business in the long term. The goal is to build the business to be better each and every day.

Persona assists with this because it will keep you organized and give you the ability to bypass issues like cancellations and even terminating clients. The more you can focus on your business without the worry of having to constantly adjust your entire schedule and finances based on one client’s absence from a session the better a service you can provide in the long run.    

Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. it's 100% free, download it now.


Persona is the #1 management platform for independent business owners. Download it now, it's 100% free.