All personal trainers have been there before…
We’re all pumped up to see our client, we’ve planned out the workout and are ready to teach, share our knowledge bombs, and put them through an amazing workout… but then…
We receive a txt message 10 minutes before the session…
“sorry I can’t make it today!”
“Can we re-arrange? I’ve got a hair appointment”
“Sorry I thought I text you!”
The list goes on…
If I had a pound for every poor excuse I’ve received I’d be able to buy a Yacht and sale around the world drinking the most expensive champagne!
It can be a real nuisance! It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve booked out your valuable time to help somebody out and they’ve let you down.
Introducing A Cancellation Policy…
When I first started personal training I let these type of things slip, but I soon cottoned on to the fact that this was not acceptable and that I would need to do something about it. I found that the more I let people re-arrange the more they cancelled. I may as well have written DOORMAT on my forehead!
This lead me to create a ‘Cancellation Policy’ or what I actually call a ‘Fairness Policy’ (it sounds a little softer)…
This is a document about what is and isn’t acceptable whilst working with me. It’s basically the rules and regulations regarding our business arrangement…
Here are some of the things on my ‘Fairness Policy’:
- A period of at least 72hrs (3 days) notice must be given prior to session cancellations. If a session is cancelled within this time period then the following will apply:
- re-schedule (within a 7 day period) – I will try to my best to re-schedule at a time that suits your preference, however, this may not always be possible.
- If you cannot re-schedule within the 7 day period you will be charged for the missed session in full.
- If you currently train with LEP more than 1x per week, then you are should keep this commitment throughout the duration of your sessions i.e. if you agreed to train 2x per week then, you have 7 days to complete your 2 sessions. This enables us to keep you on track, and be able to follow the session plans that I have pre – prepared, ultimately so we can achieve your personal goals and exercise targets.
- All sessions must be paid for in advance
There are also quite a few other rules I have – which I will share with you in a moment. By the way… Feel free to copy my cancellation policy, or write your own. You can also let clients sign a simple marketing agreement with all the policies taken into account. This can be a great way to save time.
Fewer Cancellations and A Smoother running business…
Since introducing the Fairness Policy over 7 years ago there have been far fewer cancellations which has enabled the business to run smoothly and prevent unnecessary headaches!
There’s nothing more frustrating for a personal trainer than a client who’s constantly cancelling or someone who you have to keep chasing for payment!
Introducing a fairness policy has been one of the best things i’ve done. It’s save me thousands of pounds in lost income and it prevents people from missing sessions. I only wish I had one in place right from the start.
When to let clients off…
There will be times when our clients have genuine reasons for not attending sessions: it could be an accident, an illness or a family emergency.
These occasions are where you need to use your intuition and do what you feel is right. I’ll often re-arrange the session in these circumstances, no questions asked.
You also need to weigh up how many times a client is cancelling/rearranging. If a client has only cancelled a couple of times and you’ve been training them for 1 year, it’s probably genuine and you’ll likely let them off.
If on the other hand, a client has a high cancellation rate you may make a different decision. It’s a bit of grey area, but use your intuition and do what you feel is right.
Sometimes You Have To Remove Clients…
This doesn’t happen very often but if somebody is not abiding by your ‘Fairness Policy’ it’s time to have an honest chat with them and speak politely about how you are providing a service and in order for it to run as efficiently as possible there are certain rules that need to be adhered too.
Often clients will respect this and change immediately but occasionally there will be clients who continue to break the rules. Get rid of them. Sorry, I know this is blunt! but it’s not fair on you and the longer you leave it the worse it will get.
You are not a DOORMAT you are providing a valuable service and have standards. If a client repeatedly doesn’t respect your agreement you must put your foot down… enough is enough!
Should Personal Trainers Have A Cancellation Policy?
Absaaaa blooming lutelyyyyy! Get one typed up and if you have any questions please drop me a message.
If you are a personal trainer and want even more free help please check out the ‘personal trainers‘ section of my site – there are currently 30 FREE articles for you learn from.
I would also recommend reading my ebook The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Personal Training Business – in the ebook I teach you how to:
- Get a fully diary of paying clients
- How to rank highly on Google – and get more clients
- 30 Book & Podcast recommendations to boost your business skills
- Marketing & Sales Tips/Scripts
- Website tips
- Payments and invoicing
- Consultation Questions (that will double your sales)
- How to make money as an online coach and fitness blogger
Basically everything you need to ‘know’ and ‘do’ to build a £60-80k a year personal training business. If you would like to read the ebook and take your personal training business to the next level… please visit here.
Thanks for reading,
Nick Screeton – Founder of LEP Fitness