As a personal trainer, you exchange your coaching time for a fee. As a result, time is money. Therefore, a well-written cancellation policy that protects your time is a must.
Too many times in my career I have come across a colleague in a disgruntled mood, complaining that their client has cancelled at the last minute.
When I ask why they are upset, the response is normally along the following lines: “This happens all the time, he/she always cancels at the last minute.”
At that point, I normally ask, “well, don’t you have a cancellation policy?”
More often than not, they don’t.
Why is a cancellation policy so important?
- Simply put, a cancellation policy creates a line in the sand and demonstrates to your client that your time must be respected.
- It creates a sense of financial accountability. If you have a 24-hour cancellation policy in place that your clients are aware of, they lose both the session and the session fee should they cancel on the day. Because of this, most of your clients will be deterred from cancelling their session at the last minute. They are aware that the session will be forfeited, not rescheduled.
- If your client adheres to the cancellation policy and gives you at least 24 hours’ notice, this gives you a reasonable amount of time to book another client into the available spot, lessening the chance that you will have to take a financial hit.
If a personal trainer does not have a cancellation policy in place, this is usually because they did not make this policy clear to the client when they signed up for training. It is potentially awkward to put a cancellation policy in place with an established client, so you should avoid such conversations by making this part of your on boarding process.
On the same day that I start with a new client, I send them an on-boarding email that explains several house-keeping items. These include a confirmation of the days and times that we will be training each week, an introductory letter welcoming them as a brand-new client, and my terms and conditions—which state my 24-hour cancellation policy.
There documents are pre-written, which make sit easy to send them to a new client. Within the email, I ask that they reply back to me—stating that they have read and through the attachments. This forms written evidence they are aware of the policy.
Doing this from the outset ensures that both you and your client are on the same page when it comes to both rescheduling and cancelling a session.
Having a cancellation policy is a must for personal trainers. Putting one in place with your clients is easy to do, provided you do it as the start of their journey with you. Having one will significantly reduce the number of last minute cancellations you receive, which will help to protect your time, and regulate your cashflow.
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