Having clients cancel their sessions can be one of the most frustrating aspects of working as a personal trainer. Cancellations are very different if you are working for a commercial gym compared to working for yourself in your own studio. For this article I will be discussing how you should deal with client cancellations assuming that you are working at a large gym such as 24 hour fitness or a local studio. If you talk to multiple different trainers you will probably see that everybody has a differing opinion when it comes to client cancellations and how you should deal them. If you are just starting out as a personal trainer this is something that you need to learn how to deal with early on. Let’s talk about this difficult situation and how I like to go about about dealing with them.
Should you charge them?
This is obviously the biggest question you should be your asking yourself when you get canceled on. There are ups and downs to charging them. Obviously you went through all the trouble to set up the workout routine and create time in your schedule for the appointment. Obviously that work that you put in should not go unnoticed. I usually decide on whether or not I will charge my client based on a few factors I will talk about below.
Cancellations given 24 hours ahead of time
Typically if the client cancels on me with more than 24 hours before we are supposed to me, I you do not charge them. In most cases this gives me a sufficient amount of time to call up other clients that might want to schedule during that time slot. I can usually fill this time with another client that is eager to work with me. I appreciate them giving me enough time to rearrange my schedule. Because of this, I feel that they do not deserve to be charged. Stuff happens in everyone’s life and I understand when people need to change the time that they meet with me.
Cancellations given under 24 hours
If my client cancels on me with less than 24 hours before our session is supposed to start, it is a completely different story. A quick answer is that I typically end up charging my client in these situations. When my client first signs up for personal training with me, I always tell them that if for any reason they need to cancel they are required to do so 24 hours ahead of time otherwise I will charge them. I make sure to do this so that I don’t have it any of my clients shocked that I charged them. I make this point as clear as I possibly can. It is even in my personal training contract that I have with them. One of the main reasons I charge them is because if it is within 24 hours I typically cannot fill the slot with another client of mine. And I really do not like having half an hour or an hour simply cut off in the middle of my day. This is very frustrating for me. I would rather be using this valuable time being with friends or getting stuff done at my own home. Obviously there are exceptions to my 24 hour rule. If one of my clients calls me and tells me that they had a family emergency or are legitimately sick, I feel like it would be rude to charge them. Personal training is expensive, and emergencies happen sometimes! On the other end of the spectrum if a client completely no-shows on me without any warning at all I will charge them almost every single time. That is unless they got in an accident and could not call me for one reason or another. Sometimes you’ll just get those clients that are horrible with canceling and showing up. I do not understand people like this because they are paying lots of money for the sessions and is for their own good. I have actually had to completely stop working with certain clients that were like this. All in all, is your judgment call to make on situation the situation basis. These were just some of my guidelines.
How to use your time if you canceled on
A perfect scenario would be that nobody ever cancels on you or no-shows. Obviously the truth is that things will always come up where people cannot to make it for one reason or another. In these situations you should have plenty of things that you can do in order to keep you busy and spend your time productively. One of the things that I like to do when I suddenly have free time is to contact all of my clients to try to fill in my schedule for the next week. Another option is for you to have a small workout yourself. You should always have your gym bag filled up with some workout clothing (if you are already not wearing it)! And if you are not feeling like working out, make sure to bring a good read so that you can pass the time until your next appointment. The only thing that should not do is just wander around aimlessly. Get productive and make sure you are doing something to help your personal or business growth! One thing I like to do is come up with new creative exercises!
Conclusion on client cancellations
Obviously different trainers will have varying opinions on how they should deal with client cancellations. These are just my general guidelines about how I deal with them. Make sure to let your clients know about the 24 hour rule before you even start the very first session with them! I hope you guys liked my article on dealing with client cancellations. Let me know if you guys have any questions or additional tips that I can add to this article. I always thought it was a hard to decide whether or not I should charge clients they canceled on me. You have to be stern and stick to what you believe! You might like some of my other articles such as where to get cheap continuing education credits, how to sell personal training as well as the best workout schedule template that you can use with your clients!
Tyler Read has a Masters of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE, NSCA and NSCA CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers.