How To Write An Effective Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy

How to write an effective personal trainer cancellation policy

A personal trainer cancellation policy is an absolute necessity for saving you money, and lets clients know exactly what you consider acceptable from them.

To help you write the ultimate one, we’ll cover:

But before we break everything down, why not reduce the risk of clients cancelling by expanding your service, starting with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course.

Find out more by downloading our course prospectus.


Why You Need A Personal Training Cancellation Policy

personal training agreement cancellation policy

A personal training cancellation policy is important for a PT to put in place from the beginning of their career. 

Unless there is an emergency, this prevents clients from cancelling their session last minute as the terms have been agreed in advance.

Having terms and conditions in place before training begins reduces a lot of hassle and will help you make money as a personal trainer, especially if your clients know what your policies are from the beginning. 

This stops them wasting your time as well as their own, as they will be less likely to skip sessions if they know the consequences.

Now, this isn’t to say a personal trainer cancellation policy should be seen as a punishment. Instead, it should be viewed as an incentive, which is what you should keep in mind as you put your policy together.

personal training agreement cancellation policy

Spending time on unreliable clients who aren’t motivated to hit their SMART goals means you’re sacrificing this time that could be spent on people who actually want to train. 

A clear, well-written personal training cancellation policy is key to separating potential clients who are determined to train from those who don’t have the right mindset.

What To Include In A PT Cancellation Policy

personal training agreement cancellation policy

It’s crucial you include everything you feel is important to cover in your personal training cancellation policy. 

This is why you should plan your policy beforehand to ensure nothing you feel clients need to be aware of is missed out.

Below we’ll breakdown some things you may want to cover in your personal trainer cancellation policy to ensure clients know exactly what you expect of them:

Set Out A Timeframe For Your Cancellation Policy

While this may vary between PTs, many operate on a 24 hour cancellation policy when it comes to personal training sessions. This means clients must give at least 24 hours notice or more before cancelling a scheduled session.

This is a good timeframe as you’re made aware of the client’s reasons for cancellation long before the session, meaning you have enough time to make new arrangements or even fit other clients in.

An example of a clear 24 hour notice within its terms and conditions comes from Train Dirty London:

personal training cancellation policy

As you can see, this is clear and concise for the client. It’s straight to the point and firm in what it’s asking, telling the reader their policies without being vague.


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Reduce client cancellations by expanding your services with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course.

Explain What Happens If A Client Cancels A Session Without Minimum Notice

If clients do cancel sessions without minimum notice or within the time specified, you should deal with this accordingly. 

A client should have a valid excuse for cancelling a session last minute, such as:

  • Family emergency 
  • Home emergency
  • Accidents

For those who don’t have a valid excuse, you could cancel the session without returning what they paid for it, and instead use the time to plan for their next session. What you want to avoid as a personal trainer is being too relaxed about cancelled sessions as this will waste you both time and money.

This is similar to the cancellation policy of Brad Gray Fitness:

cancellation policies for personal training

However, as some things can happen beyond client’s control, you may choose to allow for a one-time cancellation fee where clients can cancel one session without 24 hours notice at no additional charge. 

You may choose to allow a client with extenuating circumstances to reschedule a session more than once if they have valid reasons, such as if you’re personal training disabled clients or those who are pregnant.

Inform Clients About Any Penalties For Turning Up Late To Sessions

Just as you shouldn’t accept clients cancelling sessions without a real excuse or emergency, you should do the same thing with clients turning up late. Clients who constantly arrive late to sessions only highlight their lack of seriousness and focus regarding their goals. 

Although some things can’t be helped, lateness should be viewed in a similar way to a session cancellation.

Multiple excuses you shouldn’t accept include:

  • ‘I woke up late’
  • ‘Traffic was really bad this morning’
  • ‘I didn’t realise the time!’

The reason for this is because these are all things that can be helped. While everyone experiences them once in a while, they shouldn’t become a regular occurrence.

To deal with this, you should inform clients who arrive late that they will only have the remainder of the time left once they’ve arrived. Sessions will not be extended or refunded due to a shorter session.

You may also include how long you’re willing to wait for a client, such as how Nuffield Health have mentioned it in their personal training cancellation policy:

cancellation policies for personal training

By doing this, you’re letting clients know you’re reasonable but still firm in your approach to lateness and cancellations.

Outline When Clients Should Inform You If They’re Going On Holiday

Although many people book last-minute holidays, clients should have consideration for their personal trainers, and understand a PT will have to restructure their timetable if their client goes on holiday.

While missing one session if you go on holiday for a few days or a week isn’t a huge deal, leaving for two weeks while having 2 to 3 sessions scheduled in those weeks makes it harder for PTs to rearrange.

With this in mind, it’s important to include a timeframe for holiday notice in a personal trainer cancellation policy. Two weeks notice is good for holidays as this gives the PT enough time to reschedule and arrange new sessions. 

For example, within the terms and conditions in Matty Davies personal training cancellation policy, he clearly states how it’s the responsibility of the client to redeem their sessions before they go on holiday:

24 hour cancellation policy personal training

This is a good way to show clients it’s their responsibility to organise this by giving them the option to reschedule their sessions around their holiday time without having to be charged.

However, if they don’t give the minimum required time, the rule should be they should still be charged for the session they miss.

Explain What Happens If You Need To Cancel A Session

Just like clients, personal trainers have lives too! This means there may come a time when you have to unexpectedly cancel a session without much notice. As you would expect from a client, you must only cancel a session for a valid reason.

As this is your source of income, it’s unlikely you will cancel sessions on a whim. However, you should still put something in your terms and conditions to cover yourself should this situation arise.

You may decide to follow the cancellation policy of Virgin Active as shown below:

24 hour cancellation policy personal training

However, as this is a popular business, it may not be an option for you to provide refunds such as this. Instead, you should reschedule the session as close to the cancelled date as possible. It may also be an option to have another personal trainer of the same level take over that one session.

You should let clients know there is a timeframe on this free rescheduled session, such as 7 days. Only if this can’t be done, you should refund the client.

This may look something like this in your personal trainer cancellation policy:

‘I understand that if, for any reason, the free session can’t be rescheduled within seven days or it can't be covered by another trainer, I will not be charged for this session.’


Tell Clients How They Can Contact You To Cancel Their Session

You should also explain how a client should contact you, should they need to cancel a session. This may seem self-explanatory, but it's important to define your personal training boundaries early. 

For instance, you wouldn't expect a client to cancel at short notice via an Instagram DM, or over a professional channel like LinkedIn.

Instead, you should ask them to phone, email, or text you. This both ensures you've got a record of the cancellation, and that you're alerted to as soon as possible.

In fact, that's the policy many successful PT businesses operate. Take a look at Train Dirty from earlier as a great example:

pt cancellation policy refund

They're immediately clear on how a client should contact them if they need to cancel, and provide firm guidance that doesn't leave room for misunderstanding.

- - - - 

To reduce having to remind clients of your personal trainer cancellation policy, check out these articles to keep clients coming back to your sessions:

Free Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy Template

24 hour cancellation policy personal training

Knowing what to include in your personal trainer cancellation policy is one thing, but it’s important to ensure it flows smoothly and the tone is professional.

Here is a sample personal trainer cancellation policy template you can tweak or edit for yourself and send to clients:

I understand that, when cancelling an appointment, I am required to provide more than 24 hours notice so as not to incur any losses. If I provide less than 24 hours notice before my session without a valid reason, I will still be charged for the session. 

However, I understand I am also entitled to a one-time cancellation fee, allowing me to cancel a session with less than 24 hours notice with no additional charges.

I will either telephone, email, or text message my personal trainer to cancel a session, using the given phone number (07123 456654) or email address (

Should my personal trainer cancel a session without 24 hours notice, I shall be granted one free rescheduled session. However, I understand this free session must be rescheduled within 7 days of cancellation or will not be redeemed.

If my personal trainer cancels a session with more than 24 hours notice, I will not be granted a free session. This session will be rescheduled within 7 days of the original cancellation to ensure consistency with my fitness programme.

I understand that, if I arrive late to sessions, I will receive the remaining scheduled session time without refund.

Should I fail to give my personal trainer less than two weeks notice about an upcoming holiday, I will be charged in full for those missed sessions while my trainer uses that time to adapt my fitness programme.

Should I give my personal trainer MORE than two weeks notice about an upcoming holiday, those sessions will be rescheduled at no additional charge.

I have read and understand these conditions:

*Client’s Signature*

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

There’s a few key things to note about this personal trainer cancellation policy template include:

  • Both parties are held accountable - By including yourself in the personal trainer cancellation policy, you’re showing your client there are also consequences for you cancelling too. This means the policy applies to you as well, highlighting how it’s procedure and not just punishment.
  • Tone & style - The personal trainer cancellation policy template above is firm and clear in what it expects clients to understand and agree too. Having the cancellation policy written in first person also makes it more tailored to the reader. It helps the reader understand what exactly they’re agreeing to as it’s directly applied to them.

To ensure the personal training cancellation policy form is clear and professional, it should be proofread multiple times. 

You should also give it to someone else to check over for any:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Unclear sentences


Become a Master Personal Trainer With OriGym

Reduce client cancellations by expanding your services with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course.

When Should You Bring Up Your Personal Trainer Cancellation Policy?

24 hour cancellation policy personal training

While you may find it an awkward exchange, it’s important to bring up your personal trainer cancellation policy right away if clients are interested in having you as their PT.

If you get clients as a personal trainer from the gym floor, you can break down your terms and conditions with them there, ensuring you explain everything in detail. 

However, your personal trainer cancellation policy form should be clear enough so clients can read it themselves and understand it.

Clients can read and sign your personal trainer cancellation policy either by:

  • Emailing them a digital copy
  • Printing out physical copies and storing them in a folder for when you need them

You may choose to have them sign both a physical and digital copy to ensure they’ve read everything correctly. This also covers you further by having two versions of the signed terms and conditions.

24 hour cancellation policy personal training

Having clients read and sign this as soon as they agree for you to be their trainer is crucial for covering yourself in the long run. This means they will understand your terms and conditions from your first meeting with them.

Only remembering to provide them with these terms and conditions until after a few sessions will run the risk of them doing things you may not agree with. 

It also reflects poorly on you by making you look unorganised, and could be a sign of a bad personal trainer to clients.

Start as you mean to go on by informing clients right away about what you expect from them and what you regard as acceptable behaviour. By eliminating any grey areas, it reduces the risk of clients being uncertain about what they should and shouldn’t do.

Every so often, you should remind clients of your personal trainer cancellation policy to remind them of your rules. This is especially important when it’s coming up times they’re more likely to cancel, such as school holidays or Christmas and New Year.


Before You Go!

While we hope you don’t have to enforce your personal trainer cancellation policy too much, sometimes it can’t be helped. By putting our guide in place, clients will know exactly what you expect from them and this should lead to a reduction in cancellations.

With our range of courses, you’re sure to keep clients engaged and reduce the risk of having to use your personal training cancellation policy! Get started with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course today.

Download our complete course prospectus to find your perfect course today or enter your details below.

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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