How To Avoid Cancellations in Personal Trainer Business?

Feb 28, 2024 - 9 min read
Two men at the gym high-fiving in celebration after their workout.

Have you ever had a client cancel their appointment at the last minute, leaving you with an empty slot in your schedule and a loss of income? If so, you are not alone.

Client cancellations are one of the biggest challenges that a personal trainer faces, and they can have a negative impact on your business and your clients’ results.

Let’s say on average you lose about 10% of your income due to cancellations, and about 20% of your clients cancel at least once a month.

This means that if you charge $50 per hour and work 20 hours a week, you could be losing up to $200 a week or $800 a month due to cancellations.

The good news is that with the right strategies, you can minimize the impact of cancellations on your business.

In this article, we will share with you seven tips on how to deal with cancellations in your personal training business.

1. Build Strong Relationships

Three gym members celebrate their workout with a high-five, expressing camaraderie and shared success in a fitness setting.

Building good relationships with your clients helps a lot in keeping them from canceling. When they trust you more, feel loyal, and are happy with what you do, they’re more likely to keep coming.

Showing you really care about your clients, listening to what they have to say, and cheering them on can make them feel important and keep them focused on their fitness goals and appointments.

Here’s how you can build strong relationships with your clients:

Use Their Names

Using your clients’ names when you talk to them makes your conversation feel more personal. It shows you remember who they are and that you care about them.

Remember Their Preferences

Paying attention to what your clients like, such as their favorite workouts, the music they enjoy, or the equipment they prefer, shows that you listen and want to make their experience better.

Celebrate Their Achievements

When your clients reach a goal, beat their personal best, or overcome something hard, tell them you’re proud. This shows you value their effort and success, which can boost their confidence and keep them motivated.

2. Implement a Cancellation Policy

A cancellation policy is a must and sets clear expectations for both the trainer and the client. It outlines when and how clients can cancel their appointments, and the consequences of such actions, including fees for no-shows.

The cancellation policy also clarifies what the trainer expects from clients regarding cancellations.

Here’s what usually goes into your cancellation policy:

Minimum Notice Period

This is how early clients need to tell you if they have to cancel, at least 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours before the session. If they cancel too late, they might have to pay a fee or they might lose their session.

Cancellation Fee

If the client cancels without a good reason or without giving you enough notice, you are to charge them a fee. This could be half of what you usually charge for a session or a set amount like $25.

Limit on Reschedules

Clients can only change their appointment a few times, like once or twice, without a penalty. If they do it too many times, they might have to pay extra or they could lose their session.

You can also check out our guide on how to avoid cancellation in your fitness studio here.

3. Have Flexible Scheduling Options

A woman with curly hair smiling and waving at her laptop screen, signifying a friendly online interaction, possibly in a casual, homey setting.

Offering flexible scheduling helps cut down on missed sessions. It’s important because it fits better into your clients’ busy lives, making it easier for them to keep up with their exercise plans throughout the year.

By giving your clients different scheduling options, you show them you understand their time is valuable and you’re ready to help find the best time for their workouts.

Here’s how you can make scheduling more flexible for your clients:

Online or Phone Sessions

Let your clients choose to have sessions online or over the phone. This way, you can guide and support them through video or audio calls, or even text messages. This option is great for clients who are often traveling, work from home, or can’t easily get to a gym.

Choose Different Times or Places

Allow your clients to pick from various times or places for their sessions. This could be early in the morning, late at night, on weekends, or at different locations like their home, office, or a nearby park. At the end of the day, this helps clients who have changing schedules because of work, school, or family, and find it tough to stick to a set time or place.

4. Offer Incentives for Consistency

A cheerful man with headphones around his neck smiles while using his smartphone, possibly tracking his fitness progress or scheduling a gym session.

Giving rewards for showing up can help cut down on missed sessions. It motivates your clients to keep up with their fitness plans and appointments and gives them a pat on the back for their hard work.

When you give rewards for being consistent, you’re telling your clients you see and value how dedicated they are. You’re cheering them on to succeed and enjoy their journey to getting fit and healthy.

Here’s how you can give rewards for showing up:


You can lower the price of your sessions as a reward. For example, take off 10% for every 10 sessions they come to, or 20% for every 20 sessions. This makes clients want to book more sessions and save some money.

Free Sessions

Give a free session after they complete a set number of sessions, like one free session after 10 sessions or two free ones after 20. This makes it worth their while to come more often.

Gift Cards or Vouchers

Offer a gift card or voucher, like $10 for every 10 sessions they finish, or $20 for every 20 sessions. This can make clients look forward to completing their sessions and getting a treat.


Reward clients for bringing in new people. You could give them a free session for every new client they bring to you, or a 10% commission. This encourages them to tell others about your services and helps you get more clients.

5. Maintain Communication

A woman in workout gear talking on a phone in a gym, which could indicate she’s managing her schedule or catching up after a workout.

The way you communicate with your client can significantly impact client satisfaction and retention.

When you talk to your clients often, you can remind them about their meetings, give them advice, and sort out any problems they might have.

Talking regularly also helps you get along better with your clients, making them feel special and looked after.

Here’s how you can keep in touch:


Send emails to share useful stuff like news, tips, or stories that fit their health goals. Emails are good for reminding them about their appointments or asking for their thoughts or if they know anyone else who might want to join.


Texts are great for quick, friendly messages. You can ask how they’re doing, cheer them on, or send them something to motivate them. You can also remind them about their appointments or quickly answer any questions they have.


Calling your clients lets you talk more deeply. You can chat about their goals, any hard spots they’re hitting, or celebrate their wins. Phone calls are good for giving support, fixing problems, confirming or changing appointment times, or just catching up after their workouts.

Social Media

Use social media to share interesting and fun content like videos, blogs, or live talks. This shows what you know, your personality, and your clients’ success stories. Social media is also a way to chat with your clients and make a community feel by liking or commenting on their posts or inviting them to your online groups or events.

6. Grow Yourself As a Professional

A woman with long, wavy brown hair and blue glasses smiles while writing notes beside her laptop, suggesting a moment of productivity in a light-filled room.

Your role as a personal trainer is not only to train your clients but also improving your own selves through continuous education

It makes you a better personal trainer because you learn the newest trends, research, and ways to help your clients reach their goals.

Plus, it builds your reputation in the fitness industry, making you more attractive to potential clients and encouraging more referrals.

Here’s how you can keep learning and growing as a personal trainer:

Take Courses

Sign up for classes to learn new things that can help your clients and your business. This could be about nutrition, how to coach better, marketing, or how to manage your business. Taking online courses to get new certifications or renew old ones also shows you’re serious and professional.

Go to Seminars

Seminars let you hear from experts in fitness and health. You can get new ideas, feel inspired, and meet other professionals. It’s also a chance to make connections that could help your business grow.

Read Books

Make it a habit to read at least 15 pages every day. Reading can expand what you know about fitness, health, and running a business. Books can also motivate you with stories from successful people in the industry.

Join Networks

Being part of a fitness network with other personal trainers or health professionals gives you support and more chances to learn. You can also share what you know and help make the fitness community better.

7. Create a Community

A group of happy gym-goers giving each other high-fives in a fitness class, showing a sense of community and achievement.

Creating a community for your clients is key to keeping them from canceling. It helps them feel like they belong, are accountable, and can have fun.

In most cases when you build a community, you make a positive space where clients can meet, talk, and learn from each other.

This makes them feel more connected and excited about your services. They can also cheer each other on, creating a fun and competitive vibe that keeps them looking forward to their sessions.

Here are some ways to build this community:

Hosting Events

Plan fun fitness events to get your clients together. This could be workshops, parties, or group outings. You can also celebrate their successes with award ceremonies or by giving out small gifts to show you appreciate their hard work.

Creating Groups

Set up groups where your clients can chat, share tips, or support each other. This could be online forums, chat groups, or social media pages. You can also offer different types of training in these groups, like group sessions, online workouts, or special VIP training.

Organizing Challenges

Start fitness challenges to keep your clients motivated. These could be for losing weight, getting fitter, or improving their performance. Offer prizes or recognition to those who do well, like cash, gift vouchers, or trophies. This adds an extra layer of excitement and gives them something to aim for.


So if you came here with the question " How To Avoid Cancellations in Personal Trainer Business?" These are the strategies you need to have in place.

In the case that a client cancels, having a plan in place helps protect your business. If not handled properly, frequent cancellations can significantly impact your overall business revenue.

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Carmen Blanco Moreno

Marketing ES

Carmen is part of Virtuagym's marketing team, where her dedication to fitness and her passion for marketing allow her to stay updated on the latest trends in the industry. Her commitment to wellness and her creativity aim to inspire others to adopt a healthy lifestyle.