Whether you run a personal training studio or a 24-hour gym, you have for sure dealt with cancellations and no shows.  This is an issue because it is lost revenue, can cause problems with cash flow, and is certainly an inconvenience for both you and your other paying members.


Here are five tips that will help cut down the number of no shows and late cancellations that may be plaguing your fitness business.


  1. Have a clear cancellation policy and enforce it

Establish a clear and easy refund policy.  It is not enough to have a sound policy.  You need to have it under control and make sure to enforce it.  A good refund policy will set clear rules on how a member can have an appointment rescheduled without incurring a penalty.  The standard is to let hem reschedule at no penalty if they cancel within 24 hours of the scheduled class.  You can also opt to give a member a “freebie” on their first missed class, but have them pay up the full price the next time.


  1. Set a reminder

Just like you, your members need to juggle their day-to-day tasks.  Take the initiative and send reminders via email or SMS.  Your members can opt-in to these reminders.  Email and SMS are the most effective, but calling them personally over the phone gives a more personal touch.


  1. Ask for upfront payments

It will be hard to enforce a refund policy and charge for no-shows or cancellations if you don’t have your member’s payment information.  If you require upfront payment, you can charge them if they cancel or they are a no-show and it will discourage them to miss an appointment.  Collection upfront payments benefits both you and your member.  Your members can enjoy a discount if they buy in bulk and you get a bump in your cash flow when the appointments are paid upfront.


  1. Communication is key

Presenting the cancellation and refund policy to your members will set the tone for how they respond to it.  Work on your opening paragraph and make sure this clearly explains why you are making the change and how they will benefit from it.  Make sure to emphasize that this is not for your gain but more for fairness and respect for people’s time and resources.


  1. Charge a $5 cancellation fee

This is the most effective strategy in helping your members prioritize their commitment to fitness.  Even just a small fee will make your members pause and think before they sign up for a class or appointment helping increase attendance and free up spots in classes. note – You can always put the cancellations fees in the Christmas party fund giving back to the members again anyway.