How To Create An Effective Personal Training Contract

How To Create An Effective Personal Training Contract

Are you a personal trainer looking to get rock-solid contracts? Do you want to be on the same page as your clients and avoid any messy conflicts? Then you’ll want to read this…

Let’s be real: handshake deals and your word don’t cut it in business. You need solid contracts to lay down the rules that both parties agree to and to make any conflicts that pop up down the road less of a headache. Without something in writing, it’s very easy for misunderstandings to happen. Next thing you know, clients are bailing, your reputation takes a hit, or you’re staring down a lawsuit. 

Contracts protect both your businesses and your clients when used correctly. I like to think of contracts as a sort of roadmap for every client relationship. They lay out what clients can expect from you as well as what you expect from them. This keeps everyone on the same page from the very first day, which is crucial! Nothing wrecks a client relationship faster than misunderstandings. So today, I’m dedicating this post to discussing what makes a good personal training contract and how to make one that the client agrees to happily, while you avoid scary legal scenarios that will keep you up at night.

What Is A Personal Training Contract?

Being a personal trainer is such an awesome gig. You can make a huge difference in your client’s lives by guiding them to crush their fitness goals and build healthier habits. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing that proud smile when someone loses 50 pounds or finally nails a pull-up!

A personal training contract is a legally binding agreement between a personal trainer (that’s you) and a client. This type of customized contract differs from more general service contracts because it focuses specifically on fitness instruction and coaching. It details the professional relationship for services a trainer agrees to provide in exchange for compensation from your client. These documents are extremely important for clarifying all policies, procedures, terms and conditions, assumptions of risk, and other expectations for working together.

An effective personal training contract protects all parties involved and sets transparent ground rules from day one. This prevents unwanted surprises or confusion later on that could negatively impact your biz or your client’s progress. 

What a personal training contract should include

How To Make A Personal Training Contract

Crafting a solid trainer-client agreement is vital for making sure you and your trainees are humming the same tune. Below are what should be in a coaching contract and 10 pro tips for writing up a personal trainer contract that rocks:

Lay Out your Training Package Clearly

Be super specific about every service you’ll provide—individual coaching meetings, meal plans, exercise programs—the whole shebang. Spell out important stuff like how long each personal training session is, where and when you’ll meet for the training sessions any bonus materials you’ll throw in, and when you will terminate the contract.

Providing sections outlining every detail helps to prevent messy surprises and hurt feelings later if a client thinks they are getting less than you promised to provide. Ward off confusion about what your services include by putting it all in black and white up front. That way, your clients know exactly what to expect from the get-go, and there’s no room for misinterpretation.

Set Policies for Payment Amounts and Schedules

Be straightforward in outlining specifics like the training package and payment plan attached to each session.

Always include any package discount options if offered, which payment methods are accepted, when payments are due, and how your refund policy kicks in. Providing adequate transparency around pricing and payment processes upfront prevents billing confusion or disagreements from arising later down the road.

Establish Scheduling Protocols and Policies

The next vital portion of your client contract must clearly establish scheduling protocols and policies so both parties understand expectations from the jump. Define how you handle situations like late cancellations, no-shows, rescheduling needs, session transfers or sharing between clients, scheduling conflicts arising, and approved vacation days. Providing detailed clarity around scheduling logistics upfront prevents confusion, disappointment, or frustration from arising later down the road.

Have Liability Release Forms and Medical Questionnaires Completed

For safety purposes, have your clients sign a clear release of liability forms, accepting they voluntarily take on known risks. Outline each of the safety measures taken to promote physical injury-free training sessions while stating common issues like strains, pulls, or minor bruising that could occur.

You can also ask your clients to detail relevant medical conditions and agree to alert you if certain exercises could worsen their existing health issues, so you can hold harmless sessions. Encourage and mandate them to adhere strictly to the rules to remain injury-free. And finally, revise waivers annually as health changes.

Define Usage Guidelines for Equipment or Studio Spaces

Usage guidelines require clarity if clients access equipment or private studio spaces for sessions. Detail safe handling rules, fees in case of damage, and prohibited activities to prevent issues. Hold a basic orientation class for your new clients so they can familiarize themselves with the norms and procedures for each training session. It also gives clients the chance to ask questions if they feel unsure about something! Also, define the exact location for their personal training, be it your gym, their home, public parks, rented studios, etc.

Address Disciplinary Policies for Inappropriate Behaviors

Disciplinary protocols for inappropriate behavior must be addressed in each personal training contract. Governing bodies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) encourage a training environment that’s safe and respectful for both the trainers and trainees.
List actions to be taken if clients breach conduct, including harassment or violations. State the number of strikes each client can get before contract termination is necessary. Don’t forget to state whether or not deposit refunds are possible and contest evidence protocols.

Provide Substitute Trainer Options with Terms

Acknowledge that clients likely won’t train with you exclusively long-term for one reason or the other. Build trust by stating that potential substitute trainers are pre-vetted to fill in when needed. Share their qualifications and experiences, the notification process when you can’t make sessions, any rate differences, and other relevant information. Also, give stand-ins legal clearance to train clients, handle payments, and view private information when subbing in. This provides comfort in your absence.

Protect Client Details from Prying Eyes

Custom training plans require collecting personal information like health conditions, medical history, etc. Reassure clients that this sensitive data remains fully classified per regulation.

Confirming you take privacy seriously builds trust to openly share without reservations. This level of care ensures suitable program suitability all around.

Include a Dispute Resolution Clause

People hardly schedule sessions with the intent of quarreling with the other party, but sometimes clients and trainers don’t see eye-to-eye. When disagreements pop up, have a plan for making things right again! In the case of a snag, the termination of a contract doesn’t have to be the only resolution!

Lay out clear steps you both promise to take, like sitting down to chat, calling in a neutral third-party mediator, or going the legal route as a last resort. Prevent disputes from spiraling into fights or expensive lawsuits by mapping how you plan to resolve them. It shows you want to handle conflicts fairly and nip them in the bud.

Sign on the Dotted Line and Provide Sufficient Copies

As you would with other kinds of contracts, leave room for signatures from everybody involved, with the effective date signed too, to make it official. Ensure you get their informed consent in writing and duly signed. Then give your clients fully signed copies of the contract, both digital and on paper, after it’s done. Safekeep your own business copies, showing their signatures to prove the agreement too. This locks things down legally and keeps everyone on the same wavelength.

Create solid client agreements
Lay the groundwork for your online biz success

One of the best things you can do as a new trainer is create rock-solid client agreements. I know, legal stuff isn’t the most exciting thing. But trust me, it lays the groundwork for awesome trainer-client relationships built on trust and professionalism.

By mapping out your services, prices, logistics, safety protocol, etc. upfront, you manage expectations and avoid surprise-induced headaches. Clients will feel way more secure investing in your training sessions when the terms are laid out upfront in writing. And you protect yourself legally too. So, it’s a win-win all around!

Sam Vander Wielen Template Shop

And you’ve got me in your corner to take your biz to new heights! With my expertise in helping entrepreneurs launch thriving online training brands and resources like customizable legal templates, I’ll guide you each step of the way. I’ll also show you other contracts you may need to protect your business.

Want the inside scoop? Check out my podcast episodes, blogs, and Ultimate Bundle® for the A-to-Z business blueprint. It’s packed with pro tips so you can dodge newbie mistakes and build a stellar brand.

You don’t have to figure this out alone! I’m here to support your success at every step, so let’s connect. 


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