What is a personal trainer contract?
A personal trainer contract is a legally binding agreement between a personal trainer and their client. It details everything from the number of training sessions to cost, invoice dates, liabilities, and insurance obligations.
The agreement will differ slightly depending on if the personal trainer works for themselves or is a contractor at a gym. Still, some elements—such as liability releases, assumption of risk, and termination details—should be included in every contract.
Note: Sign-up now to start creating your free personal trainer contractor agreement. It has all the basic elements you’ll need to get going, and it’s been written and reviewed by top lawyers.
Why you need a personal trainer contract
A personal trainer contract is essential for both parties as it lays out in black and white what the terms and conditions of the personal trainer/client relationship will be.
Without a personal trainer contract, it's difficult for the client to know exactly what they're paying for. Agreements are beneficial for the personal trainer, too—If the trainer has sold the client a specific training package (2x 60-minute sessions for six weeks), it's better to have this in writing, so the client doesn't ask for more sessions.
Personal trainer contracts also help protect both parties legally and financially. If a client doesn't show up for a session, a provision in the contract will outline that they are still obligated to pay. The same goes for if the client gets injured during the session—the agreement will protect the trainer from liability.
So, what are the most important elements for any personal training contract agreement to make it legally binding?
What should be included in a personal training contract?
Detailed descriptions of the work
Here, a description of the personal training services to be performed, such as "sessions may include but are not limited to..." may be included along with a list of activities like weight training or aerobic conditioning to meet the client's fitness goals.
A training timeline should be specific about how long the agreement will last—whether it's ongoing or just for a block of training (i.e., 8-week boot camp.)
The timeline should also include the number of client's training sessions included, frequency (i.e., twice a week), and—if the contract is for a block of time—when the sessions will wrap up.
The personal trainer should break down how much the services will cost and the payment terms for the entire agreement.
Usually, the personal trainer will charge either per session, per hour, or package. Along with the rate, the personal trainer should also include whether the sessions or package need to be paid upfront and if they require a deposit. Here's an example:
If the client is purchasing a package (i.e., 6 x 1-hour sessions), the personal trainer may place a time restriction on when these sessions should be used (like within the next 12 months.)
This is for when a client can't make a session.
A cancellation clause outlines how much notice they need to give the personal trainer, whether or not they can reschedule, and the penalties for a no-show. This is the same for personal trainers who need to cancel a session: the contract could offer the client a credit for another session or a refund.
These clauses outline the steps either party must take to terminate the agreement.
The clause will state how much notice either party must give (i.e., seven days), how they need to give notice (like a written letter), and whether or not they need to pay a cancellation fee:
Other important elements of a personal trainer contract, like liability, indemnity, and confidentiality clauses, must be included.
These sections cover the client's obligation to notify the personal trainer of any pre-existing conditions as well as the client's fitness level, which they should acknowledge in a physical activity readiness questionnaire.
The personal trainer will also need to clarify their qualifications, risks involved with certain exercises, and equipment.
Personal trainer contract template
Instead of drafting a personal trainer contractor agreement yourself, using a template is the best way to ensure it includes all the clauses and details we've just talked about. And, it gives both parties entering into the agreement confidence that it's legally watertight.
What's the benefit of using Bonsai, instead of editing a template yourself?
Because every Bonsai contract template is legally vetted, you won't need to hire a law firm to validate whether it is binding.
Changing details like pricing, timelines, and cancellation clauses are easy as our contracts are fully customizable. The contract generator even walks you through the agreement, explaining why each section is important and offering chances to customize anything.
How to create a personal trainer contract with Bonsai
Bonsai has two ways to create a personal training agreement, either by downloading our standard PDF template or using our free contact generator.
Bonsai's templates allow you to customize each section to give clients more details about your personal training business. Once you input the basics (like the cost of the sessions), Bonsai has the option to edit specific parts of the personal trainer contract, like termination clauses and late payment fees.
Personal trainer contract FAQs
What is fair compensation for a personal trainer?
Personal trainers are compensated differently, depending on whether or not they're self-employed or contracted by a gym.
Personal trainers hired by a gym may be paid a straight percentage of revenue (i.e., $60 sessions may be split 50/50 between you and the gym) or on a sliding scale (less than five sessions a week will have a rate of $30/session, and over 15 sessions will be paid at $40/session.)
Some personal trainers, like those working for themselves, also negotiate contracts and charge more depending on their qualifications. While a client may pay a certified fitness trainer $30/hour, master fitness trainers can demand double the compensation.
How do I become an independent personal trainer?
An independent personal training qualification should be earned through a reputable organization, like the American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, or the National Federation of Personal Trainers.
Getting a qualification from an organization like this shows clients your credibility and competence when thinking about hiring you.