The Whats and Whys Of Client Onboarding

Client Onboarding - What You Need To Know.

minute read
If you’re not confident in your onboarding systems, or you don’t have any at all, it’s time to get serious about how you get new clients started.

What is client onboarding?

Onboarding is a crucial part of the early relationship with a new client. It doesn’t include advertising, pitching, or sales calls. Onboarding begins when a client agrees to work with you. As such, onboarding should answer any potential question someone has about being your client.

Why is onboarding important to get right?

A streamlined, user-friendly onboarding process will make a great first impression on a new client. We’ve all had experiences with a new product or service that just felt easy. That’s how onboarding should feel to your client. Easy, straightforward, zero hassle.

Onboarding is an important part of any sales process. Make sure your client knows how to contact you and pay you, how to book and cancel, where to find their programmes and resources, what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. And do it all in a way that makes them feel seen, heard, and excited to get started!

Is your onboarding process super slick, but you're struggling to find clients? We get it. If you're on the gym floor check out our guide to approaching and converting clients, if you're a facility owner take a peak at our top tips for getting new clients through the door.

Getting Clients In The Gym

8 Ways To Attract Clients To Your Local Fitness Facility

What should fitness client onboarding include?

Onboarding can be done in-person during a meeting, or online using videos, forms, and documents. Obviously the easiest way – for you as well as for the client – is to have it all in one place in a streamlined system

Client information

Gather detail about the client – the reasons behind their goals, their background, and any previous challenges, what they struggle with and why.


Onboarding should include PAR-Q and other assessments, measurements, or physical information.


Establish and agree the boundaries of the trainer/client relationship. What do you expect from them and what can they expect from you. This should include communication channels, hours of work (including messaging), cancellation and refund policies, and any other Terms & Conditions. The most watertight way to do this is by signing an agreement.

Client expectations

Use onboarding to show them how to be a client. If you’d like them to keep a food diary or other records, let them know how you’d like them to be kept and sent. Tell them how often they will be reviewed and what the feedback process looks like. If your client needs to use an app to book sessions, make sure they’re set up and know how to use it. Make sure they know how to pay for and book sessions (whether via an app or not). Include any other information about your sessions.

Level up your onboarding

Think about giving clients something special at onboarding. This might include branded merch or discounts to relevant brands. Tell them about any upcoming socials or events, or anything fun that your client can be included in.

It's important that clients continue to feel valued beyond your onboarding process, if you're not sure how then take a look at How To Make Your Clients Feel Special.

How to present your client onboarding process

Yes, onboarding gives you a lot to think about. But here’s the good part – you only have to do it once. And if you design it well, your clients will be able to complete their side with minimal input from you.

Step 1: collate everything that needs to happen in your onboarding process. Think about client information, forms and documents, boundaries, and expectations from both sides.

Step 2: brainstorm FAQs that a client might ask about payments, bookings, sessions, and any other aspect of your working relationship. Make sure these are covered.

Step 3: decide how you are going to run your onboarding process. Will it be in-person? Online via a video call? Will you record some short explainer videos to guide clients through some of the process?

Step 4: Think about creating a welcome pack with everything they need to know, including FAQs and any bonus extras like discount codes.

The beauty of an onboarding process is you only need to design it once, and if done well it will require minimal intervention from you as your client completes it

Streamline client onboarding with a welcome pack

A branded welcome pack is a great way to keep all the client-facing elements of the onboarding process in one place.

Not sure how to turn everything you need into a welcome pack? Check out our quick guide “Client Onboarding Essentials”. It’s free, practical, and comprehensive - and won’t take forever to read!

Get it here: Client Onboarding Essentials

Not ready yet? Discover how Striive can help you here.

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