Get to Know Your Clients: What to Include in an Intake Form

woman receiving reiki therapy

When it comes to making a great first impression, knowing your clients’ wants and needs is crucial. Whether you’re running a hair salon, a legal consulting firm, a fitness studio, or a pet grooming service, having a detailed understanding of your client before they arrive can significantly enhance the service you provide. So how do you get to know them, before you’ve even met?

With a client intake form.

This isn’t just a piece of paper or a digital form—it’s an opportunity. With it, you’ll have the insights you need to tailor your service to each unique client and ensure they remember you for all the right reasons. Here’s what to include in an intake form that sets you up for success.

What is a client intake form?

If you’re not already familiar, a client intake form is a document used by businesses to collect important information from clients prior to their appointments. This form can be physical or digital, and is designed to capture details about the client’s needs, preferences, healthy history (if relevant), and any other information that can help you provide a personalized and effective service. We often see them at doctor’s appointments, but any business professional can use intake forms to their advantage.

How intake forms improve the client experience

More than just standard procedure, client intake forms set you up for smooth service and strong client relationships. By making them a part of your booking process, you can:

Personalize service: With the right details at your fingertips, you can customize your communications and services to cater to each client’s preferences, whether it’s their favorite hair or photography style. If you can deliver a personalized experience, you’ve taken your first step to ensuring that client comes back.

Be more efficient: Having all the necessary information upfront saves time and makes appointments more productive, allowing you to focus on delivering top-notch service rather than scrambling for details or leaving clients waiting.

Stay safe: For some businesses, especially healthcare providers, intake forms are vital for understanding any health conditions, allergies, or sensitivities that could affect service. If you capture these details early on in the patient scheduling process, you can provide a safe environment, prevent adverse reactions, and reduce risk or liability.

Build trust: A well-structured intake form shows clients you’re organized and thorough, which can enhance their trust in your services. And if you follow through with a session that’s expertly tuned to their needs, they’ll feel more valued—meaning they’ll be more likely to return and recommend you to others.

What to include in your intake form questionnaire

There are no cons to understanding your clients from the get-go. Before designing your intake form, take some time to brainstorm what details will help improve your client’s experience and ensure their needs are met. Think about questions related to their preferences, goals, and any specific requirements that will streamline the process on your end.

Though the content of your intake form will ultimately vary depending on your business, there are some universal elements that will help you get to know your clients and tailor your services.

  1. Personal information: Start with the basics: full name, phone number, and email address. If you need additional client details, such as home address, social handles, or emergency contacts, include those too. This information is essential for knowing who they are and communicating with them effectively at every step.

  2. How they found you (and why they booked): Curious what drew this new client to you? Use your intake form to find out how they discovered your business to see if your marketing is effective, or track if they were referred by another happy client. Learning more about why they chose you can also bring you closer to understanding how to support and impress them.

    How did you hear about us?

    What made you want to train with me?

    What got you interested in this program?

  3. Background, preferences, and goals: Ask service-specific questions to better understand what your clients are hoping to achieve during their time with you and gather any context you need to deliver.

    What’s the occasion (birthday, wedding, corporate event)?

    What symptoms are you having?

    What are your fitness goals (weight loss, muscle gain, general fitness)?

    What style of photography are you looking for?

    Do you have a specific location or theme in mind?

    Why are your massage goals (relaxation, stress relief, pain relief)?

    How much pressure do you prefer (light, medium, firm)?

    What is your hair length and type?

    What are your primary skin concerns?

    What type of inspection do you need (home purchase, routine maintenance)?

    Are there specific areas of concern in your home?

    What is the breed and age of your pet?

    What is the make and model of your vehicle?

  4. Health and safety information: For those in wellness, fitness, pet care, and healthcare sectors, you may need to include questions about your client’s health history. Ask about medical conditions, allergies, injuries, recent surgeries, or any other health details you should know about.

    Do you have any allergies or sensitivities?

    Are you currently taking any medications?

    Do you have any pre-existing injuries or health issues?

    How many days a week do you exercise?

    Does your pet have any behavioral issues?

    Do you have any learning disabilities we can help accommodate?

  5. Additional comments or questions: Add anything else that might be relevant to the service you provide, or ask general questions to give clients a final opportunity to clearly communicate their needs.

    Do you have any special requests or requirements?

    Is there anything else we should know to make your experience better?

  6. Client agreements: Include an option to agree to any policies you have, such as a cancellation policy, or create a separate form for legal waivers that require consent. If you make this required, clients won’t be able to proceed with their bookings unless they agree. This protects your business and ensures clients understand your terms.

    By checking this box, I confirm I have reviewed and agree to the cancellation policy.

Transform your intake process with Acuity Scheduling

By asking the right questions before appointments, you can secure the details you need to provide outstanding service for every client, every time.

With Acuity Scheduling, that’s even easier to achieve. Create custom forms for your online booking process that capture client details even while you sleep, saving you time and giving you more energy to wow them when you meet.

Ready to transform your intake process and your client relationships? Don’t wait—start a free trial of Acuity Scheduling today and see how big an impact a simple form can make.


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