Being a personal trainer can be highly rewarding in several ways.
Besides a paycheck, personal trainers get the satisfaction of helping people reach their fitness goals and develop a healthier way of life. If you’re a fitness enthusiast and a people person, personal training can be a great way to share your passion. However, you can’t neglect the business side of your career. Being organized is the best way to keep your business operations running smoothly.
There are three main elements to staying organized as a personal trainer: accounting, insurance, and contracts. Here’s what you need to know:
Technically, business bookkeeping is the process of recording financial information, while accounting is the process of analyzing it. The two terms are often used interchangeably, though, especially in small businesses. Fortunately, using software such as QuickBooks or Xero can automate most of the process.
In the excitement of starting your personal training business, it’s easy to forget about business insurance. Yet insurance is your line of defense when something goes wrong. Next Insurance offers personal trainer insurance that is carefully tailored to meet your needs.
Personal Training Contracts
A strong, clear personal training contract should be non-negotiable.
Verbal agreements can easily be misunderstood or misremembered, leading to a lot of back and forth. At best, you may lose clients and even suffer from a loss of reputation. At worst, you could face non-payment, frequent client cancellations, and even potential lawsuits.
Your personal training contract protects your clients as well. Without it, clients may be unsure what the expectations are regarding payments, sessions, and missed appointments. The more a client understands what to expect, the better your professional relationship will be.
What Should I Include in a Personal Training Agreement?
The contract between personal trainer and client should set out all obligations and limitations for both parties. This establishes clear expectations from the outset. At a minimum, it should include:
Rates and Packages
Personal trainers offer many different options for clients. You might charge an hourly rate for individual sessions. You might offer packages with a specific number of sessions at a discount. You might offer a monthly contract for a certain number of sessions per month. Whatever plan the client chooses, clearly spell out the details. If the client purchases a block of sessions, explain how long the package is valid before the remaining sessions expire.
The contract should clearly state the payment requirements for the designated package. For example, you might bill for individual sessions at the start of each appointment, or require payment in full for a block of sessions at the time of purchase. Also explain which payment methods you accept, such as cash, electronic funds transfer (EFT), or major credit cards.
Scheduling and Cancellations
Explain how appointments are scheduled. Does the client need to call whenever she is ready for an appointment? Do you use automatic scheduling software to schedule appointments on a regular basis? How often are these appointments scheduled—three times per week? Twice a month? How can the client change a scheduled appointment?
Also, put your cancellation policy in writing. Do you need 24 hours notice? What happens if the client cancels at the last minute? Will he be charged for the whole session? Part of a session? What if the client is late? Can she do a partial session in the remaining time, or is the appointment automatically cancelled? A firm personal training agreement for scheduling ensures that no miscommunication takes place.
What happens if the client wants to cancel the contract? How much notice is required? Can the client get a refund for unused sessions? Also consider what factors might cause you to cancel the contract, such as non-payment or chronically missed appointments. Lay out these factors in the contract, along with what the client can expect if you terminate the contract.
Should I Change My Personal Trainer Client Contract at Renewal?
In general, it’s best to avoid making significant changes to the contracts you have with existing clients. They have come to rely on the terms specified in their original contract, and changing them could make your clients uncomfortable.
Of course, there are times when change is inevitable. You may need to raise prices, or you may find that certain parts of the contract simply no longer work for your business. In these cases, schedule a time to sit down with the client and review the changes. Explain your rationale, and be prepared to answer questions.
Consider negotiating any clauses that truly make the client feel uncomfortable. For example, a single parent might not like a new clause that automatically cancels appointments if they are 15 minutes late because last-minute emergencies are not uncommon with children. You will generally find that most clients are reasonable if you treat them with respect and make them feel that their input is valuable.
A personal trainer client contract is not a substitute for a personal trainer waiver form. While it never hurts to touch on liability in the contract, it is extremely important to also have clients sign a separate waiver. The waiver protects you from being sued if the client is injured during training. Your liability insurance protects you from accidents during training, like dropping a weight on a client’s foot, but not from injuries that directly arise from training, like tearing a rotator cuff while lifting weights.
Other important forms include the standardized PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire) and a fitness assessment form. These documents will help you assess whether it is safe for the person to begin personal training, and help you develop a customized plan based on individual fitness. You should also provide a goal setting form, as well as a consent form.
Sample Personal Training Contracts for Clients
Every personal trainer is different, and it is best to work with your attorney to draft a personal training contract that is customized to your business. If you want to do it yourself, though, these samples can help you get started:
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Personal Training Contract
- Rocket Lawyer Sample Personal Training Agreement
Strong Contracts Equal Strong Results
Personal training can be an exciting and rewarding career.
When you are working directly with people, though, it is important to make sure communication is clear. A well-written personal training contract protects both you and the client by holding you both accountable.