Whether you're at the start of your personal training career or have been training clients for years, having a solid personal training agreement your clients can sign will be fundamental for successful client care and managing expectations regarding your services.
You might think that agreeing to terms only verbally should be enough for both parties. However, it's easy to forget what was said exactly and can provide a reason for tension and frustrations in future on both sides. If you're the type of trainer who aims to be flexible and accommodating, you may end up with recurring cancellations, having to chase after payments or disputes that might affect your reputation.
In this blog post, we'll be discussing what personal trainers might want to include in their PT agreements so their relationship with clients is built on professionalism and mutual understanding of how sessions, payments and future correspondence will be managed.
If you wish to you can build your agreement in PT Distinction and have it filled out and signed by your clients from inside your app. To do this go to Library > Forms and questionnaires > Add.
Introduce the agreement during consultsMost personal trainers will have an initial consultation with their clients before enrolling them on a fitness program. This is where you can establish rapport, discuss goals, and determine if you're a good fit for working together.
The consultation is also an excellent opportunity to introduce future clients to your personal training terms and conditions and explain that you'll need them to sign a personal trainer agreement to confirm they're happy with those terms. So what should you include in your terms and conditions?
#1. Setting professional boundaries and managing expectationsYou can add an intro section where you detail what you expect from the client when it comes to your work together, the commitment it requires to see results, and the importance of disclosing any information that might affect how you plan their workouts.
Think of managing their expectations in terms of results, what they need to do to succeed and what may happen if they don't follow your instructions. You might also want to include that if they withhold any information about their health, you may not be able to help them. Feel free to refer to the PAR-Q and health assessment forms and mention that you'll need to know about any changes in future.
#2. Pricing plans and paymentsYou can include the relevant packages in this section or detail the plan your client decides to take. Don't forget to detail the program's features, so the clients know exactly what they get for the price and add whether it's a one-off payment or a monthly direct debit.
Ensure that you clarify accepted payment methods and how their payments will be processed. You may want them to sign an agreement form if you're going to charge them every month via GoCardless or PayPal, for instance. Remember to specify what they can do to cancel that payment with you.
Also, consider including start dates for services rendered, cancellation periods after the first session and any fees associated with missed appointments or cancellation by you or the client.
#3. LogisticsYour agreement could include how often personal training sessions will take place and whether you meet in person or online.
Additionally, you could consider detailing how often you review their plan and whether they get access to you via face-to-face, phone or email check-ins if you provide online fitness programs.
Whether you work in person or online, it's also essential to clarify who'll be in charge of ensuring you have the required equipment available for your sessions and that they're maintained and fit-for-purpose. If your clients come to you, this would be you. If you are a mobile personal trainer, you can bring your equipment or use your clients' home gym.
With online clients, you'll need to decide what you need your clients to have available to join your services. You might also want to identify any tech requirement that both parties will need so you can deliver your online personal training services as intended. Think of a computer, camera, software and a stable broadband connection.
#4. Session scheduling, cancellations and no showsThis section will let your clients know how to schedule sessions, consultations, or assessments with you. There are plenty of ways personal trainers manage their schedules. The best solution here is the one that makes your and your clients' lives easier.
If you have scheduling software, describe how clients can get access and what they need to do to request, modify or cancel sessions. The same goes for email or text schedules as well. Ensure you let them know if there's a cut-off time for bookings and cancellations and what happens if they fail to cancel on time or don't show up for an appointment.
Don't forget to mention your cancellation process and whether you offer them anything if you end up cancelling too late, like an extra session for free. Prepare clients for times when you might become ill, injured or go on holiday so they know in advance whether another trainer will cover their session for the time being or you leave them with workouts they can do at home or a gym of their choice. These details may seem unimportant but managing those expectations early on can make a difference in your clients' experience.
#5. Terminating the agreementConsider having a clause in your agreement that states what happens if either party wishes to end their professional relationship with each other. You can include the length of the notice you expect them to give you before ending services. Alternatively, an 'informal' termination clause allows either party to terminate services immediately without giving notice. Sometimes life can throw unexpected circumstances at you or your clients that need an immediate change of plans, and some trainers prefer to allow themselves and clients to have that option when required.
ConclusionIf you're unsure about any of the above, it may be worthwhile finding a specialist legal firm to draft up your agreement or contract for you to ensure that both parties are covered legally without being out of pocket financially.
As with anything written down, there are always two sides to an argument, so these points are just that - points that should be considered when formulating your agreement. Therefore, they are not exhaustive but could help cover some key areas which could present problems in the future between you and your client if they were not included within your PT Agreement