Have you trained a client over a long period of time at no charge or set up a scholarship?
I am a relatively new trainer and am wondering how to handle the odd case where I meet with a potential client who really needs personal training and is 100% ready to commit, but absolutely cannot afford my services.
Hear me out- today I met with a young woman who is obese and having severe knee pain. Her doctor has told her that she must lose weight through diet and exercise to treat the pain. Without going into detail, she is severely economically challenged. After meeting her and conducting an assessment, I've determined that it is a good match. However, she cannot afford personal training at all. I would hate to deny her help just because she can't pay. Have any of you set up a type of scholarship or trained someone for free for a long period of time? I was thinking of doing an exchange- if she would let me post monthly before and after photos and write about her experience, I could offer her my services at low or no cost.
What's your take? I tend to be a big softie, and it doesn't work out to well for me financially but I'm trying to find a silver lining or solution here...
this situation is particularly tempting for a rather new trainer who does not yet have many clients, and there is nothing wrong with training someone under those circumstances. I would still try to come up with some form of exchange, maybe a very reduced rate of training. I would also limit the length of the commitment on your part so that you have a defined end date. It should not end up to be a 'long period of time'.
After all, we all know MANY people who can benefit greatly from personal training but who cannot afford it, and you need to decide where you draw the line. What if a second person asks for the same deal, and then another? What do you do then? You also need to keep in mind that someone may ask you for training at a normal rate at the very times of training you have agreed to with your non-paying client.
I wish you well.
1. You would want to schedule your sessions during what would normally be your down time. Your client would need to be flexible to change her appointment time if other paying clients want her spot, as well as around any other appointments you have.
2. Your client would need to be fully committed. No excuses. She should make an extra effort to make all sessions she schedules with you. You could institute a policy that if she doesn't show she owes you a regular session rate, or if she misses too often then your offer is off the table so you can work with another person in similar position (or perhaps paying clients).
3. Results should be mandatory. One of the main incentives for her to keep training; and if she's not willing to put in the work to make necessary physical, dietary and lifestyle changes than why would you want to keep training her?
4. She should be willing to write a review for you after some time when she's seen results and some positive changes, and act as a reference as well. As you mentioned periodic pictures or other means to demonstrate her improvement would be a great idea.
5. You could also institute a time frame that you'll be working with her; such as 6 months or whatever time frame you feel appropriate. You could even repeat with someone else in need of personal training who is in a similar financial position.
All the points Karin and Jonathan made are excellent. However, keep in mind that this is how you have decided to make a living. I have given clients 1 or 2 free sessions in the past, but I have never trained anyone for a long period of time for free. I understand this is a unique case, but if you do it for one then why not for others?
Maybe if you decide to take her as a client, it would be a great idea and opportunity for you to make a contact with her physician and establish a professional relationship with him/her. If you do a good job with this patient of theirs, you could earn some credibility and have the doctor (or the office they are working at) to keep referring you future clients who will need your help. This way you giving your time wasn't for nothing (as far as $$ goes).
Frankly, people say they don't have the money but in fact it's just a matter of re doing how they spend what they spend.
I had a client give up her two time a day trip to Starbucks and fast food and now she pays me instead.
Money is a motivator.
As a trainer it's important to value your services.
From time to time, if someone wants to train but can't afford me, I have them recruit a sufficient amount of friends that will pay and then they can train for free. But not in a one on one situation.
Am I my brothers keeper? What kind of person & professional am I? (ask self)
B4 the dollar, we still engaged each other in business propositions and exchanges of services, now should be no different...
I am of the opinion that "cash rules everything around me but, NOT ME" Doesn't mean I play the fool either. Universal law says to receive you MUST be willing to give and self sacrifice (your time) is sacrifice!
You are not like everyone else or are you? This person may be a blessing/positive for you. A loving, caring heart is a rare thing these days, be cautious of nay sayer's and let YOUR continence be your guide. You can only account for self.
When I did legal work I was instructed to leave my feelings out of my work and later I had instance to see why I was offered such advice. Be creative in all of your dealings with your prospects & clients. They use the same senses you do...
The heart & mind work TOGETHER for the good of man. Each on their own are subject to external forces with the power sway us away from CHARITY, LOVE & COMPASSION...
If they are serious I'm sure you both can find ways to make sure you are compensated in some form 4 your expertise & time.
1.) Make sure there is a deadline for this rate. Maybe even monthly if certain checkpoints are met.
2.) Train in a group not one on one. When you get busy you may find yourself resenting that hour and not valuing it that much yourself because you are not being rewarded for your work.
3.) Sometimes when you say no, they come up with the money. Or a different time. Don't let them work you over too much. You should have some boundaries on your time and money.
4.) It's fun to bring in a client like that from time to time. If you get the right person in on a deadline they can really fire up your other clients because they are hungry for results.