If your child is sick and you need to cancel clients at the last minute, do you offer anything to make up for it?
Before my son, I used to be really flexible with late cancellations b/c I have so many moms as clients. Everyone had 12 hours to cancel without losing the session. If they cancelled withing the 12 hours, I'd charge $25. It was the only way I was able to keep many of the moms training since otherwise they'd be broke!
Now that I'm a mom, I'm obviously going to have to cancel when my son is sick and can't go to daycare, probably morning of. Should I offer any consolation, like $25 off their next session, a free session, etc.? FYI I'm sole practitioner and work out of my house. All of my clients are very long-term.
First I am not a parent, however this is a universal issue for any trainer as emergencies of all types happen. My policy is this, if I cancel last minute for the purposes of an emergency I will over a discount or a free a session at the end of the package. If I cancel within 24hrs I will not offer this if I can make up the session with in the same week. If I can not because their schedule does not allow or mine doesn't I usually offer the same discount or free session. This is the cost of maintaining relationships. If you are able to give more then 24 hours then it is just a normal rescheduling.
I aslo base the way I handle this situations on frequency. If for whatever unfortunate reason this happens to the SAME client more then once I may react differently.
I hopes this helps,
When my first son was born and I was still running my own training and teaching business I went through some of the same issues. The first thing I did was to try to avoid the occasion to have to cancel. My mom was able to (no, was falling over to be allowed to)come twice a week and stay with my son. I set as much as possible during those days (which were pretty long), especially if it involved travel. I prepared my yoga students to understand that there would be classes where he would be in the back area of our practice, and that I understood if they wanted to go to another studio. I did not loose a single student, and I still have a lovely memory of him when he was crawling crawling over to examine someone's red toenails and everyone laughing. That was a long time ago. I also taught and saw clients during times my husband was able to be home. That also had the side benefit of them getting extra time together. The very few times I had to cancel I did offer a choice of a longer session, or an extra one, or a discount.
Whatever policy you decide on, having a policy in place is really helpful. And learning to be flexible to your 'new normal'. Due to the nature of my husband's work, and a move away from family and support network, and other factors, I took a number of years off. But there is no one path, or no one best path.
Enjoy your child. Mine are 16 and 14 now and I would not trade having had them, even with the teen years, for anything.
I hope that this helps.