In Home Personal Trainer Safety
I work for a new start-up Personal Training company in Minneapolis, MN. We are doing in-home training services, in addition to in-gym and in-business services. One of our concerns is sending our trainers, particularly female trainers, into people's homes that we have only had minimal to no contact with beforehand. Has anyone else found a good way to keep themselves or the trainers on their staff safe in situations like this?
I have done all of the above for many years. There are a couple of ways to get help with this. One is to get as much information as possible regarding the clients before you send a trainer to their location. Either meet with them in a public location for your first meeting or get them on the phone and ask those questions regarding their background history, if any there are other people might be living with them, parking space available and how far from their place, any security systems present at their location, ask them to give you any references you could check about them (personal and/or professional), etc. You or your trainer can drive by their place and scope the neighborhood beforehand if needed. The other option is to partner up with an agency that does background checks for any potential criminal history in their past and have it done before going to their location. You don't have to do this for everyone, but only for those who you might have any concerns about it. If at the end of the day you or your trainer don't feel comfortable going to those locations, then it's ok to decline taking this person as a client.
I hope this helps.
Whenever I have a new male client, my husband follows me over in his car, discreetly.
We have a text signal once I feel ok with the client.
Male, female, child, it does not matter. We must always be on guard, as we do not know what we are stepping into. Use common sense and learn self defense. Also, trust that gut feeling.
personally, I would not go initially to a new client's home, particularly male, if he had no connection to any of my existing clients.
Since you mention that you are sending trainers who may not even have talked to the prospective client, I would definitely make the initial contact only with the trainer AND another person. But you have to empower the trainer to say 'no' if there are red flags for him or her even if the person tagging along does not notice them.
And as Michael mentioned, the concern also exists for male trainers, even though the issue there is more one of perceived sexual harassment.
Upon learning a bit about their background, I would make my determination whether or not I would send my employees into that environment.
For some, I've offered training them in a park, or other public place, if I'm still uncertain. I also, always have my phone with me and let someone else know where I am and when I'm leaving.
I also like Jocelyn's suggestion that meeting in a public place is a good way to get an initial impression. Perhaps invest in a one-day visit to a local gym is another idea to consider.
I've only been doing in-home training for about a year, and every one of my at-home clients I've met in public first. If I'm ever asked to train someone I don't know, I'll refer back to this!