The session was challenging for me as one client was at a beginners level and the other more advanced. I charged them both my customary hourly fee. I understand that some trainers offer discounted prices for training 2 people together. Should I feel obligated to offer a “special rate” in order to keep these clients? I got the impression that they thought they would be getting a discounted rate.
When setting up a business you try to think of everything that can happen and prepare for it. As you actually day to day do the work things always come up that surprise you. Those surprises are an opportunity to streamline, or rethink, or otherwise hone your business and your skills.
I do not do a ton of private sessions these days, and I do not remember an occasion when someone brought a friend, but I would say after years working with lots of people that every once in a while you will find someone who will make the most amazing assumptions. If we use a groupon that specifically says ‘new clients only’ there are always one or two that will try to use it more than once.
You might want to amend your agreement to train document to detail your policy on this. You could also send out an email to your contact list (or put it in your newsletter if you do one) to say something like “A question came up recently about shared training sessions. I thought I would just let everyone know how I handle this.” If you tell everyone upfront what the policy is, well some people will either forget, or will try to get you to do something anyway, but you can always point to the signed document and the sent email.
It might be reasonable to say that a shared session is a total that is equal to half off the second person, but is not billed individually (less accounting for you), that sharing a session can only be done with prior consent from you (due to the preparation work), And that if a new client wishes to come in with an existing one to share sessions they must book at least one private first so you have a chance to get to know them and their needs.