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.
This has happened to me as well. Not very often, but it has. In cases like yours, I would let the friend train with my paying client, but at my client’s level of intensity and comfort zone. Although I feel very comfortable training clients who are in different fitness levels at the same time, in situations like yours I focus on my paying client and if the friend wants to participate (after signing a waiver) she will have to play by those rules. After the session is over, I explain to the guest that if he/she wants more individualized sessions or training they will need to have an assessment done, so I can determine their level of fitness/limitations and come up with a program that would be more appropriate for them. Also, if they still want to workout together they will have to pay the rate I charge for training 2 people together.
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.
Has happened to me many times and I’m almost always say yes. However, the newer person needs to be a similar ability level as I am left with no time to prepare for different approaches (very comfortable with two varying levels if I know ahead of time). I also take a couple minutes to get general information for the newer person before saying okay. There is a danger here of the clients not understanding the work that goes into planning and that you are not just giving them an “exercise session.” This is a personalized experience focused on their specific goals and specific physical limitations and needs.
In terms of pricing, I usually charge each person less, and Karin is right, typically that approaches a total of 50% higher (i.e normal rate of $80 each person is charged $60 for tandem).
You should never feel obligated to do anything. Your worth is your worth. If you establish what you’ve worth and charge accordingly then you are operating a business. IF you feel you need to offer a discounted rate in order to keep their business make them commit to a package.
I hope this helps, if I can clarify anything please let me know.
you do not need to feel obligated to do anything. However, most trainers will charge a different rate when two clients train together within one hour of your time since you have more preparation work for two. That rate is often 50% above your hourly rate.
I am surprised, though, that you trained them together when you were caught off guard like that. I never had that happen to me but I am pretty sure that I would not have agreed to do so.