Many people in fitness believe offering free services degrades the value of the profession. I have been one to hold such notions in the past. I’m re-thinking this idea and wonder if any independent trainers or business owners offer regular, non-binding free services to their community and how those services have affected their company?
It’s my policy to offer my clients either a free fitness assessment and a free initial consultation or two free sessions.
My philosophy is that people don’t need to pay for something that they aren’t sure about. By offering some free services, it gives people some time to think about whether or not personal training is right for them, and it gives people the opportunity to see what they’ll be getting for their money. More often than not, you can’t go wrong with offering some free services. It definitely gets you some great recommendations and leads!
I’m a big supporter of fitness education, getting paid is secondary.
It depends on what you’re trying to do.
For example, if you’re trying to get exposure for your business, volunteering your time and talents through training, workshops, etc. are all good things.
On the other hand, when it comes to directly acquiring clients, I don’t offer free fitness assessments or consultations. It’s too easy for people to take advantage of that and it generally attracts the kind of client that is going to be difficult to work with anyway (the person who always wants more for less without regard to your value).
The truth of the matter is, you’d be surprised how much more buy-in you get from people when they have to spend a little bit of money (even if that’s $20 for a workshop or seminar).
I offer free classes to our community regularly. I stick to what I am certified in and within my scope of practice. I do Intuitive Eating workshops, sports nutrition workshops, safe movement workshops, and childhood obesity workshops. I also offer my speaking services to our local City employees through lunch and learn programs and safety meetings.
I live by the fact that we are called to give of our talents and services. So far, the giving that I have done has been blessed. My last IE workshop had 21 people sign up for my next fitness camp that night. Just make sure that you don’t overstretch your availability unless you want to become a professional volunteer! 🙂 I have found that offering these services allows for much better name recognition throughout the community.
I don’t do anything for free after the first meeting/interview of the potential client.
I used to do all sorts of free things, then i got tired of people not showing for free appointments and rescheduling at the last minute. I am all for educating those who want to be educated, but I have come to the understanding that a lot of people don’t take anything that’s free serious enough and my time is too valuable to be wasted like that. Now free eBooks or workouts that don’t take away from my time are a something else entirely and can be used as marketing if done properly. I just place too much value on my very limited time.
Shawn, its good to know this didn’t only happen to me. I used to do free things as often as I could, thinking that I was promoting my business. Turns out, I was wasting precious time that I could have been dedicating to those who would dedicate themselves to what I was offering. When its free I don’t see as much seriouisness from those attending; when it is paid for… undivided attention! I still do offer free things, just not regularly and not as often.