I have a client who signed up for a 6 week program with me. She was going to train with me three times a week for six weeks. Right from the get-go, I knew she was going to be difficult when she re-scheduled twice and actually tried to push our 1st session out two weeks due to being busy. I remedied that and got her to start earlier than she wanted to but she was a chronic cancelor and also was bad at communicating (wouldn’t respond to voicemails, emails and texts for days and sometimes for more than a week). We started the 6 week program in April and by July she had only completed 7 of the 18 sessions, well over the 6 weeks (we kept pushing out due to her having ‘impromptu’ travel). I finally terminated her contract and offered to refund her last installment but asked her to consider all the ‘extra work’ I did – provided her workouts to take with her when traveled, etc. She took me up on the offer and I refunded her. I don’t currently have a ‘no refund policy’ or even a ‘refund policy’ in my contracts. I want to include something that if clients don’t follow the program requirements laid out, that I reserve the right to NOT refund their money. Can I do this? Suggestions please? Thanks!
I place timelines in my contracts which state that their sessions have to be completed by a certain time. It usually allows for extra time for cancellations, sick days, unforseen events, etc. Depending on the number of sessions purchased, depends on how much time I add on. I do this mainly for group classes I offer and then I add in a no refund policy without medical release (I work with pre/post natal clients) for unused classes.
My personal training sessions typically go on a month to month basis for which I have a 24hr cancellation policy. For these clients I will offer refunds as they tend to be long term clients (6months to multiple years).
Good luck. Take it as a learning experience and change your company policies accordingly. As our business enviroments change, our companies need to change as well.
I have my clients prepay for 10 sessions/2 times per week for 5 weeks. Dates are stated start to finish on the contract.
We schedule our times when we sign the contract.
There is a no refund policy however, if they need to cancel or reschedule I do have a 48 hour cancellation policy and I do my best to get them in within the week of the day they cancel.
Your client doesn’t seem serious about her commitment. There are readiness stages outlined in ACE’s certifications. They are very helpful when determining if a client is ready to commit.
you certainly had a very strange experience, and I am sure you are better off without her.
A client like her is unusual, though, and I am wondering about the wisdom to regulate the exception. Think about it: you’ll put into your contract that you will not refund for chronic cancellations. It will make for very awkward wording and will not gain you anything. If you ever had another client like that (which I cannot imagine) and you do not refund because of your stated policy, you end up with a VERY UNHAPPY person who will smear your business any way possible.
Personally, I do not run into that problem because my clients do not pre-pay. I charge them all at the end of the month for the sessions taken and thus avoid such potential altogether.
I had an interesting situation in our fitness studio. We charge our clients a monthly membership for our group training. Clients sign a 6 month contract then it goes month to month where our policy states we must have 30 days notice to cancel. I had one client get so mad she came in purposely during a yoga session and caused a HUGE scene. This was after she sent me a NASTY (like I should show it to the police nasty) email. Once I received that I promptly refunded her money, but not soon enough because she still came in and made the scene. Few weeks later, I get someone arguing with me about the 30 day notice to cancel and just flying off the handle. I ended up not charging her either. Most of the time I draw the line at 30 days but what do you all do in these situations?
I do not know why people act the way they do sometimes. You are not the only one with problems. Take it as a compliment that you are a true business owner when you have these issues to deal with.
I charge after each personal training session. When I get payment, I return. I have also learned the hard way, that not all business is good business.
Good luck to you.