I am a relatively new trainer and am wondering how to handle the odd case where I meet with a potential client who really needs personal training and is 100% ready to commit, but absolutely cannot afford my services.
Hear me out- today I met with a young woman who is obese and having severe knee pain. Her doctor has told her that she must lose weight through diet and exercise to treat the pain. Without going into detail, she is severely economically challenged. After meeting her and conducting an assessment, I’ve determined that it is a good match. However, she cannot afford personal training at all. I would hate to deny her help just because she can’t pay. Have any of you set up a type of scholarship or trained someone for free for a long period of time? I was thinking of doing an exchange- if she would let me post monthly before and after photos and write about her experience, I could offer her my services at low or no cost.
What’s your take? I tend to be a big softie, and it doesn’t work out to well for me financially but I’m trying to find a silver lining or solution here…
It’s a sweet thing to do but you want to consider how it might impact your business. Here’s a list of points to consider:
1. You would want to schedule your sessions during what would normally be your down time. Your client would need to be flexible to change her appointment time if other paying clients want her spot, as well as around any other appointments you have.
2. Your client would need to be fully committed. No excuses. She should make an extra effort to make all sessions she schedules with you. You could institute a policy that if she doesn’t show she owes you a regular session rate, or if she misses too often then your offer is off the table so you can work with another person in similar position (or perhaps paying clients).
3. Results should be mandatory. One of the main incentives for her to keep training; and if she’s not willing to put in the work to make necessary physical, dietary and lifestyle changes than why would you want to keep training her?
4. She should be willing to write a review for you after some time when she’s seen results and some positive changes, and act as a reference as well. As you mentioned periodic pictures or other means to demonstrate her improvement would be a great idea.
5. You could also institute a time frame that you’ll be working with her; such as 6 months or whatever time frame you feel appropriate. You could even repeat with someone else in need of personal training who is in a similar financial position.