We chose to hire trainers as independent contractors at our community rec center. We have four excellent trainers under contract already, but I frequently have other trainers approach me about training here. My loyalty is to my current trainers, and I don’t want to completely saturate our gym with trainers and make it hard for all of them to fill a schedule. The latest argument was that a potential trainer has two of our members he wants to train and if he doesn’t train them here, he’ll take them somewhere else. I am just curious what other managers do – do you limit how many trainers you will hire on? What do you say to those who claim they will take members away? I don’t really want to open our doors to any and everyone so it becomes a free for all. Any tips would be great!
since you have the trainers as independent contractors, you really do not HIRE them but have a contractual agreement that allows them to train at your club. Since they are independent, I am wondering why you are concerned about their ability to fill their schedules. And since you allow some to train, why would you deny others to train there, particularly when there are members of your club who want to be trained by that person. It makes sense to me that that trainer would try to find another place to train them.
I would not necessarily throw open the doors but I do not see what argument you would have if a member approaches you with wanting to be trained by an independent trainer who is not one of the ones who are working at your facility.
If you had personal trainers on staff and no independent trainers at all, that would be a different situation.
In part I do agree that if you are bringing in Personal Trainers as contract employees, then restricting a member from choosing an outside trainer is a gray area. But I have operated and know of other studios/facilities that have limited the number of contract employees. The logic for me and for others includes many variables, but one of the most influential is that having too many trainers in the space at one time restricts what they can accomplish and what your members not working with a trainer can do in the space. I would tell trainers coming to you at this point that you are evaluating the logistics of having additional trainers, which you should be doing anyway.
Now. The trainer that came to you and threatened to take members away is very troubling to me. This is very unprofessional. As a trainer, they are supposed to work under a code of ethics which includes respecting the member/facility relationship of existing fitness professionals. While there is no actual restriction against what they are doing, it is not an indicator of good character.
I have had trainers attempt to wedge their way into my facilities in the past with this type of tactic. I politely turned them down and immediately spoke with the clients in question to tell them that I would miss them and their business if they were to leave. And that they would always be welcome back if things didn’t work out. I never bad mouth another trainer, even if I feel they are unethical. Some have left the gym, some didn’t. But I can’t let outside trainers dictate how I run my facility. And this type of behavior is an indicator that there will be issues in the future.
Hello Kelly Serfas Bower,
I would go with my gut on this one. Is the trainer in question NCCA certified or better? I personally would not threaten anyone which makes me wonder, what are their motives? An idea for you: I have trained in facilities with the agreement to pay a portion of my earnings to the facility.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
I absolutely agree with every argument and reasoning of Martin. I was actually going to type out the same logics and reasons.
Giving-in to trainers who threaten to pull away your members is definitely not an option. This would also set a bad example to other outside trainers and draw even more such cases.
The number of trainers you hire on contract for your gym should depend on this analysis and the area of of the “personal training section” in your gym. Evaluate how many members you have, what are their goals – ratio of those requiring personal training to those who prefer working out on their own.
On the other hand, (upon statistical analysis of number of such cases and members who are in favor) if you figure that there is a substantial number of such requests, you can actually utilize this as a prospective secondary business area.
If so, you could think about having two different policies – one for trainers on contract with your gym and another for freelancers (outside trainers). The latter would have limited hours of access to your facility with the sole purpose of training their respective members, and in return they would pay you a certain percentage of their earnings (as a rent for using your space).
Let me know if this was helpful!