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!
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.