I’ve been working at this studio/gym as an independent contractor. Recently, I received an amendment that I am supposed to sign and return. However, there was one specific item that I did not feel very comfortable about and wanted to see what your inputs/opinions are on whether it is fair, valid, or something that’s used in practice?
The particular clause is:
“I would like to move forward with your weekly client schedules on the wall in the office ASAP. I have noticed there has not been many late cancelations. Clients have a 24 window to cancel, they can use 3 late cancels a year for sick days. The same rules apply to you if you’re sick. If you late cancel on a client you owe them a free lesson. When this happens, you owe [STUDIO] the money it should have made for those 2 lessons. I will be sending an email out to all current clients informing them of this. This is stated in the waiver they sign and posted above the binders. For your peace of mind verbally inform them upon sign up.”
Thanks. I’m interested to hear what other industry professionals, both studio owners and trainers, think about this.
Karen has a very good point about the difference between employee and independent contractor. It’s a facts and circumstances test that isn’t just determined by the contract between the parties. The more control the location has over you and your work product, the higher the chance that the IRS and local law will determine your status as an employee instead of an independent contractor.
And back to my first point…
Contracts are negotiable. Since you’ve been there for 2 years and things are going great, your voice in this situation could be valuable to them. “Hey, I’ve been here for 2 years and the only cancellations I’ve ever had were for legitimate emergencies. Emergencies happen once in a while to everyone. If I were missing sessions and showing up late habitually, I can see how you might want to have a no-show policy in place. However, it seems punitive to put a policy in place when the only situation I’d be missing class on short notice is already a really terrible one.”
It just seems like this policy says, “If you break a leg, not only will we charge you rent for the missed class while you were on your way to the hospital, but you’ll also have to give away a free session to the client and pay us for that, too!”
I was reading through the previous answers and your comments to them. One thing struck me is that you describe yourself as an independent contractor. You may think so but this is not how the arrangement is between you, the gym and the clients. If you were independent, then any cancellation policy would be just between you and your client and you could deal with it as you choose.
I would ask the gym for a clarification about this clause. Those things are usually put into arrangements when there have been incidences with one trainer, which prompted a generic rule. But I would also ask about your own status as an independent. They are treating you as an employee.
Another thought is, what is the length of the existing contract you have with your rental place? If, for example, you have a contract for a year, then you might be able to assert that your initial contract is good for the remainder of the contract period and that you and the rental agency are bound to that contract until it expires.
If it were me, I wouldn’t sign it. How important is this rental space to you? How often do you miss sessions?