Re: Selling Personal Training Packages of 5, 10 and 20.
What policies should I follow on no shows who signed up for a package?
What policies should I follow for a client who cancels their contract on a 5, 10 or 20 session package, after using some of their sessions. For example, a client buys a 20 Pack, and uses 15.
I sold packages at one time some years ago. It was to stimulate clients to purchase more session and give them a chance to get more for their money. They received a written agreement to sign that included a section on refunds that stated something like, “if a refund is requested the fee per session for sessions already attended is raised to the single session rate at the time the session was attended”. This stopped people wanting to get cheaper sessions for less sessions than agreed to in the package from taking advantage of my good intentions.
I later adopted a “no refund” policy. And now I don’t sell packages of sessions. I assess clients’ needs and then present them with a plan of action to approach improving their fitness. The plan is re-evaluated continuously throughout the time that they are working with me. The clients can pay as they go or for any number of sessions at one time, but I no longer discount for multiple session purchases. Clients are charged according to how much of my time and knowledge must be utilized in developing and implementing their program. Once they agree to a program and schedule sessions on my calendar, it is agreed that they will pay for all scheduled sessions in advance and there are no refunds. The payment locks in my time and their time. Paying for sessions ahead of time secures that spot on my calendar for them, but it also inhibits me from offering that time to anyone else. If they choose to schedule one session at a time, then they have less options on when they can get on the schedule. Many opt to pay for 4 to 6 sessions at a time and purchase more again as they see the calendar filling up in the future. Clients can change dates if they need to do so, but must make changes at least 48 hours before the session to be changed. I can’t offer that time to anyone else until they inform me it needs to be changed and less notice makes it very hard for me to get someone into that spot.
I have a very “client friendly” refund policy. I basically give people a refund at any point if they don’t want to continue sessions with me. It pretty much eliminates their initial financial risk by going with me. I think I’ve refunded about $2,000 over the last 24 plus years – so it’s worked pretty well for me. However, I do in-home training and I’m coming to them – I’m not relying on them to show up. I have a 24 hr. cancellation notice policy where I don’t charge if they cancel within that time frame. However, I do make exceptions,(maybe to a fault!) especially with my good clients in cases of emergencies. Sickness – not even a question. As I said, I’ve kept it pretty “client friendly” – but you’ll know right away who’s trying to take advantage of that. They’re the clients you don’t want. Good luck Jan!
The policy you create will depend on your business, your time, and how lenient you want to be with your clients. You are running a business, so you need to have a firm no show/refund policy in place so your clients know what to expect. When I sell a package, my clients pay up front and there is no refund (I would make an exception for extenuating circumstances/medical reasons).
When my client misses a session, I allow them to make it up. Most of my clients are long term/repeat clients (and I’m lucky–also very respectful) and I know that life happens. If you have a case where someone is repeatedly canceling/no-showing, I would not allow them to make up that session–they would be charged.
You set the tone for how your clients will value your time. Be firm but fair, it’s your time!
What does your contract say? If you don’t have a written contract, that’s your first step.
Check with your state law regarding contract cancellation. Most states have a 72 hour cancellation rule where if someone buys and cancels within 72 hours, they are entitled to a full refund.
Beyond that, you want to consider whether your package will expire and when (another reason to check state law). And finally, you want to decide whether you want to make your contract non-refundable. At the gyms where I teach, a package is non-refundable, however a client can sell their package to another member. I have had one member break her wrist doing another activity, and I helped her sell her sessions to another regular client of mine and that helped both clients.