I have fired two clients:
One who cancelled frequently; she always paid for the cancellation, but I simply found it too frustrating. She always had some type of excuse, but I finally told her to contact me again when she was ready to commit. Three years later she did contact me. I was unable to work with her then, but she did join a gym.
The other is someone who despite my frequent requests, divided her attention between her cellphone and her workout. She “needed” to talk to her high school and college age children about something almost every session (this was pre-texting; I can’t imagine what she would be like now!) (talk about helicopter parenting; her daughter was physically in school during those times, don’t know how she got away with that). I felt very disrespected, and finally told her if she could not commit to her workouts then I could not continue to work with her. She chose her phone.
Yes I would David & have on a few occasions. It’s been a while, however. They all had the same thing in common – they were constantly cancelling workouts (within my 24 hr. period) and had prime-time training slots. Someone constantly bagging a workout at 7:30 AM does me no good. That’s a prime slot & I need to get paid there – we all do. The next prospective client who wanted that time slot got it. Sometimes you just have to “cut bait” – you’ll know when.
Yes over the course of my thirty plus years as a trainer I have let quite a few clients go.
My suggestion for pre firing a client would be to set up a time to talk, ideally this is done during the initial consult and discuss/have a contract to sign/the terms and tolerance you as the trainer expect. Have the client read the contract out loud to you and sign it.
Currently I adore all of my clients, they are committed and totally into training, however, it wasn’t always like this!
I also suggest being very candid and upfront. Ask them why they hired you.
As for canceling, I charge up front, in advance.
Remember: you teach people how to treat you.
I have not yet fired a client, but have had to talk to clients about various issues and establish boundaries. I think acceptable reasons for firing would include repeated no-shows and last minute cancellations. Clients need to respect your time.
For the most part, I really do have wonderful clients. On occasion, though,
I have thought about letting one or two go. I do have some who come to their sessions for their workout, but do not exercise outside of our sessions or change their eating behaviors in order to reach their goals–and they wonder why nothing has changed. However, I still feel there is value to our sessions, as some of my clients will not work on their own. So, I continue to train them as I feel some exercise is better than none.
Behavior change is another topic, though!