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Scheduling Deposit for Personal Training Sessions / Sports Lessons

Earlier this year I decided to start insisting on scheduling deposits because of several factors which resulted in me becoming disgusted in the behaviour of 'no shows'.

First was the issue of people who don't show up at all for a scheduled session. That means I am standing there, twiddling my fingers and waiting for them to show up - and they never show up. This means I am out time, transportation costs and annoyed at the person who didn't show up for their personal training session.

Second, for every session that someone skips, forgets, neglects there is usually one or more people who contacted me asking for that same time slot - which means not only have I had my time wasted and wasn't compensated for my time, but someone else was denied the chance to schedule their session.

From March to October my schedule gets booked pretty solid so every time a client is a 'no show' it means there is a high probability that someone else was denied the chance to be trained.

Third, by insisting on scheduling deposits this allows me to focus my efforts on the students who are serious about training / sincerely want to learn. If they skip sessions, forget to show up, etc then they are obviously not very serious about it. It also means that if a student does forget/skip a session that I am still compensated for my time.

Fourth, at some point in the future I want to expand and hire other personal trainers / sports instructors who will be working for me - which means I will be responsible for their wages. If a client doesn't show up for their scheduled session I still have to pay the personal trainer / sports instructor. This means that I would be paying for wasted time out of my own pocket with nothing to show for it. I need to decrease any chance of financial losses by ensuring clients either remember to show up for their personal training sessions and don't skip sessions on a whim.

Fifth, I have determined that clients who don't pay a deposit should not be guaranteed their time slot. If they are unwilling to pay the deposit, and someone else contacts me who is more serious and willing to pay the deposit for the same time slot then I have no reason to be financially loyal to a client who has yet to confirm their interest.

Sixth, in the past whenever a client didn't show up for their session my policy has been to "refuse service" to people who are 'no shows' because they wasted my time and I don't want to take the risk again that they might not show up to their scheduled session. (Sometimes 'no shows' ask to reschedule their lesson after the agreed upon time, or ask to reschedule with less than 24 hours notice, in which case if they haven't paid for their sessions it means I am out time that could have been spent training someone. There is no financial incentive for me to reschedule a lesson for someone who has already not shown up for an unpaid session when I could give the new time to be scheduled to someone else who is both willing to pay and willing to show up on time.)

Seventh, when dealing with people who haven't paid for their session and ask to reschedule their session less than 24 hours from the time of their session - this means someone else is denied a session that could have been scheduled during that time slot, simply because there isn't adequate time for me to contact people on my 'waiting list' and confirm their availability.

Eighth, I have determined the best policy when dealing with people is to forgive all instances of illnesses / injuries / emergencies, provided I am given adequate notice. People who later claim that they wrote their personal training session time on a note and their "dog ate it" (or similarly bogus excuses) are not given the benefit of the doubt. If it wasn't an illness, injury or emergency then I don't care what the person's excuse is. At such times I point at my Terms of Service and remind people that I require at least 24 hour advance notice to reschedule a session. Attempting to reschedule a session AFTER the session's scheduled time has already happened, means the session already happened. Which means if it wasn't paid for, then I expect to be compensated for that time, or I have the right to deny service to people who refuse to pay for my time.

See Also
Rescheduling and Missed Sessions / Cardio Trek's Terms of Service

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