Contracts allow you to do what you do best without worrying about the legalities.
Working as a personal trainer can be one of the most rewarding professions. You play an integral role in clients’ success, helping them achieve their fitness goals and adopt healthier lifestyles.
Plus, the personal trainer and fitness coach professions are on an upward trend. While they differ in nature, their demand will likely increase 19% during 2021–2031 — significantly exceeding the 5% national average and highlighting the need for personal trainers.
But how do you stand out as a professional, organized, and efficient trainer? One of the best ways to achieve this is by having a personal trainer contract. Not only does this legally protect your position, but it also establishes expectations for you and your clients from the get-go.
Learn the ins and outs of a personal trainer contract, including essential clauses and tips to avoid common mistakes.
What is a personal trainer contract?
A personal trainer contract is a legal agreement between you and a client. It outlines your services’ terms and conditions and is signed by both parties before starting sessions or exercise programs.
It’s an essential document that acknowledges the limitations and requirements of you and your clients –– whether you’re a solo trainer or employed at a company.
Why is it essential for your business?
As a personal trainer, a contract protects you and your client and provides various benefits from a legal perspective and for peace of mind. A contract mostly:
- Binds both parties legally and is enforceable in a court of law.
- Ensures both parties know expectations and responsibilities.
- Specifies payment terms, personal training services, and timelines.
- Prevents disagreements or differences of opinion.
Without a contract, you risk conflicts with clients, since the agreement’s terms aren’t explicitly written and signed upon by both parties. A detailed contract, however, ticks all the boxes, as both individuals read, acknowledge, and sign it before entering sessions.
What are a contract’s main clauses?
Now that we’ve established the importance of having a personal training contract, it’s time to explore the primary components to include in a comprehensive document. Here are a few of them:
Expectations from both parties
First and foremost, a personal training agreement specifies the trainer’s services and the client’s responsibilities.
For example, you might offer a personal training program that requires visiting a client’s home three days a week. And, once you and the client sign the agreement, you’re obligated to show up at their place at the specified time, and the client must make certain arrangements to accommodate the session in their schedule.
While keeping clients in peak physical condition is rewarding, it’s equally important to take care of the business side of things. Make sure contracts have the correct payment terms, schedules, and modes. Mention details such as charges and special packages (weekly or monthly), invoicing plans, and late fees.
Schedules and timelines
Establish working hours and session durations. Since mentioning “morning sessions” or “evening sessions” is vague and may overlap with clients’ other commitments, settle on fixed times and days, ensuring transparency and clarity.
Emphasize accountability to address unexpected incidents such as occasionally missing a session or postponing one due to scheduling conflicts.
For example, a client might experience a medical emergency and cancel within a few hours' notice. But if you inserted a clause stating the client has to pay for a missed session or that you'll compensate with a double session, you’ll still collect your expected fee. This way, there’s no need to worry about rescheduling or payment waivers.
Contract termination clause
A contract termination clause allows you or your client to peacefully end the agreement if either party feels the relationship is no longer tenable. State clear terms and conditions, such as consequences of discontinued services and whether the client owes indemnity costs or kill fees, which are the fees you receive for the services already provided during the agreement.
Tips and best practices
The clauses above should give you a solid foundation to draft a foolproof contract. However, if you want to go the extra mile to protect yourself, here are a few best practices:
- Generate awareness: The best way to attract new clients is by building brand recognition. Communicate your services on social media, use emailing lists, or stick posters around your gym. People like to know what they're in for, so give them a taste of your services first.
- Seek legal advice: If a client breaches a contract's terms, you can challenge to uphold the agreement's validity in court. However, the legalities involved are complex, so it's helpful to have a lawyer review your contract's clauses and provide guidance to ensure the contract is legitimate and future-proof.
- Make adjustments if needed: There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when drafting contracts. Different clients may demand different training packages, so tweak clauses for each client to generate positive results.
- Ensure clients read and accept terms before signing: A common mistake is signing documents without reviewing the fine print. This could lead to disagreements, especially if one party claims they weren’t aware of a clause when signing. To avoid this, make sure you inform clients about the importance of thoroughly reading, understanding, and acknowledging the terms and conditions before signing the client agreement form.
Manage your contracts efficiently with Practice
Contracts set expectations for both you and clients. They protect you against bumpy circumstances, making them worth your time and energy. Like workouts, drafting contracts seems tiresome, but setting ground rules on day one goes a long way, as both parties are well- aware about procedures beforehand.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll maintain excellent client relationships. Help them achieve their fitness goals and watch your business grow in return. Leverage a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage client data securely.
Practice’s Client Management Software, designed with coaches in mind, is the one-stop solution that helps you handle client records, create online contracts, and track payments — all in one place. Try it today.