This is an area of contention and debate for a lot of people, both clients and trainers alike. My stance may change in the future, but currently I do not train friends for free. Here is why.
The client has no vested interest in a free session or sessions, there’s nothing to lose.
Sometimes it can help one’s motivation if there is something on the line. Putting a financial wager on their fitness is often enough for people to work out. If they don’t do it they are out no money. They can always do it later.
This also adds value to the session
I tried to look at it from a client’s perspective. After all even as a personal trainer I still see the benefit of having a trainer myself and I do on a very regular basis. Do I train with people that only charge peanuts for their services? Absolutely not. My trainer is $70 per hour. Free sessions can then be viewed as being of lesser quality. If I see $5 personal training sessions being advertised I immediately question that trainer’s qualifications. I think to myself “something has to be up. Something is off with that offer.”
You Need to Optimize Your Time
Time is money. Focusing on paying clients only makes business sense. Pouring time into clients who are not ready and those who will not pay is unfortunately not a practical way to make a living. Keep these people in the back of your mind, stay in touch but focus on those that are ready to invest completely including monetarily.
My advice if you are contemplating training friends for free –
- Stay positive. This is a hard industry. Not seeing clients on a regular basis can wear on a person’s confidence. You got this. Keep your chin up.
- Don’t give your services away. Stay the course with your pricing. You can give discounts now and then but do not give it away. Remember, your time is valuable too.
- Give your business enough time to grow. A couple days, a couple weeks or even a couple of months is not enough. I realized you need to plant a few seeds in the minds of people about who you are and what you do before your business will flourish.
- Keep in touch with your contacts. Remember, these friends have friends of friends and they too might be looking for a healthy change.
Friends will understand that this is a business and will ultimately understand you need to help people but also make a living. Do not feel guilty about that. Take pride in what you do, again do NOT give it away, focus on your passion and everything will work out.