You will hear from others, including myself say "USE CONTRACTS"...but of course you want to know why. And my recommendation for WHY is vastly different than most lawyers.
You see, I am an athlete and entrepreneur just like y'all. I want to get the best bang for my buck. So sure, contracts are what you're "supposed to have" and "legally protect"..but what else?
1. Outlines client expectations
Many fitness business clients are newer or have experiences with other business that may differ from yours. You must outline the expectations you have of them and what they can expect from you, not only to cover yourself but to provide customer service.
2. Holds clients accountable
Again, clients do not know what is expected from you. Use the contract with your policies to educate and hold clients accountable to what is expected for a beneficial and successful fitness biz/client relationship. Sometimes clients may want to have the rules bent for them, especially if a repeat client, friend, or family member. Having a formal contract is a great way to ease that awkward conversation.
3. Holds your business accountable
Just as the contract should outline what is expected of the client to hold them accountable, the contract should outline what to expect from the fitness business to hold them accountable as well. Same as #2 🙂
4. Reminds parties of responsibilities
This is a good way to gently remind clients of policies that may seem abstract in the normal course of conversation. For example, a business owner may not want to beat them over the head about potential late fees if the client misses their payment, but having the contract do it for the business frees the owner up to developing more rapport and a customer service experience.
5.Provides professional relationship to client
Clients who seek out fitness help also want a professional relationship. All professionals use contracts on a daily basis. Without one there is a risk of not being trusted or viewed as unprofessional.
6. Gives business a way to remedy client issues
Whenever there may be an issue or misunderstanding, the business can simply refer the client to the provisions in the contract and any communications between business and client.
7. Insurance may require it
If (when) you have an insurance claim due to an issue, your liability insurance may require proof of certain contractual documents to either limit or discharge your liability for the issue.
8. Protects the parties
Each party gets a sense of protection and the reality of protection by having all responsibilities, expectations, and information outlined. This document and communications serve as evidence of the professional relationship.
9. Get paid
Businesses with policies and contracts are more likely to be respected and paid by their clients.
10. It is the professional thing to do
You’re a professional. Act like it!