At this moment, as the result of a last minute cancellation by one of my fitness clients, I’m being paid almost $100 to eat breakfast.

To charge or not to charge, is always a moral conundrum. In this particular case, the client didn’t show because he had to manage a business opportunity; but the client who cancelled just prior to him reported an illness as his excuse. Do I charge them both?

images-1.jpegI have every client sign a liability waiver that includes a separate section in bold type agreeing to give me 24 hours notice of cancellation. I accept notice the night before an early morning appointment as sufficient, even though it’s technically less than 24 hours; and whenever I fail to give 24 hour notice, by way of apology, I give the disappointed client a free session. However, I don’t inform a late canceling client that I’m charging them for their missed appointment. I simply deduct the session from their pre-paid package.

Therein lies the reason for offering volume discounts for the purchase of session packages. The decision to charge, as well as payment, is in my hands. I maintain control of my business and my time.

What constitutes a true emergency, justifying a lapse of 24 notice of cancellation?

It’s a judgement call on a case by case basis. Some clients have frequent emergencies. Others are regularly late to sessions. In those cases, I smile and accept their excuses, “Of course…”‘; but I end the session at the appointed time, even if I have free time following the session. Keeping those boundaries clear is its own kind of training.

What do you think?


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