Dealing with cancelations and clients late to for their payments is never fun. You not only usually lose money, but it’s also a waste your time and quite frequently can add stress to your life. Let’s talk about how to deal with this and even better, set up a system to put the control back in your hands.
Now, if you are just starting out or in your beginning stages, you most likely will schedule clients via text and rely on the fact they show up and pay on time. This is serviceable until someone cancels or a client comes and goes without paying. The next step is very, very important.. When you allow something once, you are telling that person that it is acceptable. If someone cancels on you once and you just brush it off, that is sending them a sign that it is okay to do so, and I PROMISE thus: they will do it again.
One of the best things you can do is set firm standards early, and stay true to them for everyone. Like I said, if you allow something once you are setting a standard that it is acceptable. Create a cancellation policy. For example: any individual sessions canceled less than 12 hours in advance will be charged in full. Also set a standard for all sessions that they are paid up front. Once this standard is set it becomes the norm and you have more control back. If someone still breaks this and doesn’t pay, stay professional and give them a few reminders to pay you. If they still don’t pay, again remain professional buy politely inform them that they cannot come back until you receive the payment.
By staying professional you maintain that relationship and positive image, but also demonstrate that you have a standard that must be met. If you continue to stay professional and do a great job with your training, these players will most likely come back down the road. Yet, there’s an even better way to set up your sessions to negate this futher.
I’ll address two things that can make an immense difference here. If you still like to use the individual session payment method, you can use an online scheduling software where clients pay online. This not only makes your life easier in terms of scheduling clients, but also in terms of cancelations and eliminates the ability for clients to miss payments. You can have clients schedule and pay in advance this way, so if a client does cancel last minute, you have your cancelation policy online and already received the money. The control is back in your hands. Obviously, if it is an emergency and a rare occurrence, you can choose to refund them. But the big thing is, you are now in control of that, not the other way around.
The other thing you can do is set a pricing structure as a membership format, or packages where clients pay at the beginning of the month for X amount of sessions. This can be done for both individual and group style classes. This eliminates both cancelations and worrying about people paying on time. This works especially for group sessions, for which you can mention that this package gives you X amount of sessions for the month and sessions do not carry over. If the players don’t show up, that’s on them. This locks clients in for the whole month (guaranteed money), eliminates them missing payments, and erases problems with cancellations. Not only is this better for your business, but for the players as well, as it creates consistency which will help them improve. Win win.