An essential guide to appointments: managing your personal training business with software

Discover how TeamUp's Appointments feature and PT software can help you overcome common personal training business challenges.

Discover how TeamUp's Appointments feature and PT software can help you overcome common personal training business challenges.

Personal trainers are no strangers to the ups and downs of running a business. Between managing numerous clients and their schedules, important details involving sessions and payments slip through the cracks. You're left to get things in order, but how can you do that when you don't have the right tools, features, and booking software to support you?

We've heard dozens of horror stories within the fitness industry from exhausted personal trainers who struggled to run both their in-person and online coaching businesses before signing up for TeamUp. Not having realised there are solutions in place to help them overcome normal struggles that often occur when you don't have the right booking software on your side, these PTs were not only relieved but overjoyed by the achievements both they and their clients have accomplished once they were finally able to take control of their business.

sam beagle helping a client

 

Photo Credit: Sam Beagle, owner of uFit
 

Find out how our personal training software can help you run your fitness business

In this guide, we show you how helpful having the right personal training software is for running your fitness business, as well as how our new appointment booking feature and other TeamUp tools contribute to a better one on one booking and customer experience. But before we get started, we asked some of our personal trainer customers to share the major obstacles they faced before signing up for software. Here's what they shared:

Having to manually check the calendar and send messages back and forth between clients and coaches

No personal trainer wants to spend the valuable time they could be engaging with clients struggling with admin. Sitting on the phone answering messages, sending an email or text, Whatsapps, and phone calls inquiring about session availability is a waste of both of your time. You or one of your coaches then has to manually check our calendar, make sure you don't have a conflict, get back to your client, and the cycle continues. Having to do this with one client is bad enough, but multiple? No, thanks! It's while experiencing this pain point that personal trainers really begin to heavily consider software and can't believe they didn't sooner.

I have to message back and forth with instructors, then message with clients, or put sessions on the schedule to book.

Overbookings that lead to frustration: simplify booking appointments

Without automated and intuitive booking software, you run the risk of classes and sessions becoming overbooked, leaving you with the unenviable task of having to find a solution to an overbooked class. This could mean the need for scheduling extra hours for an instructor, costing you more and adding to your staff's already busy schedules. Or what is arguably worse, cancelling on potential clients. They show up ready for training sessions only to see you are already with another client and leave frustrated by the experience.

Biggest challenge is not having the ability for the client to self-schedule.

Unable to commit or confirm far in advance

Ideally, for your clients as well as you and your instructors, you'll arrange sessions so that they are recurring whether they're a few times a week or a certain amount of training sessions per month. With classes and PT sessions, consistency is preferable, and not being able to confirm or commit to classes too far in advance can be frustrating for all parties. Having a booking system that allows you to have block bookings means that you know exactly what classes your instructors have coming up, and most importantly, it gives your clients peace of mind knowing that their regularly scheduled classes are reserved and confirmed ahead of time.

Hosting sessions at multiple venues

In theory, it sounds ideal to expand your footprint and be able to reach more clients the farther you venture out of your local bubble. But what happens when you have a session on one side of town and then another back to back in another area? How do you balance the time spent getting from one place to the other, remembering which client is where, and having enough time to prepare for the next session without software to help you organise well in advance? If you had an appointment system, you could set your availability to be in only one location one day and another venue the next.

Generally when we get enquiries about private tuition we check our own diaries to see where we have space and then converse with the client. It's hard for us to schedule instantly because our availability varies from week to week and we are only at our main venue when we have a class or an appointment booked already. So drop booking and block booking can be tricky to arrange.

Clients can't manage their own bookings

Without clients managing their own appointments and schedule, you're left to manage it for them adding to the admin of running your personal training business. Beyond getting bombarded with messages at all hours of the day, when coaches can't manage their own clients you're left to play chess with confusing schedules and available rooms and spaces. If a client could manage their own appointments, check on their own to see when you or another coach is available, and book and pay for that appointment in a timely manner, all you'd have to worry about is showing up on time, ready to go. Not to mention, when changes occur, how does this get managed? It falls back on you and your coach's laps to figure out...to rebook or not to rebook, that is the question.

Common challenges happen when clients cannot make their allocated slot and we need to rebook them OR if they are a regular client but not with a regular slot.

Rebookings, no-shows, and last-minute cancellations

When you don't have a streamlined booking system in place, you run the risk of your personal training clients cancelling or changing a booking last minute, or even not attending a class or session with no accountability. Not only is this frustrating for you, but it also prevents other potential customers from attending your classes, resulting in you losing revenue, and potentially new clientele. A streamlined booking system not only clearly lays out your availability, but also allows you to put into place a clear cancellation policy putting the onus and accountability on the customer and also ensuring that you don't lose out on income.

PTs are able to book and schedules themselves and are responsible for not overbooking our PT studio... However, this doesn't always happen.

Managing multiple instructor's timetables

Liaising with an instructor and their clients is one thing, but when you have a number of coaches planning multiples sessions in a studio, there is always the risk of overbooking space when you're not using a system that clarifies which instructor is booked into which space and when. Add the fact that increasingly, business owners are handing over the responsibility of timetabling to instructors, and all it takes is a simple miscommunication and you're looking at sessions being delayed or cancelled.

Chasing clients for late or missed payments

Personal trainers fall victim to the IOU mentality because they want to maintain their relationships with their clients. But if they are constantly chasing down clients for payments because they didn't have a way to collect the money online before a session, they lose valuable income and that puts a strain on the relationship with their client regardless. The only way to avoid the heavy consequences of wasted time, awkward client conversations, and clients skating by on free sessions is to put an appointment system with online payments in place.

The biggest challenge is matching up our client's preferred training times with their preferred Coach.

Unable to schedule clients with their favourite coach

When a client invests in a personal trainer, they're not just doing so financially, they're doing so personally. They want to meet their fitness goals but they want to train and work with the person they trust in the most to help them. However, coaches and trainers often have multiple clients, and without a system that allows clients to reserve their own appointments, they end up competing with other clients to book their time slots with their preferred coach. If a client repeatedly can't book a time that suits them with their coach, they'll slip away and the coach will lose that client's valuable business.

Our private sessions are outside of class times, but we struggle to find time slots to book the private sessions and knowing if the room or space is free. Space and times clash with other instructors.

Confusion over available space and rooms in a facility

Whether you rent space in a facility for your sessions or own your own venue, when sharing a facility with multiple other instructors, there is always a risk of double booking a room if there is no system to confirm with coaches where their session is to be held. Coaches arrive with their clients ready to go only to find another coach and client using the space. It's an administrative nightmare and also eats into the time you have reserved to spend training your client.

Not to mention their money is wasted by spending time wandering around the facility with you, frustrated that this wasn't already sorted. A system that allows coaches to select the space and room they want to use for their appointments and automatically shows unavailable if another coach had that space booked eliminates confusion and saves both the coaches and clients time at the start of class.

If any of these obstacles sounded familiar to you or left you feeling anxious and afraid, no need to fear. Our software will get you back on track in no time.  

How the appointments tool can solve common personal training pain points

The arrival of TeamUp's newest appointments tool comes just in time as businesses return to in-person personal training sessions. Not only was this tool designed to make offering one on one sessions streamlined and easier for clients to book themselves, but it is also the solution to the pain points listed above. Here are the main functions the appointments tool serves for you and your clients:

All appointments are made online

You no longer have to sit by the phone or your email waiting for clients to confirm their session with you. Now that your appointments tool for running private training sessions lives in your TeamUp dashboard along with your other tools and features, all of your bookings can be managed and streamlined online, all in one place. No more taking down appointments via pen and paper and no more wasting your time trying to schedule yourself, your coaches, and your clients.

Coaches can set and manage their own availability

Easily one of the biggest benefits to this new feature is your and your coach's ability to manage your own schedule and availability. Either right from the tool or in the staff settings, you can set regular hours of availability for the entire week and use the override schedule to make updates and edits to specific dates. If you have a coaching staff, you no longer have to worry about checking in with each coach to see when they are available to give their sessions, now that they can update their own availability themselves, too.

Update your schedule anywhere, anytime while clients book with the Member App

And if you love managing your own availability, both you and your clients will absolutely love that clients can manage their own appointments with our scheduling software. Through your TeamUp customer site or the TeamUp Member App appointments can now be made by the client right alongside their class registrations. The appointment experience for a client is clear, seamless, and just as easy to make as it is to book classes. Using the new tool clients can not only choose which appointment they'd like to book, but with which coach or instructor, date, and make their appointment as far in advance as their membership and your schedule permits.

Reserve rooms in venues

Say goodbye to arriving with your client only to find out the room of the gym you wanted to run your session in is already occupied. Not only can you select a venue with the appointments tool, but you can add new rooms to your dashboard and assign them to specific appointments. Whether you want to assign spa services to a massage room, or HIIT workouts to a functional training room, or even designate specific spaces in a gym or studio to private sessions, you can do that all within your tool. When an appointment is made, it's visible to you and each coach which room the appointment will be held in and will not allow any other coach to book that same room at that same time, preventing all double bookings. Your time is saved and can be spent preparing for a session, not looking around for space to train.

Offer multiple different appointment types

From personal training sessions to spa and wellness services to initial assessments, the options for different appointment types are endless. Create and customise your appointments specific to your business and branding. You can add as many types of appointments you would like and archive any appointment types you choose to no longer offer. If you ever need to edit or update details you can do so right in the appointment without having to access any other pages, it will automatically update on your customer site and the member app.

Include multiple instructors under the same appointment type

There is no need to create a "personal training" appointment or "massage session" appointment for each individual coach on your staff. Simply by adding each coach or instructor to the same appointment type, clients can choose who they want to book with and check the availability of a specific coach when making their appointment. Keep your appointments tool clean and easily track and monitor using your reports who is giving a session and when.

Appointments can have waitlists

Just as clients can sign up for a waitlist when a class is full, clients can also sign up for a waitlist if a specific time slot for an appointment they want is already booked. Rather than the time slot disappear from the schedule, a client will see that that spot is already booked. They'll be able to register themselves on the waitlist in case a client ends up cancelling that spot before the session begins. That way even if they can't book the appointment they want, they will be automatically notified and registered for that spot if another client is unable to make their appointment.

Payments are collected online in advance

No more accepting cash payments, IOUs, or bank transfers outside of your booking system. Your appointments are booked via your memberships, thus in order to make an appointment, your client will need to purchase the membership associated with that appointment or have that already included in their package. You'll be able to schedule and track payments with your same payment provider in your dashboard and feel relieved that your one on ones and classes are being paid for the same way, through the same system.

Combination of private sessions and classes

Now that the appointments tool is built directly into the booking system, you can offer memberships that include class types and appointment types. Whether you offer a pack that includes a limited number of each or offer a recurring monthly membership that includes a certain number of private sessions a month, your clients can now choose the best package that meets their needs with options to take advantage of both offers. You can use new packages with PT sessions included to upsell your current packages and attract new clients with a fuller offering.

When I started running my group and personal training I was really looking for a way for people to take online payments, that was really important to me and it was more professional and I also wanted it to improve the customer experience. I asked around about different booking platforms, and then I came across TeamUp and there was a simplicity and great way to integrate with my business and when I presented it to existing clients and new clients, they loved it. - JB Fitness UK

Other TeamUp tools that work side by side with appointments

While it is its own feature with very important functionalities, our appointments tool is also supported by several other features in your TeamUp dashboard.

Calendar - dashboard and customer site

Once your clients start booking appointments, those appointments will begin to appear in both your calendar in your dashboard and in the calendar they view on your customer site. Appointments made by other clients, however, will not appear for all of your clients, they will simply see that nothing is being offered at that time and if they check your availability they'll see that time is not available. Your appointments have a slightly different appearance to that of your class bookings, and have the name of the appointment type on the calendar, making it easy for both you and your client to quickly distinguish between the two.

Reports

Your reporting tool will also allow you to track and monitor the progress and success of your appointments. You can everything from status to the number of appointments scheduled, which clients have booked appointments, which coaches are running the largest number of appointments, or if any clients have cancelled appointments, and so on. Using the filters, you'll also be able to filter for appointments versus classes so that you can view them without any other class or group booking appearing in your report.

Customer relationship management

The built-in CRM is not only home to each of your clients' details, it also keeps track of all of their memberships and registrations, including appointments. If you or a client ever needs to check on the status of an upcoming appointment or refresh on the details, you'll be able to do so by searching for the individual client and looking up their registrations.

Confirmation and pre-class notifications

And because it doesn't hurt to send a reminder, you can ensure your client doesn't no show or forget about an upcoming appointment, by sending them a confirmation notification after they make their appointment and a pre-class notification prior to the appointment time. You can automate and tailor your notifications specific to an appointment type so that your client knows exactly which appointment, with who, where, and when you are reminding them of. They'll appreciate it and you won't have to worry about a client forgetting about a session.

The TeamUp Member App

Customers can now book their appointments on the go. Located right in the bottom bar of your TeamUp Member App between your schedule and the On Demand section, clients can use their member app to view your availability, check their upcoming appointments, and purchase memberships to schedule an appointment with you. It's seamless, dynamic, and ensures that your clients always have the opportunity to schedule their appointments no matter where they are.

To start using TeamUp's newest appointments tool to offer one on one sessions to your clients, sign in to your dashboard and head to the Appointments section or sign up here to begin your free 30-day trial.

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