Amanda Vogel by Amanda Vogel

You probably work in the fitness industry because you’re passionate about helping people become fitter and healthier. In the process, you might end up with clients here and there that don’t feel like a good fit for you. Maybe it’s someone who always shows up late to sessions and is utterly unmotivated, despite your best efforts. This client’s lack of interest drains your energy. Maybe it’s someone who’s routinely rude to you and others. Who needs that?

If you're lucky enough to control which clients you spend your precious time with, you’ve likely faced the tricky situation of having to fire someone, or at least you’ve thought about it. Dumping problem clients can be tough, but it’s ultimately a good thing. It frees up your schedule, allowing you to connect with people and/or companies that bring enjoyment and new opportunities your way.

Here are three telltale signs that it’s time to cast off clients who are bringing you down.

The Client Causes You Anxiety

Do a mental checklist of all your clients. There are those you look forward to working with because it’s rewarding. Then there might be one or two that elicit anxiety or dread. Your instinct alone should sound an alarm.

Once you’ve identified the latter type (you probably already know exactly who they are), consider WHY you put up with them. It might be to build career clout: The client is a jerk, but he’s a high-profile public figure in your community. Training him looks good on your resume. However, will training this jerk for another few months look any better on your resume than if you fired him today?

Maybe you need the money and don’t have any other prospects at the moment. Fine. But start planning your exit strategy immediately. The longer you fill your schedule—including coveted primetime spots—with bad clients, the fewer openings and less energy you’ll have for the wonderful ones.

The Client Doesn't Appreciate Your Value

Clients that don’t recognize your value as a trained fitness professional are easy to spot. They gripe about your fees and beg for price breaks. They complain that they “can’t afford you,” but continue training with you anyway (so, yes, they can afford you).

It might seem harsh to fire such a client; after all, everyone likes saving money. But a good client respects what you charge—they agreed to your fee when they signed up with you. If you’ve since raised your rates beyond what some clients are comfortable paying, it might be a sign that your caliber of training no longer matches their budget. Don’t apologize for it. Refer those people to a cheaper trainer to make room for clients who don’t question your professional worth.

The Client Is Wasting Your Time, And Theirs

Do you train time-wasters? Their exercise effort doesn’t match their expectations. For example, they desire strong, attractive abs, but they try to get out of every core exercise you suggest. They desperately want to shed fat, but they drag their feet through every workout session. Basically, they don’t want your advice even though they’re paying for it.

Do you really need to let them go? No. But if they’re taking up space in a timeslot you could fill with fun, committed clients, or you absolutely don’t enjoy anything about these sessions, then what’s the point? It’s more stress than it’s worth.

Your time is valuable. Free yourself from problem clients who might be holding you back from progressing your fitness career to its fullest potential.