One thing harder than finding clients to teach is finding subs to teach your clients when you travel! Whether you are an independent contractor or studio owner keeping your clients consistent when you leave town is key for client retention. And, for studio owners, having clients comfortable working with a sub is a great way to retain a client even if you lose a teacher. So, its a win-win for the client, teacher, and owner for clients sessions to run as usual each week. And, you will feel great going on vacation knowing that your clients are not just waiting around for you to get back. But, where do you find these subs? And, how can you set it up so you and your client can trust them?
- Are you an Independent Contractor or Employee? If you are not the studio owner then you want to know the answer to this question. If you are an employee check with your studio owners policies for subbing out your clients. If you are an independent contractor or a studio with independent contractors it’s important you check with the laws where you live. For me to sub my clients out when I travel I cannot pay the teacher out of the client’s package. The client and the teacher agree on the time and the client pays them directly.
- If you are at a studio try to partner up with other teachers in the studio. Your clients are used to seeing them in the studio and will feel comfortable with them. People don’t like change so having a teacher they can say they’ve at least said “hi” too then you’ll more likely to convince them to take a sub and not miss their sessions.
- Find subs who can keep the client at the same place and time. Again, people don’t like change so if the client has to go to another studio or come at a different time or day they are less likely to say yes to a sub. When clients miss their sessions they get out of the habit and then it’s easy for them to think Pilates doesn’t work for them.
- Go and take Pilates from other teachers! If you don’t have teachers in the space that you teach that you can turn to then go out and get in the Pilates community in your area. Take classes from other people and the ones you like ask them out for coffee. Or set up a time to talk and inquire if they are ok with subbing clients from time to time.
- Have client cards you can easily share with subs. Clients are more likely to take a sub if they know the teacher has their workout plans.
- Make sure the subs know your policies and procedures and adopt these rules. You don’t want a sub that isn’t going to charge a late cancel that you would charge. Create a expectations sheet for subs to review and even sign (contact me if you want help on this) and you may even want a contract between you and the sub as to how much they will get paid from each client and who their role is.
- Have the sub come and observe you teach. This way they feel comfortable taking on your clients while you travel.
- Don’t give up! It took me many years to get my clients to take a sub. Then, when my traveling picked up they finally gave in. Now they each have a sub they love more than another. It takes several times of suggesting a “guest teacher” to your clients to get them to say yes. But, don’t let that stop you.
If you have taken all the classes you can in your area and still haven’t found a sub you love then it’s time to get creative. How can you create a workout for your clients to do at home on your own while you or even they are away?
Which of these tips are you going to try before the next time you go away?