At Gym Lawyers PLLC, our mission is to help gym owners limit or eliminate their legal exposure. In other words, we try to help gym owners avoid being sued. A lot of it requires preparation. We take steps now to help down the road. For example, we draft and sign Operating Agreements now to help protect LLCs if and when they are sued later.
All gyms are legally exposed on multiple fronts. Generally speaking, if a gym is going to be sued, the lawsuit will likely be a personal injury lawsuit or a breach of contract lawsuit. Narrowing this down a little further, gyms are likely to be sued because someone got hurt or someone was mad that the gym took their money. One way we can limit this legal exposure is to have those contracts properly written by an attorney who knows the gym industry and the industry’s specific needs. Another way we can limit this legal exposure is by using client management software, like Wodify, that helps create and maintain client expectations. If we can set the expectations from the beginning, and maintain those expectations, then gyms are far less likely to run into legal issues later.
Here are 6 ways Wodify helps fitness business owners limit legal exposure:
- Providing a Robust Template Editor: Wodify’s template editor allows you to upload legal contracts and add enhancements to really make certain elements of the contracts stand out. For example, when a court of law is questioning your waiver, the court wants to see different areas that stick out indicating their importance. The waiver has to be clear and understandable to the client. So, using all caps, bold, and underlined text in specific areas of your waiver will help with this. Wodify gives you the ability to add those font enhancements. Additionally, Wodify allows you to add initial lines to your contracts. This can go really far in supporting your claim that your client read (or acknowledged reading) that really important section.
- Contract Summary Page: When we are talking about membership contracts, Wodify provides this great contract summary page before the client signs the agreement. This summary page provides all of the necessary information in an easily digestible one-page document. Most importantly, it provides the price and duration for the selected membership option. Most states require gyms to have written contracts. Additionally, those contracts have to contain the price of the service, the duration of the contract, and whether or not the contract automatically renews. This can create a headache for a gym owner because, without this summary page, the gym should have an individual contract for each individual membership offering. However, Wodify’s summary page checks the boxes for most state law notices while allowing the gym owner to use one general terms and conditions agreement.
- Automatic Contract Email with Signature: Another legal requirement from most states is providing the new client with an exact copy of the contract that the member signed at the time they signed it. For client management services that don’t send automated emails with the SIGNED contract attached, this requires the gym owner to print the electronically signed contract. However, Wodify helps gym owners be more compliant with local laws by automatically sending a copy of the signed contract with the Client’s electronic signature.
- Limits on Class Registration Without Signing Contracts: It isn’t enough to simply have contracts. We talk with gym owners all of the time to have contracts laying around, but never actually use them. Alternatively, gym owners ask the clients to sign contracts but never follow up to see if the Client actually signed. Unfortunately, an unsigned contract is really hard to enforce when the gym needs it. Wodify provides gym owners assistance here too. Wodify allows the gym to set parameters like requiring class registration before coming to a group class. Then, Wodify allows the gym owner to prevent class registration if a contract remains unsigned. This allows the gym owner to focus on running the gym while knowing that Clients have signed all the latest contract terms.
- Automated Emails Prior to Scheduled Sessions: Remember what we said earlier, a big part of avoiding legal issues is setting and maintaining expectations. Most gyms we work with have pretty specific cancellation policies when we are talking about private training sessions. A gym may require a 24-hour notice prior to the session. If the client doesn’t cancel outside 24 hours, then the Client technically loses the session. However, most gym owners are pushovers and give in when Clients claim they didn’t know even though it was in the original membership contract. Wodify helps to head off this problem by providing automated emails prior to a scheduled session. Twenty-four hours before the session, the gym owner can send the Client an automated email reminding them of the upcoming session and the gym’s 24-hour cancellation policy. With this option, Wodify is helping gym owners set expectations up front and maintain those expectations with email reminders before every session.
- Automated Emails with Recurring Payments: Similarly, Wodify allows gym owners to send automated emails with automatic payment receipts. What makes this option great is that Wodify allows the gym owner to customize this email, just like the private session email. As such, if you are a gym owner who requires advance notice of a membership cancellation or payment freeze, put reminder language in these receipt emails. That gives the gym owner the argument that not only did the Client sign an agreement acknowledging the 30-day notice for cancellation, but the Client received an email every month with reminder language. Features like this help gym owners layer their defenses against Clients who ignore the legal contract they signed.
Unfortunately, nothing we do can eliminate the potential for a lawsuit 100% of the time. Anyone can sue you at any time for any reason. However, gym owners can take steps to limit some exposures and eliminate others. After using an attorney to draft legally sound legal documents, Wodify can come in and provide additional support.
Have any other legal tips we didn’t list? Post them up on social media and tag us, @wodify so we can spread the word!
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