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Get Your Docs in a Row

4 Legal Documents Every Fitness Professional Needs

By Fitness Business Insider

Every business, large or small, grapples with the task of how to operate safely and responsibly. With this struggle comes an increasing awareness – and perhaps even wariness – of the law and the need to align with new rules and regulations to keep your business protected from liability. Fear not! Your friends at Conscious Counsel aim to provide you with the foundation you need so you spend less time worrying about and working on the legal side of your business and more time growing your community.

One thing to remember (and this applies to all aspects of your business and your life) is that communication is key. The more open, honest, and upfront you are about communicating with clients, employees, and anyone else you meet or do business with, the fewer issues you’ll have and the easier it will be to handle any issues that come up. That said, here are four key legal documents every fitness professional should have prepared.

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1. Waiver of Liability

Why: It protects your business in case anyone is injured while using your services.A waiver of liability is a must-have for anyone who facilitates fitness or other physical activity. Without a waiver of liability specific to your business and service offerings, there is a greater likelihood that your waiver will be unenforceable. When someone signs a waiver of liability, they forfeit their legal right to hold you liable for what might happen when they are in your care.

2. Service Agreement / Membership Agreement

Why: This document lays out the terms for practicing at your studio or practicing with you and helps to mitigate any confusion between you and your members. The Service or Membership Agreement includes things like price, offerings, cancellation policies, recurring memberships, access to classes, etc. It communicates all your expectations with your members and addresses significant information like cancellation and pausing of memberships, auto-pay provisions, types of services included in membership (online/in-person), what happens in the event of closures, as well as issues like expectations of membership. In the event of a miscommunication or misunderstanding between you and your members, this is the document you will use to resolve the issue.

3. Terms + Conditions and Privacy Policy, and Disclaimer

Why: If you have a website or are offering online classes, you must outline how you collect personal information and everything else involved with use of the website to comply with privacy laws and to clearly outline what people can expect from your services.

TERMS + CONDITIONS are the rules your visitors must agree to when using your website and buying your products and services.

PRIVACY POLICIES are required any time you collect personal information (email address, billing info, phone number, etc.) from website visitors, and outline how a business, website, or person collects, uses, and discloses personal information that they receive.

A DISCLAIMER is a statement that is used to specify or limit the scope of obligations and rights that are enforceable in a legally recognized relationship.

4. Employment Agreement and/or Independent Contractor Agreement

Why: To define employment categories and clarify the arrangement you have with the people that work for you. In the case that a dispute arises over employment terms, you can easily refer to this signed agreement, which will protect you and your business. This agreement outlines expectations between you, the employer, and the employee to ensure that the terms of the relationship are understood by both parties.

Note: You or your state/province will dictate the rules around what defines a contractor vs. an employee, and you should be prepared that, as an employer, the relationship you have with a “contractor” and the degree of control you have over how their services are provided will differ significantly from your relationship with and control over an “employee.” It is crucial that you consult a lawyer to ensure that you are operating within respective legal frameworks. Make sure you are fully aware of and attend to issues like non-competes, compensation/salary, and the government’s take on an individual’s ability to have an adequate lifestyle based on what they’re teaching.

Conscious Counsel is here to help you get your documents in order and protect your business properly. We know that the amount of information can seem daunting at first – especially when you don’t even know the questions to ask! So, we created a handy checklist to quickly get you up to speed and/or to encourage you to revisit your existing practices so you’re confident that you are operating securely and in keeping with industry standards and government regulations. Download your industry-specific checklist here.

Here’s to peace, security, and fun!

Cory Sterling

Cory Sterling

Cory is the founder of the heart-leading law firm Conscious Counsel (CC), awarded Most Innovative Fitness and Wellness Law Firm of 2021. CC has supported hundreds of studio owners and wellness professionals around the world with their legal agreements. They are on a mission to transform the way legal services are offered by creating a fun, empowering, secure and peaceful experience.

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