In the beginning of gym ownership, you probably did, or may still do, everything yourself. You don’t have the need, or capital, for staff. However, at some point, you will grow to the point that you need some help. Gym consulting companies, like Two Brain Business, will instruct gym owners to start replacing themselves in lower roles as the gym owner’s attention is needed for big and more lucrative things. While the gym owner will save money being a one person show, he/she just can’t do everything.
When a gym owner gets ready to bring on staff, there are a number of things that the gym owner needs to consider. For example, will the gym owner hire employees or bring on independent contractors? What tasks will the staff take over? How much will the gym owner pay staff? Does the gym owner have a staff playbook full of standard operating procedures? And much, much more.
Staff Agreements Can Limit Legal Exposure
These questions are important businesses decisions to make. However, they don’t impact the gym owner’s legal exposure too much. Unless the gym owner doesn’t use staff agreements. Staff agreements are legal written contracts between the gym owner and the staff member. It doesn’t matter whether the staff is an employee or an independent contractor. The gym owner needs to use a written staff agreement.
The purpose of the staff agreement is to set expectations. Most legal problems arise because two people aren’t on the same page. A staff member thinks she is an employee and is covered by workers compensation benefits, but the gym owner considers her to be a contractor with no benefits. The gym owner doesn’t plan to give the staff member paid time off, but the staff member invoices the gym owner for missed hours while on the beach vacation. Worse yet, the gym owner is hurt when the staff member leaves to work on the other gym across town.
Most gym owners we talk to mistakenly think that only big companies use staff agreements to restrict their staff. However, staff agreements tell staff both what they can and shouldn’t expect. Setting expectations in the beginning can prevent headaches down the road. Many of the staff issues gym owners share with us could have been prevented with the proper use of a staff agreement.