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Reflections on fitness, wellness, health and more

Are you driving your fitness business like a taxi driver?

The beautiful coastline, the world-beating harbour, the temperate climate: there are many things to love about living in Sydney. But getting a taxi is not one of them.

There was the time when one monosyllabic driver tossed a street directory at me, telling me to find my destination and read out directions to him. He proceeded to ignore my directions, drive around the block and charge me handsomely for the privilege.

Then there was the charming fellow who assumed that, because I’m Caucasian as he was, I’d enjoy listening to his vitriolic diatribe against the many races who had invaded Australia’s shores (always an interesting stance from an Australian of European descent).

I appreciate that sometimes taxi drivers are tired from working long shifts and not every passenger will encounter them at their best. Regardless – they are providing a paid service and it would be nice to receive just a little common courtesy – and maybe even some common sense.

Last week when getting a cab from the airport I was told by my friendly driver ‘Babies over one year old don’t need special car seats – they can just use normal seatbelts.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not a legal stance, and I’m certain it’s not a safe one. He proceeded to mutter under his breath because we didn’t live far enough away for him to be able to charge us in triple figures (though he did his best to do so).

When I asked for the air-conditioning to be switched on inside his taxi/oven-on-wheels, I was greeted with the response ‘It’s just up there boss’. I was well aware where the destination was, seeing as how I lived there. The fact that it was just under 10 minutes drive away didn’t change the fact that my pregnant wife, young son and I were swelteringly uncomfortable in the midday heat because he was trying to save himself a few cents. Perhaps I should have been grateful that we weren’t adding more carbon emissions to the environment, but I suspect that Mr Taxi’s objective wasn’t an entirely eco-conscious one.

Anyway, enough ranting – and I know that not all taxi drivers are like these guys, so apologies for the generalisations. My point is, taxi drivers have us by the short’n’curlies. If I find myself using a taxi, it’s because I have no other option. We can’t have a free trial of a taxi driver, decide that his style of service doesn’t suit us and then take our business elsewhere – he knows we need him NOW, and all too often he doesn’t have to make any effort to deliver good service in order to ensure repeat custom or referrals.

Personal training is a different kettle of fish. In every session you conduct you should be proving your worth through excellent service. Unlike the queues of passengers at Kingsford Smith airport, your clients aren’t captive customers.

Are you driving your business like a taxi driver or a chauffeur?

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