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  • Instructor Newsletter 6th June 2013

    Thanks again for the massive response on the last 2 weeks’ newsletters. I’ve had some fantastic emails from Community Instructors & Businesses who are doing incredibly well and others that are close to throwing in the towel. There appears to be little rhyme or reason as to why some people are thriving and some barely surviving. I’m so glad this newsletter helps so many of you; please keep your feedback coming in via the usual channels, as your comments and feedback help shape future editions and articles.

    I’ve sent the same set of questions to more Instructors & business owners, as this has been such a popular feature. All featured have been teaching community classes and Bootcamps for a long time. They have taken the rough with the smooth, have had to adapt and change and streamline their businesses and services over the years and I hope you will find all of these extremely interesting and insightful.
    You will also find a brilliant article from Paula Denvir on Burnout and usual contributions from Andrew, Jayne and Marvin.

    Kelly Reed-Banks kicked off her Fitness Pilates Focus tour to record numbers last weekend. I am so proud of Kelly and the brilliant feedback her workshops and training get week after week. Fitness Pilates classes all over the UK  are going from strength to strength and this workshop shows the thirst for more ideas and knowledge dedicated Instructors have. This weekend Kelly will be in Manchester and Birmingham.

    Enjoy this week’s newsletter and I look forward to your comments and feedback on the usual social media channels.

    Turkey Deluxe 5 Star Fitness Holiday – I’m getting a group together now for the October Fitness Week. If you are interested check out the page on Choreographytogo and Lif you would like to join us. https://www.choreographytogo.com/home-m/turkey-fitness-holiday/

    Kick Start Fat Loss™ Online Detox – My 7 Day Summer Beach Body Ready begins on Monday http://kickstartfatloss.net/online-january-detox/summerbeachbody/

    Jayne Nicholls

    Whatever conclusions we come to as a result of the past few weeks analysis of the popularity of community classes V club classes, one thing is definite and that is that these 2 options are just a tiny small percentage of the opportunities available for group fitness instructors.

    Just this week I attended a running club where the County coach and club pro delivered a group session that while great fun was positively dubious in its information on mobility, the stretches were pre historic and the drills were child’s play.  Why would the 50 people there come to class when the coaches have taken on our role and deliver it to them in their own environment, speaking their language? Teaching classes used to be something that only ‘we’ did and now everyone can do it  making the options available to our communities so varied.

    Maybe step and aerobics will never come back and maybe our stronghold is over BUT now could possibly be the time to create a more informed product. It’s a great thing that the supply of group has increased as it invariably increases demand and this is the crux of selling. The economics of fitness has never been so healthy.

    We may have to re address what we deliver and who we deliver it to. If classes are flying then enjoy it but if not we must expand our range and diversify, casting a wider net to catch many more fish.
    The key here is CHANGE, if we are all on top of change, we will stay profitable but if we dig our heels in and look for only what used to be the whole energy of our delivery and communication becomes tainted with desperation and this does not sell well.
    Every time you leave the house someone must ask you a question about fitness, now is the time to stop giving it away and start becoming the local expert.

    Marvin Burton – Tip #7 Wear suitable footwear for your training
    Trainers are made for fashion and function. This is often overlooked when choosing your new pair of flash shoes. Weight lifting cannot be performed correctly without wearing weight lifting shoes. Cyclist should always wear cycling shoes. Running shoes are for…….. you guessed it! So if you are circuit training you need a cross training shoe, not a running shoe. Remember your feet are the stability platform for your hips and spine. Try taking your training shoes and placing them on a flat surface. Inspect them from behind and see if you have worn out the insides or outsides of your trainers. Over dominance in foot types may result in injuries. Lastly make sure you replace them regularly enough. Although there is an initial high cost its worth having a different pair of training shoe for outside training, inside training and cross training or running.
    www.marvinburtonfitness.com
    www.instagram.com/marvinburton

    UK Community Classes & Businesses

    Sallie-anne Sadler teaches in Norwich

    Overview Tell me a little bit about your business/what you offer/teach/location/how long have you been teaching/class names etc.

    Been working in the fitness industry since 1998 when I qualified as an Exercise to Music teacher. Since then I have trained in many disciplines to update myself and follow trends in fitness. From personal training to many group x courses. I have also worked as a tutor/ assessor/internal verifier for fitness qualifications too, including vocational and NVQ qualifications.
    My current timetable consists of 4 Zumba classes , 1 Pop class( pop tunes from Zumba!) KSFL®Kettlebells, KSFL®Tone, 3 x Kick Start Fat Loss™diet and fitness clubs.
    I also run a Sports Therapy clinic where I offer Sports Massage and Orthopedic acupuncture.

    2.  Marketing How do you market your classes/How often do you market/Do you have a marketing strategy or plan.

    I have tried all sorts of marketing, from leaflet drops, sponsoring taxis, to face book. The best type of marketing and cheapest for me is word of mouth and face book. Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive, just consistent. I try never to be complacent with my class numbers and push advertising even if classes are busy, as it’s when you take the foot off the gas things slow down!

    3. Numbers – Average in 2013/ Average in 2012/ Average 3 years ago  – Are you busier/the same/less/much less/holding on by the skin of your teeth.

    2011-2012   Zumba peaked! Classes of 70-100 people – pushing me into vat
    2012-2013  classes of 50-70  de-registered for vat 🙂 so under threshold
    2013-present classes of 40-50

    Kick Start Fat Loss™ and KSFL® classes are new this year so too early to compare but steady and numbers are growing.

    4. Starting a new class – Do you do any market research first? Do you follow trends or do your own thing and tailor it to your locality/ Do you expect high numbers from the start or do your classes have to build.

    I like to follow trends but more recently have tried to think what my clients would like and what would complement my timetable. I never expect high numbers, new things take time to promote and you have to be patient and give them time to build. I do however think that fitness classes in the community are going to trend again and am changing my timetable to incorporate a more balanced amount of fitness as opposed to 100% Zumba® like it was back in 2011.

    5. Not working – What classes have you dropped/thinking of losing/
    I have only dropped one Zumba® class but have replaced it with KSFL®Kettlebells. I try not to lose classes all together but think of what would my clients like instead. That way I have bums on seats before I start. If a class slot has pulled in 90 people previously then I know it’s not a problem with the time but a problem with the class style! So if it doesn’t work I simply try something else.

    6.What are your community class plans for the rest of 2013.

    Running more Kick Start Fat Loss™ classes, adding extra KSFL® classes such as, aerobics, stability ball, stretch and release and possibly step. Developing a daytime timetable to compliment my evening classes.
    In general making my timetable well rounded so there is something for everyone.

    7. What if???? – What would you do differently/What would you NOT do again/What didn’t work – marketing wise or class wise.

    Would definitely spend less on advertising as word of mouth and face book can be so cheap and effective. Adverts have cost money but for little return.

    8. What do you do to make your business successful?

    1/ focus on what I am doing and NOT on what my competitors are doing. If I’m too busy worrying about them I’m not running my business properly.
    2/ treat my business like a business not a hobby
    3/ look after my customers, take time to chat and get to know them
    4/ Never take it for granted always working and planning ahead for the next project or event
    5/ keep an eye on industry trends
    6/ NEVER take my personal life to work. People want to see a happy instructor not a moaning one!
    7/ Follow the code of ethics !

    And the biggy question that everyone asks a fitness teacher – How long do you expect to keep going and are you planning for the future?

    Expect to keep going for many more years to come and my future lies within Kick Start Fat Loss™ where I will either sell the business on , or keep it running from behind the scenes. I also have my Sports Therapy Clinic if I wish to be less active in teaching classes.

    Mark Tipping runs BodyFix in York

    1.  Overview Tell me a little bit about your business/what you offer/teach/location/how long have you been teaching/class names etc.

    I run Boot Camps and TurboBox sessions near York in the community and at my studio. I’ve run them both since I left my gym managers job in 2007 with TurboBox being a new brand for my boxing fitness sessions for the last 12 months. I also run Rugby based fitness sessions for under 5’s.

    2.  Marketing How do you market your classes/How often do you market/Do you have a marketing strategy or plan.

    I have an annual marketing plan that is also split down in more detail into a quarterly and then  monthly plans. I use various on and offline methods. We still use some old school methods such as flyers and posters on notice boards and I think these methods get a bad wrap from a lot of Fit pros. These methods have earned me a lot of money over the last few years. We do all the online stuff too, various directories,  website, facebook and occasionally twitter but not much. We primarily attract business via our corporate links and referrals though.

    3. Numbers – Average in 2013/ Average in 2012/ Average 3 years ago  – Are you busier/the same/less/much less/holding on by the skin of your teeth.

    It’s hard to compare numbers as we are not running like for like but our Boot Camps have stayed very consistent. My early morning group has been fully booked for about 2 years now and we do very little marketing for that time slot. I have found the pay as you go classes we were running were dropping off but I think it may have been a case that more people were going straight into our pay up front blocks and memberships

    4. Starting a new class – Do you do any market research first? Do you follow trends or do your own thing and tailor it to your locality/ Do you expect high numbers from the start or do your classes have to build.

    I have a couple of good client and ex client focus groups that I bounce ideas off for any new concepts I have. I try and do something that will stand us out from current trends rather than piggy back on what everyone else is doing. I used to find as soon as I launched new things we filled them up but more recently with increased competition its taken a little longer and a bit more effort to fill things up.

    5. Not working – What classes have you dropped/thinking of losing/

    I have dropped all the pay as you go circuit classes and made our TurboBox pre book only. The PAYG sometimes works brilliantly but it’s frustrating having numbers yo yo up and down so I made the call to get rid of it and drive people towards our pre pay options.

    6.What are your community class plans for the rest of 2013.

    We will be continuing with our Boot Camps and rolling out more of our TurboBox transformation programs which is effectively a 2 day per week boxing class based body transformation program. This is the model that has proved most popular with the licensees for it too as it gave more consistent income.

    7. What if???? – What would you do differently/What would you NOT do again/What didn’t work – marketing wise or class wise.

    I’ve moved away from free trials for boot camps, we were getting a good conversion rate….. when people turned up. Plenty of people booking a trial but never appearing. We have now made it a low entry paid trial then at least we get some kind of financial commitment from them.  When I moved into our bigger studio I had a load of time slots and wanted to fill them after having to battle for hall hire time slots. Big mistake, its quite rural here so population isn’t massive and all that happened was it diluted the same people but across a lot of time slots so meaning same income but more working hours!

    8. What do you do to make your business successful?

    Plan, adapt and innovate. It’s hard to keep re inventing the wheel but planning ahead and looking at different ways you can improve things and listening to what your client demographics needs are has helped us develop to where we are at. Something as simple as photographing your clients holding up their a4 written goals and putting it up on the studio wall can create a talking point and keep people focused,  I’m a big believer in it being the “little things” that can stand us out.

    And the biggy question that everyone asks a fitness teacher – How long do you expect to keep going and are you planning for the future?

    I’m only a youngster 😉 so no plans to retire just yet but my aim is to build TurboBox up to a point where I could potentially sell it. I have a meeting with a large health club about it possibly going in to their clubs so who knows where that could lead.

    Angela Ross runs Physique Bootcamps in Tidworth

    Nearly 4 years ago I was on the verge of complete burn out from teaching 25 classes a week alongside a busy PT schedule. I was at the stressed out point that most instructors don’t like talking about and hated it…..It was affecting my personal life too so I knew something had to change

    I made the biggest (and most terrifying) decision of my fitpro career and ditched the majority of my community classes to concentrate on building my own brand and my own business

    The creation of Physique Boot Camp has allowed me to have more freedom. It’s definitely improved my quality of life,  and I’m now financially stable (I no longer teach any community classes or pt)

    We are a ladies only boot camp, all of our coaches have been in the trenches as they all were members with their own struggles before being trained up as a coach. I truly believe this is one of the key elements to the success of my business

    Our sessions are held outdoors, this is a big attraction to some women due to the fact they are cooped up all day in their offices and don’t actually get any fresh air other than walking to the car

    2.  Marketing How do you market your classes/How often do you market/Do you have a marketing strategy or plan.

    Hmmm…marketing, that’s been a very interesting ride and something I really didn’t like doing initially!

    The first thing in the marketing toolbox for me has to be a business mentor (not saying he’s a tool mind), this helps me keep my ideas fresh and ahead of the game

    I did a very interesting coaching program last year with James Malinchak of ‘The Secret Millionaire’ who has nothing to do with the fitness industry but blew me away with systems that I could adapt to my business

    I don’t actually have a high marketing budget at all, flyers, banners and branded t-shirts all create awareness in the local community

    Regular press releases are a great way to get your name out there at no extra cost but you have to make sure it’s not just an advert for your business so think about what you’re writing. Charity events are also great as most papers have a charity page. We’ve just launched our PBC Clothes Collection for the women’s refuge which will get us great PR and raise the profile of the refuge…Win Win

    Local schools have also been nice little marketing tool. I’m going into a school to do a healthy treats workshop. The kids get to bake then tell their parents what they did via my handout which will contain a link to download my snacks n treats recipe book for free (email capture for future marketing)

    3. Numbers – Average in 2013/ Average in 2012/ Average 3 years ago  – Are you busier/the same/less/much less/holding on by the skin of your teeth.

    My very first boot camp back in the day had just single figures, this has grown over the years to 100+ members with 2013 being the busiest year ever.

    Looking at the figures February was the quietest month this year with May the busiest. We are just about to launch a new location and using all the marketing tools above I’m hoping to increase numbers to near 150 members

    4. Starting a new class – Do you do any market research first? Do you follow trends or do your own thing and tailor it to your locality/ Do you expect high numbers from the start or do your classes have to build.

    I wouldn’t say I follow any trends. We were one of the very first boot camps in the area and there have been a few pop up since but with little success

    With regards to why women come to us and stay (I have members who have been with me since the start) we mentor them through the program, we have built a tribe that means they don’t want to leave

    I know my avatar and that’s mega important to be able to market to them. We run a 2 week trial (fee paying) to allow newbies to try us out but I don’t advertise this on the website, the only way in is via a current member

    6. What if???? – What would you do differently/What would you NOT do again/What didn’t work – marketing wise or class wise.

    Firstly, I wouldn’t employ male instructors again (sorry guys)
    I’ve done so in the past and they just don’t get it when it comes to training women, TOTM, stress of family life, the scales obsession….I could go on.

    We ran a mid morning boot camp that just didn’t work so I canned it. I now know that the timing and location of this was all wrong. We are set to kick off a new mid morning bc outside a nursery at 9.15am which is perfect for mums who drop their kids off

    I don’t see any reason for my business not to grow further. Obesity levels are rising and more people than ever need our help. But it’s not going to happen on it’s own. I will continue my education in the world of marketing and to ensure I’m ahead of the game

    Fran Checkley teaches in Warwickshire area

    1)      I teach Pilates and just call it straightforward Pilates. My husband runs a bootcamp business with 6 locations.
    2)      I don’t have a marketing strategy at all I’m afraid :/ I just have a nice looking website which ranks highly on Google and all my enquiries come from that. Don’t get anything from facebook but I’m rubbish at updating my page and I haven’t got to grips with twitter. Bootcamp is much more structured, we have a list that gets regular emails, interaction on facebook (although that’s not great if I’m honest) and try to blog regularly too.
    3)      Average in my Pilates classes has actually improved over the last three years. It seems that having a good website does make a difference as I’ve noticed an increase in numbers since tidying it up and having information such as prices and course dates freely available. Average at Bootcamp has definitely gone down during this winter. Bad weather had never affected numbers before but the harshness and duration have taken their toll. Also the marketing effort has fallen off, both of our faults that we just haven’t done it as well as in the past (due to personal issues taking over – IVF & subsequent miscarriage L). We’ve definitely learnt that consistency in marketing is key.
    4)      I usually wait until one class is really full and then add another one. Usually expect it at be quiet at first and gradually build up as word gets around.
    5)      I’m keen to drop at least one of the bootcamp locations and focus on getting the others back up to full capacity rather than running more quiet venues. I feel it would be better to have less venues with more people.
    6)      I want to do more Pilates and have toyed with the idea of different names and different formats rather than just basic Pilates. I tried a morning class earlier this year and it just didn’t work where as my evening classes are always busy.
    7)      I would do more marketing; more quality and more volume – I know I NEED to do this. Leaflets definitely didn’t work – I didn’t leaflet drop but put them in local businesses when I launched a new daytime class this year but just didn’t get anything from them.
    8)      I don’t feel like I really do anything to make my business successful (the Pilates side anyway), it just sort of ticks along but could be awesome rather than just mediocre if I put the effort in. Bootcamp is successful as it has a strong brand that people identify with. We need to improve the blogging side, more regular newsletters and more events, i.e. In the past we did the three peaks and half-marathons and 10ks with our members but this has slipped as life has taken over. Social events to I think are important.
    I expect to keep going forever(!), in fact I hope to be doing more community classes rather than less in the future.

    Katie Bulmer Cook teaches in Sunderland

    I’ve been teaching for 10 years and currently offer the following classes:

    Real Results Club: Group PT, 3 mornings a week, 6.15-7.00am
    Armageddon: Saturdays 7.30-8.00am and Tuesdays 7.15-7.45pm
    The Little Black Dress Club: SGT Tuesdays 6.30-7.15pm and Wednesdays 7.15-8.00pm

    For all of these classes I hire a local dance studio and the dance studio at my old school.

    I also teach 4 classes in my local council run leisure centre, Aerobics, Legs, Bums and Tums and Aqua on a Thursday morning and Pilates on a Tuesday night.

    I regularly change my community class names, and run a different courses, usually based around seasons, time of year etc. For example at Christmas time I ran a 12 week Guilt Free Christmas class.

    I market mainly using my mailing list and social media, and also use a referral scheme with my existing clients.

    I always create a lot of hype in the run up to a launch of a new class. I find using video on social media is very successful.

    I also attend local networking events and have good relationships with other local businesses for cross promotion.

    2013 class have probably been busier than 2012. In 2012 I may have had 2-3 spare spaces where this year pretty much all classes are full with people waiting for spaces.

    Trendwise I usually do my own thing, and work around what I feel the people in my area are interested in and can benefit from. I expect high numbers from the start and build from there.

    At the moment there’s nothing I’m thinking of dropping; in both the community and leisure centres everything is buzzing. Freestyle Aerobics and good old Legs, Bums and Tums is still heaving in the leisure centres, even with waiting lists for morning classes and in the community my 30 minute classes are thriving.

    I’m going to be launching another Pilates with equipment course later in the year, and will definitely continue with 30 minute formats. I’m going to be running a Back To School course and will do Guilt Free Christmas again. I’m also considering an Abs class course. I really think the key is in the class name. We can deliver the best workouts in the world but if the name doesn’t attract people and appears old fashioned it just doesn’t fly.

    My own mailing list is my goldmine and I would have built my mailing list sooner than I did as this is a huge part of my marketing and it really works.

    I give great customer service, make it easy for them to get involved and take away their fears. I make people feel part of something, like a family and I also give them choice and reward commitment, e.g. buy a class pass for 10 classes for £39 or pay £4.50 pay as you go.

    The main bulk of my business is in 1:1 PT, and delivering programmes that don’t require me to be constantly stressing my body and I plan to keep it this way. In the future I’m planning on doing more education work with local training providers and colleges.

    Do you look after your wellbeing as burn out sucks!
    By Paula Denvir

    This is my first article that I have written since November and have lost count of the amount of times I have tried to write it.
    Who would be interested? Who would read it?  I struggle nowadays with writing due to my brain fog which I will go into later. But seeing recent post on Facebook has inspired me to tell you about my recent illness and the importance of looking after your wellbeing.
    In my last article I told you about having Meningitis which I assumed by the New Year I would be as right as rain and all systems back to normal. Hmm how wrong was I……..
    Basically I ignored all signs that something was wrong for months and instead of having a normal virus it manifested into Meningitis.  Last summer I felt constantly tired, my arms and legs felt heavy, I just didn’t feel 100% but I just put it down to teaching in the hot weather and being dehydrated.
    This carried on until October although my workload eased off and the weather cooled down off I went on a mini break with Mr D. It was just a weekend away to recharge and catch up with my hubby, plus getting in a round of golf.
    2 days after my relaxing weekend away I woke up with a blinding headache it felt like my whole head was in a vice, my arms and legs felt really achy. It was although I had done 10 rounds with Tyson. I was sick and thought there must have been something wrong with the chicken I had the night before. I cancelled my classes and thought I could sleep it off. I slept all day and night hardly getting up and my symptom’s remained. I knew that something wasn’t right so and I had to be checked out. My doctor gave me a quick check up, wrote a letter and told me to go to the hospital straight away. I was thinking what a fuss I’ve probably got a bug or something.
    I was admitted into hospital, put on a drip and kept in under observation. I questioned what was wrong they advised Migraine subject to tests. After having a CT scan, MRI scan & lumbar puncture (not a pleasant experience) confirmed it was Meningitis. I was shocked and stunned.
    My symptoms got worse by the day and by day 4 I could hardly move but I was in the right place. I started to turn a corner by day 7 and knew that something had to give in my work schedule and announced that I was closing my studio. I was discharged from hospital 2 weeks later and told to rest & recuperate for a few months which I did.
    I built myself up to return back to work in the New Year so I thought, although I had reduced my schedule going back knocked me sideways, I felt so weak. I started to train but couldn’t do much as I felt so fatigued, sick and it gave me a headache. I became very angry and frustrated that a few months ago I was probably the fittest and leanest I had been.  I hid all my symptoms from friends, family and clients, come on who wants weak, fatigued trainer!
    It wasn’t just the physical tiredness, I noticed that I felt different mentally; I just couldn’t concentrate, found it hard reading and even having a conversation. My husband had noticed that I appeared vague and distant which isn’t me as I normally waffling on about something or another. I found even simple tasks like writing an email or a post on Facebook hard; I just had a mental block.
    I carried on teaching, hiding how I was feeling physically and mentally. The last straw was when I couldn’t remember a routine that I know with my eyes closed It happened 3 times in one class. I stopped (rabbit in headlight scenario) I just laughed it off. I started to do my own research and brain fog kept coming up as a symptom from my virus. I kept a diary for my Neurologist to review and he did confirm Post Viral Fatigue similar to CHD and advised that it should go but couldn’t tell how long this would take and also that I could get Meningitis again at any time.
    I have been honest and open about my experience as I would not want anyone to experience it. As Fit Pros we put some much pressure on ourselves and give so much to our clients we often tend to neglect our own wellbeing.
    I hope by reading this if anything rings true you will be kind to yourself, take time out, delegate if you can or reach out in times of stress.  I have found that Reiki has really helped balance my energy levels and I feel so much better doing regular meditation and yoga.
    It’s ok to show your vulnerable side, which I have learnt recently but wished I had done it a lot sooner.
    Now I practise my own mantra which I’m always telling my clients “listen to your body” and hope you do too.
    Love & best wishes.
    PD
    www.healthywellbeings.com
    Find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/paula.denvir.9

    Little Black Book
    By Andrew Crawford

    For todays article, I am going to dive straight into something that will perhaps assist some of you if ever you are in this situation.

    Have you heard of the Business Record Check?

    This is something the Inland Revenue rolled out last year. I wrote about it earlier this year. Have a quick peak here to remind yourself.

    http://www.fitnessindustryaccountants.com/business-record-checks.htm

    I thought it was very important for you to know first hand what may happen if you are ever called in to face the ‘Interrogation’.

    Yesterday I joined my client to attend a BRC.
    Usually there are 2 Officers In attendance but today there was surprisingly only one. This was because they didn’t know I was coming. …..tee hee…!!

    & nbsp;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ;                                                                                                                                                                    &nbs p;
    They will start by opening up conversation about your business, general but very detailed. You will need to explain in detail how you business works. More importantly, how your income is derived.
    Let me tell you now………..if your business does not involved the taking of cash, this BRC will only take about one and a half hours. If however you do take cash…then expect to be there for two hours plus…..!!

    Ensure that you can trace your income from client, to invoice to bank statement. They wanted my client to have kept a record of each client and the amount paid by them. For Accountants, we only need to know the amount invoiced, received and banked.

    This is where your ‘Little Black Book’ comes in.

    Did you know that the Inland Revenue will accept your diaries as ‘Source Documentation’?

    After quizzing them, I also put forward the idea of ‘Back of the Envelope’ records. This is what they said.

    “……As long as it is ‘The Source’ it will be accepted…..”

    So folks……write it down, even if it is on the back of an envelope. Then keep that scrap piece of paper to ‘support’ the amount you reveal on your Tax Return

    If you use your bank account to complete your Tax Return, make sure you can cross check each figure. The best thing to do is to use a spreadsheet, enter your business expenses on this spreadsheet, then from this you complete the return.

    My client had to pick random figures and track it back to the bank statement. These were picked at random by the Officer.
    We decided to use the bank account only with no receipts…….you can do the same but they will insist that receipts are kept. I stated……many times throughout the interrogation, that a receipt does not necessarily prove that you made the expenditure, the bank account is a definitive source to the expense had occured.

    Although one could argue that you do need receipts, it was accepted that because the bank account cross referenced with the spreadsheet that was used to complete the tax return that this was sufficient proof of expenditure.

    It is important for you to record expenditure exactly as it appears from your bank statement, I noticed this was an area they concentrated on and throughout the whole of the interrogation they asked the same question in different formats.

    What was this question?….or questions…?

    How many hours do you work?
    What is the average amount charged per client?
    How much do you earn a month?
    How many clients do you have in a week?
    Do they pay cash?
    How do you record your income?
    Do the clients pay you or through a third party?
    How is your lump sum broken down?
    Can you identify which clients make up the weekly or monthly total?

    You get the picture, it will all be weighted towards income.

    Oh…….a few other things to remember.

    They will inquire as to the types of expenditure you do.

    Make sure you say this sentence BEFORE they do….
    “All my expenditure is Wholly and Exclusively made of behalf of my trade/business…”

    Beware and know that travel expenditure incurred from home to a permanent place of work is not a claimable expense. Make sure then, that this expenditure is not included on your spreadsheet.

    Any expenditure with a personal element to it, eg mobile phone. Ensure you say….
    “…I make personal adjustments to account for the personal element..”

    If your Accountant deals with this side, tell them you produce the figures then send everything to your Accountant. Full stop.

    Another thing that came up was clothing. As you KNOW………Uniforms are claimable but clothing is not…..so…..put a logo on it….!!!

    Suffice to say…My client did not require a follow up visit and was adequate to prepare a tax return. I already knew this but had to go through this which showed my client that whatever we are doing, is in accordance with accepted protocols.

    On your behalf, I did inform them of their inadequate service for tax payers including the unacceptable amount of time waiting on the phone for them and also the time taken to process simple business records.

    Just to let you know, I was told that even internally they have communication and waiting problems concerning the phones and post. So if it is not good for them…..do not expect it to be good for you.

    I also mentioned on your behalf what was the reasons that the boys and girls from the Big House (Westminster) were treated differently…………they looked at me and laughed ( my client saw and heard all of this)…..yes indeed, you must know that MP’s do not follow what you do ………that’s life….!!

    Ok…Today was srtictly based on an actual BRC, not all of them will go the same way.(I pre-prepared for this) It will depend on the person you get asking the questions and how suspicious they are of you and the records you keep.

    If you have tried to get hold of me in the past couple of weeks and I haven’t replied, this is because my inbox is rammed full and some of your emails will be bouncing back.

    Until I have cleared this, you can also use adviceontax@gmail.com

    Just remember to keep that Little Black Book for 6 years and if there are any private stuff in there………..Black it out….!!!

    Oh…that’s the other Little Black Book……ha ha ha

    www.fitnessindustryaccountants.com
    www.facebook.com/andrewjamescrawford

    Lots of Love Rachel xxx

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