Can Payments Made to Coaches be Non-Refundable?

Consider this scenario: a coaching client wishes to terminate the contract before the services have commenced or midway through the term. Does the coach have to provide a refund for the unfulfilled services? The answer, as with many legal inquiries, hinges on several factors.


In essence, if a coach has not rendered any services, it becomes challenging to justify retaining payment without providing value in return. However, there are circumstances where a non-refundable payment may be upheld.

The Principle of Consideration

Consideration, in the legal sense, requires an exchange of value between the parties involved. If a client pays for coaching services and the coach has not yet delivered any services, there may be a lack of consideration. Consequently, the enforceability of a non-refundable payment in such a scenario could be questioned.

Exchange of Value: Holding a Place

However, there are situations where the coach provides value even before the coaching sessions commence. For instance, if the coach reserves a spot in their calendar for the client, foregoing other business opportunities, this can constitute an exchange of value. In this case, the coach has provided consideration, justifying the non-refundable nature of the payment.

Duty to Mitigate Damages

Moreover, coaches have a duty to mitigate their damages in the event of a client's termination. For example, if a client drops out of a group coaching program, the coach must reasonably attempt to fill that spot. Failure to do so may weaken the coach's position in retaining the non-refundable payment.

Reasonableness of Contract Terms

Ultimately, the enforceability of non-refundable payments depends on the reasonableness of the contract terms. Coaches should strive to draft contracts that are fair and equitable to both parties. Factors such as contract length, price, and termination provisions must be carefully considered to ensure a balanced agreement.

Coaching Contract Templates and Website Policies for Coaches

While coaches have the right to protect their time and resources, they must also ensure that their contracts are reasonable and provide value to clients. Contractista's attorney-drafted contract template for coaches, combined with our coaching bundle offering comprehensive website policies, including necessary disclaimers, provides a robust solution for coaches seeking clarity and protection in their agreements. By carefully considering factors such as the exchange of value, duty to mitigate damages, and reasonableness of contract terms, coaches can establish fair and enforceable agreements that benefit both parties. With the right legal tools and guidance, coaches can confidently navigate the complexities of non-refundable payments while building successful coaching practices.