Marion Foreman, Forefront Fitness - 2 gyms and an online business
Most people considering how to earn as a personal trainer consider what is a typical personal training salary. Well a gym instructor salary is limited at less than £10,000 per year normally. A group exercise instructor salary can be a little more but a personal trainer salary has the greatest potential by far.
If you work in a club you will either earn a PT salary based on earning a commission on your personal training or you will pay a rent and take all the personal training fee yourself. Anything from £25,000 to £55,000 is normal in a club. As a small group PT, your salary as a personal trainer can be over £100,000 as is the case with Allison Harding for example, from Zig Zag Women's Fitness & Motivation.
OK so you want to know more about what you can earn as a Personal Trainer.
Well the truth is plenty and, I suspect, beyond your wildest dreams. The pay is good. But (and there is always a but) you will need to be the real deal PT to succeed.
Let’s explore your options.
If you can qualify and establish yourself as a confident and highly competent trainer, the future really is bright! Avoid the gym-instructor role and create a future that will excite you.
HOVER OR CLICK TO SEE THE SORTS OF THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Potential to create your own 8 week transformation challenge.
Consider small group PT sessions (6 per group)
Integrate nutrition coaching into delivery
Charge just £15 per person twice a week and earn £90 per hour without charging a fortune
More opportunities to be a Mobile or home-based PT.
Visit clients in their own homes
Train people outdoors
Train clients in the work-place
Huge gaps in the market to work with amateur golfers, skiers and sub-elite athletes.
Add programs together to create a client journey: weight loss - improved performance - competitive 1/2 marathon or mud runner
Increasing opportunities to open your own studio.
Your name above the door
Converted garage, warehouse on the edge of town - boutique studio to keep the costs down
Pre-sell opportunities before you even open
Opportunity to combine one-on-one with small group PT.
Create a solution not an hourly rate
Consider program release dates rather than a rolling start
Use online technology to manage your clients
Global opportunities for Online Coaching.
Create a video education program to teach your clients
Develop a client log-in area and help them feel part of your community
Create your method!
Most of our students are primarily motivated to create an enjoyable work-life balance and find a way to channel their passion for fitness. With a clear purpose and desire to make a difference you can certainly make a huge impact in the lives of others but also in terms of what you can earn.
This page explores some of the routes our graduates take.
Certainly you can set yourself up in a large fitness chain such as Fitness First. Fitness First is a global chain and offers an excellent way to earn well and, although under the umbrella of a larger business, allows you freedom to do your own thing and still be your own boss.
Nearly ALL Fitness First trainers are self-employed i.e. they are running a small business within a larger business paying a relatively small rent for them to be based there. Rent is approximately 2 ½ to 3 client PT fees a week – the rest is 100% yours. You get several months to build up your clientele before having to pay full rent and you have access to each club’s health and fitness manager, whose role it is to help you first register properly as a self-employed PT and then build up your client-base.
There are now many budget chains such as Simply Gym and Pure Gym for example. Again the scenario is very similar but instead of rent you give the club time in exchange for you being able to operate out of that club. You only need to give them less than a day in total spread over the week but everything you earn after this is yours.
Indeed, most of the larger chains are very similar in operation in terms of their PTs. Virgin Active offers a small retainer for you whilst you build your clientele but then ultimately you end up earning via how much personal training you are doing.
You can certainly approach local small gyms and single-site operators and even Leisure Centres. There are country and urban retreats, hotel gyms and health spa. You can work on a cruise ship, as part of a corporate fitness group like PT plus or travel the world – every country with an obesity or diabetes problem, and this is most, will have successful trainers busy with paying clients (provided you have business-savvy).
FITNESS FIRST / PURE GYM EXAMPLE
You pay the club free time or small rent but you take all the money
How much can you earn?
The sky’s the limit. Certainly outside London you can earn £20-35 an hour. In more affluent areas of which there are many around the UK you can earn certainly £30-45 an hour. In London trainers typically charge more like £50-60 an hour. Now these are good trainers. But the thing is it’s not like you just charge 15% less if you are not so good – instead you just don’t earn.
Right now you either earn fairly well or you end up as a gym instructor cleaning equipment, doing the occasional PT session and spending all day and unsociable hours at a gym earning relatively little.
The difference between success and failure is not luck or even how much “experience” you have. If you can offer a genuine solution to people’s needs, at a price than they can afford offering an experience that they enjoy – you’re in business.
This is why you should also consider small group PT i.e. charging just £15-20 per person per session but training 4-6 per group. This yields you £60-90 plus but offers your clients a much more affordable option. This is why you should consider online PT and definitely add professional “coaching” services to your clients. By coaching I refer behind the scenes client management, face to face and indeed telephone based nutrition coaching consultations and the lifestyle support people do need to change permanently. When you do this you add tremendous value and therefore likelihood people choose you.
Finally, we recommend packaging the right combination of consultation, one-on-one and small group PT to provide a product to buy rather than just selling PT by the hour.
Suffice to say you can earn well. And we will teach you exactly how.
The challenge is actually being a good enough PT in the first place to genuinely offer a solution to people’s needs as opposed to a service to a gym member. The challenge is standing out from the noise – the high volume of basic level PTs and setting yourself up as an authority, a professional and a business-savvy Personal Trainer with an edge.
Certainly, tiptoeing into the industry as an instructor then adding PT module by module will leave you likely perceived as the employee who cleans equipment, inducts new members and now suddenly charges £30 an hour – too unbelievable that clients will gain sufficient value to ever buy.
Certainly, taking a cheap option to save money just costs you more in the long run.
The real challenge is you. Your mindset to be specific. Do you think and plan for the worst case scenario and take the easy option and hope for the best or do you go for it? This ultimately is the question and the answer to which may well define your future career.
Getting an interview is easy – every qualified PT gets one. The challenge is standing out at interview because everyone has the same qualifications and lack of experience. That is unless you had already gained 20 hours of experience on course with payment members of the public with testimonials to take away. That is unless you had a very unique international set of qualifications unlike other PTs also at interview. That is unless you exhibited a level of confidence that only comes with getting away and immersing yourself in a PT experience in the first place.
Once in position you need to be different in the way you set up your profile that members will see on the wall. You need to work the cardio theatre and talk to members not doing any resistance training to discuss with them how to boost their metabolic rate or better manage their arthritis or improve their posture…you need to manage your clients well and encourage referral and you need to set up effective complimentary offerings, consider delivering a seminar or webinar monthly, create some great blog or email content and sell well. I mean know how to motivate clients and encourage people to commit – all part of our course, of course.
Many trainers work successfully in a club environment, enjoy a good income but with the security they don’t have to own all the equipment and be responsible for a large gym. But many of our graduates end up as mobile trainers and studio owners – let’s explore these options further.
Setting up as a mobile PT is a viable option immediately after graduating. Some of our students do work in a club environment for 6-12 months first and then end up as a mobile PT. Either way this can be a great route to take.
Firstly, you are in complete control. This option really does offer you the chance to be your own boss and be that independent freelance self-employed PT.
What do you need?
To begin you need perhaps a TRX, set of adjustable dumbbells, Swiss ball and blood pressure monitor; some pre-prepared documents and forms; a client management system and marketing approach to get your first clients.
Total set-up cost less than £300.
You do not need to pay a rent to a club. You do not need to give free time to a club. You do not need to wear the club’s uniform. And you do not need to fight with other PTs.
The challenge here is getting clients and managing your business yourself. That’s why we offer ongoing support for every graduate for free including being able to attend regular business webinars, accessing lots of pre-prepared resources and being able to call in and chat with a coach at any time..
So how much can you earn?
Same rates as earlier plus 10% i.e. mobile trainers usually charge a bit more since they are travelling to the client. You will need business cards, a good website, to be active on social media or having some effective advertising such as branding your car or advertising in a local magazine. You can link with physiotherapist, beauticians, hairdressers and even running shops and health food outlets. The key is to do just a few things well.
Look, no point running through everything here but suffice to say this route works if you are 1) technically trained well, b) can coach behaviour change and motivate people well and c) know how to do the business well. This is our course!
Let’s do a few quick sums.
After first 6 months the next 12 months could look a little like this –
NO. of One-on-One PT sessions per week
NO. of Small group PT sessions per week
no. of Private consultations & coaching
TOTAL HOURS DELIVERY 27
[Please note if you need offering ½ hour PT sessions at £15 per session increases your hourly rate by £5 and reaches out to more people to be more able to afford your services]
INCOME £900 / week
Total clients at any one time if training with you 2x per week = 6 one-on-one clients and 10 small group PT clients – this is very achievable!
How to be successful as a mobile PT
You need to have confidence. There are many millions of people around the world who dislike the gym environment finding it intimidating and un-enjoyable but who still feel overweight, frustrated with their fitness and prone to a range of debilitating health condition caused primarily by their sedentary or inactive lifestyle. These people present a huge market. The trick is to narrow this down a little and market well to build your 16 clients.
Let’s cut to the chase. You need to better than just an ordinary PT. You need exceptional delivery skills, need to be able to train people with minimal equipment, you need to know how to work with a range of specific conditions, how to correct poor posture, motivate and you need to know how to coach nutritional change and start a small business. Again – this is what our course teaches!
Many of our students have opened their own studios. Some are in a position to do so straight away after graduating but need the confidence and technical skills to do so from the course and, of course, some business training to ensure its success.
Others progress to this stage first setting up as a mobile PT, travelling or working in a club prior.
You don't need to afford a swanky bells and whistles shiny club, you may decide on a more functional studio on the outskirts of town, perhaps a converted warehouse or even convert your own garage...
We have students open within 2 months of leaving (Nick at www.tri-pt.co.uk) setting up for just over £5000 for example.
Others delayed things a year or more (Libby at www.believe-fitness.co.uk).
And still others who have gone the whole hog and opened quite spectacular studios (Tim at www.freestyle360.co.uk/ or Marion at www.forefrontfitness.co.uk).
Success, which ever way you want to look at it - needs YOU to be the real deal PT.
You need the best possible technical skills to begin. You need great coaching skills to solve clients problems and so create value and you need to become good at business. Become an EIF Master Trainer and life will never be the same again.
YOUR OWN STUDIO
Do or no do, there is no try. Decision time: do it properly or not at all...
IS A STUDIO VIABLE?
You can create a small boutique studio just for yourself. This means you can feel comfortable also training clients outdoors since your rent for a smaller studio can be quite small. You don't have to buy equipment but can lease or rent plus if this is a studio not a gym you can keep things fairly minimalistic. In fact, many clients will find this a much less daunting prospect to attend.
You can expand and add trainers. As you create some traction adding another trainer, offering them further training and support and, of course, clients - can enable you to take 40%-50% of the fees taken, providing you a residual income.
Small group PT studios probably offer the greatest return financially. Nick for example may only run 4 small group PT sessions a day (6 people per session) Monday to Friday at his studio in Leighton Buzzard. These will be attended by 6 people each time. He exclusively offers small group training, not one-on-one. He integrates great nutritional support into his sessions and between with his client management system to keep everything organised.
And at £25 per person per session, an offer to experience a free trial fortnight before committing Nick is fully booked bringing in £3000 a week or approximately £12,000 a month.
But first he became a stand-out PT!
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