How to start a personal training business the guide brought to you by an actual PT. Basically the holy grail then. In this guide we are going to talk through the simple steps and the graft, you need to follow. After which, you will know how to start a personal training business that works for you.
How to start a personal training business | The Lowdown
In the UK, there are 13,770 registered personal trainers who earn between £25 and £50 per hour. Top PT’s can charge as high as £100. There is some good money to be earned as a PT, providing you put the work in and really look after your clients. That means, you work 5 hours a day for 5 days a week and you could take home £120,000 per year. But you have to be good. This guide is all about how to start a personal training business that gets you there. If you are just finding your feet in the industry then you will be looking at how to start a personal training business that is a success. So successful that you can earn those higher figures, drive a nice car and have all the top kit for your clients.
I’ll be sharing tips on getting clients from my own experiences as a personal trainer. I started my business back in 2016 and grew a client base from the ground up. Today, I specialise in pre and postnatal online personal training. More on this later.
Where to start with my personal training business?
There are a few different routes to go down with your personal training business.
- Self employed – You either have your own facility or do home visits.
- Freelance at a gym – The gym may require you to pay a set fee for rent each month, or you may be required to do a certain number of classes or hours on the gym floor.
What do I need to start my personal training business?
- Register as tax payer with HMRC
- Get insurance
- Social media accounts
- Your own website
- Have kit if working out of clients homes/local parks
- Consider an online platform such as True Coach
I’m going to break this down into two sections as there are 2 different routes to go down when you start a personal training business.
- Section A will look at how to start your business as a freelance PT working exclusively out of a gym
- Section B will be how to start your personal training business out of peoples homes and local parks
If you don’t want to wait around, here are our top 3 picks of best starting your own business guides.
Section A- how to start your Personal Training business from a gym
Starting your PT business from a gym means that you have the benefit of getting people in the gym to know and trust you. You have lots of hot leads.
Everyone who walks through the door is there for a reason – to get fit. The majority of them probably wouldn’t mind a little help!
Here are my tips for getting clients when you are on the gym floor
- Train yourself at the gym – Show clients how you train by working out in the gym too
- Talk to people – get to know names, what their goals are and what they did at the weekend. Building up a rapport with people will help build trust, get you some fans and they’ll be more inclined to listen to any tips you have
- Offer free sessions – This way people in the gym can see how you work with clients. They don’t have to know that they’re not paying! This keeps you looking busy on the gym floor too
- Take classes if you can – Taking a class here and there will help you get to meet gym members, make sure you mention you are a PT!
- Offer help – Don’t be rude though. But, if you can see someone is doing a deadlift and hasn’t got it quite right rather than correct them (people don’t like being told they’re doing something wrong) say something like “Ah, leg day is it? Have you ever tried doing a XXX”
This then gives you the chance to show them a different exercise, give them pointers. Maybe offer a free session for the following week. Hopefully they’ll hire you and then you can sort that deadlift out!
Section B- How to start a personal training business working from people’s houses
As you are not affiliated with any gyms, you need to find ways to get clients. In quite honestly, a busy market. You need to make yourself stand out as a knowledgeable, trustworthy personal trainer.
I started a personal training business with the aim to work out of clients homes and local parks. I got my qualification, built a website, got a shiny logo – then twiddled my thumbs.
When were people going to ask for PT with me?
That is when I realised that it isn’t a case of build it and they will come.
You need to make yourself known in the local area and importantly, build trust. The key to building any new company is marketing yourself well, offline and online. Who thought when you learnt how to start a personal training business you needed to learn to make a website or understand SEO??!
Here are a few things I did that really worked for me for building my home base clients. In fact these are useful for any new startup. If you are heading over to our How-to on setting up a food van business next. The advice works for that too.
- Deliver classes – Either start your own in a local hall or park or coach at an established bootcamp/leisure centre/gym
- Share your best knowledge – Give away free and good info on your facebook and instagram
- Sign up to Bark.com – This service gives you leads, you have to pay but I managed to get clients who I trained for years from Bark.com
- Discount flyers – Share discount flyers with places like your local hairdressers and Drs
- Facebook groups – Let people in your area know about your business by writing your offers on local Facebook groups (Try not to be too sales-y, they don’t seem to like that!)
- Get found – Sign up to Google Business and other directories such as Yell.com
When you start a PT business and intend on going to people’s homes and local parks, here are a few must haves:
- A car/ your own transport (you don’t want to be carrying dumbbells on the train!)
- Equipment – I 100% recommend that you get Powerblock weights as they will save you needing lots of different weights, also resistance bands are fantastic
- An old fashioned pen and paper or tablet to have your clients plans on
How to start a personal training business that keeps growing
If you have bigger dreams than being a PT out of houses, or working a gym floor, then it is certainly possible. It takes work though, and you might want to focus on earning your stripes and getting all the experience you can working with different people.
Once I had done my course I thought I knew everything… turns out I didn’t really start learning until I had that first paying client in front of me, or the second with a knee injury, or the third who couldn’t engage her glutes. You’ve got to always be learning and if you don’t know the answer to a client’s question, tell them you will find out and let them know.
With PT you are trading time for money. There are only so many hours you can physically work meaning that your income will eventually be capped. That’s if you don’t burn out before you reach that point.
I trained the general population for 3 years. However, when a few of my clients became pregnant I decided to get my pre and post natal qualification so I could carry on working with them.
I went on to take a few more courses in pregnancy and post pregnancy exercise and started to specialise in that area. Now, I run a mum and baby exercise class and only take on pregnant ladies and those who had a baby from 6 weeks to up to 1 year ago.
I now have my own little one and work online as a personal trainer as that is what suits our lifestyle. It also allows me to give clients more exercises than just one hour a week. This way they can get the motivation to move everyday!
If you want to grow your PT business then you could go down the following routes
- Your own facility
- Staff or a fleet of PTs under your brand
- Move to online only
- Specialise in one area and grow it
Starting a successful personal training business is possible, even in a saturated market. You just have to be likeable, knowledgeable and trustworthy. That my physical training buddies is how to start a personal training business that works.
Get yourself out there and don’t be shy – Good luck!