Personal training is a unique career that lends itself to both part-time and full-time opportunities. Whether you're just launching into the job market or already established in a different career, part-time personal training can be an ideal entry point into the fitness industry.
After you've completed your certification, or even while you are preparing for the exam, it's important to evaluate what path you want to start your personal trainer journey on. Are you ready to jump into working full time or should you start with a slower transition as a part-time trainer?
For many trainers, the more practical approach is through part-time personal training. This route boasts flexibility and a quick opportunity to grow, especially for professionals looking for a side job or an ideal opportunity for stay-at-home parents.
Before you choose, consider these challenges and rewards of part-time personal training.
CHALLENGE #1: THE SCHEDULE
Perhaps the biggest challenge of part-time training is the schedule. Consider that a majority of your potential clients are out in the working world between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. So where does this leave you as a trainer? Previously a part-time trainer, Kyle Stull says many trainers work split shifts to accommodate clients who have normal work schedules. "One of the staples of being a personal trainer is that we work when others don't," he explains. For instance, when Stull began training, his first client of the day was at 4:30 a.m. This can be a big wake up call for some night owl trainers, literally.
REWARD: If personal trainers aren't constantly booked with clients, they have the opportunity to grow more as an educated fitness professional. "Working part time allows a trainer to take time to study and grow their knowledge," says part-time trainer Jonathon Schetzsle. Before, he says he studied, took the NASM test, and then trained 20 clients a week in a full-time gym position. “The time not spent training many clients really allows the trainer to grasp how detailed the needs of each individual are - especially when following the NASM OPT model. Details and execution must be well studied and understood in order to ensure injury-free results."
CHALLENGE #2: MINING FOR CLIENTS
Trainers working only part time may also have difficulty finding clients in the beginning, especially if they do not work in a health club atmosphere, where people already seek their services. Instead, those working for themselves must put in the extra effort to gain a steady clientele to meet their needs.
REWARD: Personal training is an excellent source of supplemental income while pursuing other personal and professional duties. Stull says that the benefits of being a trainer are "almost unlimited," and he cites the income as a favorable reward of working part-time. Having the ability to set your own wages allows you to adjust your working hours accordingly, which is especially important for those juggling life's other responsibilities.
CHALLENGE #3: BALANCE
Part-time trainers must learn to balance their other roles in life. Whether it’s sharing childcare duties, other job requirements, or other pursuits and personal responsibilities.
REWARD: The flexibility personal trainers have is huge, making this an alluring and satisfying field. With the ability to create your own schedule and set your wages, personal trainers can be in complete control of their career. Often times, part-time personal trainers will transition into full-time careers. With the help of experience, expertise and education, personal trainers will build a loyal client base necessary to be successful at the full-time level.
All Things Considered: Your Part-Time Business
While some trainers want to work part-time in a health club setting, others will be drawn to the allure of going solo. Doesn’t everyone dream about being their own boss? Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you are considering your own part-time training venture.
1. Liability insurance: This insurance protects you from pricey lawsuits if a client claims injury. Think of liability insurance as protecting you from trainer "malpractice." Liability insurance costs around $200 per year and is essential for any personal trainer on his or her own.
2. Health insurance: If you don't receive insurance through another job or your spouse, you'll need to look into independent health insurance plans. Web sites like www.ehealthinsurance.com or https://www.getinsured.com/hix aggregate quotes from many insurance providers and provide you with a comparative listing.
3. Overhead costs: Many trainers are moving toward being a mobile fitness guru, working with clients in their homes or outdoors in public parks. Luckily not much space is needed for an effective workout. However, if you decide to occupy your own space, the overhead costs like rent, insurance, and utilities can be quite high and it may be difficult to break even if you choose to only work part time.
4. Business basics: Any trainer starting out should invest some time in learning basic sales techniques, marketing strategies and budget management. Check with your local small business association or community college for free and low-cost classes for new business owners on how to be successful.
5. Time management: A part-time job may turn into a full-time position if you are making the most of your time. Stull recommends keeping socializing to a minimum. Instead, use work hours to train and then update files, records and measurements. By employing time management strategies like keeping focused, prioritizing and creating deadlines, you will be sure to use your time wisely.
6. Drive and creativity: Most importantly, trainers working part time will have to show a tenacious desire to succeed. Be creative in how you market your services and share your passion in your role as a fitness professional.