As a personal trainer, forming your own fitness business can come with its fair share of challenges.
Ensuring your marketing is on par with the vision you have for your business is an important facet of a thriving personal training practice.
One way ensuring the success of your business is learning the proper way to price your personal training services.
Read below for some actionable steps for setting your rates, calculating margins, nailing down your business model, and more.
Pricing as an employee, contractor, or business owner
There are multiple ways you can work in the fitness industry. You can be a personal trainer as an employee for a health club, as an independent contractor or owning your own facility. Each of which provide their own unique benefits.
- Being an employee can allow a trainer to decrease expenses associated with independently owning their business and take advantage of services and other incentives.
- Being an independent contractor allows an individual to reduce the overhead of equipment and space while still having flexibility and some autonomy apart from the facility in which they work.
- Being a business owner whose primary goal is to set up a business independently apart from another organization or company begins with organization and proper planning to begin pricing fitness offerings.
Nail Down YOur business model
You must understand your demographic and community well, both online and off. Do your research to understand your competitors, their offerings, and how you compare to them.
Don't just try to outprice the competition to make a profit. You must price according your offerings in alignment with what's fair for your services and the demographic that you serve.
Clients and students in your area have set expectations as what they'll pay for particular services and classes, so you want to be fair and competitive without selling anyone short.
Questions to ask about business expenses
- Are you traveling?
- Are you asking others to travel to you?
- What kind of equipment do you have access to that your students/clients don’t have?
- Are you using an online platform that costs you money for access?
- What specializations and education do you have?
- How much experience do you bring to your fitness community?
Clients and students who want you to come to them should expect to pay more than your rates for those who come to your facility or location.
Investing in additional equipment or services for your business justify additional fees to offset your business cost.
calculating Profit margins for Fitness
Profit margins equal profitability. They are also a prime determiner of how high the ROI of your personal training services.
Margins are a percentage found by utilizing this equation:
Revenue – Coach Pay / Revenue
What is the right margin?
There are margin guidelines for each type of training. For most fitness businesses, a healthy margin needs to be over 60%.
Example: If your private training sessions price at $85 per hour, and you set coaching pay at $30 per hour, the margin would be 65%.
That's a good margin.
If your margins are below where they should be, you can either decrease what you bring in and payout or increase what you charge. Those are two variables to take into consideration.
Additionally, operating costs such as marketing, insurance, tax accounting, facility upkeep, rent, merchant processing, employment, social security tax, and management software should be considered in margins.
Offer flexible and accessible personal training packages
The goal is to tie your profit into your business plan and show your customer base how purchasing your services accessing them is easy.
Regardless of the type of programming you offer, some of the best options are three, six, and 12-month commitments for your training services [to start.]
In addition to your packages for training sessions and fitness classes, think about how you can continue to market while expanding your reach.
Think about additional pricing that includes 'donation-only' classes where you teach a class for free but accept donations as a way to aim to expand exposure to potential clientele. When applicable, think about discounts and a sliding-scale pricing model for individuals who may need extra help with affording your services.
To profit long-term, this is not a way of pricing your services to the vast majority of your clients, but it's a way to add on additional members to your community who may not otherwise have access to you.
In a world where fitness can seem out of reach, we can do what we can to help members get healthy through flexible offerings.
Diversify your offerings to match who you want to serve
If you plan on being a personal trainer or group fitness instructor as a sole means of income, this can serve as a challenge for you to make your overhead match your business plan goals.
The ability to offer varying packages helps your bottom line, but what else do you contribute to your clients and students?
Additional offerings to think about:
- Small-group training
- Themed classes/sessions
- Partner with another professional to expand your network and services
Moral of the story?
No one can price your services for you.
Pricing is something that takes organization and time to understand what your goal is as a fitness professional in the demographic you plan to serve in-person and online.
Any business owner must forecast the future of their business to see timelines for success and financial considerations.
Making adjustments every so often can also ensure you’re taking a look at your business in this ever-evolving world we live in to match the current climate and the needs of clients and students you want to train and teach.
Nutting, M. A. (2019). The Business of Personal Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.