Making Money as a Personal Trainer

The basic idea of being a personal trainer is simple: learn the trade, attain clients, get paid. In reality, it can be much harder to put the plan to practice. To find success as a personal trainer and to make money, you need a strong plan. We will discuss some of the key steps and decisions you need to consider as you start your journey as a personal trainer.


Getting Certified

While you may not need a certification to be a fitness coach, you do need credentials to be taken seriously in the field. If there are five other options of trainers near you that are all certified, do you think you will be most people’s first consideration?

You should research what certifications are accepted at the gym you want to train at or what certification is popular among the specific area of training in which you have an interest. Some of the most popular and widely accepted certifications in the US are with NASM and NCSF.


If you want to develop your qualifications, then you can also get additional specialized certifications. Additional certifications will give you the option to offer more specialized services, such as bodybuilding, senior fitness, weight management, or group exercise.


Key Decision: Self-Employment or Working for a Gym

You have two primary options as a personal trainer: starting your own personal training business or working for someone else. Both routes are good and can earn good money.


Your Own Business

One of the benefits of personal training is how flexible it is. With your own business, you have the freedom to run it however you see fit. You could choose to just train in your free time, or you could train full time.


With your own business, you have the agency to charge what you want. This does mean more work though. You must manage the marketing and scheduling and finances yourself. If you have the discipline, organization, and focus to manage your own business, and the idea of having your own personal training business sounds great and a better fit for your goals – having your own business does have great earning potential.


Working for Someone Else

Working for someone else as a personal trainer most often means working for a gym or a training facility as an in-house trainer. There are some obvious pluses to this route: consistent pay, no business management costs, considerably more job security. The biggest thing lacking in this route is the freedom. You likely will not have as much agency over the classes you teach, how much you make, or what clients you hire.


The amount of marketing you must do will depend on your employer. You make be required to market yourself and find new clients, or that may be covered by the gym. This will be something to consider when choosing a gym to try and work for as a personal trainer if you choose to go the route of working for a facility. Research gyms in your area to see the different pay rates, how they handle marketing for personal trainers, how much business they have, and their certification requirements to find a gym that fits you best.
More Tips Offer More Options While it can be valuable to focus on one thing and be known for doing that well, it can be very beneficial to offer a number of services. Whether it’s as simple as offering both fitness training and nutritional guidance or offering a myriad of services to all the different segments of the gym population, expanding your offerings will surely grow your business.

Train Classes Sometimes we just think of personal trainers as one-on-one trainers, but most classes at gyms are also taught by people with personal trainer credentials. It does require a different teaching style, but classes are a great way to grow your business and build your earning potential.

Market, Market, Market Marketing is key for both self-employed trainers and oftentimes for trainers working at a facility as well. It may seem like a chore sometimes (if business development is not an area of interest to you), but without marketing it will be very difficult to find new clients and grow your business. Make a plan and stick to it. There are tons of online resources for how to develop a marketing plan specifically for personal trainers – so do some research and get started!

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