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How to Start a Personal Training Business (Step-by-Step) – System2 Blog
Fitness, Personal Training Business

How to Start a Personal Training Business (Step-by-Step)

February 21, 2022


Starting your own personal training business can be a very rewarding experience. It can also involve a lot of hard work, determination, and learning, but with the right planning and execution, you can be successful.

In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to start and run your own personal training business. We’ll cover topics such as marketing yourself, finding clients, setting up your business operations, and more.

So if you’re ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, read on.

Step One: Find Your Niche

The first step in starting a fitness business is to decide what type of client you are going to work with. This is an important decision because it will dictate how much money and time you invest, as well as the type of marketing you will need to do (types of fitness digital marketing, direct mail, etc).

There are many different types of people who might be interested in hiring a personal trainer: those looking for help with weight loss, athletes trying to improve their performance at certain sports, seniors wanting physical therapy services after an injury or illness, and so on.

If you’re not sure what niche to go into, consider looking online for personal training forums or Facebook groups where people post about their fitness goals and needs. This can give you some good fitness business ideas for your target market.

Once you have chosen a niche, you’ll need to make it clear why you’re the go-to personal trainer for the niche.

For instance, if you are an ex-athlete who wants to train young athletes, you will want to make sure that parents know the background of your athletic career and any awards or achievements you may have received. This way, they can see that their child is in good hands with a qualified professional. 

If you are a mom who struggled with weight loss after having kids and wants to help women get fit again, talk about your personal story; share before and after photos if it’s comfortable (and always make sure that people know that you have their permission to do so). This will inspire other moms as they see what is possible. 

If you want to train seniors, talk about the reason why you got into this field and what inspired your decision. Was it a grandparent? A close family friend? Someone who needed help getting back on their feet after an injury or illness? Maybe they were bedridden for years and couldn’t walk before working with you—share this story to show your clients that you have the experience and knowledge to help them.

When you are passionate about a niche, it’s easy to talk about how you can help people achieve their goals. Choose a couple of powerful stories that will inspire potential clients and make sure that all of your marketing materials (including your website) reflect your unique story.

Step Two: Get Personal Trainer Certification

One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success as a personal trainer is to become certified. This will show your clients that you are qualified to provide them with safe and effective training services.

There are many different types of personal training certification available, so it’s important to choose one that is relevant to your area of expertise. For example, if you have experience working with athletes then it might make sense to become certified in sports conditioning or strength and conditioning programs.

If you’re just getting started as a personal trainer, then any certification will do – don’t worry too much about whether it matches your specialty (for now). You can always upgrade later on down the line once you’ve built up some experience and expertise.

The American Council on Exercise, a fitness certification company, offers several different certifications for personal trainers, including an online option that can be completed within a few weeks.

Once you’ve become certified, be sure to keep your skills up-to-date by participating in continuing education courses and workshops.

Step Three: Create a Business Plan 

The next step is to develop a fitness business plan and make sure you have all of the resources in place before you start your personal training business. This means that you need to work through some important decisions about how you want to operate your business, including where, when, on what terms, and how much.

Where Will You Offer Services? 

Will you offer one-on-one personal training in people’s homes? Will you offer group classes at a local gym or community center? Or, will you set up an online personal training business and train clients via video?

When considering your location options, think about what is going to be the most convenient for your clients. If you live in a big city, offering home visits may be the best option, as people are often short on time and don’t want to have to travel far from their homes. If you live in a rural area, group classes may be a better option, as there may not be many gyms or community centers close by.

Also, think about your availability. Do you want to work morning, afternoon, or evening? Are there any time slots that are off-limits for personal training sessions, such as when your kids need to be driven to hockey practice or other after-school activities?

On What Terms Will You Work With Clients?

Another important decision to make is what type of contract you will use with your clients. There are a few different options to choose from, but the two most common ones are hourly and package contracts.

  • Hourly Contracts: This option is great for people who want more flexibility or those who are new to personal training. With this type of contract, clients pay for each hour that they spend with you. This can be a good option if you only offer a few sessions per week or if your client wants to work with you on a short-term basis (for example, they may want help getting in shape for their upcoming vacation).
  • Package Contracts: This option is popular with personal trainers because it allows them to earn a steady income. With a package contract, clients pay for a certain number of sessions upfront and typically receive a discount on the per-session rate. This type of contract is great for those who want to commit to working with you over a longer time.

How Much Will You Charge?

The final decision you need to make is how much you will charge for your services. It’s important to do some research into what other personal trainers in your area are charging for their services. That way, you can make sure that you are pricing yourself competitively and will be able to earn enough money to cover your expenses.

Once you’ve decided on a price, create a spreadsheet with all of your business expenses so that you know exactly how much you need to earn per month and year. This will help keep your business running smoothly and ensure that you are not overspending or undercharging for your services.

Now it’s time to start writing a business plan.

How to Write Your Personal Training Business Plan 

A personal training business plan is essential for small business owners; it outlines your goals, marketing strategies, and how you plan on achieving them.

If you’re thinking of starting a personal training business, here are the key components that you need to include in your fitness business plan:

  • Executive Summary: This is a short overview of your personal training business model, including who you are and what kind of services you’ll provide. It should also include the key financial details about your company such as projected revenue and profit margins.
  • Company Description: This section provides more detail about what makes your personal training business unique from other businesses in the industry. For example, do you offer specialized services such as weight loss or injury prevention training? Are you certified in any particular areas of expertise like cardiac rehabilitation or nutrition counseling?
  • Market Analysis: This section provides information about the market for your personal training business. It should include an overview of the industry, trends that are occurring within it, and what opportunities exist for new businesses to break into the market.
  • Marketing Plan: This section outlines how you plan to market your personal training business. It should include specific strategies for attracting new clients and retaining existing ones, including a detailed list of marketing tactics (e.g., advertising campaigns, social media marketing for fitness, outreach programs).
  • Operational Plan: This section describes how you’ll run your business on a day-to-day basis, including the staffing and equipment needs of your company.
  • Financial Plan: This section outlines your financial projections for the next three to five years. It should include information about how much money you expect to make from your personal training services, as well as your estimated expenses.

Step Four: Ensure You’re Legally Compliant

Before you start any kind of business, it’s important to make sure that you are legally compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. This is especially true for personal training businesses, which can be subject to a variety of health and safety regulations.

Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Licensing requirements: To practice your profession, you need a license from the state in which you live. Each state has its own licensing requirements and fees associated with them so you must do some research before starting up as a personal trainer.
  • Business insurance: It is wise for any business owner (including personal trainers) to have liability insurance. This will protect you in case of accidents or injuries that occur on the job.
  • Taxes: Personal trainers are eligible for several tax deductions, such as office supplies, continuing education, and travel expenses related to their business activities. It’s important to keep track of these costs so that they can be deducted from your taxes at the end of each year.
  • Contracts: It’s a good idea to have your clients sign contracts before they begin their training with you. This will ensure that they understand what is expected of them and protects both parties from potential misunderstandings later on down the line.

Also, you might want to create a business bank account. While you’re not legally required to do so, it’s a good idea as it will allow you to separate your personal and business finances.

Step Five: Invest in equipment

One of the advantages of being a personal trainer is that you don’t need to have a lot of expensive equipment to get started. In fact, most of what you need can be purchased for less than $300.

Here are some essentials you can consider:

  • Treadmill or elliptical machine: These are essential pieces of equipment that every personal trainer needs in their home office.
  • Dumbbells: You can’t get very far without some dumbbells. Make sure to invest in a variety of different weights so you have options when it comes time to train with them.
  • Resistance bands or tubing: These are great for strength training and can be used in many different ways.
  • Exercise mat: These are great for stretching exercises like yoga or Pilates.

Step Six: Create a Website 

A website is one of the best ways to promote your business and attract new clients. It’s also a great way to showcase your skills and qualifications, so make sure you include plenty of information about your certification and experience on the website.

If you don’t have any web design experience, there are many free or low-cost options available online that can help you create a professional-looking site in no time at all.

Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are just a few of the many sites that offer easy-to-use templates for building your own website quickly and easily.

Here are a few tips you need to consider to create a website that will improve your online presence, attract a lot of fitness clients, and help you stand out:

  • Make sure your website has a unique design that reflects your personal brand. Also, use high-quality photos to showcase your training and experience.
  • Users should have easy navigation so that they can find what they are looking for or the services you offer with ease.
  • Keep in mind that most of the people who visit fitness websites are interested in learning more about training, so make sure you have plenty of content on your website that covers topics like program design, nutrition, and injury prevention.
  • Include a blog on your website to show off your writing skills and share insights about the personal training industry.
  • Make it easy for people to contact you by including your phone number, email address, and social media profiles on your website.

Step Seven: Create Social Media Accounts 

Social media is another great way to promote your personal training business and connect with potential clients. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer a variety of ways to share information about your business, including photos, videos, and blog posts.

Make sure you create profiles for each of the social media platforms that you plan to use and then link them back to your website or blog.

That said, here are a few tips that can help you stand out from other personal trainers on social media:

  • Be sure to post interesting and engaging content that will capture the attention of your target audience — this could include videos of you training clients, blog posts about fitness topics, or photos of your latest workouts.
  • Share links to other websites that are relevant to your personal training business, such as articles about health and wellness or research studies related to exercise science.
  • Use hashtags when posting content so that it’s easier for people to find your posts. For example, if you post about strength training on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to include some relevant hashtags like #strengthtraining or #fitnessmotivation.
  • Engage with other fitness professionals by retweeting their tweets, commenting on their Instagram photos, and liking their Facebook posts. This will help you build relationships with other professionals in the industry and potentially create new business opportunities.
  • Engage with your followers by responding to comments and questions.
  • Post regularly so people will see your posts in their feed and can keep up to date with what you’re doing as a trainer.
  • Scan competitors to get fitness post ideas

Step Eight: Market Your Fitness Business 

Now that you’ve created a website, social media profiles, and obtained your certification, it’s time to start marketing your personal training business. There are a variety of ways to do this, and the approach you take will largely depend on your budget and how much time you want to devote to marketing.

Here are a few tips to help you market your own business:

  • Start by creating a list of potential marketing channels and then decide which ones make the most sense for your business.
  • Send out email newsletters with information about your services and upcoming events. Include links to blog posts on topics like exercise science or nutrition, as well as photos of you training clients in the gym.
  • Create a Facebook business page where you can share content related to your personal training business. It’s also a great place for people to leave reviews about their experience working with you.
  • Launch a blog where you can share tips about training, nutrition, and injury prevention. 
  • Participate in online forums and discussion groups related to fitness and personal training. Share your insights and answer questions from prospective clients.
  • Submit articles about personal training to online publications and websites.
  • Start a YouTube channel where you can share videos of your workouts, client testimonials, and advice for staying fit.
  • Create an online course about fitness or nutrition and sell it to your existing clients as a way to build loyalty and generate additional income from each customer relationship. Read our resource on how to sell fitness programs.

That said, even though the majority of personal training business is conducted online, it’s still important to market your business offline as well. This could include things like distributing flyers at local gyms and health clubs, giving presentations to groups of people about the benefits of personal training, or exhibiting at fitness expos or trade shows.

You can also use offline marketing techniques to attract new clients by hosting free classes at your studio or gym, posting flyers in public places like coffee shops and libraries, and even sending out postcards with information about your business.

Step Nine: Grow Your Personal Training Business 

Now that you’ve launched your personal training business, it’s time to think about how you can grow it. This includes developing a strategy for attracting new clients and retaining the ones you already have.

A few ideas that can help you get started include:

  • Develop a system for tracking client progress over time. This will help you see which exercises and workouts are helping them meet their goals, and which ones need to be adjusted.
  • Create a database of all your current clients so you can easily contact them when it’s time to schedule their next session.
  • Ask for referrals from existing customers who have had success working with you. This will help attract more business without any additional marketing costs on your part.
  • Run special promotions during certain parts of the year like New Year’s resolutions or summertime. For example, offer discounted rates for clients who sign up before a certain date (such as January 31st) or offer package deals that include multiple sessions at once.
  • Partner with other professionals within the fitness industry such as physical therapists and massage therapists to provide your clients with additional services.
  • Consider offering group training sessions at a discount so you can accommodate more people at once and reduce your overhead costs per client. 

Now that you have all the information you need on how to start a personal training business, it’s time to get started. So put on your workout clothes, lace up your sneakers, and get to work on building the business of your dreams.

Check out our guide to start an online personal training business for more information.

Build your own fitness empire with System 2

Setting up a successful personal training business doesn’t have to be difficult. System2 can help you with everything you need to get started. With our help, you can get: 

  • A winning business plan that sets you apart from other personal trainers 
  • An intuitive fitness website that shares your unique story 
  • A mobile app that provides you advanced analytics on your clients 
  • A streamlined client-onboarding process that allows your customers to get settled quickly 
  • A smooth payment management system that helps you stay on top of your cash flow

Sign up today. 



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