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Get Started - 8 Simple Steps to Success

Step 1:
Is Personal Training
Right for Me?

Step 2:
Get Certified
Step 3:
Get the Job
Step 4:
Launch Your Business
Step 5:
Train Smarter

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Personal Trainer Employment Types

personal training evaluationYou have both the knowledge and experience to be a personal trainer.  But, there are still choices that need to be made.  One of the most important involves deciding what type of trainer you want to be. 

Do you want to be a personal trainer consultant (also known as an independent contractor)?

Or do you prefer to work in someone else’s health club as an employee?

There are pros and cons for each that you should consider very seriously before making your final decision.


Option 1: The Independent Contractor Path

personal trainer consultantThere are plenty of advantages of working as a personal trainer consultant  or independent contractor as opposed to a regular company employee.  You will have the ability to:

Manage the amount of money that you can make.  There is no limit.

  • Set your own prices
  • Pick your own clients
  • Work the hours that you choose
  • Work in whatever niche you want to and even have a specialization
  • Reap the tax rewards

But, on the flip side, there are also plenty of disadvantages to working as a personal trainer consultant:

  • Your income may fluctuate.
  • You will have to put up the money for doing business.  You must dish out money for insurance and training equipment. This will consist of handling all aspects of the business such as accounting and marketing on your own.
  • You will not get regular company benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation days or sick days.
  • There is a high amount of risk.



Option2: The Company Employee

There are advantages of being a company employee instead of a personal trainer consultant:

  • You will have steady income.
  • You will receive employee benefits such as insurance and vacation pay.
  • The risk is low.

But, there are also disadvantages of working as a company employee as opposed to an independent contractor.

  • There aren’t many opportunities to move up
  • You are stuck with whatever clients the company retains
  • You must work according to a company schedule
  • Many gym managers are not very fun to work with (see our extensive reader comments)


So, what will it be for you?  A personal trainer consultant or a company employee? 

personal trainer certificationA majority of people will automatically choose to be a personal trainer consultant.  While this is an acceptable choice, you might want to step back and think about the amount of risk that is involved.  Opening up a personal training company will take more work than you think.  It will require plenty of your time and cash in order to get it up and running.

In order to succeed, you should build up  your personal training skills before opening up your own business.  This may take you around two years to achieve, if you are new to personal training.

Think about working as a company employee first.  This will make it easier to build up your skills and confidence.  Also, you can see and learn about the business side of opening up and running a company.  This will give you an adequate amount of time to work with many different clients and make them appreciative of your training skills. 

personal training schoolsOnce you are ready,  you can switch over and start working as an independent contractor.  However, the most important thing is that you do not take this major step unless your skills are completely developed and ready for the challenge.  Doing so will reduce some of the risk that is often associated with becoming personal trainer.

by Katie Donnelly


Next Page: How Much Money Can I Make?

Insider Tips

insider tipsI couldn't agree more. When I first started as a personal trainer I knew almost nothing. Even after getting certified I was very "green". But after spending a year working in two different health clubs I learned how those businesses operate. At the same time my training skills got much stronger and I became more confident. When I just couldn't take working for the clubs anymore I launched my own business. And the best part is that many of my clients followed me!

- Lisa, New Haven CT

insider tipsThe hourly wages, working for a gym are not that great. We're talking about 9 or 10 bucks. Most gyms charge the client 20-30 bucks a session, but the trainer only gets a small percentage of that. I wish I'd known that prior. I have found that the real money comes in working for yourself. Training private clients in their homes or their gyms is much more lucrative. You can charge a fair wage and still make good money. You can accept as few or as many clients as you like in a day and still have time to do other things.

- Lloyd, New York

insider tipsAsk as many questions as you can when you are working at a gym. Learn from the older trainers. Take copies of their forms. I didn't have money for a legal department when I started my business so I adapted a lot of my gym's forms for my purposes.

- Brad, Carlsbad CA

insider tipsYou definitely need to be really comfortable with clients. Once you can meet a new client and convert them to a long term client, then you will be ready to think about becoming a personal trainer consultant. Its so much better to learn and make mistakes (as you will when you first start) while working for somebody else. You still get to collect a pay check.

- Nigel, Canberra Australia

insider tipsI have been training independently for about 2 years now and it has been the best decision I have ever made. The gym I train at charges $500/month. Which is a good deal. All of the private training gyms around charge anywhere between $10-$12 per session...which can add up to much more than $500/month.

- Los Angeles

Next Page: How Much Money Can I Make?

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