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Personal Training Pay

by KD

Is it normal to work for free to gain experience as a personal trainer? I recently started working as an independent contractor at a small privately owned personal training studio. I have been certified for some time, and have worked in the industry as a manager, but do not have a great deal of experience training others. Currently, I am just following another trainer, taking notes and occasionally jumping in for practice, with the promise that I will be taking over some of these clients in the near future. I don't get paid for this time, and would like to know if this is typical in the industry. I have yet to fill out any tax forms or see an employment agreement, which makes me a little nervous.

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Maybe, but I doubt it.
by: Kyle

As a trainer working at country clubs, personal training studios, and larger gyms I have never been exposed to this type of situation. I wouldn't call this situation typical but I would consider this a great opportunity to learn new moves and learn client personalities. If you are going to take over these clients in the future you have an advantage of not having to go through the initial phase (and sometimes awkward phase) of getting to know these clients. If I were you I would ask whoever is in charge about a concrete start date and how much the studio charges you to train. As an independent contractor you have a better opportunity of making more per hour if the studio rates are fair. You may end up having to do your own marketing.

On Purpose?
by: Steve

It makes some sense you'd earn LESS money while in training to be a trainer...but FREE?

Even in Boot Camp the recruits get paid something while we were learning to be sailors.

Unless you have a concrete contract guaranteeing a salary or number of clients after training, that seems fair to YOU, but it doesn't sound like you do.


As an independent contractor, you can charge whatever fee you wish to for your services. The company that you are working with is allowing you free access to their member base. Therefore, they are actually helping you out in a non-monetary way.
If you work directly for a business, you must be paid by the business - not by the client directly. In other words, the company determines your pay rate.

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