You’ve Got Your Personal Trainer Certification: Now What?

Congratulations!  You’ve earned your personal training certification under an organization you spent hours studying for.  You now have the basic and fundamental tools on how to be a successful personal trainer.  Now what? There is just so much to think about!  

  • Independent VS Employee
  • Marketing 
  • Networking
  • Setting Your Rates 
  • Developing and Fine Tuning Your Program

First decision most new trainers make is balancing the pros and cons of being independent/self-employed VS being employed under a corporate gym or private facility.  Here we will briefly look at the differences between the two.  

As a personal trainer hired by a corporate facility, you are solely responsible for training clients who are sold personal or group training appointments by the sales department.  You are also not responsible for marketing your services.  A huge benefit of being an employed personal trainer is access to a membership base.  This means that the supply of potential clients is endless.  But here is the downside to all of these benefits.  Typically an employed personal trainer gets paid a small cut out of the sale of personal training sessions/appointments.  Profits have to be shared amongst the company, your manager, the salesman, and you.  

As an independent contractor one of the major benefits is the freedom and flexibility of your schedule, creativity of programs, even how much you charge your clients.  You are able to market and create your own name.  Essentially you represent yourself and not a company.  As an independent contractor you are also responsible for creating your own marketing material.  This comes with a huge trial and error phase which may lead to a lot of unpaid hours and accumulation of business expenses.  The business side of being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but can be extremely profitable when done correctly.  

Maybe independent contractors may have potential in making more money than your typical corporate personal trainer.  But you hear it all the time that money isn’t everything.  And maybe you’ve heard that money will come later.  At a 24-hour Fitness, LA Fitness, or Equinox personal trainers have the opportunity to fine tune their skills and structure their programs while having a steady access to leads.  Without the extra work of marketing, networking, and bookkeeping, a personal trainer can focus just on training clients while observing how facilities and businesses work.  If a trainer already has a great understanding of running a business, there is also nothing wrong with jumping straight into the independent route.