Are you interested in starting a personal training business online? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a personal training business from home with NO money and no experience plus a sample personal training business plan template.
Even though the training business might be fun for you, and seem like a glamorous profession for many, as an entrepreneur intending to turn it into a business, you would have to treat it just like any business venture and not get carried away by the fun aspect.
Most personal training businesses are usually within the setting of a fitness club, with the personal trainers regarded as independent contractors. Starting a personal training business involves steps that must not be taken for granted if you intend to make it to become a success.
What Does It Take to Become a Successful Personal Trainer?
One of the steps involved in becoming a personal trainer is getting the formal qualifications and having the skills. The qualification helps improve on whatever skills you might have and that needs developing, as well as provide you with the business skills of marketing, sales and excellent customer care. The marketing skill is needed to be able to engage the target audience while carrying out a needs analysis.
The sales skill involves carrying out your plan, fitness appraisals, program design and implementation. While excellent customer care skill lies in providing support, ensuring that the customers adhere to the program and reviewing the progress of the customers.
Another step is in location – which is the place you intend to personally train from. Location matters because it has a great impact on how long your business as a personal trainer might last. You would need to consider certain factors when looking at location, which includes the organizational strength and viability of the club you intend to run your personal training business in, the club’s brand awareness, and if their goals align with yours.
This is why you do not need to rush into starting the business, especially as you would need to look at several clubs before finally settling on one.
What Does It Take to Start a Personal Training Business Successfully?
Because this is a business like any other, you would need a business plan. Your business plan should be one that shows your strategic objective towards the future so as to interest a willing investor.
The business plan also need to show action plans that will show how the business intends to break even and grow, which means you would need to be careful with your financial projections. No one wants padded figures or the ones that show a bleak future, and yet you are required to be totally honest with your figures.
Lastly, as a personal trainer, you have to be unique from other personal trainers. You would need a signature training that differentiates you from others in the club. This means that you have to be innovative and creative. Let your clients know whenever you have come up with something new and creative, as this would help create the buzz for you, your business, and eventually the club.
Steps to Starting a Personal Training Business With No Money
1. Understand the Industry
As at 2014, in the united states, over 54 million Americans were gym members, with visits to the gym exceeding 5 billion. According to statistics, the visit time by an average member ranked over a 100 times. Between 2008 and 2014, membership grew to 18.6%.
Interesting Statistics About the Business
Also in 2014, there were 34,000 fitness centers with revenue of $24.2 billion, an increase of 7.4% over 2013, which had revenue of $22.4 billion. According to the United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as at 2014, 533,200 people were employed by fitness and recreational sports centers, with a projected job increase of 8% by 2024.
The industry is regarded as a $10 billion industry with a projected growth of 2.5% from between 2010 and 2015. Also there are about 60,704 businesses. The industry is a fragmented one and there are no companies with a dominant market share in this industry.
Research has it that 70% of Americans that are over the age of 20 are overweight with half of the percentage tending towards obesity. This has led to an increase in the education and awareness of the need to live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is now seen as an avenue of not only improving energy levels, and living long but also decreasing medical expenses.
The fitness industry includes both gyms and weight loss centers. They usually come with a large space, equipment, and train people in exchange for membership fees. Even though gyms use to be traditional stores with personal training available, lots of equipment for training, and even a pool; emerging specialties have seen this industry bringing out new programs to break the traditional mould.
There are also specialty training facilities that have cropped up, such as martial arts studios or boxing gyms, which focus on a particular style of exercise with different equipment being used, and because clients always want something different, there has been an explosion in membership amongst such specialty fitness centers, which has also birthed specialty franchises.
There are also those who offer interval trainings, while others focus on Yoga or stationary bicycles, or rodeo training. This industry has enjoyed steady growth over the past five years, which has been fueled by demand that has risen due to an interest in weight loss and also a great interest in customized workout regimes.
Even though clients now prefer a do-it-yourself exercise routines that can be gotten from DVDs or streamed form the internet; this has led to the slow growth of the industry. The industry is also dependent on the economy as a downturn in the economy will lead to less disposable income for clients to b able to patronize the services of a personal trainer.
This industry has a low barrier entry even though it is still in its growing life cycle stage, especially as there is a high demand due to people wanting to lose weight and remain fit. This has led to a stiff competition within the industry, with personal trainers needing to remain innovative to remain relevant. The industry also requires a low level of capital investment, as most of the investment is usually in equipment that will be used during operation.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those that require the services of a personal trainer are those that need to lose weight in a long or short term, those that need to remain fit, and those that want to become trainers themselves.
Young adults in their 20s, High school students, College students, Middle aged adults, celebrities that need to project a certain image to their followers, and the fairly aged adults who are financially capable and psychologically ready to lose weight.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Even though the main aim of this industry is staying fit, this does not mean that there aren’t many areas by which a personal trainer can specialize in. it is the niche businesses that create a great following for these personal trainers.
The areas of specializations within this industry include rodeo fitness, kickboxing centers, martial arts, dance classes, mothers’ fitness clubs, and exercises for the fairly aged. As a personal trainer you would need to pick on one of your strong niche areas to specialize on, especially if your fitness club is a small one. It is important to note that larger fitness clubs will have more personal trainers offering different niches, where people will tend to have more choices as opposed to yours.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Starting a personal training business is not a difficult or expensive venture. The main investment is usually for the equipment that will be used in the gym and if you intend to work with an already established fitness club or buy into their franchise, you might not need to purchase anything at all; which will leave you to focus on how to compete with other personal trainers for a share of the market.
It is usually easier if you focus on a specialty so that you could be known for that, and incorporate your specialty into a regular regime, since most personal trainers might not have a specialty but will rely on the brand of their fitness clubs to push their business against their competition.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Brands become well known due to the fact that over the years, they have not only remained consistent in the fitness trade but have also satisfied more than their fair share of clients. Some of the well-known brands in the united states of America include;
- Pop Sugar
- Exercise TV
Before setting up a personal training business, you would need to be sure that this is really what you want to do. While most people see this as a glamorous profession and something that is fun to do, if you intend to turn it into a business, you would need to treat it just like any other business.
Due to the increasing obesity problems in the United States, especially amongst the young adults in their 20s, more and more people are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits that personal trainers bring. This means that more people are seeing the increasing need to make use of the services of a personal trainer.
It is however important to note that only few people are willing to go over the top when going for a personal trainer. Celebrities for instance regardless of the economy can still afford to use the services of a personal trainer which might not be so for every other regular person.
This means that the economy affects the industry, since there will be less disposable income to pay for gym membership fees. However, if the economy is booming more people will be likely to use the services of a personal trainer.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
Fitness franchise centers are not only becoming popular but gaining grounds especially when they already have a large following. Entrepreneurs who do not want to bother themselves with getting the customers themselves have the option of buying a fitness franchise.
The personal trainer benefits from the branding, organized business structure, marketing, sales plan, and operational structure; while the actual fitness program design is in the hands of the personal trainer. This means you get to face your passion of training while leaving the business part to your franchisor. Considering the fact that you would be buying the franchise, you would need to carry out a thorough research into what might be best for you and your budget.
Starting a business from scratch comes with its challenges especially in this kind of industry, but every business comes with its challenges as well. You would need to work harder when starting out on your own, and would also need to come up with strategies for getting new clients. The advantage with starting out on your own is that you are able to dictate the pace of your business.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business at any point in time faces challenges, these challenges have led to the death of businesses before they even start, which is why as an entrepreneur starting out, you would need to be sure this is the business you really want to do.
Challenges might come from the economy, the club’s new policies, customers who might demand more for less, and other competitors in your areas of specialization. You would need not only your passion for being a fitness trainer but your business acumen as well in dealing with the challenges.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Choosing the best legal entity for your business is part of a great decision to make as an entrepreneur. Whatever legal entity you choose should be one that has assessed the risk and cost involved, and should be with the guidance of a professional.
Most personal trainers usually start as sole proprietors and then change the entity once their business has grown to the extent that it no longer meet the needs of the business structure, and this is when they choose to incorporate. Also, entrepreneurs usually incorporate when their business has started showing profit from when it started operations; this is so as to limit the personal liability of the entrepreneur.
When you incorporate as an entrepreneur, you form a legal separate entity just for the purpose of running the business. This means that your assets and personal liabilities are separate from that of your business, which is usually to your advantage.
Although apart from sole proprietorship, other entities like partnerships, corporations, and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) exist, most entrepreneurs often go for LLCs. LLCs offer limited liability protection to the owners of the business and is also flexible tax wise. However, you should remember that location, and type of business, as well as insurance matters in cases like this and it would be best if you seek the advice of a competent attorney.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Lose ‘n’ Gain Fitness
- WalkTall Personal Trainers
- Cardios Only
- Muscles ‘ n’ Flexibility
- Lumba Dance Fitness Center
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Insurance is very important for this kind of business, as it would protect you and your business from certain liabilities. Fitness regimes usually do not go as plan, and so you would need some sort of protection so that your business does not go under. You would need to contact an insurance agent to help out in choosing the best insurance for your business.
Below are some of the insurance policies you would need if you intend to start your own personal training business in the United States of America:
- Personal Injury Liability Insurance
- Sexual Abuse Personal Trainer Insurance
- Miscellaneous Trainer Coverage
- Higher Personal Trainer Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation
- Hazard Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
The personal training business is one that doesn’t need an intellectual property protection. Most of the moves aren’t new and are modified to suit the body of a client. However, certain things like the brand name and logo of your business might need intellectual property protection. Most people in this field do not bother about getting one though, as they are more concerned in helping their clients stay fit.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Most people in this field usually get a fitness certification. This is so as to boost their profile and get the clients to trust in their skills especially when just starting out, especially if you get a certification in CPR. This might not really be necessary though for those who already have a brand name.
The fact that a certification might not be too important does not mean that you should neglect getting a certification. There are different accredited organizations where you could get your certification, such as the American Council on Exercise, National Federation of Personal Trainers and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.
Most of these accredited fitness certification centers do not only dish out the certificates but ensure that they pass along trends and tips that will help a personal trainer stay relevant and on top of his game. This means that while it might not be compulsory to get a certification; it is to your benefit if you get one.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Listed below are some of the legal documents that would be required if you intend to run your personal training business in the United States of America:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business Plan
- Business License
- Non Disclosure Agreement
- Operating Agreement
- Insurance Policy
- Contract Document
- Employer Identification Number
13. Write a Business Plan
All businesses regardless of the scale require a business plan. The importance of a business plan cannot be overemphasized as it is the guideline for a business that will show if it is geared towards success or not. This doesn’t mean though that your business plan has to be complex and hard to understand with bogus figures, it simply means that you can have a simple draft that will show your intended future actions.
A business plan is therefore regarded as a map that will successfully guide your business towards the desired success needed for it to grow and become a brand.
The business plan details the goals and objectives of the business and how you intend for them to be achieved. This means most of what will go in your business plan is your required startup cost, what you intend to earn, how you intend to earn it, market analysis and that of your competitors, what differentiates you from other personal trainers, and the other vital information that will help an investor see how serious you are.
The key components that are really essential and should be included in your business plan are as follows;
Executive summary, the corporate structure of the fitness club and its culture, your sales and marketing strategies, your marketing goals, your target market and your unique selling point. You are also expected to state your company’s vision statement, goals and objectives, mission statement and the areas or niches you intend to cover.
Other key components that should not be missing in your business plan are the services you intend to offer, SWOT analysis, marketing and sales strategies, pricing, costing and financial projection, publicity and advertising strategy, budget and how much you have for start up.
Due to the fact that most people are intimidated by the idea of writing a business plan, you could get the services of a business plan writer to help you with writing your business plan, and if you are operating on a tight budget, could go online and download a business plan template that would help you in drafting or writing out your business plan.
14. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis
Aside from getting the necessary equipment for this business which at first takes up the operating cost, this is a business that does not require so much money into starting the business. Most of the equipment can be gotten for cheap from those who are looking to close shop and go into something else.
This means that you can start small or big depending on your budget. Some start out splurging on items that they may not need immediately. However, if you are looking to be a personal trainer in a fitness center, this will bring down your cost of doing business especially as the center will have most of the equipment you would need to start up, leaving you with fewer things to use your money on.
If you are looking to start the personal training business in the United States of America, here are some of the things that you would require:
- Total business incorporating fees would cost $1,500
- Fees for Liability, license and permits would cost $4,000
- Acquiring a space for your training would cost $30,000
- Equipping the office with computers, printers, mirrors, pens, filing cabinets, changing lockers, and electronics) would cost $15,000
- Getting the required equipment would cost $40,000
- Official website would cost $500
- Additional expenditure such as signage, business cards, and advertisements would cost $5,000
From the above detailed research and feasibility studies, you will need an average of $100,000 to start your own small scale personal training business in the United States of America.
If you want to start a medium scale personal training business in the United States, you would need nothing less than $200,000. And if your intention is to start a large scale personal training business in the United States of America, then you should look towards raising well over $400,000.
15. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
That a business is fantastic does not mean that it will get financed at the snap of a finger. As an entrepreneur, no matter the business, you will need to get money to ensure that the business does not fail, except you have money somewhere that can attend to all the needs of your business till the business starts paying for itself, otherwise you would need to approach those who have the funds and convince them on the need to invest in your business.
This is why a business plan is essential. A business plan tells your investor that you are taking the business seriously, and also shows the investor how you intend to guide the business – through your strategies – to success. Even if your investor is a family person, your business plan will aid in persuading them that you intend to take the business seriously.
If you cannot draft a business plan yourself, you could approach someone who can help you to so that this could be ready before you approach anyone for finance to launch your business. Most banks rarely lend money to personal trainer and so you might need to find out the other options available for you.
Some of the available options you would need in getting the needed finance for your personal training business are:
- Raising money from personal savings, stock and properties
- Raising money from family and friends
- Approaching investors and venture capitalists
- Raising money from your fitness club
16. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
It is important that one chooses the right location where they intend to start their personal training business. A good location helps in improving sales and productivity. It also helps in attracting the right clients as well as employees for your business.
The location to be chosen will depend on the type of business. It will also depend on factors such as your target market and the composition of your intended demographic. Before starting out your business of looking for a location, you should be aware of who your customers would be.
If you will be starting out under a fitness center, you should choose the one that will be of benefit to your clients. Also, it should be one where the clients do not have to fear for the safety of their cars or life after they leave your work out session. So safety is important as well.
If you are starting out on your own, ensure that you do not break the bank in seeking out a facility. If you intend to work from home, then you do not need to be bothered about location at all, as the homes of your clients will be regarded as your location.
17. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
It is economical to get some of the equipment that will be used as fairly used, while some of the equipment would require that they are brand new. To get fairly used equipment, you might have to source online, or find out fitness centers that are intending to close shops.
Some of the equipment that would be needed to fully start your personal training business includes:
- Free weights such as dumbbells
- Weight machines
- Resistance bands
- Pull-up bars
- Flexion Machines
- Wall bars
- Push up handles and gloves
- Yoga blocks
- Exercise mats
If you intend to run this business from home, you would not need to go through the stress of getting all these equipment. Also, if you intend to train under an already established fitness center, you would not need to get all these equipment.
As your brand grows, you might need to get people, who will assist you, especially if the fitness centre is yours, otherwise you can run the business yourself. However if you would require people, it would be an average of 5 people, which would be personal trainer assistants, front desk officer, office manager, and security.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Since this is a service oriented kind of fitness business, where a personal trainer helps clients achieve their fitness goals, there really isn’t much of a production process. The process involved in getting customers get fit starts from planning about a fitness regime, designing the fitness regime program, and ensuring that the program is implemented.
It doesn’t only stop at implementation, but a follow up is usually done so that the desired results needed by the clients are achieved.
18. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Marketing is part and parcel of any business, as it ensures whether a business survives or not. It is only in marketing your business that you are able to generate revenue that will help your business grow. However, marketing your business must be something well thought out, so that you do not throw away money in marketing avenues that do not help your business.
Regardless of the scale of business you are running, you will be required to always put your business out there so as to get more customers. This is because circumstances might crop up that will enable you lose some of your customers. They might decide to use another personal trainer, might move from your area, and so many other such factors; which is why it is necessary you continually market your personal training business.
Below are some of the strategies and tips that can be adopted to market your personal training business:
- Use writing as a marketing tool. Write a book on fitness regime or in a pamphlet, send emails, or blog about fitness regimes, so that you can be referred to as a source of authority.
- Network with professionals such as real estate agents, doctors, and nutrition experts so that they could refer clients to you.
- Take advantage of your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest) by giving out tips and using it to build a client list.
- Ask that your satisfied clients refer your business.
- Distribute handbills, business cards, and posters with your information in your target areas.
- Engage in direct marketing.
- Use your official website to promote your business
- Advertise your business on online and offline directories.
- Make use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that your website comes out tops when people search for personal trainers in their area.
- Network with other personal trainers – not the direct competitors in your area – in other areas, so that clients in your areas could be referred to you.
19. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
The factors that will enable you get the right pricing for your personal training business hinges on the kind of club you choose for your business. Certain clubs attracts only some certain kinds of clients, while only few clubs are able to attract all sorts of clients.
This would mean that the club you choose will solely depend on the target market you are looking to attract, and once this is in place, you can then design your price depending on the target market and the brand of the club.
20. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Competition makes a business thrive, as any serious entrepreneur would always look for proactive ways to remain relevant in the business. This is why entrepreneurs always come out with different packages that are aimed at attracting and keeping the client. If you intend running this as a business, then you must ensure that your business is packaged in such a way that will give you leverage over your competitors.
Part of beating your competitor is to design your business in such a way that you can work in different modes. For example, while your competitors might post their training sessions on sites like YouTube, you could post yours as well but go as far as ensuring that you use one or two of your students along with a trained assistant.
You could also offer services that your competitors aren’t offering. For instance, instead of just giving out meal plans, you could also point out cheap alternative but healthy meals to those that might not be able to afford the initial meal plan.
21. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
No business loves to spend money in attracting customers only to lose them after a certain period, thereby going through the whole process of attracting customers all over again. Money spent in attracting customers is more than money spent in retaining customers, which is why as an entrepreneur; you would need to ensure that there are strategies in place to retain your customers.
One sure way of retaining your customer as a personal trainer is in giving them the extra attention they need during trainings. Ensure that you pay close attention to what they do so that you would be able to correct them immediately they do something wrong.
Another way at retaining your clients is to keep in touch with them during and after their training programs as a means of tracking their progress. This mode of retaining your clients is a win-win method because not only are you keeping your customers happy and satisfied; you also will get new clients through your satisfied clients.
22. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Every business requires strategies that will enable it boost its brand awareness and create a corporate identity. Your strategies will be one that will not only project you as a personal trainer, but that of your club as well. Below are some of the platforms that you can use to boost your personal training business brand, as well as promote the business:
- Use digital marketing to promote your brand to your target market
- Carry our special fitness programs during certain seasons. For example, starting a dance fitness class during the summer is likely to attract a lot of people.
- Run an inclusive promo during the club’s anniversary for members and non-members.
- Give out routine challenges on social media, ensure that as many people as possible participate.
- Give a free training day in every month or two month so as to attract many people to your club.
- Ensure that you feature a gym member either weekly or monthly so as to make them feel special.
- Give out nutrition advice by giving out meal plans to members and non members.
23. Create a Suppliers/Distribution Network
This is a service based industry and so there are really no suppliers or distributors in this field or business, a personal trainer is one that creates unique fitness regime or modify on certain ones depending on the client.
However, the industry is filled with experts who from time to time give out tips that are usually of help to both clients and personal trainers. As a personal trainer, you would always need to keep abreast of happenings in your industry, continually educate yourself and network with other personal trainers.
24. Tips for Running a Personal Training Business Successfully
No one wants to start a business and have it fail, which is why entrepreneurs are always on the look-out as to how to ensure that business remains a success and rightly so. As a personal trainer, you would need to keep abreast of happenings in your industry, not only for your benefit but for your client as well.
Remember that most of your clients are also keeping abreast of happenings in your own industry, and once you fall short as regards being informed and relevant, you are likely to have your credibility questioned, and can be tagged as giving out misinformation or being unreliable.
You have to create policies and ensure that your clients know about these policies. This does not mean though that you cannot be flexible on your policies, but your flexibility should be determined by the situation at hand. Also, encourage your clients not to break your policies by giving out incentives to those that do not.
Lastly, always give your clients a take home assignment. It not only keeps them occupied but gives them something to look forward to while improving on their regimes. Also, always stay in touch with your clients, either through mails or through other means.