Building a Business as a Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers

Personal training can be one of the most rewarding career choices you could make. How many other jobs give you an opportunity to help people to actively turn their lives around and make real improvements in their health and wellbeing?

With the UK fitness industry currently worth over £4 billion and rising, it’s also a potentially lucrative market to break into. Some independent personal trainers in London are known to earn six figure sums through successful franchising and high-end client work.

However, there’s a lot of competition on the market, and for every successful personal training business, there are others that fail at the first hurdle. At, we’ve put together some simple guidelines that could significantly improve your chances of seeing your business thrive…

1. Get the right qualifications to be a personal trainer

The legal requirements for advertising yourself as a personal trainer are something of a grey area, but it goes without saying that in order to succeed in this industry, you need to be able to prove that you know what you’re doing. A personal training qualification of level three or above from a recognised body such as NASM, CSCS or AVE is considered the minimum to work at most gyms. Make sure you’re signed up to the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) and are fully insured for the style of personal training you plan to offer.

2. Have a diverse skill set

With so much competition on the market, the more styles and methods of personal training you can offer, the better. Some personal trainers prefer to focus strictly on one specific discipline, but this can limit your audience. Consider training to teach Yoga classes, Zumba or Pilates on top of your core speciality. Learning additional skills can also help you to offer better, more rounded health and fitness advice to all of your clients.

3. Be a good ambassador for your brand

It should go without saying, but in the world of personal training, first impressions count for a lot. Potential customers will often make a snap judgement based on how well you appear able to apply your training skills to yourself, so stay on top of your own health and fitness, and always make sure you’re dressed appropriately – whether it’s for a workout or a business meeting.

4. Make realistic pricing decisions

How much you charge for your services is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make when starting out your business. If you overcharge, you’ll limit your customer base, but if you under-charge, your business isn’t going to be sustainable and you’re likely to spread yourself too thin. Take time to research the competition, and put together a pricing structure that reflects the time you put in and your level of experience and qualification.

Also, you might want to avoid pay-as-you-go pricing plans when starting out. Customers may find a no-commitment policy appealing, but in terms of effectively managing your time, it can be a nightmare, as there’s no insurance for clients who simply don’t turn up to a pre-booked session. Consider offering a free first trial, followed by a commitment of a small block of sessions upfront, which should be paid for in advance.

5. Focus on growing your business as a personal trainer

The most successful personal trainers don’t spend all their time on face to face client work. Once you have a solid presence with a loyal following of regulars, look at how you can develop your brand through referrals or franchising. You should never be in a position where you need to turn a potential client down flat because of time. Pass them on to other trainers, or bring in additional staff to deliver sessions on your behalf. Many of the most famous fitness brands started out as small operations, so if you’re ambitious and think strategically, there’s no limit to what you could achieve.