The average employed personal trainer makes £16,000 a year and self-employed trainers make on average £16-18k per year for the first year or so in the UK.
So, what are these guys doing wrong?
In this article, I’m going to be explaining exactly what it takes to earn 100k a year as a personal trainer.
Personal trainers can earn 100k a year, however, there is a step-by-step process that includes; being incredibly efficient with your time, charging enough per session, and making use of both online and offline training techniques to maximize income potential.
The adverts for training companies say that you can earn as much as you want and show stats showing the average salary for personal trainers in London is upwards of £60K a year. So, it’s easy to make at least 50k a year, right?
It can be done, it’s just that going about the conventional routes will never get you there and no one tells you how to get this kind of income as a personal trainer.
Well everybody, in this article I will be showing you how you can move from a small £15k to making six figures as a personal trainer.
The advice makes use of both passive and active income so that you can be as profitable as possible whilst maintaining something that resembles a life instead of burning the candles at both ends like most PTs.
Table of contents
Ok, so this is a chunky old article with a ton of great information in it.
To make it a little easier to navigate, here is a table of contents so you can skip to the bits that you want to read first. (You should read all of it of course, but I know some of you are pressed for time).
How many sessions a week do you need to earn 100K a year?
The average amount of 1hr sessions completed per week for a PT in Central London is 25, so that’s 5 sessions per day.
If we take the average cost of an hours’ worth of sessions in central London as being £50, we are given a rough estimate of £60K as an annual salary.
That’s pretty good, but it can be tough to pick up that many sessions a week. To help out, I will leave links here for a few other articles that will really help you out.
Selling personal training in a gym: How to guide
Create a 60% conversation rate comp session
How many clients should personal trainers have?
Even with 25 sessions a week, we are still quite a way off our target of 100k, so how can we fix this?
I’ve known highly successful PTs that were delivering 40 sessions per week, that’s 8 sessions per day.
With 40 sessions per week, you will be looking at
96k a year.
You have reached your target bar a few grand.
Easy, end of article right?
Why it’s damn hard to make 100k as a PT
Plenty of the courses selling PT qualifications will show you stats showing just how easy it is to make crazy amounts of money and say that it’s up to you how much money you make.
“The skies the limit” and all that positive stuff.
Reality is a little different though.
If you’re employed by a gym you may well get help with the gym to pick up clients, but they will take a big cut of the money you make.
As you will see in my article about how to become a successful personal trainer, the company I worked for took the vast majority of the money I made from each session, leaving me a maximum of £20 per session.
Taking that into account, I would need to be performing 96 sessions per week, or 19 sessions per day.
Now we can start to see where the problems will arise.
I think we can all agree that working 19 hours a day is a little impractical, if not entirely impossible.
An obvious way to fix this is to go the self-employed route, much better, now you can charge whatever you want and take all the earnings.
Let’s take a look at that scenario.
It’s not going to be quite so easy when your gym is full of self-employed trainers, it’s much more competitive.
That’s ok because now you’re getting your full whack of the £50 per session, which is still the standard amount per session in London.
Remember that clients neither know nor care if you are employed or self-employed, so £50 is what you can charge for an hour in London, on average.
You will be getting around 20 sessions to 25 sessions a week as a freelance trainer at most.
£50 x 25 = £1,250
£5k per month
60k per year
So we are off our mark a little, but there is also another factor to take into account here.
A gym in Central London will charge you roughly £1250 per month to use their gym for your training business.
I imagine this will be a little cheaper in the USA, but it will usually still be expensive.
You gotta pay that each month, so that’s 15k a year, which takes us down to 45k a year, less than half our target.
Oh, and there’s tax to pay too, which in the UK is currently at 20%, so let’s knock that off because you are going to be an honest PT, aren’t you? Aren’t you?
A little bit of national insurance too, so I put that all in a tax calculator and came up with £34,136 per year.
That might annoy you, and if it doesn’t, it should.
You would now be making the same amount as if you were a low-level manager., you would just be taking on far more risk, stress, and work than them.
Working smart not hard
Ok, I’m done telling you how difficult it is earning 100k as a personal trainer, you probably already knew it wasn’t going to be easy didn’t you?
We know now that it’s not simply a case of doing more sessions or going freelance, neither of those are going to work for us.
We need to start working smart and not hard, and soon enough, you’ll be able to make six figures as a personal trainer!
Making more money per hour
1. Train more people per hour
Training one person at a time has its limitations, you can only dedicate one session slot per person per hour, and only charge one person at a time.
If you train two or more people at a time, you can two payments at once, a little less for each person maybe, but you’re still making more from each hour.
These sessions are an easy sell if you can get groups of friends to train together and give them a slight discount for doing so.
2. Teach classes
Similar to the idea above, you can ask to teach private classes in your gym if you have the qualifications to do so.
For example, if you are a trained spin instructor or BodyPump instructor, you can teach a class of 20-30 people and charge them £5 each for a class. By doing this, you can now earn £100 for a 45-minute class.
That’s more like it!
3. Charge more per session
We know that there is only so much that we can make if we charge the standard £50 per session that every other personal trainer is charging.
What if we take that up a small notch, and start charging people £60 an hour?
It may be a little trickier to pick up clients, and it certainly isn’t an option for trainers that are brand new to a gym.
However, if you have been in the gym for at least a year and follow some of the steps from my article on how to become a successful personal trainer, you will have got your face around the gym to the point where you have almost become famous for your super-tough classes.
People are going to know you as the personal trainer that teaches great classes.
That combined with your business cards and profile boards showing your client’s transformations will be all the social proof you will need to be able to justify charging significantly more than all those new guys.
A small increase of £10 more per session takes up from 60k to 78k per year, that’s a pretty huge increase for doing very little.
4. Teach online classes
Different to point 2 in this list because your online classes almost certainly won’t take place in your gym, much more likely they will take place in your home or studio if you own one.
Teaching online classes is an excellent way to train not only 20-30 people at a time like you could in a gym but an almost unlimited number of people.
You can create a platform/app/website where you charge people £5 per session (for example) to have access to your online classes.
All you need is a decent webcam and space where you can be undisturbed for forty-five minutes to an hour.
The skies are the limit with this kind of training, and with the right marketing, you can be reaching an extraordinary amount of people within one hour.
Let’s take the example of a class of 60 people, let’s say for fun that 60 people decide to sign in to your 45 min spin session and each pay £5, you’ve just earned yourself £300 in forty-five minutes.
There are not too many jobs where you can say that you will be getting paid £6 per minute!
Making Passive income whilst training people
Now we are moving on to the seriously smart way of working.
As you can see from above, it’s going to be extremely difficult for you to be able to make 100k a year from training people alone.
You are limited to the number of clients you train and the hours in the day.
But what if we could earn an income whilst we were at the gym training people that didn’t require any of your focus?
This is called passive income, and it’s a huge area of my life that helped me during my years as a personal trainer.
The limitations of passive (or residual) income are only really down to your imagination.
You only need to think of a system that you can charge people for that doesn’t require you to be either in the room with them or via video conferencing.
This is where I feel online coaching suffers sometimes, it’s sold as being an easy way to train clients without being physically being with them, but if they are constantly needing phone calls and video meetings, that’s going to eat into your time just as badly as training them in a gym.
A much more passive strategy would be to
create your own online training course/system.
There are plenty of apps and programs you can use to create your courses, so why not create a ten-week fat burning program, a 10-week hypertrophy system, or a 16-week periodisation workout?
You can charge people £80-100 to download the program, which of course isn’t as much as you would get from 1-2-1 training, but you don’t need to ever meet the person taking the course.
You can also have an unlimited number of people taking the course at one time, there are no time constraints at all.
The internet is also open 24 hours, 365 days a year to the entire world. You could be training people in your local gym whilst a person in Korea is downloading your fat loss course.
This is working truly smart!
A great way of selling your courses is to create a website.
Now don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying that creating your website will gain you, clients, because that’s not what we are after anymore.
You will see in my article about how to become a successful personal trainer that making websites to pick up clients is very rarely successful.
Instead, what we are trying to achieve here is an online hub for all your activities and downloadable content.
You could create a website on your training methods, (especially if you train in a very specific method) and add your courses as downloadable content for a fee.
You will need to study SEO (search engine optimization) to make sure your website gets seen over the thousands of other fitness websites, but with a little practice, time and persistence, you will find that you will be making some fairly easy cash from very little effort.
I will be writing plenty about passive income from websites, so look through the passive income articles to learn a little more about how you can do that.
Location of your business
Where you are based as a PT can make running your business a lot easier or a lot harder in terms of earning 100k per year.
Being based in an affluent area means people are generally more willing to pay for premium services, and they are also more willing to pay premium prices for them.
I would recommend being based in a larger city if possible when starting your business, but if you live in the outskirts of a major city, I would recommend commuting in rather than trying to set yourself up on the outskirts.
The money that you will save from commuting may be appealing at first glance, as you will probably be saving a good few hundred a year on travel, however, I am very positive that you will find it a lot harder to sell sessions to clients and they will be far more likely to haggle on prices or say no outright.
Again, I have worked in both the suburbs and in the City of London, I can say that picking up clients in the middle of the City of London was like shooting fish in a barrel.
These people are earning large salaries, and the few hundred or even a thousand pounds for your personal training packages will seem like a very small investment for them.
Remember, if the aim is to earn 100k a year as a personal trainer, you want to try to earn as much money as possible per hour, otherwise your passive income will have to work twice as hard to make up the difference.
So it’s impossible to earn 100k a year if I work in a quiet area?
No, fortunately, it is still possible, but you will have to work a little smarter to be able to get there.
As you will be performing fewer sessions for less money each time, you will need the other areas of your business to work harder to make up the difference.
A conservative estimate would be a personal training session in the suburbs being priced at around £25-40 per session as a maximum (depending on your area).
There will also be fewer people to train as more people will be more likely to be careful of their money in the suburbs.
This means you will probably be training something around 15-20 sessions per week unless you can find a very busy and affluent town instead of a city.
Looking at those stats, we can assume you will earn the following:
20x£30 (as an average) = £28,800 per annum
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad salary for someone that’s only doing 20 hours of work a week, but we are striving for something much more remember.
We are currently short £71,200 per year, quite a task!
You should already be able to see why I recommend finding yourself in an affluent area, it just makes everything so much easier.
Anyway, you now need to make up this additional cash from your internet-based businesses.
Online classes and courses are the way forwards now, the more of these you can get selling the better.
Even if we don’t get to the target of 100k per year, we are still well on the way to at least 50k a year instead.
You are going to want to spend quite a bit of your time working on your internet-based business to get the ball rolling.
You should spend as much time that you aren’t training people in a gym or as a self-employed trainer working on your site and courses.
Take your laptop to the gym with you, and work on these programs any time you are free to make the most of your time.
Remember that the benefit of anything online is that it is global, time zones don’t matter and neither do locations. This is how you can work around the fact that you are training in a quieter area of the country.
Write up as many different types of training programs as possible and spend a lot of your time writing articles and working on your passive income from your site.
Remember to read up on my articles about passive income to learn how to do this efficiently.
Types of clients than earn you the most money
There is a chance that some people may find this section a little harsh.
Training only certain types of people might seem unfair, but remember, you are specifically looking to earn 100k per year, and you aren’t going to be doing that by training people that are struggling for money.
You are going to want to try and find affluent clients that have little to worry about in terms of money, it will make selling your sessions easier and if you increase your prices you are far less likely to see a large drop-off in clients.
The easiest way to do this is as I already mentioned, working in the bigger financial districts.
Follow the money!
There is more to it than just finding people that have money. Just because they have cash, doesn’t mean they will stay with you as a client or being a nice client, they can sometimes be the worst.
Remember that this section is called “Types of clients that earn you the most money ”, which doesn’t necessarily mean pay you the most.
A client that stays with you for months and months is more valuable than a client that only pays for one block of sessions and then leaves you.
Therefore, what you are looking for, are clients that are both willing to pay higher prices, and are also committed enough to stay with you for the long run.
Generally, the people that are more likely to stay with you (as long as your training is good), are people that are looking to lose weight or gain a lot of muscle.
Both of these goals have three great factors to them, firstly, they will both take time, so people understand that a few sessions with yourself will not be enough to see a great improvement.
Because of this, they will stay with you for far longer so that they can start to see results with you.
Second, the clients are likely to get far more excited about any small improvement they see, this will make them want more and more sessions from you to keep seeing greater results.
And finally, they make for excellent “billboard ” clients, which means that once they have achieved excellent results with you.
With their permission, you can use their images to show other members around just how efficient you are at your job and what kind of impressive results you can get.
Train people in wealthy environments and train people that have got clear and precise goals. Stay away from clients that are “just looking to tone up a bit”. This means nothing and is hard to show results.
Types of gyms that you can earn you a lot of money as a personal trainer
If you are self-employed, this section will apply to you slightly less.
If you are working for a gym, I would recommend you try to find yourself the most exclusive gyms possible.
Perhaps even personal training studios, as they will already have people coming to them that are wanting PT, the sell is so much easier.
The fact that they are in a PT studio in the first place means that they are interested in having personal training sessions, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
A quick word of warning, I have seen many PTs that have got overconfident in their ability to pick up clients and have opened their training studios in the hopes that it will be a huge success.
I very nearly joined one of these studios but backed out after I was unsure of how clients would be introduced to the gym.
A little over a year after it opened, the studio closed, my intuition was correct on that one.
In terms of personal training studios, I would recommend aiming for branded and already established businesses.
An example of such brands in the UK would be
These gyms are very difficult to get into, however, if you have some decent experience behind you, you may well be in for a chance.
If not a PT studio, try to work in a gym that is as upmarket as possible.
Once again, I’ve worked in upmarket and middle of the market gym, I can say the difference between the two was vast!
If a gym starts off being expensive to join, it weeds out the people that are less likely to be able to afford sessions.
This again sounds harsh, but remember we are trying to reach a specific goal here.
Do some research and find the most expensive gyms to join in your city, that’s the one that you should be applying to.
You might struggle a little if you are just starting as you have less experience, but if you have been training for a while and have some decent experience, go for it.
Do you need to be highly specialised/qualified to earn 100K a year personal training
If you have read my article on how to have a successful personal training business, you will have seen the section that says it is not essential at all to be a highly qualified PT to earn a large income from personal training.
I will repeat here again, that it is not in any way important to be highly qualified to be a highly profitable and sort after personal trainer.
Some TV celebrity PTs may have degrees in sports science etc, but a great many of the highest-earning PTs have no more than the standard qualifications you can get from most providers.
Your ingenuity and persona are what will make you a successful PT. You will not have flocks of people chasing after you just because you have a degree.
You will also be several thousand pounds/dollars ahead of people that have studied at University to gain their unnecessary degrees.
If you put the points mentioned above into action, you have just as much possibility of earning a fantastic income from personal training.
The world has more people than ever that require help with their health that can be achieved with exercise tuition.
It is also becoming more accepting of alternative ways of receiving this tuition from online classes.
It’s a great time to be involved in the world of exercise, there are more opportunities out there than ever before, and it has never been easier to make vast sums of money.
Motivation will play a very large factor when you are starting and growing your personal training business.
If you lack goals, you will have no idea if your business is growing or staying stagnant.
Set yourself up an Excel or Google Docs sheet with your goals so that you can track your progress. You can use a piece of paper if you prefer, but it’s totally up to you.
Create targets for yourself that go up in increments of thousands at a time and write next to each target how you are going to get there.
Seeing yourself reaching your targets one by one will be a huge driving factor in your confidence and motivation.
Don’t skip this, it will be a massive help to you!
Hopefully, you will have learned that not only is it entirely possible to earn 100k a year from personal training but with the right mindset and by taking the right steps, it isn’t that difficult.
If you ever wondered if you can make a lot of money as a personal trainer, I hope this article has thoroughly answered your question and inspired you to get out there and start earning some serious cash.
I loved my time as a personal trainer, and I would say that anyone searching for how to earn 100k a year as one is definitely on the right track, why should you settle for the standard few thousand a year that most PT’s make, or even worse, become one of the statistics that quit in the first few months?
Go get ’em!
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