If you’re seriously into your fitness and would love to make it your career, you are probably going to wonder how much it would cost to start your own personal training business.
The good news is that in comparison to other businesses, the cost of starting a personal training business is relatively small.
In this article, I will be breaking down step by step all the costs you would encounter as you are setting yourself up. This will include the path for a trainer that plans to work in a gym and a trainer that plans to work freelance.
By the end of the article, you should have a very good idea of how much you will need to put aside to get yourself started.
Starting a personal training business won’t be free, however, it doesn’t need to cost you a fortune.
Sure, you can take the most expensive training course available, but do you need to? Will you get more clients because you got your level 3 qualification from one brand of course rather than another? No.
As many people are on a budget, I will be looking for the cheapest route for you to start your personal training business. This will include a running total and final calculation at the end of the article.
The first section of this article will take into account the costs involved for both trainers looking to train people in gyms and freelance trainers. However, the second section of this article will focus on the additional costs of working as a freelance trainer.
All of the gym fees, rents, and insurance quotes that I requested were for gyms located in London, so if you will be working in a gym away from a large city, you can think of these amounts as a “worst-case scenario”. It should be cheaper away from a city, but don’t always count on it, so do your own investigations too.
Costs involved in starting a personal training business
- Gaining level 3 qualification
- Gym rent
- License fees
- Fees for use of outdoor areas
- Travel expenses
Costs of gaining your level 3 status
In the U.K, you must be level 3 qualified in order to be legally allowed to train people as a Personal Trainer. In order to gain your level three status, you will need to purchase and pass a course that is industry-recognized.
I have researched some of the more popular providers and listed the individual costs for gaining level 3 in each, but remember that there are additional providers out there.
UK Training Programme Costs For Level 3 Fitness Instructor Status
|Training Provider||Cost for level 3 status|
|Future Fit Training||£2999|
|The Training Room||£2995|
Should you just go for the cheapest option?
In my most humble of opinions, I really don’t think there is anything wrong with going for the cheapest training provider at all.
My reason for this is that in all of my year’s training clients, not a single one of them ever asked what training provider I used, and it only came up once or twice in a conversation between trainers.
Even in the conversation between trainers, they didn’t really care who I got my qualification from. As long as you are level 3, you are good to go.
Won’t getting qualified from a more respected brand get me more clients/respect?
No, not a single person will ask you where you got qualified from, and if they do, they won’t care what your answer is.
Please don’t spend thousands of pounds on elaborate courses just to get level 3 qualified, if the providers tell you it will get you more clients, they are just trying to excuse an expensive course to get more money out of you.
So, you can have a look into all these training providers’ websites and see which ones take your fancy, but as I will exploring the cheapest methods of starting your PT business, I will be using the Power Academy course of £899 to get our level 3 status sorted.
Cost for level 3 status: £899
Running total: £899
Personal Training Insurance
Having insurance is vital for freelance trainers that wish to train their clients outdoors, but not essential if you work within a gym environment, as the gym itself will usually have its own insurance that covers its trainers too.
The reason I mention it at this point in the article is that some trainers prefer to have their own insurance as it makes them more comfortable even if they are training in a gym environment, as these trainers may also like to train their clients outdoors when the weather is permitting.
Standard gym insurance would not cover any activities by one of its trainers outside of its facilities, so if you think you will be training people outdoors, then getting yourself some insurance is a must.
Do I have to get insurance to be a Personal Trainer?
There is no law to state that you have to have insurance to be a personal trainer. You would not be charged in the same way that you would if you were driving a car without insurance.
If you are running your own business and are training people, there are two types of insurance that you must get otherwise you will face a world of hurt should something go wrong as a result of your training.
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity insurance
Should something happen to one of your clients and they become injured as a result of something that occurred during their session or from advice that you have given them, both of these insurance types will cover you.
For a little more information on personal training insurance requirements, I would recommend you give this article highlighted in blue a little read. It’s an article from smallbusiness.com that explains personal training insurance requirements.
Cost of Personal Training Insurance
In order for me to attain the insurance I required to make myself feel fully comfortable training people indoors and outdoors, I used the “Compare the market” website in order to find the best option suited for me.
I chose the options that best suited me, which meant that I chose what would not only be the cheapest option but would also be the most appropriate for my own business.
Everyone has a different idea of what kind of training business they will have, so if you are unsure of what type of insurance you will need, I heavily suggest that you consult a professional regarding these matters.
Remember, I am not a professional, so do not take this as advice on your own insurance quote. Use the link to the website I use and decide what is best for yourself.
(Sorry to sound so stern, I don’t usually when I write, but this is financial stuff, and I don’t want anyone trying to sue me for bad advice.)
After I plugged in all my own data into the forms, it came up with this total to cover me for the year.
Quote for 1 year £5K public liability insurance:
Running total: £1,227.33
Average cost of gym rent
Should you decide to train people in a gym chain, they will usually charge you a monthly fee for use of their equipment, and to allow you to train their members.
Unfortunately, gym rent is something that cannot be avoided if you want to go self-employed and use their facilities.
I will add the entire cost of 1 year’s rent to the total amount required to set up your personal training business so that you can get a good idea of what your total first year’s costings will be.
Upon first glance, you may well be astonished by the amount of rent that you will be charged, but remember, if you are charging £50-60 per session, with only a few sessions a week your monthly rent should at least be covered, so don’t let that deter you.
I found that It’s incredibly difficult to get gym chains to tell you how much rent they charge their trainers. The good news is that I still have some contacts that are currently working for different gym chains within the city of London, so I know that the average cost of gym rent is around £180-200 per week.
I’ll take an average of the two, which leaves us with £190 per week, £760 per month, and £9,120 per year. Now bear in mind that there are going to be different rates for different gyms. However, these are the rates that are seen in the middle of London, so we can take this as the “worst-case scenario” figure.
Average annual cost of gym rent: £9,120
Running Total: £11,246.33
Do all gyms charge trainers rent?
No, some gyms will not charge trainers to use their equipment or to have access to the members, but they will take a “cut” of the sessions delivered.
This is typically what’s referred to as being an employed personal trainer.
Most gyms that operate like this have a tier system where the more sessions you deliver each week, the smaller of a cut the gym took of each session.
For example, the minimum number of sessions I was required to deliver each week was 20 sessions. At this rate, the client would be charged £60 per session and I would be paid £20 for each session.
The gym took £40 and I was paid £20 for each session.
If I delivered 30 sessions each week consistently for two months, I would be brought to the next tier and given £30 per session, and so on.
The good thing about this way of training is that you have no fees to pay, however, the chunk the gym takes out of each of your client’s payments may start to frustrate you after a while.
Ahhh license fees, where do I begin with these?
Once again, just like paying gym rent, most large gym chains will charge you an additional fee which they call a “license fee” in order to sign you up to their database as a trainer, pay for your uniform, and a bunch of other things like insurance, etc.
Personally, I feel it is an abomination that gyms charge this fee to new trainers, but there’s no getting around it I’m afraid.
I always felt that considering you are paying the gym over a thousand pounds a month in rent (in most cases), they could probably afford to take the license fee out of one of these payments, but It’s just one of those things that you have to stump up the cash for.
You might not even want to wear the uniform you’ve paid for, but if you are going to be working in their gym, most large chains will insist that you do.
Average License Fee: £175
Total first-year costs: £11,421.33
Ok, so if you are planning on working for a gym chain as a self-employed personal trainer, the good news is that in terms of fees, that should be about all the fees you will encounter.
Any others that crop up would generally be pretty small, but these are the “biggies” that I encountered when I was starting my businesses.
This looks like a huge figure in terms of costs, but there are a few factors you need to consider:
- I have used the worst-case scenario where possible
- Most gyms will give you reduced rent for the first few months to help get you “settled in”.
- You will be training clients within the first few weeks of starting in a new gym, so you will immediately be making money that you can pay this rent off with, so don’t panic!
What If I don’t want to work in a gym?
I understand that not everyone wants to work for a gym chain, some trainers would prefer to run their own business and train people in their own homes or outdoors.
For these businesses, you will still need to get your level three qualification and insurance, so we will be starting the running total will with these amounts added already as in the first example.
Please bear in mind that if you plan to be training people outside or in their or your own home, you may need to make some adjustments to your insurance, so be very certain that you are fully covered before you begin training people.
One of the pitfalls of not working in a gym and traveling to your client’s homes is that you will have to buy all of your own equipment. The good news is that this really doesn’t have to cost the earth.
I have put together a list of what I would deem to be the basic kit you would need to be able to give great workouts to your clients without buying equipment you don’t really need.
- Adjustable dumbbells £200-300
- Kettlebell set £127.24
- Boxing Pads & mitts £25
- Suspension training gear £106.95
- Basic exercise mat £18.97
You could certainly add a few more pieces of kit if you want to, but this really should be your minimum to give fun workouts to a large variety of clients with a range of ability levels.
Exercise progression is easy in a gym, as you can simply add more weight to each exercise. Without the use of a gym, you may have to be a little more creative in the way that you structure your sessions in order to ensure that your clients are making progress.
Yet more good news is that generally, the type of people that want to work out in parks or in their own homes will not be looking to get enormously strong or muscular. If they had goals such as these, they would probably join a gym.
This is the reason that the kit that you decide to purchase for your training business can be relatively limited. It is more about giving fun and beneficial workouts to people that need to get in better shape, but are generally afraid of, or just don’t enjoy gym environments.
Cost of basic training equipment: £578.16
Running total: £1,805.49
Fees for using parks and outdoor spaces
Personal trainers were onto a pretty good thing a few years back, as they realized they could make great use of large outdoor spaces such as parks and recreation grounds as a replacement for a gym.
What better place to train clients than a park with unlimited space, trees you can hang suspension gear from, and clean fresh air? For people that prefer training outdoors, parks are essentially the perfect place to train.
Local counsels caught onto this after a while and started charging personal trainers and fitness instructors a fee in order to use their space for commercial purposes.
As a personal trainer, you would probably think I would disagree with this practice, but I actually don’t. The parks and recreation grounds were built as an area where everyday people could go and take time out from their busy and usually noisy days. They weren’t made so that people could use them to run their business form and make a profit.
Whatever your feelings on the subject, if you want to train your clients in a park or recreation ground, you will need to pay a fee to do so. They are usually annual, but I believe you can get monthly “passes” as such, but please check your local counsel’s website, as they should have it listed somewhere on their website.
As an example of the fees, a counsel will charge, Hammersmith counsel in London charges £350 per year in order to use all 48 of its parks and open spaces. Hopefully, you can see from this that counsels are certainly not being greedy with these fees.
Cost of fees for use of outdoor spaces: £350
Running total: £2,155.49
Whether you are considering using your own vehicle or public transport to get to your sessions, you will be paying for either fuel or for tickets.
These are small fees but over the course of a year they will certainly start to add up, so it’s very important that you consider these as a cost to your business.
Don’t forget, a large amount of your personal training business that costs you money is tax-deductible, so it is well worth noting all your expenses down to see if they can be claimed back at the end of the tax year.
It is impossible for me to determine how much you will be spending each month or year on your travel expenses, so I am going to add a ballpark figure for them.
If you plan to be using a car, I would estimate that you would spend no more than £100 per month on fuel costs. This would give you a total of £1200 per year for travel expenses.
If instead, you plan on using public transport, (I will use busses as the mode of transport for the sake of ease) I would estimate that you would take six or so bus journeys per day.
Three sessions per day (which is fairly average for a trainer such as this), would cost you £10.50 per day, £210 per month, or £2520 per year assuming the TFL charges of £1.50 per journey.
Average cost of travel yearly fees: £1,860
(Average obtained by combining and dividing costs of personal and public transport)
Running Total: £4,015.49
Marketing and Promotion for your personal training services
Hopefully, this expansive list has not scared you off the idea of starting your own personal training business just yet. As far as I am aware, this is one of the final expenses that you will need to take into consideration.
When training people outside of a gym environment, you do not have the luxury of your potential clients walking around in front of you. Instead, you need to market your services correctly.
Make a website for your personal training services
One of the most effective methods of marketing yourself as a personal trainer is to use a website. The reason this is so effective is that you can set yourself up on a service that Google provides called “Google my business“.
It lets local businesses list themselves so that when someone types in “Personal trainers near me“, your business is one of the options listed. This has made it easier than ever to find clients in your local area.
Remember, for this article, we are only exploring the idea of training people physically, so we would be looking to pick up physical clients to train in person.
I wouldn’t suggest creating your own website if you are lacking in IT skills, because it can be really easy to end up with a website that looks pretty amateurish and that won’t show up well in Google searches etc.
Instead, I would pay a professional to make you a great-looking site that will show up in searches and bring you in clients. They don’t usually cost a ton of money and they could be bringing you in clients for years to come, so it’s worth the investment.
Use social media to gain followers and create pages
Using social media is a very popular method for finding new clients in your local area. Platforms like Facebook allow you to advertise your services to a very specific audience.
You can target certain age groups, people of certain incomes, and in certain areas, which means you can make sure none of the money you spend on advertising is being wasted on the wrong audience.
For full discrepancy, social media is not a method of gaining clients that I have used myself, but I am aware of many of my colleagues who did (and still do today) with great success.
In order for us to reach a target on your marketing budgets, I will add together the costs of creating a website and paying for a year’s worth of social media adverts.
It’s entirely up to you to decide who you go with to create your site and to manage your social media marketing campaigns, so these will again be ballpark figures.
Costs of a professionally made website: £1,250.47
(full setup and 12 months fee)
Cost of Annual social media marketing (adverts): £276.62
(Using an average of $1 a day)
Estimated 1st years cost of marketing your fitness business: £1,527.09
Total first years costs (freelance): £5,542.58
Starting your own personal training business can appear intimidating, and after this list, you may even have discovered that it might cost you a little more to get yourself set up than you originally expected.
I think it’s important to give you the clearest idea of how much you should expect things to cost so that you can make an informed decision as to which route you take.
You will need to take into account a few things from this article, first, I am not a financial advisor, so the amounts I have given here are estimates. Second, the rates of gym rent fees are accurate as of 16/11/2020, and finally, any tax or insurance information given in this article should be discussed with a professional and not taken at face value.
I have aimed to give you the most accurate information I can, but things change from company to company and through time, so I don’t want anyone getting upset if the numbers you find differ from that of this article.
You should not let any of the numbers in this article intimidate you, starting your own business will always have a cost associated with it, and for most businesses, the numbers are far larger than given here today.
I would suggest you set aside a few month’s worth of savings if you are about to undertake a career in personal training to ensure you have somewhat of a safety blanket.
The most important thing to remember is that personal training is a fantastic career and one that I have personally very much enjoyed.
Have a look at the numbers, decide if they would all apply to yourself, do a few calculations of your own so you can be certain, and then see what you think.
It’s been a big article (bigger than I expected actually), but I hope it has brought you some clarity and helped you out a bit.
If you enjoyed this article and feel it might help others, please feel free to share it or link back to it.