Being a self-employed personal trainer is a whole different kettle of fish from being employed.
For some, it’s far easier as they no longer need to follow other people’s rules in terms of their business.
And some people see being an employed PT as a beginner’s way to train people.
When you go self-employed, you are responsible for how much you charge and how much you train.
The main benefit?
You can earn some seriously good cash!
In this article, I will explain just how much a self-employed trainer can make and how to maximize your returns.
The average salary of a self-employed trainer in the UK is £48,000 or $57,600 in the USA before tax and fees. This is if they are charging the average of £50 ($60) an hour and training the average of 20 sessions per week.
Whether you have decided to move from being an employed PT to being a freelance (self-employed) PT, or if you are just starting and are not sure which route to take, you will likely be wanting to know just how much money you can make.
It’s no secret that being an employed Personal Trainer is probably the least likely way of making decent money in the fitness industry.
Being employed is “safer”, as there are no rents to pay and you are covered by their insurance, but when your gym is taking such a huge cut of your session rates, how can you really expect to make a decent living?
Time to move into the world of freelance (self-employed) training to make some REAL money!
So how much do freelance personal trainers earn?
I’m trying my best not to start this paragraph with the words “it depends” because I think more accurately, the answer should be “As much as you want“.
This sounds like a bold statement, but in reality, when you are self-employed you are in charge of your entire business, including how much you charge for each session.
It’s entirely up to you to decide how many sessions you take each day/week, which once you have decided your rates, means you can dictate your own income entirely.
This means you have almost unlimited earning potential just as long as you can really handle the number of sessions you need to reach your targets.
That really is one of the main factors to organizing your income as a self-employed trainer, you really should set yourself targets instead of wondering how much you can make on a session-by-session basis.
Decide how much money you would like, and work towards that.
How to set targets for your earnings
You’ll need to add up all of your expenses, and then decide how many sessions you will need to take each day in order to cover them.
You can start off by using the standard going rate for an hour’s session (which is £50 in London), then see what kind of difference increasing the amount you charge for a session makes to it.
I would suggest you set your initial targets to not be a low amount, but be achievable.
This will help your motivation when you reach your first target, and of course, the progression from that point is to constantly increase your target amount.
Target setting and progression example
The average personal trainer hourly rate in the UK is £50, so you can use this as your benchmark when going freelance, just because you are working for yourself is no reason to lower your prices. This is the amount people are used to paying, therefore this should be your minimum price for a single one hour session.
If you are newly moving into the world of freelance personal training, I would suggest you stick to the average rate of £50 or $60 per hour, to begin with.
Using this as your rate, you could then say that your first target is to train the average amount of clients per week, which is twenty.
Taking the session rate of £50 with twenty sessions per week, we would be looking at a pre expenses target of:
£48,000 per year
That’s a great start, £48,000 per year would give you nearly twice the average salary of a UK citizen. However, they don’t have all the expenses that we personal trainers have.
So, You will really need to set your target a little higher.
Let’s say your next target is £60,000 per year.
You now have two options available to you.
You can either:
A: Increase your prices and keep the number of sessions per week as it currently is.
B: Maintain your current session rate, but take on a few more clients to train each week.
They are both tough options, as if you decide to go down the price increase route, you will almost certainly lose a few clients and need to replace them.
If instead, you decide to increase your sessions per week, you will need to get back out on that gym floor, convert more sessions and spend longer in the gym each week.
Which route would I recommend?
Increase your prices
If you increase your prices, you are likely to need to replace a few clients, however, the increase in price per session will almost certainly make up for the loss of just a few clients.
An even easier way to increase your prices without losing any clients is to only increase the price of your sessions for new clients that you take on.
Your prices should stay the same for customers who have been with you for at least six months, but any new customers you take on will have the sessions at the newer, increased rate.
It’s unlikely that you ever will, but should you need to explain this to customers, you can state that the gym has increased their rent and you want to honor the agreement you had when your original clients signed up with you.
Increasing Prices Vs More sessions Comparison
It may be easier for me to illustrate why I recommend increasing your session rates rather than going out and training more people each week.
We are going to set ourselves a fairly lofty target of £75,000 per year from personal training sessions alone. Then compare just how attainable that target is by either increasing your prices or gaining more sessions per week and retaining the same rate.
£75,000 target with incresed sessions
|Sessions per week||Session rate||Monthly profit||Yearly profit|
£75,000 target with increased rates
|Sessions per week||Session rate||Monthly profit||Yearly Profit|
Something should be very clear here.
This is the definition of working smart and not hard.
Much as upon first glance, you may think that the first table doesn’t look like too bad of a deal, after all, that’s less than a forty-hour workweek, right? Who wouldn’t want that?
The reality is in stark contrast to this.
You have no idea when your 32 hours will take place, they could all be arranged neatly together if you have organized your days properly, but more than likely, they will spread out all over the day.
This could result in you having sessions spread from 6 am to 9 pm if you are not very careful with your organization. That’s a fifteen-hour day or 75 hour workweek.
If there’s one thing I think we can agree on, it’s that a 75-hour workweek sucks.
Instead, if you take the approach of increasing your prices, you can keep your 20 sessions per week, giving you a twenty-hour work week and only four hours of work per day.
If you organize these sessions properly, you can be in and out of the gym before lunchtime each day and still easily hit the £75,000 target.
Your second observation may be that charging £75 an hour for a PT session is ridiculously expensive. Much as I would agree that this is a lot of money, there are plenty of people in the big cities that will happily pay this amount IF you are an exceptional personal trainer.
I suppose that is the caveat here, if you are going to be a second-rate trainer, your only option is to keep your prices low and train more people, giving yourself a seriously tough life.
If instead you become the best personal trainer around and people become aware of just how exceptional you really are, people will pay what you charge.
You are willing to pay more money for a meal in a fancy restaurant than you are for fast food right?
It’s exactly the same process here.
Hopefully, this article has shown you that if you are a freelance or self-employed personal trainer, you can stand to make a great deal of money.
It really is totally up to you in terms of how much you make, but I would definitely advise starting with increasing your prices and working from there.
Taking on more and more clients in order to make a good living from personal training is a common mistake that leads to a lot of trainers burning out in their first year of training.
Don’t fall for this mistake, raise your prices as you build your client base, then take on as many clients as you feel you can comfortably train in a week without having to stretch to twelve-hour days.
Aim for the big bucks, but remember to work smart and not hard!
Go get ’em!
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