American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

If you are interested in a personal-training career and want to work for yourself, there are ample opportunities available. Launching your own personal-training business allows for programming creativity, scheduling flexibility and the ability to set your own rates—plus you can determine where you would like to train your clients.  

As the demand for personal training increases, along with clients’ desire for flexibility in terms of location and delivery method, exercise professionals have the opportunity to design unique and customized personal-training businesses.  

Opportunities for self-employed personal trainers can be loosely grouped into the following categories: 

Brick and Mortar 

Brick and mortar refers to operating your business out of a third-party location (not your home or your client’s home). While you may choose to open and operate your own training studio, you can also explore other options for having a dedicated training space.  

Some personal-training studios or smaller gyms may offer you the option to rent space for a flat fee each month, while others may choose to negotiate a portion of your training fees for access to the space. Either way, you would be responsible for finding your clients and negotiating agreements for your services. 

A less traditional brick-and-mortar option that has emerged in recent years exists in apartment complexes and residential communities. To stay competitive, these communities sometimes add attractive amenities, which typically include state-of-the-art fitness centers. Some of these centers may operate like personal-training studios or small gyms and allow you to rent space or pay a portion of your training fee per client to use the space. 

Many corporations and businesses offer on-site fitness centers, as well. While these facilities may choose to hire trainers as employees, some may instead engage with independent contractors. The facility may be managed through a third-party company or run internally. Find out who is in charge and inquire as to the opportunities available. 

Mobile Training 

Training may also take place outside of facilities. Consider creating a mobile business where you train clients individually or in groups at parks, playgrounds, other outdoor spaces or in their homes. With all mobile options, you’ll most likely need to make equipment available or train clients who can supply their own equipment.  

Keep in mind that outdoor training is weather dependent, which may affect when and where you can train at different times during the year. You will also need to consider the time needed to travel between locations when determining your scheduling and pricing.  

One important note: Always check local regulations before scheduling training sessions at a public park or other public space, as you may need to obtain permits and pay to have access. Click here to review ACE’s Shared Space Toolkit. 

Virtual Training  

Lastly, personal trainers can open up a digital storefront to train clients virtually. Personal trainers can provide workout sessions, assessments and consultations “live” (synchronously) or on demand (asynchronously). A wide variety of digital training tools exist to help trainers advertise, collect payment and schedule sessions.  

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