We know you became a fitness pro because you love helping clients achieve their goals. Unfortunately, loving your job won’t pay the bills. You still have to find a personal training job that can sustain your lifestyle. You can scour the internet for high-paying personal trainer jobs (good luck!) or take control by becoming an independent personal trainer.
But which one makes the most money?
Keep reading! We compare personal trainer jobs in gyms to running your own fitness business as an independent trainer. We find out which route makes the most money and give tips for attracting clients.
What Are the Highest-paid Personal Trainer Jobs?
On average personal trainers make $40,700 annually, but many personal trainers earn six figures per year! Your income really depends on your level of expertise, how many training sessions you do per month, and if you choose to work for a commercial gym or as an independent personal trainer. Let’s take a look at both options.
Commercial Gym Trainer
For most personal trainer jobs, commercial gyms pay you a minimum wage to perform basic, non-training duties. And you’ll earn more money per hour as you start to train clients. This could be anywhere from $7 to $70 per session. You might also get a commission if you sell training packages for the gym.
Sometimes, gyms hire personal trainers as independent contractors. In this case, your earnings from the training session are split between you and the gym. And the gym could take anywhere from 10-50%.
Trainers at commercial gyms usually make $40000 to $54000 per year. High-end gyms, like Equinox, might pay their most experienced employees over 100k (if they take on 100+ sessions per month). Also, look out for gyms that pull you in by offering to give you clients. They typically pay the least.
Independent Personal Trainer
Most trainers start out working at a gym, and that’s perfectly fine if you want to wet your toes. But there’s another route that can double your income: starting your own fitness business.
As an independent personal trainer, you get the freedom to make your schedule, diversify your services and work from anywhere in the world. And it’s easier to make a higher income because you decide how much you’re worth. You set your rates, and all the money stays in your pocket.
Independent personal trainers can make over six figures per year, doing fewer sessions than gym trainers. Your expenses will be higher because you buy your equipment. But you can develop partnerships with local gyms and bring your clients in for training (for a fee).
Remember, as an independent trainer, you’re responsible for every aspect of running your business, indulging scheduling, marketing, and accounting. Don’t worry, though! All those tasks can be automated with a fitness business app like PocketSuite.
How Do I Land a Personal Trainer Job?
Personal trainer jobs won’t just fall in your lap (sadly). You have to build a client list whether you run your own fitness business or work for a gym. Here are our best tips for finding fitness clients.
Build an Online Presence
If you want more clients, it’s time to get online. It’s a good idea to create a website for your fitness business, but a Facebook or Instagram page will work if you’re a beginner.
Use your social media profile to show potential clients what you have to offer. You can post about upcoming training camps or host live streams where you offer fitness advice. Who knows? You might go viral. Don’t stop at just posting. It’s essential to interact with your audience and build a connection. This is a sure way to attract new clients and get repeat bookings from your loyal followers.
Also, you can earn some extra cash by becoming a fitness influencer. Brands will pay you to advertise resistance bands or yoga mats to your fitness-loving followers. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of followers to get started.
Ask For Referrals
Referrals are the best way to land personal trainer jobs. Clients are more likely to book you for a session if you’re recommended by someone they trust. Mostly, you get referrals by providing A+ training services. If clients love your energy and see results, they’re sure to drop your name to friends and family.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for referrals. Let them know that you have spots open in your next session and ask if they know anyone who would like to join. You can also give them incentives to make a referral, like a free session for every new client they bring in. Referrals and incentives can be difficult to keep track of, but they’re worth it!
There’s lots of competition in the fitness community, so it can be difficult to break in. You need to differentiate yourself from other trainers to get personal trainer jobs. Ask yourself: What unique skills set me apart from my competitors? What do other trainers do poorly? What fitness trends can I hop on?
The best way to stand out from the crowd is to offer a variety of services. You can offer online fitness classes and train clients straight from your living room. Or, you can create meal plans to complement your workout routine. You can even sell equipment to them using your custom PocketSuite booking site.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Personal Trainer?
If you want to get started in the fitness industry, it’s best to have a personal trainer certification. Certifications create a strong foundation for new fitness pros. They teach you fundamental skills to keep your clients safe, succeed in your field and make you more employable.
Most personal trainer jobs will ask you to get an external certification or complete their certification program. Even if you’re an independent trainer, clients will prefer to work with a certified pro. It’s a great marketing asset. So why not?
Stick to professional certification bodies like NASM or ACE, so you know you’re getting a reputable and respected qualification. You also need to get certified in CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) in case your client has a medical emergency.
Other than certifications, fitness trainers have all sorts of unique backgrounds. Some get college degrees in kinesiology and other sciences to make themselves more competitive. This also allows them to charge higher rates.
Other pros develop aligned expertise in fields like nutrition, sports medicine, or geriatric fitness. These added areas of expertise can you fitness trainers carve out a niche group of clients and charge more for a deeper experience. Watch this video to learn more about how a nutrition background helped one fitness trainer grow their business.
You don’t have to start applying to college just yet. There are a number of certifications and training you can add to your resume over time that doesn’t require a college degree. When you are a fitness trainer, almost any aspect of physical fitness you are passionate about can be woven into your client service, from yoga and stretching to senior fitness to specialized training for particular sports; you have many great options.
The Bottom Line
Taking on personal trainer jobs at gyms and fitness centers can be tempting. But you’ll be much happier and find more financial success running your own fitness business. As an independent personal trainer, there are no grueling hours at minimum pay or pressure to keep on rude clients. You are your boss! And that makes all the difference.
PocketSuite can help you manage the solo trainer lifestyle. You can schedule clients for fitness sessions, send contracts and forms, and receive payments from one app. We have everything you need to run your business.