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Fitness Business Ideas

Fitness Business Ideas

If you’ve considered getting into the fitness industry, you’ve probably wondered how to start a personal training or fitness business and what model you should set up.  Below we are going to go over three possible models that you have as options.  These are by no means the only ones.  You could have  a hybrid of any or all of them.  Or if you’re a trainer already, you could add elements of one or all of them to your current model.  Let’s break this down into three different models you can choose from in personal training.  We will look at them from the perspective of lowest cost and easiest to set up to more complex.  In each case, it will still be your own business and you’ll be self-employed, but the environment will be different.

  1. In home or mobile personal trainer.
  2. A trainer that works in someone else’s facility.
  3. Studio or gym owner.

Let’s take a look at each in more detail.

1.  In home or mobile personal trainer.

In this model, you’ll have little start up costs and capital expense.  However, your efficiency can be compromised as you’ll be eating up time driving and running up expenses in gas.  You won’t need a lot of equipment, you’ll focus your programming around body weight training and devices you can carry with you and manual exercise.  This can be a viable option to start in and some trainers never leave this stage.  Others use this as a spring board to take them to the other models.  This type of model can allow you to charge a premium due to travel time and personal attention in the privacy of the client’s home.

2.  A personal trainer who operates in someone else’s facility.

The option for this model is an autonomous personal trainer operating the same way as in the first scenario, but you primarily operate out of someone else’s facility.  This may be a commercial or corporate facility you contract with.  In this model like the first, you will also have low up front costs as you won’t have to buy or rent a larger facility and won’t have capital expense in filling it up with equipment.  However, you should be prepared to pay as much as 40% of each session’s revenue in rent or shared revenue with the facility owner.  You can still charge a premium or you may choose a lower price point to appeal to a wider audience.  You may be able to afford to do this as you’ll now be able to see clients back to back without wasted driving time in between.  They will be able to come to you.  You’ll want to make sure the place in which you choose to rent or operate is a good location for your target market.  But, again, remember, up to 40% of your revenue can go to the facility owner in exchange for you being allowed to operate there.  You need to balance that and factor it into your calculations when establishing your pricing structure.

3.  A studio or gym owner.

This is usually the ultimate for most aspiring trainers.  The in home trainers usually get tired of having limited access to equipment and the trainers who rent other spaces get tired of not having their own space to make the rules.  This model will have significantly more up front costs associated with it in the form of rent and capital expense in equipment.  It may take more time with the prospect of adhering to zoning laws and regulations and acquiring signage and other administrative things required for you to actually open and operate.  Once all of that is satisfied, you’re the boss and make the rules.  You can run it as you wish.  Location will be extremely important in this model.  Most clients don’t like to travel beyond a 15 minute radius of where they live or work.  This type of model will firmly root you down in place.  If you are unsure of your near future plans, it will be harder to move.  You will have a finite capacity so your estimates on space needed and revenue it can produce will be critical.  You will want to plan for future expansion should you need it.  This can be a very good self-contained model and once mastered, replicated over and over again.  Ideally, it could be documented and licensed or franchised for other business owners to purchase. Again, these are by no means all of the options.  You can pick and choose elements that you like from each or focus on strictly one.  If you have limited resources, these can offer a step ladder or progression for you as you grow and become more successful until you reach your ideal model you have in your head.  Let this stimulate your thinking.  If you have further questions, be sure to reference our fitness business books or register for one of our free phone consultations to explore your options further.

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How to Start a Personal Training Business

How to Start a Personal Training Business

If you’re new to the fitness industry or are thinking about making a career in fitness, I’m going to give you what you need to know.  I’ve been there, I’ve done it and I’ve worked it from all sides as an employee, manager, and business owner.  Starting a business can be tough.  You don’t know where to start, what is required, and what to do in what order.  For example, you can’t set up a business bank account to get paid until you have  your EIN number.

I have broken things down for you into manageable steps and in a logical order that will bring your business to fruition faster.  This is how you’ll want to go about starting a personal training business.

Why Personal Training?  Decide if the fitness industry and personal training is for you.  You can make your own hours, it’s relatively low barrier to get into, and you can make quite a bit of money.  But, the hours can be odd or long, it may require a lot of driving if you work in a mobile fashion, and you have to recognize that you will have to market, sell your service, and deal directly with the customers day in and day out.  Some or all of those points aren’t for everybody.  Try to make a realistic assessment of yourself or visit some other professionals in the field and shadow them to get an idea of what it is like.

Administrative.  You’ll have to consider certification and education.  Ideally, a degree in the field is possible.  Training courses from reputable companies can be good.  But, nothing is a substitute for experience.  On the job training or an internship or a specialty school can be ideal as well.  You’ll need to incorporate and establish a business entity unless you plan to operate as a sole proprietor.  You will need to set up the appropriate accounts including state and federal accounts, to get an EIN number from the IRS, and to set up a business bank account at your bank.  You may set up a merchant account and payment gateway there too to be able to take credit card payments.  If you can afford to keep an attorney on retainer, do it.  You’ll need one for any number of things your business may engage in.  You will need liability insurance.  This can be relatively cheap annually for good coverage.  There are companies with specific health and fitness provider policies.  You’ll need a bookkeeper and/or accountant or do it yourself the old fashioned way or with software of your own.  We offer several options in the book.

Personal Trainer Business Plan.  You will need a plan.  Especially if you plan to get funding beforehand.  But, it doesn’t have to be a 30 page document.  It can be scribbled on a scrap piece of paper and that’s better than no plan at all.  But, you will want a clear mission and vision which will guide you daily as well as identify your strength, weaknesses, and threats (including competition) to your business now or in the future.

Sales.  You will have to sell your service to prospective clients.  For that, you will need a proven consultation or trial workout process and your pricing structure laid out ahead of time to present to the prospect.

Personal Trainer Marketing Plan.  Your marketing plan will be how you let the rest of your network know about your business on an ongoing basis.  You’ll identify the marketing channels in which you plan to focus, who your ideal client or niche is, and estimated costs and returns on campaigns that you implement.

Prospecting for New Clients.  Every trainer needs to constantly be prospecting for new clients.  We tend to have very good retention in personal training, but nevertheless, clients leave or move away and you need to be able to maintain a reliable amount for a reliable income.  The more clients you do have, the more referrals you are likely to have coming in.  But, you don’t want to sit around and wait for that to happen, you want to be proactive about it and go out and find and meet those people.

Operations.  This encompasses how your business functions daily.  What systems you need to have in place in order to deliver your service to your customers.  It will include training clients, documenting their progress, but also scheduling, following up, performing assessments, and measurements.

Your Real Estate on the Web.  Getting your company’s website up and running can be a frustrating experience.  Good web designers and developers are hard to find.  Almost as hard as good trainers.  A simple WordPress website (like this one) is somewhat of a standard and easy to manage on your own.  You can make it infinitely more complicated if you like through a giant marketplace of additional plugins.   Think of WordPress as your iPhone and plugins like new apps you can install to run on it for specific functions.

Staffing.  If you plan to run the company, but not deliver the service, or you need to expand and replicate yourself, you’ll need to hire good staff.  You’ll need the right tools and forms to cover an employee’s life cycle from application to exit interview.

Multiple Streams of Income.  If you’ve been in business for some time, it might be good to think about other income streams.  It can allow for more diversification making your business more stable and reliable should something happen and it can increase the bottom line.  In the book we offer 25 additional revenue streams that are possible in a fitness or personal training business.

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If you’re considering starting a personal training business, please download my book and give it a read. I think you’ll find it extremely time saving. Enter your email below and we will send it right off to you. If you find it useful, you can find all of the tools immediately available in our personal trainer store.

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Check out my article: Networking For Fitness Professionals-Expert Advice

The staff over at Fitness Professional Online was nice enough to bring me on board as a regular contributor. This month’s issue focuses on client acquisition. And I was glad to contribute an updated article on networking for fitness professionals.

Be sure to visit the site and browse around after reading my networking article by clicking here. Stay tuned for future issues which I’ll post here. Next month’s focus will be back on client programming in which I guarantee I’ll have something unique for you then.

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Personal Training Business Employee Forms Package

Have you taken on employees or contractors in your personal training business? Are you considering adding staff soon? Then you’ll need this package of forms in order to bring them in through and application process all the way through their life cycle as an employee right up to an exit interview.

Download this package for immediate implementation in your business. Don’t go about it haphazardly. Have a professional process in place.


  • Employee Application
  • Offer Letter
  • Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Evaluation Form
  • Exit Interview.

Continue reading Personal Training Business Employee Forms Package

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Prospecting for New Personal Training Clients

Very few personal trainers’ businesses are full to capacity with clients. We are always on the look out for more clients and more new ways to acquire them. If you slack off, even if you think you’re full with clients, eventually, you’ll lose some and have to play catch up. Below explains a great prospecting system complete with worksheets and scripts we’ve adapted from the real estate business to fit a personal training business. Check it out below! Continue reading Prospecting for New Personal Training Clients