If you’re just starting out as a personal trainer, there’s a lot to think through to get your business up and running. For instance, you’re probably wondering how much time you’ll put in each week to get everything done and make adequate income. You may feel a little overwhelmed right now, but thankfully, you’ve entered a field comprised of professionals who have been where you are.
Let’s hear from two experts who pursued their training passions and want to share their experience and advice with you!
I opened my first, small, private gym in 2001. Then I worked six days a week, 14 hours a day either training clients, building equipment, or promoting the gym any way I could — mainly through word-of-mouth with little to no vacation, only taken off for holidays.
17 years later, I’m at a new location one-third the size of the old place. (After 16 years at the old location, my landlord sold the floor, and the new landlord didn’t want a gym.)
My new place is a lot smaller, and I’m there 12 hours a day, maybe training clients for four of those hours (sometimes more, sometimes less). I spend the non-training time on cleaning, building exercise equipment, and social media — taking pictures or videos every day to promote my little gym and me.
Most trainers and fitness instructors hit the ground running. They are trying to get experience, clients, and results for those clients to get referrals. As a Pilates instructor, I have taught up to 40 hours a week. It was way too much, but as I raised my rates and became clear on my ideal client, I was able to shave this down to 25 hours a week and make even more money.
My personal trainer used to train up to 50 hours a week, and I know of trainers who get close to 60 hours a week.
I highly recommend that as you get experience, you try to stay around 25-30 hours a week max, as you need time for invoicing, scheduling, your workouts (most important), dealing with your clients’ notes, and white space to create what is going to come next!
So, in the beginning, get your sea legs and work what you can, but set regular times to check and make sure you are charging your value and also not saying “yes” to every client. You don’t need to train everyone.
Lesley Logan is a fitness business coach and a PMA-certified Pilates teacher who leads international Pilates retreats. She is the author of Profitable Pilates: Everything But the Exercises, and her advice has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and Vogue. Her Pilates workout and business coaching tutorials can also be found on PilatesAnytime.com.
NOTE: These responses have been edited for clarity.