Gym Rental for Personal Trainers

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Self-employed personal trainers who rent gym space can do well financially.
  • Trainers must select a rental based on some important business factors and considerations.
  • Would-be renters must be fully aware of the rules associated with renting from the gym.

Working as a personal trainer on staff at a gym has its rewards. The gym usually books the clients and pays trainers a set rate. To make lucrative money, however, personal trainers find that setting their fees and working for themselves is the better option.

Instead of accepting employment with a gym, many fitness pros prefer to rent space and solicit their services to clients.

Renting space from a gym is not too difficult, but doing so should be carefully thought out. Otherwise, the plan could come with a few unavoidable troubles. The right approach to renting space just makes the venture a more productive breadwinner.

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The Basic Approaches to Renting

A little bit of networking or even cold calling may reveal what particular gyms rent out space. Many advertise rental space availability on the internet. Most independently-owned gyms are open to renting out to personal trainers. The revenue streams are hard to turn down and don’t exactly require a lot of work.

Gym space rentals could involve monthly, weekly, or even hourly deals. A trainer with a decent client base won’t mind paying $300 or more for a full month’s access to the gym. Someone with a limited number of clients may find $35 for two hours acceptable if he/she charges $30 per half-hour and has four clients.

As a rule, personal trainers must make sure they can afford a flat-rate rent charge. Otherwise, only the gym will be making money. What can personal trainers unable to pay a flat rate do? A barter system remains another possible option.

With a barter system, the trainer may pay a percentage per client to the gym. Paying 20% of training fees means the trainer won’t pay for days he/she isn’t working or paying a full rental price when business is down. Even when business is up, keeping 80% or so of the fee would be fair. The gym makes the whole enterprise possible, so its owner deserves a cut.

Personal trainers shouldn’t focus solely on the costs of rent, though. Think about what else renting a gym will entail.

Location Counts

The gym’s location plays a major role in attracting clients. Choosing a particular facility should be done carefully since even a prime location could work against a trainer.

A gym located in a prestigious region probably comes with high rental costs. Personal trainers would need a combination of regular clients at high rates to make a high-rent area worth booking. Trainers must make rental decisions based on their bottom line or else the whole endeavor won’t turn the necessary profit.

The location of the gym should also make pulling in new clients fairly easy. A lower-priced gym located in an industrial area far removed from homes, apartments, or stores won’t likely experience a consistent supply of walk-in traffic. There just won’t be many people around.

So, a personal trainer must work very hard at direct marketing him/herself towards would-be clients. Even when those potential clients show up, they might not like the remote setting and choose to go elsewhere. The gym location needs to be inviting.

Always weigh the pros and cons of location when choosing rental space. And don’t forget the actual facilities the gym offers.

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Check out the Space

Without a doubt, the condition of the gym and its equipment factors into whether renting space is a good idea. The equipment should be well-maintained and relatively new. A diverse array of weights, barbells, kettlebells, yoga mats, medicine balls, stability balls, benches, and more should be present.

How can a trainer take a client through a workout without the right equipment? And how many customers want to stick with a trainer when the gym fails to impress?

Remember, personal trainers are not paying for space and access alone. They are paying for what is inside the gym. The gym has to be well-equipped, or it just won’t be of much value.

Check the Rules and Requirements

Gyms have rules for trainers, and the rules may extend beyond the standard “keep equipment clean” or “always rack weights” requirements. Special rules could involve:

  • Setting weight maximums on Smith machines.
  • Banning powerlifting workouts.
  • Barring the sale or even recommendation of supplements.

Really, a gym can set pretty much any rules it wishes. Even dress codes could be mandated. Personal trainers must understand all gym rules before signing any rental agreements. Otherwise, the relationship between the gym owner and the personal trainer could sour.

And most gyms probably won’t rent out space to someone without a personal training certification.

Without requesting industry credentials, the gym owner would be taking a liability risk allowing a non-certified trainer to work out of his/her space.

Probably the most cost-impacting requirement may be insurance-related. A gym may place a requirement that a personal trainer carries insurance, which would be an added cost. Considering what insurance covers, however, the price could be worth it.

Try Not to Rush

The entrepreneurial-minded probably want to move very quickly with setting themselves up in business. While it’s difficult to fault anyone for being motivated, taking the time to explore your options so that you can find the best gym for your training needs is encouraged. Rushing into a weak deal won’t help the cause of getting a personal training venture on the path towards success.

Be smart and take the right approach to picking the perfect gym and rental deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a personal trainer?

You become a personal trainer by becoming studying for, taking, and passing a personal training certification exam.

Is it hard to become a personal trainer?

The level of difficulty to become a personal trainer depends on which certification you choose to obtain — some certifying agencies are harder to become certified with than others and some may require extra pre-requisites like a college degree.

Can I become a personal trainer without studying for the exam?

It is unlikely that you will pass your personal training exam for any agency if you do not study thoroughly for the exam beforehand.

Will a gym hire me without a personal training certification?

It is unlikely that a gym will hire someone without a certification to train members. However, a gym may still hire you to perform other duties, like administrative tasks.

Can I rent space in a gym if I am not a certified personal trainer?

Gyms will likely not rent out space to someone that is not certified due to liability concerns.

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