Get the Basics...
  • Learn from experts in the field on how much you should charge clients for personal training.
  • Research the going rates of personal trainers in your area.
  • Consider your cost of living, where you train, how many hours a week you can do sessions, and more.

If you’re just starting out as a personal trainer, you’re probably wondering what your rate should be. Maybe you’re afraid to charge too much or too little, but don’t worry: You’ve entered a field comprised of many professionals who have been where you are and have advice to share. See what a couple of these experts have to say, and don’t forget to take good notes!

Lesley’s Advice

If the trainer or fitness instructor is just starting out, I would base the rates on a few factors:

– What are the going rates?

Look up the going rates of trainers or fitness instructors in your area. Take a look at the highs and lows.

– Do you have rent to pay?

At a minimum, your rate should be 3x the rent. In all service industry jobs, the cost of the service x3 is where rates are generally set before adding things on like experience, etc.

– What do you feel comfortable charging?

If you cannot confidently tell your potential clients your rate, then you are either not sure of your skill set, or you have set your rates higher than you’re confident you can charge. However, you shouldn’t undercut the entire industry in your area. And, you are not of service to people; you provide a value to the clients’ life.

– How many hours a week can you actually train?

How much money do you need to make a year, month, week? Determine how much you need to make to pay your bills, and get your biz going by the amount of hours you can train. That amount should be somewhere in the range of what the going rate in your area is and cover your expenses to run your business.

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

Richard’s Advice

This question is always difficult to answer simply because of how much it varies depending on where you are based.

I’’m a personal trainer based in the north of England. At the location I work from, I would say that no trainer should charge less than £30 (about $40) an hour.

If, however, I was working in London in the south of England, the cost of living there is much, much higher. Trainers in London aren’’t just able to charge more for their services because the cost of living is higher, but they practically have to have the same lifestyle a trainer outside of the city would have.

Usually when asked this question, I give the following tips:

– Do some research about the other trainers in your area, and base your price off what you see others charging.

Either match the average price or charge more. Don’’t devalue your service. Charging half the price of your competitors means you will have to work twice as many hours to make the same amount. Clients will always be happier with you dropping the price of your service later than raising it.

– If you work at a gym with other trainers, the golden rule is to never charge less than they do.

Charging less than the others might sound like a good idea, but it can cause resentment and a pricing war that no one will benefit from.

– Something else to think about is what your price says about you and the type of clientele you’ will attract.

Being the cheapest around can get you clients, but in my experience, the clients you get are the ones you don’’t want. They’’re normally the short-term clients who train with you for a few weeks and then leave, meaning you always have to find new clients. Pricing yourself higher can be reassuring, as well as making clients see you as more valuable. The more valuable you seem, the more likely they are to continue training with you.

– The people who can afford a higher price point are generally the ones who can also keep training with you for a long time.

They have more disposable income and are more likely to value your service. At this point in my career, I charge more than any other trainer nearby and around three-quarters of my clients have been training with me for over six months. Having these long-term clients takes a lot of the pressure off you financially as you know there is money coming in and you’’re not always trying to find more new clients.

Richard Wilcock is a personal trainer, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and owner of Flagship Fitness. His advice has been featured in Men’s Journal, Organic Authority, Yahoo Lifestyle, and SparkPeople

NOTE: These responses have been edited for clarity.

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