Most personal trainers choose their career because they love helping people and they feel at home in the gym. However, in order for any career to support you, you have to get paid.
The amount of money that trainers make is all over the board. While the national median income for full-time trainers tends to be estimated at $55k/year, almost every reporting agency doesn’t put much weight in that since it can be as low as $20k and as high as hundreds of thousands a year.
Not to mention, the data isn’t very clear when you consider that some of these trainers are working in corporate gyms or private studios that govern their pay. Meanwhile, others are training independently or even online and not always reporting their numbers accurately.
And let’s just get one thing out there in the open: there are a lot of good trainers that are barely getting by while there are mediocre trainers making great money. That’s because experience and knowledge are just a couple factors in being financially successful in fitness.
So, what’s a personal trainer to do when trying to figure out how much to charge for their services?
The easy answer would be to say that “it depends.” But frankly, that answer sucks.
Instead, let’s talk about what factors it depends on. Keep reading so you can figure out what the right amount for you to charge is and how to use your own data to determine if you’re right.
What’s Your Local Market Like?
The first factor that will influence what you’ll be able to charge (and actually get) is your local market. Your market is made up of your location, your target demographic and the way you deliver your service. By identifying and researching these variables, you’ll be able to determine a baseline range of what people are currently paying and where you should position your pricing.
If you train people one-on-one for 60-minute sessions and you focus on fat loss for busy professionals, you can probably charge more than if you’re running large 45-minute bootcamp classes for teens and young adults.
Or maybe you live in a small town in Texas with only 250,000 people. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to command $150/hour like some trainers in Los Angeles or New York City.
No matter if you’re just starting as a trainer or you’re a seasoned pro, you’re going to beholden to your market to some degree. So, you should do some research and get an idea of what your local market will bear.
Call around, ask other trainers, and get an idea of the range of pricing. Maybe that’s $45-$80/session or perhaps it’s $65-$100/session. You need that baseline so that you can move onto the step where you’ll…
Consider Your Knowledge, Experience, and Results
Are you fresh out of school or newly certified?
Do you have 10 years of experience and a handful of specialty certifications?
Have you helped thousands of people change their bodies and have the results and testimonials to prove it?
Your accomplishments, education, and experience matter and will have an impact on your pricing. And rightfully so. If you’ve worked your tail off, then you owe it to yourself to charge what you’re worth.
Take the price range that you identified currently exists in your market and see where you fit in. What are you actually confident in asking someone to pay to work with you? If you’re pretty new to training, then that might be somewhere between the lower end and middle. If you’re quite experienced, then it may be closer to the top of the range.
Then, simply select a price that you feel confidently reflects your skills, experience, and value. Keep in mind, you can ask for any price you want. However, whether or not anyone buys is mainly determined by your ability to demonstrate your value at that rate. If you have some credentials and documented results then you’re much likely to be successful doing so.
Now, there’s one final step to solidifying your rate(s)…
You Have To Figure Out Your Needs
Picking a price, even after analyzing your market and value, still isn’t an exact science. You’ll need to run a couple projections to determine if that amount chosen will meet your personal and financial needs. After all, choosing a training rate that doesn’t allow you to support yourself doesn’t make much sense, does it?
Begin by considering your personal and financial needs or goals. How much time do you have to train clients? How much money do you need to make to pay your bills?
Next, take the price you chose based on the previous factors and see if it holds when tested with these projections. Will you be able to pay your bills adequately at that rate in the time you have available? How long will it take you to sign up enough clients to meet your needs? Is that realistic?
If you feel confident about these projections, then you’ve got a great rate to start at. However, if the numbers don’t line up then you’ll want to revisit the rate you’ve chosen and tweak it until everything works out to your constraints.
This may sound a bit overwhelming or exhausting.
Of course, you want to select the right amount to charge from the get-go, but that’s not likely going to be the case the first time around.
And that’s ok because…
You Can and Should Change Your Price Later Anyway
While getting your price right seems extremely important, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to be perfect. Especially if the going back and forth is keeping you from getting started training clients.
You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to reasonably close.
In fact, your pricing should change over time to reflect the results of what you’re seeing and the progress you make as a professional. The key is to pay attention to the data.
For example, if clients are signing up left and right with little hesitation or you’re running out of availability, then you may need to raise your prices. On the other hand, if you’re struggling to get new clients to commit to your programs after hearing your prices, then you may need to evaluate whether your rates are too high or if you’re not demonstrating enough value.
The best part is that you get to call all the shots and make changes as you see fit. So, don’t stress about it now. Instead, just look at it as part of the process and know that all trainers go through charging and testing various rates over their career.
Now, go out there, do your research, choose your training rate(s), and get started changing lives!