How to Set Up a Personal Trainer Business


If you have an outgoing personality and are interested in starting your own business as a personal fitness trainer, this article will get you started. Keep in mind that it may take anywhere from 2 to 5 years to see a clear profit as you build your clientele and your professional reputation. This article includes steps from seeking certification to the initial grand opening of your business

Things You'll Need

  • · An enthusiastic, upbeat personality.
  • · A patient, encouraging attitude.
  • · A willingness to lead and instruct.
  • · The ability to work flexible hours. Your business hours will be between 5am to 8am and 5pm to 8pm.
  • · Funding for your certification, licenses, fees, permits, and operating business capital (about $23,000 to $30,000).

Set Up a Personal Trainer Business

  1. Become certified as a personal fitness trainer. ACE personal training certifications are among the most highly respected and recognized in the fitness industry. The certification program cost ranges from about $300 to $400 and you’ll have the option of choosing either a general or a specialty training program that will prepare you for the needs of children, senior citizens, injured, or disabled clients. General training is offered for either individual or group personal trainers. The program you choose will depend on your preferences and personality. All programs culminate in a certifying exam.
  1. Once certified, you’ll need to create your exercise routines. Remember to include warm ups, cool downs, flexibility training, strength training, and cardio workouts for beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. You may want to use video tutorials and a notebook to design your routines. Don’t be shy about asking experienced trainers for tips and advice.
  1. Develop your business plan, including a marketing strategy and an operating budget. Decide whom you will be training (target demographic), how you will attract and retain your clients, and what you will charge for your services. You may wish to file for a fictitious name for your business, unless operating under your own name. Factor in marketing/promotional tools, and your operating budget for at least the first year and up to as many as five years. If you will have partners, list their names and describe their roles in the business. Remember to include office supplies, furniture, utilities, cleaning, and the monthly rent of your space if you will have a physical location.
  1. Legal and tax requirements are next. Obtain your business license and register your small business as a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation (LLC), or a corporation. Arrange for any fees or licenses required by your region, and acquire all permits needed to do business.
  1. Find a location for your business and lease or buy your exercise equipment. If your budget is limited, you may choose to come to your clients’ homes or businesses for training appointments. In this scenario, you’ll still need basic items like tape measures, weight scales, blood pressure and heart rate monitors, free weights, elastic bands, a rebounder, exercise balls, etc.
  1. Purchase liability insurance. Shop around for the best quote before choosing a plan.
  1. Acquire business software to automate your business. You will need to generate invoices for client billing, perform basic accounting functions, and maintain your client records and training files. Your software should be able to help keep track of appointments, forms, waivers, and other documents.
  1. Order your business cards 180 to 90 days before your first day of business. Place ads and print/distribute flyers announcing your new personal training business 30 to 45 days before your grand opening. Try to schedule appointments at least one month in advance to allow for cancellations and rescheduling. Require clients to cancel no sooner than 24 hours’ in advance or forfeit their session fee. Have T-shirts personalized with your business name and logo available to be handed out on the day of your grand opening. Promotional T-shirts are great advertising!

Tips & Warnings

  • · As your business grows, consider hiring clerical help and/or assistant trainers to accommodate your larger client base.
  • · To help your personal training business grow faster, offer an initial consultation and first session free to all new clients, and a small referral fee ($25 to $50) to any existing client that brings in a new client who registers with your business after the free introductory session!
  • · NEVER be late for an appointment. Strive always to be prompt, courteous, and professional at all times!

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