How Do I Start A Fitness Business From Home?

By Alex Hoffmann on August, 31 2021
Business
Back to main Blog

Get our blog posts every week

Stay up to date

Alex Hoffmann

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is the President of the College of Exercise Science. He earned a doctorate in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Central College. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Hoffmann worked as Master Fitness Trainer course instructor for the United States Army, and as a strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal training is one of the fastest growing career segments. But because of the pandemic, clients are looking for ways to avoid the gym. How can you meet the growing demand for personal training? By starting a personal training business! Starting a fitness business from home is easier than you might think and more profitable than you’d imagine.

In this article, you’ll learn the step-by-step process to starting a personal training business. Learn about how to legally set up a business. Discover the policies you need in place to avoid uncomfortable conversations. Find out how to promote yourself as an expert. And go beyond what other fitness blogs suggest to create a sustainable pricing structure to grow your business and enhance your lifestyle.

 

Personal Training Business Checklist

Although there are lots of personal trainer jobs out there, they may not be a good fit for you. That’s okay. You’re going to create your own opportunity with this how-to guide!

There’s a lot of work that goes into starting a fitness business from home. We’ll cover the high-level tasks to get started. Of course, whenever you start a business, it’s smart to consult your accountant and an attorney. They’ll ensure you set up your at home business properly.

Want to further your skill set? Learn more about our Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree

 

Step One: Select A Business Structure

The two most popular business structures for personal training businesses are:

  • Sole proprietorship. As a sole proprietor, you have sole responsibility over your business’s assets and liabilities. If your business fails to pay a debt, you could lose your car, home, or other valuable property. With this fitness business structure you file your taxes as self-employed and won’t have to pay business taxes.
  • Limited liability corporation (LLC). The LLC business structure offers more protection of your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or business failure. It also allows you to choose how you would like to be taxed. It may cost more to set-up an LLC and there is more paperwork to be filed. But the extra time and money are worth the added protection.

 

Step Two: Get a TIN/EIN

In order to move on to the next step--Set Up a Business Bank Account--you need to have an employer identification number (EIN) or taxpayer identification number (TIN). You can request this for free through the IRS.gov website. This step is the fastest step in the process. It takes just a few minutes to apply online and get your number.

 

Step Three: Set Up a Business Bank Account

First, do some shopping to see what banks or credit unions offer the best rates and have the lowest fees. Then, be prepared to fill out a lot of paperwork. Here are just a few pieces of information and other things you may need to open your fitness business bank account:

  • Business name
  • Federal tax ID
  • Business type
  • Business address
  • Date established
  • Annual sales
  • Banking activity
  • Authorized signers
  • Members, titles, and percent ownership (for LLC)
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Certificate of organization

 

Step Four: Buy Personal Trainer Liability Insurance

Personal trainer liability insurance covers you just in case. There are a few different types of insurance to consider when starting up:

  • General liability covers personal trainer accidents and basic risks. Personal injury and property damage are included. General liability insurance also helps pay for medical debts, property damage, legal fees, and judgments.
  • You can elect to have business owner’s coverage--similar to worker's compensation--in case you’re injured on the job. It helps cover medical bills and lost wages.
  • If you decide to train clients in person, commercial property insurance is a good idea. It covers your personal training equipment, inventory, and the building you train in.

 

Step Five: Choose a Business Model

How you deliver your personal training services will guide your decisions in future steps. Take some time to decide the best way to start your personal training business. A few things for you to consider are:

  • Will you workout with personal training clients one-on-one or in small groups?
  • Will you deliver your training plans and exercise sessions online or in person?

You can add on services later. Right now, you need to set yourself up for success. So keep your business model simple.

 

Step Six: Set Business Policies

Avoid uncomfortable conversations and legal issues by creating policies. Consult with an attorney to make sure that your policies are legal and enforceable. Here are some policies to put in place right away: 

  • Cancellation
  • Payment and fees
  • Rescheduling
  • Refunds
  • Inappropriate conduct by the client

Step Seven: Select the Right Equipment

Time to invest in equipment for your fitness company. Whatever you buy should meet the needs of your business and clients. Consider your business model. How are you offering your training services? How many people will you workout at a time? Answering these questions will help you select the right fitness training equipment.

  • Online Training: If your clients will do online training from home, then choose equipment they will have easy access to. Most clients won’t have room for a weight bench--and you can’t spot them virtually, anyway! Many may be unable to properly install anchor points for straps. Have lots of options available in several different price points.
  • Training at Home: If you offer fitness training from a home studio, set it up however you like. But if you become a traveling trainer--serving clients in their homes--you’ll have to travel with your equipment.
  • Small Group Fitness: Small group fitness class is an easy way to make more money and coach more clients. But keep in mind; the more people you train, the faster equipment wears out. That is especially true for elastics and bands of any kind. Mats, gloves, and towels will also show wear and tear much faster.  

Now that your personal training business is set up, it’s time to start planning your sales and marketing strategies.

 

How Do You Set Up Personal Trainer Pricing?

Before you begin marketing your services, you should figure out how much money you need to earn from your fitness training business. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much do I need to earn per month to cover my expenses?
  • Do I want to work full-time or part-time?

Now, gather your personal bills. Make notes of your fixed and variable expenses. Insurance is typically paid annually or biannually. So break that expense down into a monthly figure. Then do the math to determine how much you need to make weekly.

 

For example:

Monthly personal expenses

Monthly costs

Rent/mortgage

Utilities

Car note

Gas

Home and auto insurance

Food

$800

$400

$300

$200

$40

$500

Total personal expenses

$2,240

 

Next, estimate your monthly business expenses:

Monthly business expenses

Monthly costs

Liability insurance

Website

Scheduling software

Equipment replacement

$15

$25

$50

$20

Total business expenses

$110

 

Now, add your personal and estimated business expenses together:

Total personal expenses

$2,240

Total business expenses

$110

Total monthly expenses

$2,350

After tallying your monthly expenses, divide them by four. This gives you a weekly estimate of how much you need to make as a fitness coach. Once you know that, set your pricing by dividing the total expenses by the number of clients you can fit into your schedule.

 

Here’s an example:

$2,350 per month = $587.50 per week

10 clients at $58.75 per hour

15 clients at *$39 per hour

20 clients at *$29 per hour

*numbers are rounded, not exact figures

 You have to pay taxes at the end of the year. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll end up digging into the money set aside for necessary expenses. So--plan ahead! Add taxes into your per hour rates. Consult your accountant if you’re not sure which tax bracket you fall in.

 

Add taxes (25% in this example)

10 clients = *$73.50 per hour

15 clients = *$49 per hour

20 clients = $36.25 per hour

*numbers are rounded, not exact figures

Many blogs stop here with their business start-up advice. But if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice a couple issues with this pricing model.

  1. There’s no money for marketing to grow your business.
  2. You don’t get any spending cash!

You shouldn’t start a business without planning to profit from it. If you listen to all the other fitness blogs out there, you’ll be working to maintain your current lifestyle. What if you want to complete some CEUs? (Because we know those are required.) What if you want to get an advanced degree to set yourself apart from other trainers?

 

If you want more, here’s what you should do:

Add another 35%

10 clients = *$99 per hour

15 clients = *$66 per hour

20 clients = *$49 per hour

*numbers are rounded, not exact figures

Now, check on your competitors to see how much they’re charging. Keep the price per workout close to what your competitors are charging. If they charge much more or much less, figure out why.

Keep in mind, if you do small group training, you can earn in one hour what would take you five hours otherwise.

 

How to Sell Personal Training

Got all those fitness business startup boxes checked? You’re ready to start marketing yourself as a coach. Welcome to the fun part of fitness business ownership! Although this is fun, it takes a lot of planning. Here, we’ll give you the step-by-step guide to starting a fitness business on the right foot.

Want to further your skill set? Learn more about our Exercise Science Bachelor’s Degree

 

Present Yourself as an Expert

The only way to show clients you’re an expert is by earning an advanced degree in exercise science. Client’s know about those weekend workshop certificate programs. And that makes them nervous. Think of it this way. Would you trust someone to fix your teeth if they earned a certificate at a weekend seminar? No way!

Clients do research before hiring a professional, just like you do. Show them you’re a professional with a college degree.

 

Find the Right Niche

The best way to start a fitness training business is by finding a specific type of client. Here are some examples:

  • Weight loss for teens
  • Cross training for active adults
  • Total body conditioning for desk workers

Why does finding a niche work?

First, you win referrals! If you help a local receptionist relieve their constant back pain, they’ll tell everyone in the office and everyone who comes up to the desk. People hire personal referrals more often than those they find online.

Second, you get great reviews every time. A parent who sees their unhealthy, depressed teen transformed into an energetic, happy kid will share that story. Those reviews will help you get more of the same types of clients.

Finally, you’ll become more skilled and can charge more. As an example, active adults have years of bad movement patterns that most personal trainers miss. You can be the expert who spots those issues and helps correct them. When you’re really good at what you do, people will gladly pay more for your services.

 

Selling Personal Training

Once your marketing is in place, it’s time to answer the phone and book those consultations. We suggest collecting client questionnaires ahead of the consultation. The answers client’s give will help direct your questions and leave more time for you to close the sale.

 

Ask Questions

Don’t start the consultation talking about yourself. Focus on your client. Ask them questions and listen to them. Take notes and repeat some of their words back to them so they know you’re listening. Be careful not to ask “yes or no” questions. Ask open-ended questions that require a thoughtful answer.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Have you ever had a personal trainer before?
  • What's kept you from being successful at [goal] in the past?
  • Do you have any injuries that keep you from reaching your goals?
  • What do you expect from me?

 

Talk About Results

When it’s time to talk about what you offer, talk about results. Don’t talk about personal training packages, features, methods, or diets. Instead, talk about their desired results.

  • Example 1: “I can get you back to when your favorite jeans fit perfectly in 4-6 months using activities you love and enjoy.”
  • Example 2: “I can help you feel more energetic and get back to the hobbies you love without spending hours in the gym.”

 

Address Objections

Objections usually come in the form of excuses. Listen for when someone says, “because.” You might hear a person say, “I haven’t been to the gym lately because the childcare center isn’t open.” Respond to the information you gather. Mirror their objection (repeat it back to them). Ask them to tell you more. Your goal is to draw out what it is that could be holding them back from making a decision.

  • Example 1: “It sounds like you really need help keeping the kiddos busy so you can workout.”
  • Example 2: “Tell me more about your schedule and why it’s been so hard for you to fit exercise in.”

 

Present Options

Give your prospect at least three but no more than five pricing options. List the features of each exercise training package.

Here’s an example:

Level One

Level Two

Level Three

Month-to-month

2 fitness assessments

8 private training sessions

Three months

Monthly fitness assessments

24 private training sessions

8 group fitness class passes

Six months

Monthly fitness assessments

48 private training sessions

24 group fitness class passes

Free towel and water bottle

Free subscription to Fitness Magazine

15% off meal delivery service

$891

10% off hourly rates

Just $812 per month

$2,436 total

Only $849 per month

$5098 total

Like getting 1 month free!

 

Ask for the Sale

When you present your personal training packages, talk about the results your client wants.

Paint a before and after picture for them. Talk about how they feel now in contrast to how they will feel after they achieve their goal. Then get them to buy into that goal.

For example, you could say, “A client similar to you just reached their goal. Just the other day they were telling me how incredible they feel! Are you willing to put in the work to achieve your goal, too?”

 

Starting a Fitness Business From Home

Whether you plan to coach clients on the side, or be a full time personal trainer, this step-by-step guide will get you there. From selecting a business structure to creating your business model, it’s all here. Take time to complete each step. Set prices that work for you and are aligned to the market. Find a niche that has a large population in your area. Then, get out there and start talking to people. You’ve got this!

 

Enrollment Meet

 

Back to main Blog
Alex Hoffmann

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is the President of the College of Exercise Science. He earned a doctorate in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Central College. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Hoffmann worked as Master Fitness Trainer course instructor for the United States Army, and as a strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist.

Submit a Comment