Yet, whilst these allow you to work as a PT, that is what it is, work.
A career as a Personal Trainer seems, on the surface, to be one where you can build a reputation. You get a certain amount of flexibility. You are your own boss. And there is room for growth.
In building your reputation, you should have room to develop your own brand.
This is a career forged from passion and a desire to make a difference.
Unfortunately, these options quickly destroy that passion. Leaving what was a vision of a career as little more than a job with unsociable hours.
Going through the options one at a time:
1. You Pay Rent
This means, from day one, you are in debt. From the point you pay your rent, you must then scramble to find a client base.
The first few clients you find, though, do not earn you a penny. All you are doing is earning enough to cover the next rental payment.
And if you don’t find enough clients, you still owe your rent.
This is hardly a set up that allows you to give the best of yourself. Your focus cannot be your clients because you know you need more.
Only once you establish yourself and build up a strong client base can you relax. But when will that day come? And when it arrives, will it last?
If a bunch of your clients go on holiday one month, or you get a few cancellations, the rental costs are still there.
Being stressed and panicking about bills is not a good place to be if you are aiming to give the best of yourself.
And without delivering your highest service level, how do you build a reputation? And without a strong reputation, how do you build a strong client base?
2. You Train Clients for Someone Else
This isn’t the worst route when starting out.
Someone else has a strong client base and reputation. They have too much interest to cope with. So, you piggyback on their reputation to try and build your own.
The only thing here is, their client base and niche has to be very close to your own. If not, you have to be something you are not and that’s not good for anyone.
So, to make this work, you must find a successful coach who is looking for help but also aligns with your approach.
Even then, at some point you must step out of the shadows. So, it’s key to ensure that is possible.
3. You Work as an Employee
This route removes the stress of having to pay rent. So now you can focus on the job of delivering your best service.
The problem here is, you are now back to being an employee.
As a PT, you are, most likely, one of many in that facility.
You may get added to the facility’s website or put up on the wall as an option. But beyond that, you are simply a trainer. One of many.
Any hope of showcasing your unique voice has now diminished.
There may be a good chance of finding clients on the gym floor. But will these be clients that are in your specific niche? Will working with them help you cement your reputation? Or are you left training people at random and without thought, to ensure you fill up your diary?
This route generally acts as a trap.
You start out thinking you’ll use it as a starting point. Once you are busy, you’ll move on.
But the type of client base you end up forming is more of a churn. It’s rare to find clients on the gym floor of a busy commercial gym who have a long-term view of things.
More often the goal is a holiday, a wedding or a quick result. When the deadlines pass, or something ‘magic’ fails to happen immediately, they stop.
But you will be reliant on the basic income you are earning and won’t want to move on. The fear of starting again is too great.
Usually, in this scenario, trainers either become complacent and settle in. It becomes a job with little to no prospects and that’s how it is. Or, frustration hits and they give up and look for another career.
4. Open Your Own Facility
This always sounds better than it is.
The question here is, are you willing to invests tens of thousands of pounds on day one? Are you looking to spend a huge amount of time dealing with daily admin? Do you want to be responsible for getting utility quotes, water rates, phone suppliers and so on?
I’m sure you didn’t get into fitness to become an office manager.
In some rare cases, yes. But for most, the responsibility of maintaining a building, equipment & complying with regulations, is not a dream career path.
Add to that the fact that it will be years before you make your investment back. Plus, like option 1, you are now responsible for the outgoings, even if your income doesn’t match it.
5. Use Parks or Client’s Homes
In this category you could also include using your own home or garage to some extent.
The big issue here is, limited equipment.
In a home or a garage, limited space.
And, in a park, you are relying on the weather as well.
Unless your niche or specialism is with outdoor, all weather athletes, this is not going to showcase you at your best.
Having more tools at your disposal doesn’t mean you have to use them. But when you need them, if they are there, you are continuing to deliver the highest quality service.
In my view, this route is a selfish one.
It may be post justifiable, but the client’s best interests are not at the fore.
And if you don’t focus on your client’s interests, you are not delivering your best service.
A New Career Opportunity
This frustration is the only reason DCS exists.
If there were other options in the Greater Glasgow area, DCS would not have been necessary.
But this frustration has also affected us.
We have tried many options to allow trainers to flourish.
Some have been far too costly to the facility and open to abuse.
Often the level of expectation is too outlandish.
If you feel that you should only need to show up and the clients will start rolling in, you need to review things.
The goal is to develop your brand. No matter what the set-up, you are the only person who can do that. And while we will always look to give you the platform to have your voice heard, you need to do the talking.
What we have always had available is a facility with more than enough space. But because of the way we have it set up, that space is NEVER crowded.
This means you, as a trainer, never have to compromise your plans because of crowds or lack of floor area.
You should be able to deliver your very best service at all times.
On the flip side, it means our member base is not a resource that will deliver the bulk of your client base.
Thus, you need to get your voice heard beyond our physical walls.
For that, we have a website (you’re on it now) with a section with articles on it. You could write your own. We have a good sized social media following to share your content.
And, unlike commercial gyms, we will let you share your ‘voice’.
In fact, we encourage it.
So, you can deliver your best service at all times. You can promote your message and build your reputation. But what about building a client base and earning a living?
We don’t do the ‘stack em high, sell em cheap’ approach that all other facilities seem to use.
This leaves us in a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.
Not having thousands of members who pay but don’t use the gym, we must supply a service to everyone who does attend.
This means that anyone being part of the gym must be an asset. As, if they are not, it means they are a burden.
Where other facilities ensure this is not the case is through charging rent. This guarantees they are getting an income regardless. Or they pile in thousands of members and pay the trainers minimum-wage to look after them. Either way, there is a guaranteed win for the facility.
But, as discussed, this causes undue stress on the trainers. And stress caused sub par service levels.
We have always sought to avoid this.
We kept costs to the trainer to a minimum. We then eliminated them all-together. But, the problem remained that the trainers had to earn a living.
I have often suggested that, the first months as a PT should be considered ‘training’. You are building experience and laying the foundations for your future.
During this time, you have a facility at your disposal and existing resources. It’s up to you to use them. But don’t expect an immediate income.
You don’t get paid to go to college, university or on a course of any kind. This should be the same.
The goal, when joining DCS, is to integrate as part of the team and start building your future. The value comes in the fact that you have a better infrastructure to do that. But you need to play the long-game.
So, we ask PTs to join our team. You are still a freelance PT, but you will also be working within the DCS community. Thus, you are expected to contribute to the facility in general.
You do not pay rent. You only earn from one to one client sessions (or you did until now). And how much you earn increases as your experience level grows.