If you’re a personal trainer, you’re heavily invested in helping others change their lives or reach their maximum potential.
But even the most passionate of trainers still have to pay attention to their own bottom line: how much are you making per hour of work? Is it enough to support the way you want to live? Here are six ways to boost that hourly rate, while still offering the same — or better — value to your clients.
1. Get more (or better) certifications
The more training you have, the better the quality of training you can offer your clients — and thus the more you’re justified in charging.
So seek out certifications that open the door to offering new services, or that deepen your expertise in what you already do. If you’re already certified to the hilt, consider getting an undergrad or graduate degree in a field like exercise physiology.
2. Explore a specialty
If you can equip yourself with the specialized skills, knowledge or techniques to serve a certain population, you’ll be well-justified in charging more for those services.
That could mean offering corrective exercise, training athletes (whether they’re professionals, semi-pro or dedicated amateurs), or even “just” specializing in safe, sustainable weight loss. That said, once you start advertising yourself as a specialist, you’d better make sure you can really deliver the specialized expertise you’re promising.
3. Teach group classes
Whether you’re running boot camps, circuit training classes or small-group personal training, adding more people lets you boost your hourly rate through the roof and offer discounted rates at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody. For example, if you normally charge $50 per hour for one-on-one training, charging three clients $30 each for a small-group session gives your hourly rate an 80 percent boost, while at the same time you’re giving your clients a 40 percent discount.
4. Try in-home personal training
If there’s anybody that deserves a discounted or pro bono rate, it’s homebound populations that really need your services. But there are plenty of able-bodied clients out there who will happily pay extra for you to come to them, either to save themselves travel time or because they want to work out in the privacy of their own home. Bonus: satisfied in-home clients usually purchase a lot of sessions.
5. Offer additional services
If you find yourself regularly offering extra services to some clients — say, daily phone check-ins, coaching via Skype while they travel, or organizing an “extracurricular” running group — you might as well start offering those services to all your clients (for a fee, of course). Not only does that boost your hourly rate, it also gives you greater appeal to those clients who want serious hands-on coaching. It gives you more control over those interactions, too, since you’ll be scheduling your windows of availability in advance (instead of taking calls on the fly).
6. Ask! And shop the competition
Most gyms offer a path to a higher pay rate: this may be gauged by the amount of hands-on experience you have, your level of education/certification, or simply the number of sessions you sell.
So while selling your heart out can be another way to quickly boost your hourly rate — or at least your percentage — don’t forget to ask for that higher rate as you gain experience or advanced qualifications. And don’t be afraid to shop the competition. If other gyms in your area offer better pay or benefits, you can use that information as leverage for negotiating at your current facility.