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Starting Your Personal Training Business – The first steps

Hadyn Luke posted this on Monday 24th of September 2018 Hadyn Luke 24/09/2018

Tags: Industry news

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In an earlier blog we set out A five-point plan for starting your personal training business. Now, in this blog we will guide you through the early stages in more detail.

This will be followed by blogs on how to write a business plan and how to market your personal training business.

Plan ahead

Before you create your business plan, you will need to make some key decisions about your personal training business.

These will range from the kind of business you will run and clients you will train, to how you will support yourself financially while you are in the early stages of running your business.

The aspects to consider are:

1. What sort of personal training business will you run?

Will you work out of a gym, run fitness sessions in hired halls or public parks or train clients in their own homes – or a combination of these options? What are the overhead costs, benefits and downsides to each of these?

Do you want to work full-time or part-time? Would you prefer to work on particular days of the week and at particular times of the day? Bear in mind that many clients will want to train outside 9-5 working hours.

2. What sort of fitness training will you offer?

Do you prefer to teach 1-2-1 or group classes? You may already have passed your Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, but do you want to specialise in any particular area of fitness?

This may require taking additional courses, such as Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral or Level 3 Award in Designing Pre and Post Natal Exercise Programmes.

3. How much do you expect to earn as a personal trainer?

How much net income will you need to bring in each month/year to make the living you expect from your business? To work this out, you will need to deduct any overhead costs from your gross income (the overall amount you expect to earn).

Do you have any savings to invest in setting up your business and to act as a cushion while you get established? Working at a gym can help you earn a salary while you build up a client list.

4. What will your overheads be?

Overheads might be one-off or ongoing costs and are likely to include:

  • Hiring training rooms/spaces
  • Purchasing equipment
  • Purchasing training clothes/shoes
  • Travel costs eg for getting to the gym or clients’ homes
  • Registering your business
  • Marketing costs (website, flyers, business cards etc)
  • Accountancy costs
  • Professional liability insurance

Many of these costs can be offset against your tax bill.

5. How will you manage your finances as a personal trainer?

As a self-employed person or owner of a limited company, it’s a good idea to put regular money aside to cover:

  • Tax and National Insurance
  • Holiday pay
  • Sickness pay

For peace of mind, you may wish to take out critical illness cover, which will pay out a lump sum and/or pay off your mortgage should you be unable to work through injury or illness.


Once you have made these essential decisions, you will be ready to register with HMRC as self-employed personal trainer or the owner of a limited company.

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