How To Start A Personal Training Business

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Monday 30th of July 2018 Hadyn Luke 30/07/2018


How To Start A Personal Training Business


So you’ve passed all the relevant qualifications such as Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training – but what comes next?

If you decide that you’d like to start your own personal training business, here’s our essential five-point plan.

1. Personal training – independent contractor or 100% freelance?

Many personal trainers work within an existing gym environment as an independent contractor, for the security of a regular income and fixed hours.

A typical day is likely to involve both training your own clients and being on hand to advise other gym members, as well as teaching classes, for which you might need further qualifications, e.g. Level 2 Studio Cycling, Level 2 Kettlebells or Level 2 Circuit Training.

Finally, you may be involved in the general running of the gym, for example, opening and closing the gym and working on the reception desk.

For a route into this kind of role and an idea of what might be expected of you, see our blogs: Case Study: Lisa RevittCase Study: Cameron HaighCase Study: Rachel Sissons, and Case Study: Dewi Ferrero.

Other personal trainers prefer to visit clients in their homes and / or hire out studio / gym space for their own classes.

In both cases, you will need to follow the rest of the stages in our five-point plan.

2. Write a business plan

This is essential, as it will provide you with a framework for starting your personal training business and give you guidelines as you progress. It will also help you avoid common mistakes that new personal trainers setting up a business often encounter.

There are plenty of templates online but some of the key areas you will need to address are:

  • Target income and expenditure (overheads)
  • Competition
  • Marketing

It can help to familiarise yourself with standard business tools, such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).


This will include registering your personal training business with HMRC, whether as a sole trader or as a limited company, registering for National Insurance contributions and setting up a business bank account to process payments.

An accountant will be able to give you professional advice on the best approach to setting up your business and tax obligations.

You will also need professional liability insurance in place and it’s recommended that you register with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) and CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity)


Not all personal trainers offer the same services or work in the same way. Deciding on the approach that best suits you is a key part of setting up your personal training business.

There is a lot of competition out there and you need to be clear on the kind of clients you want to work with and the services you plan to offer. For example, do you want to work with professional sports people, the general gym goer, or do you want to become GP Referral qualified and work  with a particular segment of the general public, e.g. special populations (high blood pressureobesity), adolescents, the elderly?

Are there plenty of potential customers close to where you live or would it be better to travel to a central location like a gym?

Be professional in all your communication with your clients. Plan your calendar carefully and let clients know asap if you have to cancel or change an appointment. Devise programmes that are targeted to the client’s needs and vary the training to keep their interest.


Decide on the best marketing tools to approach your potential customers.

These can include:

  • A website
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Posters in a gym or other public places

Word of mouth often brings in new clients and this can be helped by strong testimonials from existing clients. This is where those working in a gym environment can benefit, as they have customers coming in all the time who they can build a relationship with before suggesting they take on 1-2-1 training.

In future blogs we will look at some of these issues in more detail. Good luck with your new venture!

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