How to price yourself as a Personal Trainer
We're relaunching our blog with a big topic to kick us off: pricing.
Let’s face it, one of the big draws of working as a freelance Personal Trainer is that it offers you ultimate control of running your own business.
You have complete autonomy. You’ll operate outside of any other company, their rules and regulations. You’re the master of your own destiny and your earning power is down to you: the world’s your oyster.
But (and there does come a ‘but’) all this freedom means you don’t have a pricing structure to follow either.
This is one of the biggest things we see our students struggle with as they venture out into the world of business for the first time.
You might be asking yourself:
How much do I charge?
What is the ‘going rate’?
Do I just follow the status quo?
Pricing is a touchy subject - and one that people don’t like acknowledging or discussing. There’s a sense that you get into the fitness industry just to help people and that to think about pricing is almost mercenary. (How dare you expect a decent wage?!)
But let’s get real: you have to make money. The goal of becoming a personal trainer is to make a living as one. We all have bills to pay and if you’re anything like our students, you have lots of talent and can make a real difference to the lives of your clients.
So where do we begin?
At T2 Fitness, we focus on a number of aspects when it comes to setting a price for PT sessions. That way the price is well thought-out and not just conjured up.
Firstly, you have a number of personal factors to consider:
You have invested time and money into getting qualified.
You have a level of expertise that helps people progress towards a healthier lifestyle faster and more efficiently that people left to their own devices.
You may have additional qualifications past the common trainer
You may have specialist skills, such as sports massage therapist or are you a nutritionist.
You may have vast experience, directly or indirectly related, that adds value to your clients.
The level of your knowledge and experience should be directly commensurate with the value of your sessions. Therefore, the more value you can offer, the higher the price you should demand.
Sound easier said than done?
We understand, and this is where knowing your self-worth and believing that you’re worth every penny of your charge rate is super important.
You will have a tough time selling your services if you don’t believe in yourself, but when you start to see the results from your clients, you’ll realise it is worth it because of the mutual benefit involved.
Where you live is also a major consideration.
For example, if you live in London, it’s not unreasonable to be charging a lot more than other areas of the country where the cost of living is much more affordable.
You'll also want to consider your costs to train a client. These can generally be:
The first four are quite straight forward, but fifth one is one that’s growing in significance in 2020. Clients are looking for digitised experiences where they can continue their training at home or on their own, so if you decide to use a Personal Trainer apps, this is a cost that needs to be recovered.
Apply the Formula
Pricing is tricky! We tend to take in to account all of the above and then still fall back to the same kind of thought process and bury our heads in the sand.
If you’re struggling, here’s an informal formula we find can help:
Ask yourself realistically how much you want to earn. Call this ‘X’
Once you have a figure in mind you can figure out how much you need to make each month. Call this ‘Y’
Then, you need to figure out either:
How many sessions you can deliver in that month (remember, to be realistic this needs to include the preparation time and anything like travel) and divide ‘Y’ by the number of monthly sessions
Or, figure our how much you want to charge per session and divide Y by the price of the session. That will tell you how many sessions you need to deliver.
Either way, you can then accurately predict what you need to charge, or find our how many session you need to be delivering, to make your desired earnings.
If you’re a new trainer and trying to build a clientele, you may want to experiment with some incentives or cheaper pricing models to get your cash flowing, but just remember to state any introductory pricing, as it’s difficult to raise prices once you set them.
It’s now down to you to consider if and what pricing structure you want to offer your clients, for example, long-term packages or regular payment schedules.
Example 1 – Offer recurring payment schedules based on goal rate of £40 per hour
To create an attractive package for your client, you may offer 8 sessions per calendar month, with one session free as an incentive.
Based on your desired rate which you've calculated from the formula above, this would be 8 x £40 to generate you £320 per calendar month.
If you aimed to get 10 clients at this rate, you’ll be generating £3,200 per calendar month.
Offering one free session brings it down to £35 a session, but this is usually recouped with missed appointments, then it’s at your discretion whether you make up missed sessions.
(A note of caution: we’d advise nurturing these sorts of clients as having regular recurring income is the most stable approach to growing your PT business. Therefore within reason try to be flexible.)
If you’re offering fortnightly payments plans, weekly payment plans or pay per session, you’ll need to factor in the higher administration time (such as more frequently checking your accounts and communicating with your client).
Some clients cannot afford to pay monthly costs on an on-going basis, or for others it can be a sign that they’re not willing to commit to a long-term service.
Either way, it’s really important to have a clear cancellation policy which they sign and you both keep a copy of. Save your incentives for those who are committing to ongoing plans.
Example 2 – Offer long-term packages
Quite simply for the client, the more they book the better rate they get. To make it mutually beneficial for you, you structure your pricing so that once they go long-term, they reach your desired rate, which for them is the lowest cost per session option.
To entice clients to invest in these services, you may want to sell the packages as commitments to achieving specific health and wellness goals, or packages to make a significant lifestyle change.
While you may want to do an introductory offer of “4 sessions for two weeks” to give new clients a fair taste of your PT style, beyond this you want to offer packages in specific timeframes.
So it could look like:
10 sessions to be used within 1 month at £50 per session, or £500 per month.
Then 20 sessions to be used within 2 months at £45 per session, or £900 for 2 months.
Then 30 sessions to be used within 3 months at £40 a session, or £1,200 for 3 months - bingo, you've hit your rate which can be expected for an annual quarter, and the client gets the best value for a longer term commitment.
The first two higher price-per-session options take into consideration that if they are committing to a shorter timeframe, which may mean you face a higher client 'churn', which costs you time.
It’s down to you and the client to agree their frequency of payment: all up front or spread the cost across the months.
Whichever option you choose to model your Personal Trainer business on, remember the best way to grow a business that can sustain you an income and living is by generating regular, recurring income.
By offering packages or plans that mean clients are with you for longer terms, it means you can forecast your time and finances better and avoid the panic to find new clients each month.
Pricing can be daunting, but taking into consideration all your personal and practical factors, along with pricing models to attract clients, it’s important to always remember the value you bring.
When you do, you can talk about prices with confidence which undoubtedly is the best way to pitch yourself.
As a Personal Trainer, you can make a massive difference to people's lives and wellbeing. If you undersell yourself, you’re not helping yourself or the industry.
Once you begin to build a few of committed clients your confidence will grow, so truly nurture their investment and value their custom.
By establishing good client relationships, you’re being given the opportunity to deliver amazing results. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful tools so when you do a great job with these clients, it's ultimately the best way to sell yourself.