How to Start a Personal Training Business from Home

Steps to Starting a Personal Trainer Home Business

Personal Training Home Business
Help others get fit and strong with a personal training business. Credit: Stuart Ashley | Getty Images

Do you like working out and being fit? Do you want to share your enthusiasm for fitness with others and get paid? Then a personal training business might be for you.

The market for fitness training is large, and includes people of all ages,body types, and goals. Increased awareness of the importance of fitness has made the industry stable, with expected growth of 10% through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.

According to Payscale (2017), personal trainer rates are generally $9.96 to $49.30 an hour, with yearly earnings of $20,901 to $91,240.

Most personal trainers are aligned with gyms, community centers, or sports teams; however, many work for themselves, making house calls, working with their clients' equipment and bringing a minimum of their own supplies.

Some fitness instructors come with a health and exercise background, while others discover their interest in the industry through their own experience in fitness training. While a degree isn't required to be a fitness trainer, certification is. Many organizations provide personal fitness certification, which covers anatomy, kinesiology, training techniques and more. 

Along with knowledge and experience in personal training, trainers should have good people skills to motivate their clients, as well as empathize with the challenges clients face.

Many trainers focus on specific groups, such as seniors or athletes. 

Pros of a Personal Trainer Home Business

Helping people reach their weight loss or fitness goals can be extremely satisfying. Other benefits of a home-based personal trainer business include:

  • Clientele for personal trainers tends to be on the wealthier side.
  • Freelance personal trainers have far greater earning potential than the fitness workers' median average of $35,785 per year, which makes going on your own more profitable than being an employee of a gym or fitness facility.
  • You stay fit. 
  • While you may have to travel to clients homes, business management can be done from your home. In some cases, you might be able to see clients in your home, but you'll want to make sure you have adequate liability insurance to cover any injuries a client my sustain in your home, plus you need to check zoning requirements in your neighborhood regarding running a home business.

Cons of a Personal Trainer Home Business

Running a personal trainer business isn't all about barking out squat counts. There are some challenges to consider before starting a personal training business such as:

  • It can take a while to grow a client base.
  • Clients may be unmotivated or difficult to work with.
  • There is pressure to look the part because few people will hire a pudgy coach. This is one of those business ideas where you will need to practice what you preach.
  • Continuing education and re-certification is required every year or two years depending on your certification source..
  • You need to stay on top of research and trends related to fitness and health. 
  • Potential for injury is high, requiring you to have very good insurance. This is especially true if you see clients in your home.

What You Need to Get Started in a Personal Trainer Home Business

If you're still intrigued by starting a personal training business, getting started doesn't take much time. Here's what you need:

  • Experience in personal training. Most certification programs have the expectation that you know about exercise and fitness before you take the certification course. This experience can be through your own fitness journey.
  • Certification through a major authority such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, or the National Strength and Conditioning Council.
  • Business license and other business related requirements, such as zoning approval if you see clients in your home. 
  • Good business insurance. Fitness has a high risk of injury so you want to protect yourself from lawsuits if a client gets hurt doing one of your recommended exercises.
  • Business plan outlining the details of your business, your target market, and how you'll finance your business
  • Marketing plan with strategies on how to get clients. Some options include offering a free 30-minute training session or evaluation, attend fitness fairs, and YouTube videos showing a specific fitness move.
  • Equipment. While your clients may have some equipment, you'll be expected to have your own as well. 
  • Develop a system for getting referrals and testimonials. You might want to offer small group training, which can lower the cost for individual clients, while getting you more clients to work with.

Updated November 2017 Leslie Truex