- Examine reasons that reinforce why it is acceptable to charge for your services.
- Learn what to consider when determining the fee for your personal training services.
- Review basic and creative pricing structures for training services.
Personal Trainers are Justified When Charging a Fee for Their Services
Have you ever paid to ski or snow board at a Ski Resort? You probably paid at least $50-$80 for a one-day pass that granted you full access to the mountain. Did that include a FREE Ski Lesson? No, it did not. The private ski lesson is at least an additional $75-$100 per hour. It is a standard practice for many businesses to charge additional fees for specific services, in addition to the required fees for access or membership. However, when it comes to the fitness business this is not as well understood as it is with other businesses, such as Ski Resorts.
You may have encountered the gym members who pay approximately $30-80/month for full, unlimited access to a gym membership (including classes, equipment, locker room facilities, etc.) and expect to receive FREE Personal Training. Most accept and understand that a $75 one-day pass to a Ski Resort does not include private ski lessons, however, many do not view a gym membership and personal training services in the same manner. This is an odd disconnect. Futhermore, it is not uncommon for many Personal Trainers to experience difficulty when justifying their training fees to gym members, whether those members expect free training or are simply not willing to pay the full price. Why is this?
Part of being able to confidently justify your training fee, build value for your services, and feel comfortable when charging for them, is to recognize how valuable your services are. For example, my attorney charges me $250-$300 per hour for his services. Do you believe he is hesitant to charge me, or unable to justify his price? No way. He understands the value of his services and charges accordingly. An attorney brings a certain level of experience and skill sets that will help us when needed. So, then what about Personal Trainers? Do we not bring a certain level of experience and skill sets to help others? Do we not literally change people’s lives? As a result, you should be able to recognize the great value in charging for the service you provide. I encourage you to take pride in your profession and be justified in charging an acceptable amount for your services.
The remainder of this article will identify what you should consider when determining your Personal Training rates, as well as review the training services and pricing structures that are effective in my personal business.
How Much Should Personal Training Cost?
The next question is, how much should you charge for your service? Unfortunately, there is no universal “right” way to establish your pricing. It is done differently by different businesses. There are guidelines, however, to ensure you stay on the right track:
- Prices must be high enough to cover your expenses and allow for a profit margin that is high enough to justify your time. Prepare a budget.
- Review the pricing structures of other personal training businesses in your area. Review the current IDEA or IHRSA industry compensation surveys to determine what the going rate is for Personal Training across the country and in your region.
- Raise your prices once per year to account for inflation and the higher costs of living.
- Always collect fees up front. Collection is different from pricing, but if you don’t collect the money your pricing options will be irrelevant.
Sample Training Packages and Pricing
Please refer to this attachment to view the detailed pricing and session options described in the remainder of this article: download here.
Multi-session Training Packages
The pricing structure I offer in my business is an example of an effective pricing model. In this model, clients and customers have the option to purchase training packages, ranging from 6-50 sessions, and pay for them in full at the time of purchase. Fewer clients may actually purchase the 50-session package – it may be common to sell several 50 session packages per month, depending on your market. Our experience is that most clients purchase a training package consisting of 10 to 20 sessions, which is between the high and low extremes of what is offered to them. Although very few of our clients purchase the largest session package offered (50 sessions), it is recommended to offer it so that you have a variety of options, as well as increase your average package value. For example, when I first started training, the largest package I offered my clients consisted of 10 sessions and as a result most of my clients purchased 4 to 5 sessions at a time. I then increased my largest session training package to 20 sessions, and most clients then opted to purchase 8-10 sessions at a time. After I increased my largest training package to 50 sessions at a time, there was an increase in the number of my clients purchasing 15-20 sessions.
We also offer discounted prices for multi-session packages. Most Personal Training businesses use this type of system as an incentive for clients to purchase more sessions at one time since the client is getting a better rate per session. This is also an effective way of increasing client commitment to training. The more sessions the client has remaining, the more likely they are to utilize these sessions.
Pay-as-you-go Training Options
In addition to our multi-session package offerings, our clients have the option to select our “SMART Training.” This is a pay-as-you-go option that charges the client for their training fees on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis, depending on their training frequency. This type of system is advantageous if you or your business is set up with a merchant account or EFT account. These types of accounts enable you to automatically debit a client's account every week, every 2 weeks or every month. Both clients and Personal Trainers, enjoy the convenience of this system.
Group Training Packages
We initiated a "Group Training Class" option for $65/2weeks because our Small Group Training program became very successful. The Group Training classes are offered Monday-Saturday at multiple prime training times throughout the day (5:30am, 6:30am, 9:00am, Noon, 5:30pm, 6:30pm). Clients also have the option to purchase our VIP pass for unlimited access to all of the Group Training classes offered. If a client plans to attend at least one group class every day, this option would allow them to workout in a group with a trainer for a mere $5/session. This is an excellent value for a training experience! This rate may appear to be extremely low and non-profitable, however the Group Personal Training program we offer generates an additional $10,000/month in revenues. Plus, it is a great way to offer a variety of workout formats to clients at a fraction of the cost of private Personal Training.
Bundling Personal Training training sessions with Group Training sessions is an effective way of getting your group training clients involved in one-on-one training, a service they may not have otherwise opted in to. Our pricing structure allows Group Training clients to purchase Personal Training packages at discounted rates if they commit to our Group Personal Training program for an extended period of time. We refer to these bundled packages as the Energy, Stamina and Vitality program options.
Other Session Options
The following training options are alternatives or slight modifications to the traditional one-on-one training model. These offerings are advantageous to both the Personal Trainer and the client by allowing the Trainer to make more money in less time, while providing the client affordable options to train in a personal setting.
In addition to offering a reduced rate (per session) when clients purchase a multi-session personal training package, there is another option for clients to make training more affordable while maintaining the one-on-one service they desire. Partner Personal Training allows two clients to train in the same session and split the cost of the Personal Training session. However, the partner session rate we offer is at one and a half times the set one-on-one personal training rate. For example, if the normal private (one-on-one) training fee is $60 per hour, the partner training rate would be $90. Each of the two individuals would be repsonsible to pay only $45 per partner session. The bottom line is to select a partner training rate in which you make more money per hour (compared to private training) and at the same time each of the clients pay less than what they would have if they each participated in private training.
Team Training can be considered a Small Group Training, the hybrid of Personal Training and Group Training. This offering allows four clients to split the cost of Personal Training at a more cost-effective rate. This allows the client to continue to engage in training at an affordable rate, and at the same time the trainer can generate more revenues for the same amount of time training. It’s a win:win! For example, at our studio the Private Training rate is $75/hour, but each client can access our Team Training rate for $25/hour when sharing the cost of a Personal Trainer with 3 other people. This allows the business to generate $100 per hour, the Personal Trainer to generate more revenue per hour, while each client pays a minimal fee of only $25/hour. The Personal Trainer remains profitable, while the client remains satisfied by having a more individualized training experience at a more affordable rate. Not to mention, the group dynamic creates a fun and motivating experience for all.
How do you gather four clients to participate in Team Training? There are several scenarios. Our clients may come up with their own group of four participants, or we will market specific time slots for various training focuses. For example, we may market Kettle Bell, TRX, Pilates, Boxing, Barefoot conditioning, BOSU, Tabata and various other Team Training focused workouts that clients can sign up for.
Note: There are three important procedures that we have in place and communicate to our clients when they opt to take part in Team Training. These procedures prevent client dissatisfaction or confusion, and makes the training sessions more manageable for the Personal Trainer and business:
- Reserved scheduling required - In order for a customer to access the discounted rates of Team Training, they must commit to a specific session, including day and time. Coordinating the participants schedules on a weekly basis, along with not being able to predict who/how many clients are attending, is detrimental to the success of the class, the commitment of the client, as well as your time.
- 24 hour cancellation notice required – Clients can reschedule without losing their paid session as long as they provide 24 hours notice. The exceptions to this are the situations beyond a client's control (illness, holidays, certain work/home responsibilities). Given this 24 hour notice, we allow clients to reschedule their Team Training to another time slot. This ensures consistency for the client and the business, as well as increases client attendance.
- A minimum of 10 sessions must be purchased per Team Training package - Our private training rate is $75/hour and in order to access the discounted Team Training rate of $25/hour, the client must purchase at least 10 sessions up front. Again, this ensures that you can properly schedule the participants for each session and justify the discounted rate.
Large Group Training/Clinics
My fitness business hosts a variety of large group clinics that are scheduled to meet for up to 10 weeks at a time and focus on training for a specific activity or event, such as running and walking clinics, hiking clubs, cycle clubs, triathlon training clinics, etc. Prices for these clinics can be determined by the number of participants. For example, if we expect to accommodate a large group (10+ participants), the price for each attendee may range between $10-$15 per hour session. Much like the other discounted group training options, this allows the Personal Trainer to generate more per hour as compared to a one-on-one session, while providing an affordable option to the clients. When 20 people sign up for our clinics, we are collecting $200-$300 per clinic session and at the same time providing a great deal on 10 weeks of coaching!
30 Minute Private (one-on-one) Resistance Training
Many clients may prefer to engage in private Personal Training, or their workouts and training focus require this exclusive attention. If this is the case, an affordable alternative to one hour one-on-one training sessions is offering 30 minute sessions. Clients may assume that they will be receiving half of the benefits with 30 minute training, compared to one hour sessions. Therefore, to prevent this option from being perceived as less valuable, you can market sessions that are 60 minutes but with only 30 minutes of supervised training. This also allows the trainer the greatest profitability while remaining cost-effective to the client. For example, let’s say you market this Personal Training service for $50/hour, which would probably remain quite a bit lower than others in your community. A client could schedule this one hour workout at 9am. The client arrives at 9 am and completes a pre-determined 30 minute cardio session that was prepared for them by the Personal Trainer beforehand. Thirty minutes later, at 9:30 am, the personal trainer then takes that client through a 30 minute resistance training workout. In this one hour period, the personal trainer actually sees two clients, which translates into $100 revenue generated in one hour instead of $50, and the client still enjoys a one hour workout at a lower rate than they would pay at other training studios.
As I have outlined in this article, there are numerous ways to approach the pricing for your Personal Training services. When determining the fees for your services, it is important to consider your expenses, the competitve rates in your area, but most importantly to recognize your personal value. Much like many services we may pay top dollar for, a Personal Trainer offers a level of expertise and skillsets that justify the price of their services.
The training packages and session options outlined in this article are offered in my personal business model and can be used as real life examples to help you create pricing structures and training options for your own personal business. Each package and corresponding pricing has taken into consideration the profitability of the personal trainer and the business, while maintaining cost-effective options for our clientele. I encourage you to offer pricing and services that will help you, your business, and your clients to be successful.