Heath and fitness are becoming one of the most lucrative sectors of the service and care industries.
It has gone from televised aerobic exercises to a multi-billion dollar global market in which many empires and franchises have emerged.
Fitness has also created opportunities for sectors in an industry that previously had nothing to do with it. Just look at tech companies, for example.
In this article, you’ll learn the following:
- The Average PT Earnings
- How do Personal Trainers earn
- 6 Strategies to Boost your Income
- …and lots more!
I’m pointing this out to set the tone for what we’ll be discussing in this article.
With that said, let’s dive into this extensive personal trainer income article!
The Average PT Earnings
What personal trainers earn in the biz varies wildly. There are lots of factors that contribute to what trainers pocket on a monthly and annual basis.
Currently, the average PT income per year in the US is $56,875.
The value a trainer can communicate through the price of their services hinges on 3 main things.
Location, level of demand, and differentiation of service.
Location determines the income bracket of your potential clients and the population density of that would-be client base.
The higher up the economic ladder the average consumer is in your area, and the more consumers there are in that area, the higher your earning potential, and vice versa.
The level of demand is tied to location in some respects. More affluent locations tend to have a more eager population to buy into lifestyle services such as premium fitness. Your earning potential will always be dependent on-demand as with any other business.
Last, we have differentiation of service. This is a fancy way of saying how “niche” your business and brand are.
Fitness is a highly saturated industry. Because it is a health science based on chemistry, biology, and medicine to an extent, you can’t really deviate from the structure of the products and services you can offer.
You have to operate within the bounds of the laws of nature and evidence-backed science.
So to differentiate, you have to think a little outside the box.
You have to find unique selling points that add a level of captivation beyond what’s actually on offer, the value on top of the standard “fitness goals” promise.
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How Do Personal Trainers Earn?
So now that we have a rough idea of what you can earn as a trainer let’s look at the different ways you can actually pull an income in as a PT.
Diversifying your income streams is vital if you really want to maximize your earnings, and when it comes to fitness, there are many ways to skin the cat.
A salary is a fixed, regular monthly income, which amounts to a total annual earned figure.
To earn a salary, you need to be employed.
Employment opportunities in fitness typically look like working as a trainer for a gym.
The bonus is that you get typical employment benefits such as medical, dental, and 401(k).
The drawback, however, is you’re not making your own rules or setting your own price.
If you feel like expanding or your current employment position doesn’t match your value as a trainer, you might want to switch things up.
Perhaps a promotion or working for a more lucrative employer such as a professional sports team or training academy.
Employment in fitness will require you to fulfill more stringent criteria than if you were self-employed or working as a private contractor.
You NEED to get certified if you want to apply for a job.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need one if you’re striking out alone. It just means when approaching, let’s say, a jump or performance center, they won’t accept you unless you have the required credentials, usually in the form of an accredited certification at the least.
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Membership and Subscription
As a personal trainer, single bookings or drop-in sessions will form part of your income, but they should only form a small supplementary part of what your rake in if you’ve structured your business correctly.
That’s because drop-ins and once-off fees are sporadic and insecure. If you want to earn and say you earn as a PT, you must secure your revenue streams for continuous cash flow.
This means setting up your services and packages for recurring payments.
This is done by having your clients sign up for a membership or subscribe to your services monthly, by month.
Managing your income this way gives you more peace of mind and also allows you to discount your prices to attract even more clients.
Having a subscription or membership structure is, therefore, a win-win situation.
Products and Merchandise
Products and merchandise can make a great supplementary income source for your personal trainer business.
Besides that, they are also great for marketing since merch tends to come branded with your logo or trademarks.
The thing about merch is it’s only really viable once you’ve established your brand.
Selling merch isn’t the wisest income option until you are somewhat of a household name in your market or community.
That’s because purchasing merch is an act inspired by consumer loyalty and brand popularity.
If your brand isn’t popular and you don’t have a consumer base that doubles as a fan base, then you aren’t going to sell any merch.
Passive income is another awesome way to add another income stream to your portfolio as a personal trainer.
Passive income is most common in the online segment of the fitness business.
It typically involves selling informational products such as books and media or selling educational experiences such as online courses.
The phrase “passive income” gives the impression of making money without doing anything.
The truth is, there is no such thing.
While you won’t be actively involved in developing, maintaining, or customizing the experience that goods and services classed as passive income bring, you will be working hard to ensure the income continues.
Constant marketing and sales are required to keep your info products relevant.
I am not trying to dash your hopes or say passive income streams are phony. Still, I was hoping you could recognize that while you might not be doing a great deal of work when it comes to creating custom plans or any hands-on work, you still need to maintain visibility and promotion.
Now that we’ve looked at the various avenues you can use to boost your earnings let’s look at the different approaches and strategies you can implement within this income model.
Boosting Your Income (Top 6 Strategies)
1. Recognize and Respect Your Value
One big problem I’ve noticed that many new and even some established PTs have concerning their business is undervaluing themselves.
Many trainers struggle to be honest with what they feel they deserve because they fear it will spook the market away from buying their services.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you are running a well-oiled machine and have all your ducks in a row regarding your business, you should have the confidence and self-respect to price your work and time accordingly.
If you feel your business isn’t worth a reasonable premium, you need to address the areas where you’re losing value and make it worth it.
As a personal trainer, you provide a life-altering service to improve health and wellbeing. People come to you to improve their lives. Recognize and respect that.
2. Over Price Rather Than Under Price
This strategy sort of leads on from recognizing your value.
Regarding pricing, it’s better to overprice than to underprice.
This might sound like vicious and greedy business practice, but take a second to consider a few things.
The first thing worth considering is the fact that most trainers tend to undervalue themselves. We’ve already gone over this in the first strategy.
So one of the ways you can deal with that is by looking at what you think your training is worth, then adding more on top of that. The reality is, what you see as overpricing, will turn out to be the fair trade value of what you have on offer.
This is especially true if you’ve successfully differentiated your brand and created a niche with unique selling points people find appealing.
The second consideration is consumer psychology and how it values things according to how much they cost.
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People are weird. Our sense of value is attached to how rare and expensive something is.
This is a fair way to identify valuable things, but we live in a world where value is now just as easily fabricated as it is naturally inherent.
Keep this in mind when pricing your services. You will find that people will naturally gravitate to things they feel are more out of reach than others, and pricing high is one way to send this message across.
The last consideration in the discussion of pricing high is that overpricing gives you more options than underpricing.
That’s because when you overprice and discover that your training services are unattractive to your clients, you can reduce the price or offer discounts or deals.
If you realize people are unwilling or unable to pay what you’re asking, you can always adjust.
But what happens if you undervalue and underprice? Can tell people, “hey, I’m bumping up the price now cos it seems you guys can easily afford it, which means I can charge more.”
Even though that’s 100% true, the unfortunate reality is people aren’t willing to pay more for the same thing suddenly.
If you realize down the road that you’ve priced yourself too low, it becomes more difficult to bump the price to what is fair. Difficult but not impossible.
For instance, you can rely on year-on-year inflation as an excuse to bump up your prices, but this takes time and can only be done by marginal increments.
Another strategy is to switch up the products and services you offer by adding more value to them.
The drawback is that you will have to re-package and increase the value, which warrants a price increase anyway.
The story’s moral is always to price high, go lower than price low, and try to go higher.
3. Rule of 3 Pricing Strategy
Continuing with pricing, we have what I like to call the “rule of three.”
Firstly what is the “rule of three”?
In psychology, the rule of three is a concept that suggests that a trio of things is the most appealing to the human mind than any other amount.
The Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” means everything in 3s is perfect.
So how does this psychological concept add value to your income strategy?
It comes into effect with 3-tier pricing.
This is where you offer three differently priced choices for what essentially is the same product or service.
Each choice has different added value features or extras, which determine the price.
The cheapest option will have the least amount of value-added features, while the most expensive will be all-inclusive.
Where you win with this strategy is the middle option.
This is where you hit the sweet spot between what your clients want from you and how much you want them to pay.
I’m sure you’ve come across this pricing format a few times. You’ve probably also noticed how the middle option is often called “recommended” or “best value.”
That’s because it is, but mainly for the seller. Of course, the client/customer will enjoy a great deal, but the greatness of the deal comes from the perspective of you, the trainer.
It works because, right off the bat, it gives people options. Options are comfortable because they instill a sense of control in a consumer’s mind.
It highlights the intrinsic value of what’s on offer, which is necessary to market the different tiers.
To make the middle option the most attractive, you need to do 2 things.
First, you need to offer as little as possible for the first option, meaning that potential clients will want to choose between the remaining two options.
Next, you want to make the price difference between the middle and last options higher than the difference between the first and middle options.
What this does in the consumer’s mind is create the impression that the middle option is the best of both worlds, crammed with value but also at an affordable price.
4. Multiply Your Income Streams
We’ve already looked at all the different platforms or avenues you can use to make a living and earn an income as a PT.
But there’s one thing you will learn quickly regarding success in this business.
That is, relying on one income stream won’t get you far.
To build a comfortable revenue stream and achieve true financial independence, you must diversify and multiply the ways and places your money comes from.
It also means you’re more secure financially. That’s because if one income stream underperforms or fails, you have others to pick up the slack and act as buffers.
At the time of writing this, we are currently in the grip of probably the biggest global crisis our generation has faced, the COVID-19 pandemic.
With all the protocols in place, many people have lost their jobs and income sources. Most of these people relied on a single source of income.
A blend of active and passive income streams is the best way to keep the money flowing and protect you from harsh times if and when they happen.
5. Secure Recurring Payments
I’ve already mentioned how having membership and subscriptions is essential so that you have a constant income stream instead of earning in drips and drabs.
Having recurring payments is the key to having a top tier income as a trainer.
Memberships and subscriptions are the way to go, but how you do it is the million-dollar question.
You will need to create valuable services whose worth as a recurring payment can be substantiated.
One way to do this is by offering monthly training and coaching services.
Instead of offering a set amount of sessions or programming for a set amount of time, you create a product that requires sustained, regular engagement.
Position yourself and your brand as an essential part of your client’s lifestyle approach and you will create value that allows you to charge over the long term.
You can also use recurring payment structures to your advantage from an online training perspective.
By setting up your online platform to have the functionality of a digital platform that provides exclusive members-only value, you can generate sustained, passive income regularly.
Your payment methods will also factor into this whole equation. Use payment systems that have the function of recurring payments to be billed.
You don’t want to remind clients every month that a payment is due. It’s much easier to have it automatically ring off at the end of a billing cycle.
Payment systems like Stripe or PayPay have automatic billing features and your bank will also allow you to set debit orders on client accounts for monthly recurring payments.
6. Location, Location, Location
Earlier in this article, I mentioned how your location is one of the defining factors for success and income potential as a PT.
You have to understand the demographics and analytics of the area you’re dealing with.
What is the average annual income, what are the lifestyle aspirations, and what is the population density of that area?
All these factors play a well-recognized role in the success or failure of the typical personal trainer.
Let’s look at some quick stats.
Take New York, for example, one of the most affluent states in the country. It also has the highest average income for personal trainers by state, sitting at $25.76/hr and $53, 586.00/year.
New York, especially NYC, is an area known for its progressive lifestyle demands, and premium health and fitness is certainly a big one.
That’s why NYC’s average PT earnings are over $65k/year as a city.
New York is also known as a hub for creative innovation, which is why you see so many creative ways to explore fitness. Examples include Switch Playground and Surfset NYC.
San Francisco, California, is another goldmine for personal trainers with a base annual income of $70,285.00. That means San Francisco has the highest base salary for personal trainers in any city in America.
San Fran is a known cosmopolitan hub with a fitness culture to match; that’s why it has such lucrative possibilities as a city.
Location decides what your clients can afford and where you can operate as a trainer.
If you live in a place with limited access to the right sort of infrastructure, such as gyms and fitness equipment, you’re in a less than ideal place to grow your business and income.
You might also find that your credentials are not universally accepted.
Let’s say you got yourself a NASM cert, but now you’re trying to land a gig at a gym overseas. Chances are your qualifications won’t be recognized and accepted too quickly.
Picking the right location is a key strategy for optimal earnings.
Conclusion on Personal Trainer Income
Without mincing words, personal training is lucrative if you can access the right information on maximizing the opportunities it offers.
Taking a deliberate step in the right direction is all you need to boost your income hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly.
Your income as a personal trainer can take many shapes and sizes and is influenced by many factors and variables.
Once all is said and done, it all boils down to how you see and value yourself and what you’re willing to do to secure that value confidently.