Most of us want to spend the least to get the most.
We’re all looking for a deal, whether it’s bargaining on your grocery shopping or a discount on that big game day ticket.
But there’s an interesting caveat when we look deeper at consumer psychology or the emotional buying process.
It turns out that the higher something is priced, the more value people perceive it to hold.
I’m bringing this up because I want you to know this when planning how to price your services and products as a personal trainer.
You need to recognize your value and the best way to substantiate it is by setting the right price.
You need to stop thinking like a consumer and instead act like one.
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As I’ve just said, people are always looking for a deal, a way to save money. People are always THINKING about how to pinch pennies.
Conversely, people often gravitate to the allure of expensive things. The added value and reward perceived, whether that perception is right or wrong, causes people to ACT on that impulse and make purchases that reflect their desire for quality and exclusivity.
This discrepancy between BELIEF and BEHAVIOR, the disconnect between how consumers THINK and ACT, is called cognitive dissonance.
In this article, I’ll show you some of my pro pricing strategies and how to gain the confidence to charge what you deserve while offering value and satisfactory results.
It would be best to remember that going in, most clients’ idea of a personal trainer cost is fairly high.
When people ask, “How much does a personal trainer cost?” the answer they expect is typically pretty high. Let’s see how this can work for you.
Top 9 Tips For Effective Personal Trainer Pricing
Burning questions are how much a personal trainer is meant to charge and how much personal trainers cost.
Here, I’ve provided 9 tips to help you maximize your pricing and sales model.
1. Understand Industry Standards
One great way to gauge your personal trainer rates, especially when you’re just starting out, is to look at the going rate.
How much are personal trainers charging, and what are health and fitness services similar to your general cost?
By starting with standard personal trainer prices, you can at least guarantee a good initial price point, allowing you to build your profile and brand into something more substantial and notable.
Look at the personal trainer hourly rate in your area’s gyms and work that figure into your calculations.
I must reiterate that adhering to an industry standard is basically the equivalent of settling for minimum wage in a PT sense.
So your goal is to build value quickly and a reputation around your brand and services to elevate to your own pricing standards.
You want to find the average cost of personal trainer services and BE ABOVE AVERAGE!
To do that effectively, we get to the next important point…
2. Offer Stand Out Services
You will need to offer a little something extra to substantiate a higher price point for the cost of personal trainer services you offer.
Remember that cognitive dissonance I mentioned?
Well, here’s where it begins to come in.
But unlike a good or service that ends up disappointing its buyer, you’re going actually to provide a satisfactory level of value.
You can do this by offering a stand-out service.
Offer something unique or memorable; the trick is not to offer more than what you advertise, as that basically means you’re sacrificing resources beyond what you’re charging.
What you should offer instead is an experience that complements the service rendered.
An example would be to offer a small free token of appreciation like a t-shirt, cap, or shaker bottle.
Suppose you’re really smart and have marketed your personal brand well enough. In that case, you can actually get sponsors to supply you with product drops you can dole out as small gifts to new clients, giving them an experience beyond what they expected but not beyond your investment.
Also, just bringing unique and charismatic energy, being a stand-out coach can give you a unique edge amongst a crowd of monotonous fitness coaches who are just grinding from client to client.
So having these perks, whether small, inexpensive trinkets or your perky personality, can allow you to confidently justify a higher price that your clients will find agreeable.
3. Location, Location, Location
Your geographic location can greatly influence your pricing model.
The average personal trainer costs will be affected by the location of those services.
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For example, operating a fitness business in a poor neighborhood in Detroit won’t net you the same pricing potential as setting up in Beverly Hills.
You need to be location sensitive and understand the buying power of your market in that area.
Being in a less affluent area doesn’t mean you can’t earn a decent income.
Your pricing strategy needs to adjust to make way for more money while providing a cheaper service to individuals in the area.
The three golden words here are “SMALL GROUP TRAINING.”
With small group training, you can earn way more per measure of time and effort while charging way less per client. It’s a win-win situation.
Unlike large group training structures, small groups allow you to micro-manage like you would on a one-on-one basis, but with the benefit of charging clients less while still earning more.
I’ll bring out more premium content on how to nail the small group training game, so stay tuned for more.
If you do happen to operate in an affluent area, well, your prices are more than welcome to skyrocket.
However, in such spaces, you need to be extra careful with your conduct and quality of service.
Clients in this economic bracket tend to wield a great deal of social influence on a far-reaching scale, so just as much as they can absolutely boost your business through positive word of mouth, they have the power to damage it in the opposite direction, especially if you’re charging an arm and a leg.
4. Study Your Competition
Of course, you have competition. You’ve entered one of the most saturated self-employment professions out there.
Your peers are constantly jostling for the top spot and the privilege to charge and earn more than everyone else, including you.
Study your competition. Analyze the risks and opportunities they take and act accordingly.
Learn the easy way from the lessons they learned the hard way and adopt what works for them, adding your unique spin to it.
Study how your competitors price their services.
Try and single out the top-tier trainers in your field and see what they offer and how they offer it to substantiate what they charge.
Adopt these principles and figure out how similar strategies could work for you.
5. Competing With Your Own Prices
On the topic of competition, another great way to gain an advantage with pricing is to compete with yourself.
“But what does that mean?” you may be asking.
Well, it’s another consumer psychology hack, and here’s how it works.
Say you offer service A with x amount of features at a certain price.
Your pricing option is now limited to one thing.
But now let’s say you introduce a second service, service B, with any amount of features and at a much higher price due to the increased value.
You now have two items competing with each other.
You obviously want more people to buy into service B, which will net you more revenue.
The likelihood is that people will gravitate to service A since it will have all standard features.
But what if you add a service C with z amount of features and at a higher premium?
You’ve made service B way more competitive and a likely choice for prospective clients.
That’s because the third option now carries the exorbitance stigma that option B once had as the previously most expensive option.
Exorbitance burden means the idea that something is overpriced relative to an insignificant amount of value.
Item A is the standard service you offer, with all other tiers offering the same service, just with some value-added bells and whistles.
Therefore, the two outlying personal training packages are there to help clients decide on option B.
So by making your preferred price sit in the middle, you have made it the most competitive.
You have allowed prospective clients to have their cake and eat it. Saving pennies from option C while still getting added value is not available with option A.
6. Scarcity Marketing
I mentioned earlier that consumer psychology has people acting aspirationally.
Buying behavior ideally favors not just useful and essential but also the most exclusive and rare that any one individual can achieve financially.
You can use this principle through a method called scarcity marketing.
Scarcity marketing works by creating a limited supply which causes an increase in demand.
You can implement scarcity marketing by limiting available quantity or limiting available time.
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For example, you can slash prices on all your personal training packages for a limited-time discount.
You could also sell a service that has limited sign-ups.
This is especially effective when selling online fitness services and products.
There are few stronger calls to action than limited availability.
Just ensure you adhere to your imposed scarcity limits, or else you risk poor ethical conduct and the reputational damage that comes with it.
7. Price According To Demographic
As a personal trainer, unless you strictly stipulate what population groups you aim your services to, you will get inquiries from all over the spectrum of different walks of life.
From kids to the elderly, from the athletic to the sedentary, proper health and fitness is most people’s desire.
Bearing this in mind, it’s important to realize that with such diverse demographics and population groups, you will experience an equally varied assortment of socio-economic backgrounds and differing buying power.
Elderly clients, most likely pensioners, and college students will probably sit on the lower rungs of this scale, while young professionals and children from stable-income households will likely be sitting with more disposable income.
Have different pricing options that relate to different demographics.
A student and pensioner’s discount is a great option to offer, for example.
Remember to keep your demo-based pricing options within a reasonable range and criteria.
Don’t use demographic data such as race, gender, nationality, or religion. Your pricing should reflect good ethical as well as moral standards.
8. Price According To Results
One great way to set your pricing is to base it on your client’s requested results.
When asked, “How much does personal training cost?” it’s fair to consider how much the individual results or goals are worth.
This not only hones in on the true value you provide client-to-client, but it also shows that you are confident in your ability to deliver results and effectively approach your client’s goals and desires.
This is a fair approach if you think about it.
Each client is a unique individual and will require a different effort to achieve the goals they seek to achieve.
The resource expenditure will differ even if the methods and concepts are similar from a scientific perspective.
For example, taking an already healthy individual with somewhat of an active background and who has fairly modest goals would naturally warrant less time and effort than coaching an untrained, morbidly obese person to a reasonable standard of health and fitness.
With this in mind, you might want to look at pricing options that reflect different levels of effort and resources on your part when dealing with clients at different levels on the health and fitness scale.
To make it easier, create a few categories, and based on your assessment, you place each client in a different fitness category with its own pricing.
Just the same as a repair person or plumber would first asses the work required before preparing a quote for the client; you can take the same approach when setting prices.
9. A Secure Method Of Payment
Aside from what you want to charge, you also want to determine and optimize your payment method.
Payment method is important in securing, optimizing, and accessing your income.
I often get asked, “How much do personal trainers charge?” However, an important question I find most overlooked is, “How do personal trainers accept payment?”.
Gone are the days when cheques and hard cash were the dominant forms of payment.
Today, most transactions are electronic or digital.
Many factors influence which payment method works best.
For instance, the service period will influence which payment method is best.
If clients purchase once-off services or individual products such as drop-in sessions, a payment system like PayPal will be ideal.
However, a bank deposit option is preferable for long-running clients with packages that renew or are subscribed to your services.
How they occur is also worth considering when it comes to bank deposits.
Now, you could have your clients remember to pay their dues each month, manually depositing funds in your account when a month of service is up.
But sometimes, people forget to do what needs to be done, and you could have delayed payments.
As I like to say, paying late is a form of underpaying. When you lose time on your money, you lose value on your money.
So if you have clients with recurring payments coming up, why not set up a debit order system where their bank account automatically deposits electronic funds to your business account as and when necessary?
This also makes it easier for your client as they don’t have to fuss about any administration.
If you’re also concerned about invoicing, which you should be, then there’s a way to do that too.
Generating a paper trail of what you earn is important for keeping tabs on your accounts, revenue figures, and taxes.
Automated invoicing is now a thing, and it’s possible to sync up your invoicing to your bank account for easier recon when it comes time to file those pesky returns.
Sometimes clients need to pay face-to-face. In such instances, you will need a PoS system on hand.
PoS stands for point of sale and means a card machine you can swipe, insert or tap for physical debit or credit card payments.
Many cloud-based PoS systems are available for private vendors that come complete with very compact and portable card-reading machines.
The advent of cloud-based PoS has allowed trading to leave the front desk so you can take your business anywhere anytime.
Good examples of portable PoS include Intuit Go Payment or Square.
Regarding your online coaching services, PayPal is great, as I already mentioned, but other options exist, such as Stripe.
Ultimately, you want your payment methods to be varied since different clients will naturally have different preferences for spending their money.
A blend of innovative, contemporary payment methods and tried and trusted traditional platforms is a good way to go.
To expand on payment methods, you can also offer subscription-based packages.
I touched on recurring payments quite a bit when talking about payment methods, which is where those come in.
Having a subscription-based sign-up is the closest thing to the stable income you’ll get as a personal trainer, and a stable income is a step toward financial security.
As I mentioned, automating recurring payments is the best way to go about them.
Which Payment Methods For Which Coaching Method?
So these pricing tips are a general insight into how you can effectively charge for your products and services, but each has its best application based on what sort of services you’re delivering.
Let’s take a look at these different implementations shall we:
In-person training is probably where you will start off as a trainer and when it comes to this personal training method, your goal is client retention.
To this end, setting up recurring payments is the best strategy for maximizing your pricing.
It’s also the best and easiest way to implement demographic-based pricing standards.
You can and should charge the most per in-person training session since you provide the quality and value of undivided, tailored attention.
Small group coaching is a form of in-person training, but instead of a one-on-one scenario, you are training several individuals all at once using a general program.
Because of this general approach and the division of attention, you would naturally charge less per head, but the numbers soon cover and even overlap the cost.
So although you earn less per client, the collective revenue is higher.
Small group classes are where you can implement quick face-to-face payment methods such as PoS and even cash payments.
Group classes are also good to implement in less affluent, lower-income areas and for demographics with lower buying power.
You will likely be getting a large portion of once-off drop-ins, so a recurring payment system won’t be a major concern.
The online domain is a relatively new frontier for delivering health and fitness services.
The best way to approach effective pricing online is by offering options.
Online personal training prices can be very flexible owing to the variety of services and products you can offer online instead of in-person.
My favorite way to do this relates to the section where I discussed competing with your own prices.
In this case, having a 3 tier pricing strategy and scarcity marketing will be useful.
I’ll bring some premium content on marketing, sales-boosting, and learning how to optimize your online business soon, so stay tuned.
An online platform also means you can afford to charge less due to the sheer volume of clients you can net.
When it comes to pricing strategies, my biggest tip is to keep it simple.
You might be considering implementing a million and one different ways of pricing your products and services as a personal trainer.
Have a comprehensive personal trainer pricing sheet you can use as a reference guide for yourself and prospective clients.