The Beginners Guide To Starting A Personal Training Business
If you’re the kind of person who loves fitness, freedom and a flexible lifestyle, there are few better options out there than becoming a personal trainer. It’s an exciting step and one that will take you on a fantastic journey and let you meet lots of new people. But while you might love the fitness side of things, there are a lot of other elements to starting and running a personal training business that you might not have thought of yet. Luckily for you, it’s our job to make sure you’re prepared for this new journey. Starting with some of the reasons personal training might be the best decision you ever make, and a few things to consider before you make the decision.
There are many great things about becoming a personal trainer, which is part of the reason it’s such an attractive career. For example:
- Flexible Hours: Personal trainers are one of the few professions that don’t typically keep standard office hours, so you can be flexible with when you work. If you’ve partnered with a gym, you may need to be available for their opening hours, but more often than not, personal trainers will negotiate their appointments with each client individually. Typically, this will mean working a split shift, with appointments before and after the workday and the occasional lunchtime appointment, but not a lot in between – this will be something you investigate when looking at your target market.
- Satisfaction: Being a personal trainer is one of the most satisfying jobs there is. Some clients might not be in need of a major life change, but instead just want one or two sessions to ensure they’re doing their exercises correctly. But for others, your support and services will make a real difference in their lives. You get to help your clients achieve their goals, live happier, healthier lives and share in their successes every step of the way.
- Low Overheads: While you might need to travel to clients homes or gyms for sessions, most of your business management can be done from home. This means you will have very few operating costs to contend with.
- Lots Of Options: As a professional personal trainer, you have a whole host of options for the type of work you do. You could see private clients in their homes, run classes and sessions in a gym, work out of a health club, sports club, run corporate PT sessions or even take classes on a cruise ship! Anywhere that people are health and fitness conscious is an opportunity for you.
However, like in any career, there are some negative aspects, like:
- Working With Difficult People: A personal trainer is someone who works very closely with their clients. This can make it all the more difficult if they are challenging to work with. For instance, they might be someone who thinks weight loss is something they can buy and don’t have to work for, they might always be late or cancel at the last minute, or they may make little effort and don’t follow their diets. It’s your job to motivate these people to succeed, but it will be hard work along the way.
- It Can Be Slow To Start: This isn’t the kind of business that starts earning money quickly. It can take you a while to build up a client base, develop relationships with strategic partners and gather momentum in your marketing. Once you do, the rest will come naturally, but it’s not a quick start.
- Requires A Lot Of Learning: Not only will you need to undertake training at the beginning, but you will need to keep learning and training all the time. As a professional trainer, you will be expected to know what the latest research and trends are in the health and fitness world so that you can provide the best service possible. That on its own is a fairly significant time sink, without everything else you will need to juggle.
- Unsociable Hours: This is the flip side to the flexible hours – and that’s that you will often end up working very unsociable hours. Between working in your early morning sessions (it’s not uncommon for a personal trainer to start their day at 4.45 am), programme writing, meeting prospects, meal plans and doing your admin, 15 hour days at unsociable hours are not uncommon – leaving you worn out or completely missing the sociable evening hours when your friends are around.
If you’ve looked at that last part and think that it sounds like a fun challenge, or something you could easily handle, then you’re in the right place! It means that staring up a personal training business is for you. So let’s get started!
What Kind Of Training Do You Want To Do?
You might think that personal training is a quite straightforward thing, but there are actually a lot of options to choose from. The first and probably most important decision you will have to make is what kind of training you want to do. Because personal training is a fairly broad spectrum, it can be broken down into different methods, such as:
Teaching fitness classes is a high intensity and in-demand skill that it almost always pays to know. Gyms are always on the lookout for new instructors or substitute instructors who can cover classes when regular instructors are off sick. Fitness instruction can take on all sorts of disciplines, including aerobics, yoga, kickboxing, strength training and more. If you are skilled in another form of fitness activity (say, martial arts), you could also run fitness classes around that. This might mean that you need to complete some training for your chosen type of class, but it also means you will have a good steady stream of work coming in from regular classes, at regular times and places.
Working In Business Offices:
A slightly rarer form, some personal trainers work in conjunction with busy office buildings, giving the people who work there access to fitness training as a perk of the job. This might mean you simply have a partnership arrangement with the business, or you work out of their office gym. Again, it’s a great way to get regular, steady work.
One On One Training:
One on one training is what most people think of when they hear ‘personal trainer’. Here, you would build up a steady base of clients who you work with one on one for a set amount of time each week. This can be incredibly rewarding for both you and the client and means you can focus on delivering value. But even then, you need to consider where these sessions will take place. In your home, the clients home, a gym, outdoors?
Hotel Or Spa Training:
Many hotels and spas will often hire personal trainers as a way of expanding their offering to clients. So you will either be employed by them to work on site for their customers, or you will ‘rent’ space and see customers in their location, and they will feed customers to you. Hotel and spa work is very variable since here your services are more of an add-on than the core offering.
However, many personal trainers will end up being a mix of these things. Most will do one on one sessions primarily, with a few classes either organised by themselves (like bootcamp style classes) or run through a gym to provide the regular income stream. So don’t worry if you don’t know right away, or if you change your mind along the way – evolution is what business is all about.
Decide On Your Structure
Now, you will need to decide how you want to work. This will sometimes come very naturally once you have decided what kind of training you want to do. Personal trainers are always in high demand, so there are many options open to you. If you don’t want to be employed directly by a gym or club, then you have two main avenues – you can either set up on your own or buy a franchise. Both of these options work well for different people, and there is a lot of room for growth and success in each, so there’s no ‘one right answer’. Instead, the decision lies in how much control you want to have in the DNA of the business and how it works, along with how much start-up funding you have.
Go It Alone
If you want complete ownership of every element of your business, from the name to what font you use on posters and what areas you operate in, you are much better off forming your own business from scratch. This means that, unless you hire someone else, you will be the only one involved in your business. You will be able to choose what direction you take the business in, what your brand will stand for, where you work and even the kind of clients you work with. You will also be responsible for sorting out your insurances, managing your diary and mitigating risk at every point. Staring your training business will open up a lot of options for you, and is perfect if you’re a very motivated person who wants to make the decisions about where the business goes. Remember, if you choose this option, you will need to register your business as a sole trader or a limited company.
The other option is to buy into an existing business in the form of a franchise. Personal training franchises are one of the lesser known franchise options, but there are plenty of them out there for you to choose from. The model is simple – instead of starting from the beginning on your own, you buy a franchise of an existing personal training business. The franchisor will then provide you with everything you need to get going – from a name to the marketing materials, a website and a mentor to help you in the beginning. This means you have the clout of an established brand behind you, making it much easier to get going. Some franchises will even feed you clients in the beginning – or long term – making it a very stable and less risky option.
However, it’s often not the cheapest. Unlike running your own business, where you get to choose where your money is spent and how much, franchising will demand not only a big lump sum investment from you at the beginning (anywhere between £5000 and £12,000), but many will also stipulate what suppliers you can use, giving you less flexibility and control. There are plenty of franchises out there to choose from, including At Home Fitness, Train Learn Go, Express, Revolution and Anytime Fitness, just to name a few.
Now, depending on which option you pick, some other parts of this article might not be all that relevant to you. For example, if you choose to buy a franchise, you won’t need to worry too much about creating a brand identity and marketing materials – since all of that will be provided for you. But you will still need to know how to run your finances and how to use your marketing materials to gain new clients. So while we recommend you read the whole thing, we won’t mind if you skip a couple of bits that might not be of use to you.
Do Your Research
Before you jump right into getting your business cards printed and signing up your first client, you have some groundwork to do. You see, the most successful personal training businesses aren’t the ones with the best equipment, the trimmest trainer or the flashiest marketing. The personal trainers that flourish are the ones who know exactly what kind of person they are looking to work with, and everything about them. Understanding your ideal customer and how to reach them is key to every decision you will make about your business, so it’s important to do your research.
The simplest way to make sure you cover all of your bases is to write yourself a business plan. If you’ve never written one before, we have a complete beginners guide to creating one here, which takes you through everything you need to know about structuring your business plan. So now that’s covered, what information do you need to put in?
Understand The Demographic & Drivers
The first thing you’ll need to look into is the market in your area, and what drives people to buy. Many businesses end up serving different demands depending on the area they’re in, and personal training is no different. You don’t need to be too detailed at this point (we’ll get to that later) – it’s more about understanding your area. For example, are you in a commuter town or a place with a lot of office buildings and sedentary workers? Are you in a wealthy suburb with a lot of time rich people? Are there a lot of mums in your area who might be looking to lose their baby weight? Or maybe there’s an abundance of schools that could benefit from classes for the kids. Spend some time looking at your chosen area, understanding the demographic and what their unique pain points are. This will help you shape your services into something they want.
Identify Your Target Market
Next, you will need to dig a bit deeper and decide who your primary target market will be. Now as a personal trainer the odds are you will work with anyone who needs you, at least in the beginning. So this exercise is about choosing who you would like to work with (as an ideal client) and how to reach them. For example, you could choose to work specifically with office workers to prevent back problems, or with new mums looking to get back in shape and make some new friends after having a baby. It’s all down to your personal preference.
To get you started, here are a few things you will need to research:
- Demographic: Age, gender, income, job, education, ethnicity and family size.
- Geographic: Region, city, neighbourhood, even down to the road.
- Psychographic: Social class, lifestyle, personality, values, life stage.
- Behaviouristic: Buying patterns, consumption, loyalty, attitude.
To get this information, you can send out surveys, talk to local contacts, access readily available studies and resources, or even ask other local trainers and mentors. By pulling all of this information on your ‘ideal client’ together, you can build up a clear picture of them, what their lives look like and what drives them to seek for personal training services. This, in turn, will make it much easier to market to them.
Assess Their Spending
Now you know who your ideal client is and everything about them, this question will be easy to answer. Understanding the spending habits of your target market will help ensure you price your services correctly, and don’t over or under price yourself. Again, the best way to do this is to ask questions, do polls, look up the average consumer spend or business spend in your area, or even ask questions on message boards. Note it all down in a spreadsheet, and you will have a good idea of how much your clients would be willing to pay you for personal training.
Plan For Fluctuation
Like many industries, fitness has its peaks and troughs. That’s just the way it is. It’s popularity changes with the time of year, the weather, how clients are feeling and the latest trends in fitness. This shouldn’t stop you going ahead with it, but it does mean you will need to bear it in mind. Start up a savings account for the business and use it as a rainy day fund, so that even if you have a slow month, you’re not going to run into trouble.
Check Out The Competition
The best way to work out how to be successful is to look at someone who already is and work out what they’re doing right. That means spending some time finding out all about your competition and doing some analysis. Find out where they are advertising, what kinds of service they are offering and how much money they’re making (you can do this by checking their accounts at Companies House). Stalk them on social media, watch out for their ads in magazines, and make it your business to know what they’re doing. Then do a SWOT analysis on their business. In case you didn’t do business studies at school (and we can’t say we blame you), a SWOT analysis stands for:
- Strengths – What are the strong points of their business and their brand?
- Weaknesses – What are their weaknesses? What are they doing that you don’t like?
- Opportunities – What are they missing? What things could you do that they aren’t?
- Threats – What are the threats to their business model? How could you avoid them?
This might be one of the most valuable things you do, simply because it gives you a strong idea of what you like, what you don’t like and what you think you can do better. Add all of this to the rest of the information you’ve got, along with our advice here, and you’ve got a solid personal training business plan.
Training And Qualifications
Now comes the really tricky bit. Just like you wouldn’t hire a solicitor who hasn’t passed the exams, few people want to hire a personal trainer with no qualifications or training. After all, education and knowledge are what separates a professional from just some bloke who’s good at sports. So you will need to get yourself trained, qualified to do what you want to do and officially certified. There’s a huge variety of organisations that provide courses and accreditations, so it’s down to what is a good fit for you, and what will bring the most value to your business and your customers. There are also ‘extra’ qualifications you can earn to add even more value to your clients and extend your business further. Here are just a few examples:
Particular ‘Schools’ Of Fitness
If you’re looking to teach classes or even more structured programmes on a one to one basis, the programme itself may have a course you can take to be able to teach it. A classic example is the Les Mills model, which encourages fitness trainers to take their course so that they can teach the full range of Les Mills fitness classes – from combat and balance to pump. Once you’ve taken a qualification with your chosen ‘school’ and passed, you are certified to teach it to groups or individuals. This is a must if you’re looking to teach classes, as many of these schools can lead you to extensive cover work in gyms and other classes.
If you’re looking to go the more traditional route, then you can look at some base qualifications. This covers a range of things, from personal training academy’s to degrees in exercise science, kinesiology or physical education. Diplomas, open university degrees or even online courses and development classes are all great ways of becoming certified to train people. It’s a flexible field with no ‘one standard’ certification, so it’s simply a matter of choosing a learning method that works for you.
Be More Than ‘Just’ A Trainer
Of course, there’s no such thing as ‘just’ a trainer. It’s a rigorous and demanding job that ends up encompassing many other fields. But there are also a lot of ways you can expand what you offer, turning yourself into a more attractive offering and making your clients more ‘sticky’ to you. Here are just a few common examples of extras you could offer as a personal trainer:
- Nutritional advice
- Meal planning
- Competition training
- Holistic training
And more. Many of these things will require you to take additional qualifications, but the advantages of being able to offer a variety of services often make it worth the extra effort. By doing this, you can take your business beyond ‘fitness coach’ and into true ‘personal trainer’ territory.
The Money Bits
Very few businesses can start up from absolutely nothing, and a personal training business is no exception. At some point in set up, you’re going to need to spend some money – whether that’s a large lump sum to buy a franchise or regular payments on machines – so it’s a good idea to know where it will be coming from. The bulk of your costs are likely to be in equipment and training machinery, followed by work out clothing and branding/marketing costs.
For example, a personal trainer who will be seeing most of their clients either at their own home or in an outdoor environment might need:
- Dumbbell and weight sets
- Boxing equipment
- Body weight leverage training systems
- Stability ball
- Balance trainers
- Battle ropes
- Weight machines
- Flooring (if you’re training in your own home, you will need to invest in proper flooring for both stability, structural integrity and wear)
- Gym clothes
And much, much more. You will essentially need a fully kitted out gym’s worth of equipment. And even if you are working mainly in a gym setting, you need to be prepared to bring your equipment or train with clients outside the gym.
You will also need to consider non-tangible costs you need to cover, such as:
- Room rental fees
- Licensing costs
- Marketing material
- Web hosting
And while this will all get you off the ground, you will find that there are other things to invest in as time goes on. This is where many personal trainers tend to run into trouble – especially if they aren’t able to fund all of this out of their own pocket. But self-funding isn’t the only way to finance your new business. For example, you could:
- Get a start-up loan. Many banks offer loans to new businesses at very favourable rates to help get them going, as well as government schemes or affiliate programmes that operate with government backing.
- Look into a government grant. Local governments are always looking to fuel their local economy, and will often offer grants to help the types of business their community needs. Contact your local council to find out what grants or support schemes might be available to you.
- Find an Angel Investor – these are a special category of investor who can help you fund your business from day 1 – usually in return for a small share of the profit. You will need a robust business plan to sway them though. Find more about them here.
- Investigate peer to peer lending – which is like a business loan from a bank, except you are borrowing money from other individuals or businesses that connect with your idea, rather than a bank. There are a few different programmes around, and you can find out more about it here.
Of course, it’s not just the initial outlay you need to worry about. As a personal trainer, you will need to manage a lot of transactions, both in and out of your business. And since this industry tends to fluctuate more than most, it’s important to have a good understanding of what your cash flow will look like, and create a realistic budget. This will help you make sure that you are always making more than you spend, and you will be able to make payments when they are due.
This is one of those areas many business owners struggle with, mainly because when you’re a brand new start-up it can be difficult to gauge how much you will bring in. It’s also easy to forget some of the things you will need to pay for every month. For example, don’t forget:
- National Insurance
- Personal tax on earnings
- Corporation tax (which you should be saving for)
- Insurance premiums
- Loan repayments
- Software licenses
- Premises rentals
- Vehicle maintenance
And more. Budgeting is one of the key parts of running your personal training business, and without it, you risk overspending and running into financial problems. In order to keep track of your finances and make sure you’re in budget, we have a few tips to help:
- Get Rid Of Unnecessary Spending: The key to keeping your business profitable is to make sure you’re always earning more than you’re spending. If you start to notice that your expenses are higher than your earnings, you need to do two things. The first is grow your client base to increase the income, and the second is to reduce your expenses. Look through your spending and see where you could stop spending altogether, or where you could switch to a cheaper alternative.
- Review Your Budget Regularly: Budgeting is an incredibly useful process, but only if you stay on top of it. Your business will be evolving rapidly, so it’s important to make sure your budget matches what’s going on. We recommend you review and adjust your budget every three months, and review your annual cash flow projections every 6 – 12 months to make sure the business is going in the right direction.
- Make Sure You’re Saving: There are a few business costs that may come around only once a year. And since you’ll set up most of them when you start, the renewals will all come at the same time as well. So while it might be tempting to spend all of your profits, we don’t advise that you do. Instead, put some of it aside in a business savings account to cover the big annual expenses – like corporation tax, accounting fees and so on. By doing this, you will never be caught short by a big expense and suddenly be left with no way to pay the bills that month.
- Remember, Time Is Money: As a personal trainer, you are selling your time and experience. That means that any other job you do to keep the business running is taking away time you could be earning money. Don’t spend longer than needed on business tasks, and if you find certain things taking too long or becoming a source of dread for you, outsource them.
- Move Regular Customers Onto Direct Debits: One of the great things about being a personal trainer is that many of your customers will be repeat, regular sessions. This means you can move them onto a pay by the direct debit system, which removes stress from both them and you. It also ensures you won’t constantly be chasing late payments, or down on your anticipated cash flow just because a client forgot to pay on time.
- Get Help If You Need It: Every successful business owner was a beginner at some point, and it’s quite unlikely they got to be where they are on their own. They will have had help along the way. If you find budgeting difficult or don’t know where to start, make sure you ask for help. You can talk to bookkeepers, financial advisors or even others in your industry and get advice on how to keep things running. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and your business will be better off because of it.
To find out more about how to create a budget and a cash flow from scratch, you can read our beginners guide to forecasting business cash flow for start-ups.
Managing Your Cash Flow Long Term
Of course, you might be thinking that it would be impossible to track all of this yourself and create an accurate, effective cash flow. Don’t worry, a lot of business owners struggle with this bit! But if this is you, then you can use one of the various financial planning tools to help you budget and forecast for your business. This business financial planning tool, for example, will help you create an accurate forecast for your business, using all of that wonderful research you did earlier. All you need to do is plug in all the prices of your initial purchases, along with any ongoing costs like insurances, suppliers and rent, and then add in what you roughly expect to bring in each month. If you’ve been realistic, the tool will create a unique cash flow forecast for you, so that you can see a full breakdown of your monthly cash flow, profits and debts, before they happen. This level of insight at the beginning means you can be sure you’re making the right decision for your business and helps you make strategic decisions (like whether to launch a new class or go insurance shopping when your renewal is due) based on the real-world information. Internal calculators mean you can calculate the financial impact of every single component of your business from day 1, allowing you to plan effectively and make informed decisions about how to spend your money at every stage.
Become A Marketing Person
When you run your own business, you’re not just doing the job anymore. Instead, you have to wear lots of different hats and manage lots of different business functions. One of the most important things you will need to do is market your business – otherwise, you won’t get any new customers. So even if your long-term plan is to outsource your marketing to someone else, you still need to come up with a marketing plan. Here are the main things you need to think about when working out how to market your personal training business:
Before you start putting your marketing materials together, you first need to decide on your branding. Again, if you’ve bought a franchise, most of this will have been provided for you. But if you’re setting up on your own, then you’re starting from scratch. To cover the basics, your branding covers not only the visual elements of your business (the logo, corporate colours etc.) but also the brand values of your business and how you want to be perceived. Branding is an essential step in creating your personal training business, as these decisions will shape every choice you make about promoting and running it. It’s what your customers will come to recognise you as, and what prospects will first see.
So your brand needs to be impactful and easy to understand at first glance. A common failsafe choice is to simply use your name and put PT on the end (e.g. John Smith PT), but frankly, we find that a little dull, and it doesn’t mean much. If you want to stand out, you need to come up with a brand that showcases your strengths and your values and what you can deliver for clients. It’s not an easy task. But luckily, there are a lot of professionals out there, from graphic designers to brand identity specialists, who can help you create this. They are just a simple Google search away.
Adverting is crucial for any business – without it, people wouldn’t know you exist, and your business would never get off the ground. There are thousands of different ways you can advertise your business, and not all of them will work for every personal training business. It’s very much dependant on your area, business type and who you are targeting. But we’d put together a list of the most common advertising methods for personal trainers for you here:
Magazine/Newspaper Advertising: The most traditional form of advertising there is, magazine adverts can still generate some good business for fitness professionals. Select which publications you want to advertise in carefully, and see if you can get an editorial article thrown in so that you can showcase your knowledge and value-add.
Business Cards: An absolute staple for any business, business cards should be one of the first things you do. They are smaller than a flyer, so more likely to be hung on to. You can also approach other local businesses and ask if you could leave some cards in their reception area or on their counters. Not everyone will say yes, but the ones who do will often produce good results.
Flyers: Small sheets of paper advertising deals, classes of just your services still go a long way in the fitness industry, and they aren’t all that expensive to produce. As long as you’re not cramming them full of information, a good flyer can attract a lot of new enquiries. Post them through doors, display them in gyms, tack them up on community noticeboards. The more places your flyers are, the better they will perform.
Networking: This is a less common one, but it can yield some amazing results. Business referral groups are a very powerful way to get yourself known in the local community and generate new clients. It’s still relatively rare to find a personal trainer in business networking groups, which is why you should be doing it. After all, business owners are still people – they still have friends who may need your services, and may even know of some great opportunities you don’t. Find yourself some networking groups and go along armed with plenty of business cards, and you can’t go wrong.
Website: With ‘I’ll Google it’ now being a common term in our society, a strong web presence has never been more important for a business, regardless of the industry you’re in. It’s somewhere people can find you, learn more about you and get in touch with you to buy from you. So even if you only have a simple 1-page brochure site, a website is an absolute must.
Free Sessions: A great way to generate new clients is to offer free taster sessions so that they can see you in action. It might be a bit of a hit financially initially, but once a prospect has experienced what you can do for them, they are more likely to keep coming back. This works even better if you run a referral style programme – so any existing client who brings a friend gets a free session too. This way, you have warm leads being delivered directly to you, with glowing references from your existing customers
Social Media: Around 80% of the UK population are regular social media users, and that number is only growing. People are now using platforms like Facebook almost like a replacement for Google, looking for recommendations from their friends about what to buy and what suppliers to go with. If your business isn’t on social media, you’re missing out on a lot of referrals. Work out which platform your target clients are using, and make sure you have a presence there.
Email Newsletters: Everyone loves a freebie, especially when it can benefit them. Running a monthly email newsletter to all of your clients with a rundown of tips, tricks and advice around fitness and nutrition will add value to your service for very little effort, and give your customers something else to rave about. You can then put together an email list of prospects, and send them a sample email with some offers of free sessions to peak their interest.
Use Video: Video is shown to be one of the most engaging kinds of posts on social media, and personal training is a fantastic business for video content. Create short videos of training tips, demonstrating right and wrong form, talking about nutrition and more. Upload them to YouTube and share them on social media, adding yet more value to your business offering.
Personal trainers may seem like they work in a vacuum, but in fact, it’s strategic partnerships that help many of them to thrive. We’ve touched on the idea throughout this article, so this isn’t such a new concept. Of course, you will want to work with individual clients, becoming their partner through their fitness journey. But sometimes that kind of work dips or takes a long time to get going, which is why personal trainers partner up. For example, when you go to the gym and attend a fitness class, most of the instructors there will be personal trainers, being paid for their time by the gym. Similarly, for health club and spa trainers, many will be independent and simply working out of the club for a few days a week. By identifying this kind of strategic partnership, you can strengthen your own business while helping other businesses thrive. So look for where you could implement this type of partnership in your area, and approach the people involved.
The personal training industry is actually pretty regulation-less. There are no governing bodies, and no pre-set ‘you must have’ terms you need to fulfil. Instead, you simply need to make sure you’ve ticked a few fundamental business-running boxes, and you’re good to go. There are three main things you need to be aware of:
Register Your Business: No matter what structure you’ve chosen for your business (franchise, self-employed, limited company), you need to register it at Companies House or with HMRC. Companies House is the full UK register of businesses, and you are required to register your business there in order to trade legally. For sole traders, this means registering the business and registering for self-assessment tax with HMRC, meaning that you’re responsible for calculating and paying tax. If you’re going down the limited company route, there will be a bit more paperwork involved when you set up your business, but it will help separate out liability between you and the business so that if the business gets into trouble, you can’t lose anything personally. You would need to register as a limited company within three months of starting the business, so you have some time to consider the option.
Get The Right Insurance: Like any business, you are required to have adequate insurance cover. We will talk more about what types of insurance you will need in the next section.
Pay National Minimum Wage: If you’re hiring anyone else to work for you at any point, then you need to ensure you are paying them, the national minimum wage as, well, as a minimum. UK law stipulates that minimum wage varies depending on age, so you will need to keep up with the changes and adjust what you pay accordingly. There is also the option of the National Living Wage, which is what is considered by the government to be a fair and liveable wage. Again, this changes every April so you will need to track that as well. However, if it’s just you, then you have no such obligation to worry about, and can pay yourself any amount you choose.
All businesses, no matter what size of the industry, are required to have some form of insurance in place. This is to protect themselves, their employees and their customers from physical, mental or financial harm. Business insurance, particularly for something as physically involved as personal training, is an absolute must. It will protect your business from financial difficulties if a claim should arise in the future, and it gives your customers confidence in working with you. There are generally two types of insurance you will need:
Public Liability Insurance: The protects you against claims from third parties in cases of personal injury or property damage, including accidents. This is essential for personal trainers since the risk of injury is very high to both you and your customers. You will want good coverage in this area, preferably with an agent who specialises in fitness insurance.
Professional Indemnity Insurance: This insurance protects you against claims from unhappy employees or clients. It means you’re covered if a customer refuses to pay an invoice for services rendered, an employee files a claim for hours they are owed or if you need to rectify a mistake.
If you are employing any other people in the business, whether that’s as an administrator or as a fellow personal trainer, you will also need a third type of insurance:
Employers’ Liability Insurance: If you have any number of staff at all (apart from yourself), then you need to take out employer’s liability insurance. This protects you against claims from employees if they have sustained an illness or injury while working for you, and protects both them and you from fraudulent claims.
If you are working through gyms, health clubs or anything similar, they may require you to have specific insurance in place. You should make sure you ask about this kind of requirement up front, and ensure you have the right coverage in place before you start working there. The personal fitness industry carries a lot of risk for injury – from overexertion to just dropping a weight on a clients foot by accident – so there is no such thing as too much cover!
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