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How To Start a Personal Training Business

Personal fitness training

It is not surprising that the fitness industry is growing. Now, more than ever, people want to exercise and be healthy. Once reserved for celebrities, personal trainers are now a popular choice for people who want a tailored exercise program.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

If you're motivated to start a personal trainer business, follow this step-by-step guide to setting up your business.

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Get Certified

While you may call yourself a personal trainer without certification, having a certificate can make you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, many gyms or organizations require personal trainer certifications or an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Several organizations offer a personal training certification. In addition, many of them use an online program that you can complete from home. However, any program you consider should have accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

If you are not certified, you must know the basics of first aid and have training in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for cardiac arrest.

Know Your Potential Client and Market

First, decide who is the ideal client base for your personal training business. For example, do you want to work with athletes, celebrities, young kids, senior citizens, or people with physical challenges? Know what fitness goals your target market has so you can tailor training sessions for them.

Second, determine what fees you can charge. Researching the going rate for personal training sessions in your area can help you decide what you want to be paid.

Finally, work out how many clients and sessions you will need to make a healthy profit. You need to know these numbers to make sure you have a successful business.

Set Up Operations

Having a personal training business is flexible. First, decide whether to have training sessions at your client's home, your home, park, or gym. There are pros and cons to each.

Client's Home

Going to a client's is most convenient for your client. If they do not have a home gym or necessary equipment, you will supply the equipment for their sessions.

Your Home

Your home is the most convenient option for you, and you can set up an exercise area for their use. And if you have a dedicated space for your clients, you might be able to deduct part of that space as a business expense.


Meeting your client at a park or outdoor venue means you have low overhead, but you have to transport your equipment. And you are subject to weather conditions, and your clients may not want to work out in public.


Although you may pay a fee, operating from a gym has several advantages. For example, you can utilize various exercise equipment, and members will see you helping other clients and may hire you. Plus, the gym may refer customers to you.


Another option is to market your services as an online fitness trainer. For example, you can record YouTube Videos or make fitness videos that your clients subscribe to. As a result, you can reach a wider audience.


After you determine your location, you should now figure out how to market to your customers. Your marketing strategy should have many facets. For example, you might want to get business cards or flyers to give to potential customers.

Set up a website so potential clients can schedule personal training sessions. Utilize social media to get the word out about your services. Post fitness tips to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, which then direct traffic to your website.

Ask clients for referrals or to recommend you to others. Or you can join online referral services to get clients.

Choose Your Business Name

Give serious thought when choosing your business name. As a personal trainer, you are your brand. However, you can enhance your brand with a catchy or clever title. For example, instead of "Casey Clark Personal Training," you could call your business "Results by Casey."

First, decide on a name for your business. Second, search to make sure it is not already in use by another company. Third, secure the business name by filing a fictitious name registration. If you are a sole proprietor, file a fictitious name registration or a "doing business as" (DBA). Or, if forming a corporate entity, register the business name on the paperwork with the Secretary of State.

Make a Business Plan

If you are working from your client's home or a gym, you will not need much money to start. However, you may need to invest in equipment and marketing materials.

Make a business plan to determine how much cash you will need to start your business. Then, figure out how you want your clients to pay you. Consider offering easy ways to pay such as Venmo, Paypal, or Square.

It is helpful to have a business attorney or accountant review your business plan. Additionally, you should know what tax deductions you can take as a personal trainer.

Get Corporate Protection

An essential step in launching your business is protecting personal assets from the operations of your business.

A personal trainer can operate as a sole proprietor, but there is no protection from lawsuits that result from the business. Therefore, it is better to form a corporate entity such as a corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).

A corporate entity separates the liabilities of the business from your assets. So, for example, if a client suffers an injury from your equipment or a training session, they can only sue your company, not you.

Obtain an Employment Identification Number or Tax ID

Once you've created your corporate entity, apply for an Employment Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. This number links to your business name for filing taxes. You will need your EIN to open up a bank account for your business.

Obtain Business Insurance

In addition to corporate protection, it is critical to have general liability insurance and professional liability insurance. Juries have awarded damages to clients who suffered injuries during a personal training session.

Business insurance protects personal assets from lawsuits arising from your business. Find out what business insurance personal trainers need to protect themselves.

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Check with your state and city licensing offices to apply for a business license and any necessary permits.

Seek Out Professional Help

As a new business owner, it's helpful to engage other professionals to help with your business setup and planning. Business attorneys know how to handle the corporate paperwork, draft liability waivers, and advise you on contract matters. Accountants can help you file taxes and look for deductions to pay less in taxes.

Starting Your Business the Right Way

While there is little overhead and few obstacles to launch a personal training business, there is a framework to do it properly. Consider using our trusted, simple-to-use online business formation tool. We'll walk you through the steps of creating your business and help you meet all the legal requirements.

It may also be wise to consult a local business attorney to keep your new personal training business in good shape.

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