I’m often asked “how do you go about setting up your own Personal training Studio? and how viable it is?”. I think the majority of personal trainers ambition is to set up and run thier own personal trainer studio.
It is a fantactic achievement but it needs to be done properly and gradually as it’s a big step and its a big investement to make.
In first Guest interview I am going to interview Robert Bray. Rob is the perfect person to answer this question and more he has achieved a great deal as a personal trainer and is happy to share some advice & tips to success.
Firstly Rob is a very successful personal trainer, he runs a large team of personal trainers out of his Luxury personal training studio in Notting hill which he set up. Rob also believes in sharing his knowledge & runs the top personal trainers Forum in the uk which he personally writes along with a chosen few athletes. Rob’s forum is the No.1 personal training forum on google in the UK and it attracts over 30,000 unique visitors per month, which believe me is very impressive. His Forum is unique in the fact it is regularly updated and if you post a discussion or have a genuine question about the industry you will get a number of replies from experienced personal trainers.
Hi Rob, what advice would you give to a personal trainer just starting out ?
The industry now is more competitive than ever, if you are going to work in a health club then make sure you are in great shape and approachable this is an excellent way to attract clients in the health club atmosphere. If you are freelance make sure you read up about marketing yourself on the internet there is tons of info there. You will certainly need a website, flyers, clothing with your logo on and a great referral structure.
How did you set up such a successful studio? It was quite a big step financially I would imagine, how did you go about setting this up?
I started with a much smaller basic studio at first and prior to that I was a freelance pt so had a regular client base to help cover the bills when I opened the first place. To anyone thinking of opening a studio then certainly keep it cheap to start with and build as you go along this is what I did. As time went by I no longer could do as much PT myself as running the business was taking up a lot more of my time so needed to bring in staff, at this point I had to change the structure of the studio and get a much larger studio to accommodate 5-8 staff working from there . Our current studio is over 1100 square feet separated in to three rooms and open 24 hours a day. Had I opened a studio at first this size with all the equipment we have now we certainly would have struggled as you need the clients to cover the business overheads plus you need to learn how to manage it as you go along. I have seen lots of studios over the years go bust who have taken out large loans from banks or family to cover the dreams of this studio they believe everyone will love as much as them and only to find after that without a huge marketing spend along with right location, right time, and some elements of luck this can prove an impossible challenge. Start small and build and you can end up with a great studio in a few years which you will love to train people in and can offer a client experience far beyond what you could offer at your local leisure centre.
If you look back at your career as a personal trainer what were the stages and important decisions that led you to the position you are now in?
Understanding that there are tons of personal trainers so to do well you need to stand out from the rest. First this was getting myself in great shape to attract clients at the fitness first I was working at after that it was to network a good client base and run a business that focused on training always on time and suiting the clients schedule anytime of day and any day of the week. Knowledge is the other factor, you want to grow your knowledge constantly this will show through with your clients and give you the confidence that will shine through and ensure your clients get the results they have long been after.
Your forum is really well run by yourself, Tell us about your Forum and how it can help personal trainers?
I built the forum for the main reason that I couldn’t find anywhere online that personal trainers could discuss honestly about the industry. There were a few forums but none were updated regularly. The forum covers all aspects of the industry from the courses to the health clubs to the business and financial side of the industry. I still think there are thousands of people who have had enough of an office job and want to become a PT but have no idea how to approach this industry and what to expect when they get a job. It still frightens me today when I hear people say for example they are giving up a job paying 60,000+ to become a pt and are about to spend £4000 on a course and don’t know where they will work, what the salaries are and if they will really like it, plus they have a wife and a kid on the way. Of course personal training is a great career if you work at it but there is a lot to learn to make this career a great one and the forum aims to provide people with this information so they make the best decision to suit their situation. My main reason when I started out was I loved working out and this job allowed me to work around that. I completely understand people wanting to do this job over their current career however the earning potential instantly is not high and some of the working environments aren’t great these are the two things that will cause people to leave the industry. The forum is designed to directly tackle this so that people are not only advised correctly of the short terms salary drop so they can prepare for it as well as learn how to push it upwards in their favour as well as find out where to work and what to expect. There are tons of great gyms and tons of bad ones, there are lots of pt’s making a lot of money and lots making a small amount, the forum is designed to keep you on the right path. The difference between the Pt who loves his job and the one who hates his job is only a few decisions away from the other one like where he works and what hours he works. The same as the PT who earns twice what another earns, one may be targeting one market and another, another market both with completely different results. The forum is free and we welcome beginners to advanced PT’s from all over the world, hope to see you on there soon.
Thanks Rob for making the time for this interview. Check out his personal trainer forum, and join in the discussions: