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Costs and Potential Earnings


If you work in a gym then your costs are reduced greatly, which is ideal when you are just starting out with little or no money behind you. If you are employed, your insurance will be covered and your gym should pay for your ongoing training by putting you on regular courses. Working in a gym also greatly reduces your petrol costs as travelling to and from clients’ homes really clocks up your mileage.

If you are self-employed in a gym your costs will be greater, particularly your initial start-up costs:

  • Insurance – you must have personal liability insurance and this costs an average of £120 per year, depending on your insurance provider and your cover amount
  • Gym rent – you will probably have gym rent to pay each month, which, depending on your location, can cost somewhere between £200-£1500 per month across the UK
  • Business cards/leaflets/posters – in order to stand out and market yourself successfully you may want to have promotional leaflets and posters, as well as business cards, professionally printed. A pack of 1000 business cards will cost you between £50-£150 depending on the company you choose to produce them
  • Regular courses, such as the Kettlebells Instructor course.  It is really important to keep learning. I would recommend doing a course every 3-6 months to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry. Courses may cost you £50-£200 a time.

Remember – it may look like it costs a lot more money being self-employed, but any money that you spend on your business can be claimed back when you do your taxes! It is adviseable to make sure you are prepared for the initial costs before you go self-employed as it is a challenging time when you initially start out.

Potential Earnings

Your earnings will vary greatly and there are benefits for and against both being employed and self-employed. If you are employed, your pay will vary from club to club and region to region. Generally, health clubs either work on a percentage basis where the club pays the trainer a fixed percentage based on the amount of sessions they do in a month, or they will pay you a set hourly rate out of the cost per session, so you may get paid £15 out of every £35 session carried out. The percentage or amount you get paid will more than likely be negotiable and you will be able to increse your pay the longer you work for the club or as you meet a certain target number of sessions per week.

Being employed through a gym, you will probably do gym shifts for a basic wage on top of your personal training. Don’t be caught out by thinking you will always earn more money the longer you work there. Clubs will often try to catch you out by telling you that you will earn a lot more than is sometimes realistically possible. As your gym shifts are reduced, unless you consistently increase your numbers, your salary may not rise, or it may be inconsistant. Your earnings may look like this, for example:

Let’s say the gym charges £35 per session and you get £14 per session, plus you do gym shifts at £6 per hour, your earnings will be the following depending on your PT-gym hours ratio:

month 3: you do 10 hours PT and 30 hours gym shifts = £1280

month 6: you do 18 hours PT plus 12 hours gym shifts = £1296

month 12: you do 22 hours PT at £16/hr = £1408

If you are very successful, then you will gradually earn more and more if you manage to keep those numbers high. If you have a quiet month (which does happen – usually in the busy holiday months of December, July and August) you may only have 10 sessions per week and only 15 hours gym shifts, meaning that month you will only earn £960. So even in the safety of being self-employed, there are still risks to consider.

If you are self-employed, your earnings will be based on your performance and the amount you charge per hour, minus your cost of gym rent. For example, if you do 15 sessions per week and charge £35 per hour, your earnings that month will be £2100 – minus your gym rent. When you are self-employed you know how much your gym rent will be each month and from that you can work out how many sessions per week you need to be on to make a profit. This method is great as you are completely in control of your earnings, but if you have a quiet month and don’t earn much money, it could be a struggle to pay gym rent and you could get caught out. There is a great potential to earn well in a gym with rent, personal trainers can train as many as 35 sessions per week because you are able to train clients back to back, This is tiring and your its likely your session planning will suffer but the potential earnings are :

(35×35) x 4 – 400 =£3,300/month or around £39,00 per year.

In conclusion, there is much more risk in being self-employed, but you have the potential to earn a lot more money and work fewer hours. Being employed, you have a limit on your earnings due to lower pay and high number of working hours, but you have little or no expenses and a fixed income from gym shifts, meaning you will never be completely out of work.