Friday, March 20, 2015

Independent vs. Gym Facility Personal Training

As a professionally certified personal trainer I get asked, “What do you charge?” or “How much money do you make?” The truth is, it varies between trainer to trainer and locations. Many personal trainers work in the gym industry, many independently, or by owning their own personal training studio.

This blog will explain a few of the differences between what a personal trainer would “charge” by working in a gym compared to independently, and also the salary of a gym employed personal trainer compared to an independent trainer.

In a gym type setting a personal trainer is able to gain clients from membership sales, complimentary sessions, or talk in the gym to potential clients. Usually, the trainer is unable to charge what they would like because they are employed by the gym itself, thus the gym creates the pricing and programs available to new clientele.

According the 24-Hour Fitness’ webpage, personal training rates can range from $65-$81 per 50-Minute Session.1 This is an average rate for most corporate style gyms. Personally, I have trained in an independently owned gym and rates for new clients ranged from $55-$75 depending on if the client signed for 3, 6, or 12 Month programs. In a gym type setting however, the personal trainer will only make a fraction of what the client is actually paying the gym. A trainer that is just starting out and has no experience would make $12-$18 per session, as a more experienced and certified trainer would make $25-$30 per session. Also, according the gym of 24-Hour Fitness and, a personal trainer at 24-Hour Fitness will make an average salary of $32,000 per year.2 As you can see personal training is very expensive in a gym setting, which is why you want to be sure your trainer is experienced, professionally certified, and has a good education.

An independent trainer however is able to charge what he or she wishes for any clients and location. This is a huge benefit for most trainers who are experienced and feel that they are ready for it. Many trainers charge $40 to upwards of $125 per session just based on the clients needs, goals, and location. Many times a trainer will charge a higher rate if the client lives at a far location or has no equipment available. You can see this can be very beneficial to the client and the trainer, as the client could possibly get a better rate and number of sessions, and the trainer would make a higher total profit.

Pros to Working in a Gym - Cons to Being Independent
  • Gyms helps build clientele - Independent trainers are on their own
  • Gyms can pay hourly wage for meetings, floor time, etc
Cons of a Gym - Pros to Being Independent
  • Gyms deduct a lot in taxes - independents pay self employment tax
  • Independent trainers can create their own schedules
Personally, I have worked in recreation, gym, and independent settings for years, there are many positives and negatives to each. But looking at a financial standpoint, if you are experienced enough and have the confidence that you can stand alone, than being an independent trainer is the way to go. You are allowed much more freedom in the way you train and handle business. But, I always recommended to new and up and coming trainers to begin their career in a gym or recreation setting to gain experience.

1Average Salary For Personal Trainer at 24 Hour Fitness Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from
2Personal Training. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from


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