You're trained up, you're excited, and now you're ready to take on the world! But what do you do next? How do you take all of your new-found knowledge and turn it into your career? There are a lot of details that go along with being a professional, here are a few tips and some answers to the most common questions that we hear about starting out as a Personal Trainer:
1- How much should I be charging?
Generally, recreation centers pay more than private companies.
If they offer you under $20 an hour - keep looking.
Most rec centers and fitness facilities will start a new PT at about $20 – 25 per hour. If you have a bit more experience you can make up to $40 an hour (or more depending on if you are in a large city).
If you work for yourself then you can, of course, make considerably more. You’ll get to keep exactly what you charge your client. This can be anywhere from $50 – 125 per hour. But do not undersell yourself. Don’t be one of those trainers that train for $25 per hour – this is a profession and it has real value, like any other.
Remember you worked hard for this and you aren’t a volunteer.
2- Some things to consider before getting yourself into something you didn’t bargain for:
If you have applied to work at a facility and they are asking you to pay anything to become an employee… Don’t work there! It shouldn’t cost YOU to have a job. That’s a scam!
If you are signing a contract - read through it very carefully (DO NOT just sign it while you are in the office). Tell them you’ll take it home to read through it. Do not let them trick you into signing it right then and there. You may be stuck with something you didn’t count on. Before you take a job as a Personal Trainer make sure you ask lots of questions.
Some contracts say you can't train anywhere else while you are working for them.
If you quit – the contract might say you can't train anywhere else for a period of six months to two years, within a 10 km radius or something like that. So, read through the contract.
If there is something that sounds dodgy – don’t sign it. Look elsewhere for a job.
The contract might say that you have to work a minimum of 4 hours a day (and if you don't have a client, you'll get paid minimum wage).
Some places promise you the world, and then you get something completely different when you start working there.
Some say they'll train you to be a PT - only to find out that you aren't getting paid while you are considered a "student" with them. Ask questions!
If you are self-employed there are many other things to consider: Saving money for taxes, collecting payment, collecting GST, getting a company name, having a lawyer look over all your intake forms, advertising, etc... Make sure to talk to an accountant to lay out your financial plan and have everything in order come tax time, you'll be happy that you did.
3- If you go for an interview or job offer – ask questions:
- Am I a contractor or an employee?
- If I am a contractor, do I come in only when I have a client? Or am I expected to give you a certain amount of time?
- What is the exact wage I can expect per client? And will it be hourly if I don’t have clients?
- If I am an employee will I have set hours? What is expected of me? Will I be doing any cleaning?
- If there are set hours, what is my wage if I don't have clients?
- Do I have to sell the personal training packages or is there someone else for that?
- If I do have to sell - is my wage dependent on what I sell? In other words, do I get a commission? Or do I get less if someone else sells the personal training packages?
- If they tell you that you'll get a raise in the future - ask what that is. And get it in writing! There should be a contract between you and the company. (Stress to them that it's not about the money - but you need to know what to expect!)
- Does the company insure me? Or do I need to get my own insurance?
- If the company insures me - may I see a copy of the insurance papers so I can see what exactly what I’m covered for and what, if anything, I need extra coverage for? If anything happens how will I be protected?
- Does your company pay Workers Compensation (Work Safe BC)? Or is this something I need to get myself?
- Is there any in-house training? If so – what is it?
- Does the company pay for us to get further education? In other words, are there workshops we can attend?
- Are all the other Personal Trainers registered with BCRPA or ACE or Canfitpro? (If they are not registered trainers – don’t work there.)
Some companies tell you they’ll train you – but then try to trick you into paying for something …and it can end up costing you thousands!!
There’s absolutely no problem with asking questions. You need to protect yourself, and your clients and no job is worth the risk. If you are a qualified professional and fit for the job, the right company will be happy to supply you with all this information. Good luck!