Steps to ensure the success of your personal training business

Steps to ensure the success of your personal training business

Posted on 13th January 2020 by

For many personal trainers, running your own business can be a highly rewarding and profitable route to take.

As well as providing you with the flexibility to have all your work on your terms, it gives you the option of working from any location.

Before taking the plunge, it helps to have some experience working in a gym beforehand as a PAYE employee. This will give you the opportunity to organically build up a steady following before feeling the financial strains of renting your own space. It also offers you the chance to be around other more experienced personal trainers, who you can observe and learn from.

The definitive remedy for success at the start of any new business is dedicating time, being persistent and making sure you’re doing something that you love. Putting in the time will feel effortless if it’s something you are genuinely enjoying. Along with these fundamental ingredients, there’s seven other crucial pointers you should consider to guarantee the success of your personal training business.

Get insured

If you do one to one training with clients from their home and accidentally knock over an antique vase or break the tv, PL insurance will protect you from financial costs incurred to replace the items

Public Liability Insurance helps to protect fitness professionals who are working directly with the public. No matter how professional you may be, accidents out of your control can happen. If you are hit with a compensation claim for damage from either a client or a member of the public, Public Liability Insurance will cover legal costs for defending claims and pay compensation awarded to a claimant, if you are found to be at fault.

Do you keep in contact with your clients using your phone, laptop or iPad? For many personal trainers, these devices are key for liaising with clients, scheduling appointments, snapping client progression shots and posting on social media.

As well as your professional life, these devices are a huge part of our personal lives. In a survey conducted by OfCom, 71% of people surveyed confess to never turning off their phones, with 78% of people saying they couldn’t live without it.

If your portable equipment is lost or stolen, Portable Equipment Insurance will keep you protected. At Caunce O’Hara we quickly resolve claims, either fixing or replacing your device. To find out more, call our team on 0333 321 1403.

Ensure the success of your personal training business - Man using portable work devices

Get qualified

Before you become a personal trainer, it’s important to gain the necessary qualifications. As well as having one or more of the compulsory training qualifications such as a Level 2 or Level 3 certificate in Fitness Instructing, it’s excellent to have other more general qualifications such as First Aid training. If an incident occurs and you’re training at a time when they’re no first aiders around or if you’re working from your own studio, the responsibility in an emergency could be solely on you.

If you’re offering dietary advice, such as meal planning, you should consider registering for a nutritional course. While you may have done your research and gained nutritional understanding from other fitness industry professionals, gaining more in-depth factual knowledge on the science behind nutrition will enable you to give out more thorough and individualised advice. Nutritionists and dietitians undertake years of studying to be able to give out the most accurate advice, considering the long-term implications diet has on an individual, not just the short term, especially when eating in a calorie deficit.

As well as building a trustworthy reputation, gaining the necessary credentials will build your confidence too.

Find your specialism

Personal training is a competitive industry which is why it helps to define what is unique about your offering. You can expect that every personal trainer will offer general advice on training. Providing a specialised service is what will truly give you the power to excel. If you know your speciality, you can refine your marketing and appeal to a tailored group of people who’ll seek you out for your industry expertise.
Areas you can specialise in are:

  • Body building
  • Marathon training
  • Endurance training
  • Training for a specific sport i.e. cycling or gymnastics
  • Physical activity for a specific age range e.g. pensioners
  • Exercise plans for a specific body type e.g. overweight individuals
  • Training plans for new mums
  • Group training

Gymnastic athlete in training

Register your business

One of the first things you should do after deciding to set up a PT business is register your company. You can register in one of three ways: as a sole trader, limited company or in partnership with someone else. Registering as a sole trader carries financial risk as it means you are personally responsible for any losses your business makes. Forming a limited company on the other hand means your business finances are separate from your personal finances. Having a limited company comes with more reporting and management responsibilities but is often the preferred option.

Utilise PR and Marketing

As a PT you are your biggest marketing tool. The way you look and your own demonstrated levels of fitness will greatly impact a customer’s decision on which PT to go for. With this in mind, having both images of yourself and client results visible on social media channels will help you get noticed.

Being proactive with a range of PR and marketing opportunities will build your credibility quicker. If you don’t know much about marketing, there are many free resources and guides online available for you to read through. Taking part in local initiatives and charity work, such as in schools, is a good way to get your name out there and in the local press.

You could contact your local paper and put yourself forward as an expert speaker, should they need a quote for any fitness related stories.

Once your business is underway and you find yourself busy with clients, you could hire a PR and Marketing professional to seek out opportunities on your behalf.

Female personal trainer lifting arm weight from plank position

Keep on top of your finances

If you’re setting up a limited company, working with an accountant can be of great benefit. Calculating your taxes can be complex and hard to get right. If you’re working with an accountant, you can have peace of mind knowing your finances are being processed efficiently. It also means you can spend more time in the gym and less time sat behind a desk working on figures. Make sure you set up a business bank account and record all your earnings. If you are dealing with your finances yourself, take the time to thoroughly read HMRC guidance on tax liabilities.

Before you commit to opening your own business be sure that what you’re doing is financially viable. Do you have savings in place in case something goes wrong? If hiring a studio is breaking your budget, wait it out a little bit longer. Build up your client base and monetary reserves further before going completely independent.

More than a number

As your business takes off, remember the value of every single customers. Showing that you care, dedicating your time and providing quality will keep them coming back. When you take a real interest in your client’s, it makes them feel valued. If you focus on the money and give no heart or personalisation to what you do, your clients are less likely to be committed to your services in the long run.


Working out which insurance policies are relevant to you can be difficult to get your head around. Call our friendly team on 0333 321 1403; they’ll be happy to help you with any insurance or IR35 queries.

Related Articles:

How to keep your personal training business going through COVID-19

Steps to ensure the success of your personal training business

Establishing yourself as a freelance Personal Trainer with Simon Long

Tips to grow your PT business


Author Katherine Ducie, Marketing Executive