Business Information for Personal Trainers

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personal_trainer_with_client             If you perform independent personal training, or if you are the one in charge of establishing the pricing procedures for your company, you will want to spend some significant time planning out your pricing structure and billing procedures.  I have used many approaches throughout the years but in my opinion one method produces superior results.

            Generally trainers offer training to their clients as either a block number of sessions or as a scheduled number of sessions per week.  I encourage the later because that is how most people think about exercise – people have been told repeatedly to workout 3 times a week to be healthy; they haven’t been told it will take 36 sessions to achieve results.  When presenting the options to the client, even if both options are really the same number of sessions per week, the monthly option seems less.  Just working out 2 times a week for 2 months is actually a small personal training program, but buying 16 sessions might “feel” like more to the client.  As trainers we want our clients to get into the habit of working with us.  We want to them to train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8 am.  That is good for them as it gets them into a set fitness routine.  Do you randomly perform your own workouts?  Most trainers find they have a certain time of the day and certain days per week that they exercise – we want our clients to view fitness the same way we do.  In addition this is more ideal for trainers as it lends itself to a more regular work schedule and more steady income stream.

            Whether you offer monthly sessions or just a block number of sessions, all personal training contracts (at least those that consist of more than an orientation or just a few introductory sessions) should automatically renew until they are canceled by the client.  This is key.  This is not something sneaky that you don’t tell the clients about, it should be clearly written into the contract and the client should initial that line of the contract.  It should be easy for clients to cancel after their initial term (generally a written notice of intent to cancel is required) but the contracts should automatically renew.  Again we want the clients to get into the habit of paying for personal training, it should just become another monthly bill for them.  Your cable company doesn’t call and ask you every month if you want to keep watching cable, it just assumes you do and it automatically renews.  Personal training should be the same way.  Each time you ask a client if they want to continue using your services, they might say no.  The best thing to do is to simply avoid the question all together.

            A personal training price sheet should include, at the minimum, 3 items.  Workout programs should be available for those that just need help with program design.  You can charge what you see fit for these, $50-$200 per program is reasonably standard.  The price varies based on how individualized the program is, how long the client can follow it for, and your own experience with the subject matter (a trainer with 10 years of experience will charge more than one just getting started in the business).  Nutrition programs should be available for those that need help with that aspect of fitness.  Much like a workout program, $50-$200 per nutrition program is standard (I am assuming one is certified in nutrition like all NPTI students are to offer this advice).  You should also check with the state guidelines on this – in Virginia you can give any advice you like.  And of course one on one personal training options should be available.  General clients should be able to choose to train between one and five times per week, for a set period of time.  3 and 6 month long options are very common in the industry, personally I prefer to sell 2 month long programs.  It really comes down to your confidence in your ability to retain a client once you work with them for a while.  In my opinion retention rate is the single best indicator of a successful personal trainer.  If you feel confident that after 2 months of working with the client they will retain your services, there is no need to sell them on a longer package.  Indeed, the price per session is likely lower on a 6 month plan versus a 2 month plan, so in reality if the client trains for 6 full months the trainer will make more by selling them a 2 month program that just continues versus a 6 month plan up front. 



            I find 2 months to be ideal because most clients know they will need at least 2 months to make noticeable progress toward their goals.  As a trainer that prefers to deal with more serious clients, if a client isn’t willing to make at least a 2 month commitment I am not that excited about working with them in the first place.  2 months is a relatively easy sell versus even 3 months, let alone a 6 or 12 month package, and most importantly 2 months is long enough for the trainer to make an impression on the client.  The client should see and feel the full value of working with a trainer after that time period, and the client should be in the habit of working with the client at the end of those 2 months. 



            I certainly encourage giving a discount per weekly session purchased to reward the client for training with the personal trainer more regularly.  Outlined below is a very simple, yet highly effective, price sheet for a personal trainer to use with their clients.  This could be dressed up and customized as you see fit (and should be as you would present this to the client for them to look over).  You can add things like group/buddy training, training clients at home, etc, this is meant to be a starting point.  Each session is 60 minutes long.


                                                   Rock Hard Training

                                                      Personal Training Prices

                                        2 Month Long Personal Training Contract

Sessions Per Week

Price Per Session

Monthly Sessions/

Price Per Month

Total Sessions/

Total Purchase Price



4/ $400 per month

8/ $800 total price



8/ $760 per month

16/ $1520 total price



12/ $1020 per month

24/ $2040 total price



16/ $1280 per month

32/ $2560 total price



20 $1500 per month

40/ $3000 total price

Personal Training contract comes with exercise program and nutrition program


                        3 Month Workout Program:                                                                 $150

                        3 Month Nutrition Program:                                                                 $150

                        3 Month Workout and Nutrition Program Combo:                                   $250

                        3 Month Workout and Nutrition Program Starter Package

                                    Includes 1 assessment and 2 personal training sessions:          $500


            In looking at the above price sheet, the price per session decreases if the client trains more frequently per week.  Generally it decreases $5 per weekly session, although there is a $10 decrease when going from 2 to 3 times per week to help incentivize the client to make that commitment and sign up for the extra time per week.  The nutrition program and workout program options are good for those “clients” that are unlikely to sign up for personal training anyway, and they are nice fall backs to have during the negotiating process when the trainer is attempting to make the sale.  You can often use a reasonably standard workout template (you might have a size, strength, and fat loss template program for example) which then you customize for each client to reduce the time you spend on program design.

            With the above contract I would suggest the trainer encourage the client to pay for the services on a monthly basis, at the start of each month (and before the services have been rendered).  Again this helps get the client into the habit of paying for a trainer each month.  This also helps the trainer have a more stable monthly income which mimics most other jobs.  If the client always pays in full (PIF) and upfront, the trainer has to do a good job of budgeting their income as they may find there is a reasonable length of time between one payment and the next.  The contract should renew on a monthly basis so if a client agrees to the 2 month, 3 times a week initially, they are committing to pay $1020 per month for 2 months and then the contract just renews month to month after that.  Clients should be able to pay with check, cash, or credit card.  If the client agrees to the monthly payment the trainer can just run the card at the beginning of each month.  Of course client information should be kept in a safe and secure fashion.  Currently there are apps and other technological devices to allow smaller, independent companies to bill with credit cards.  Trainers should be aware that there is a usually a 2.5% service charge for using a credit card.



            I am including a sample contract that you might use with your clients found here  You can modify this (anything in bold should be personalized), create your own, or download something from the web.  You might find to be useful for the generation of individualized contracts.  It is always a good idea to have a lawyer look over anything that you hope to be considered legally binding and that you personalize.

            Good personal trainers need to know a heck of a lot about fitness, nutrition, exercise, and they need to know how to deal with a variety of personalities.  But none of that does one any good if you don’t have any clients to work with.  Business acumen is an important part of being a successful trainer, but not everyone has that knowledge coming out of the gate.  The goal of this article was to provide you with some information in that regard, it is my hope that you find it useful.


  1. This a great resource for personal trainers. I work with my clients in a semi private setting and everyone signs up for automatic recurring billing or else I charge an additional service charge. In addition to making the billing process easier each month it reduces administrative time for me. I'm good at coaching but not necessarily the best at billing and clerical work. This type of billing system allows trainers to focus on their strengths.

  2. Nice! It is really an amazing resource for personal trainers. I am so glad that I visit this post & collect lots of information regarding this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey! We are also providing personal trainer to customer to guide them so as to improve their fitness. Thanks for sharing the ideas. I will apply all these ideas in my business growth.


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