Back to Blog

Successfully Choosing the Right Personal Training Business Model

running on a treadmill

Personal training is a thriving and growing part of the fitness industry with total revenue in the U.S at $9 billion. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs available in the United States is estimated to grow by 10% by 2026. Growth is expected to continue to rise steadily in the future. 

There are a ton of different ways to be successful in the fitness industry. Whether you’re just starting out as a personal trainer or looking to improve your current model, the right business model could help you achieve your goals more effectively. In this article, we will discuss how to choose the right business model for your business and the difference between each personal training business model.

Why Do You Need a Personal Training Business Model? 

As with any business, the more planning and preparation, the better. A business model describes the logic of a company, how it works and what its success will be based on. Think of it as your roadmap or blueprint for success. It helps you figure out a number of elements such as how you will stay competitive, your business concept and all your revenue and costs plans. 

Define How You Make Money 

At its core, your business model defines how you will make money. For a business to be sustainable, it goes without saying that it needs to make money. For example, if you wanted to sell activewear products, your business model would include an online store. Ultimately, a business lives on its earning and costs so understanding how your business makes money is essential. 

Understand Business Position and Competition 

Your business model will outline how your business offers services and how much you’ll charge. This will help define your business position and what differentiates you from your competition your unique selling point. You might want to position yourself as a high-end personal trainer offering one-on-one training or perhaps offer group training in a bootcamp-style. Your business model defines your position and helps you to communicate your offerings effectively. 

3 Things Successful Business Models Have in Common  

Before we delve into specific personal training business models that you can apply to your company, let’s take a look at the three traits that successful business models share. These attributes help to build a strong and well-planned business model. 

Align With Brand Goals and Values 

Once you define what your company is and the services it’s offering, the business model supports the “how” behind all this. Some models will match the company goals and values and others won’t. If you start a business based on an irrelevant business model, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Pick a model that complements your mission and supports your goals and values. 

Robust Business Model 

As with any part of the business, planning is key. Whether it’s your business plan or business model, a lot of thought and consideration needs to go into it. After all, it’s how you’ll be making money. You need a robust business model that’s still going to be effective even a year or two after implementation. When thinking about your business model consider the resources you have available, current and future consumer trends, and if it can be easily copied by your competition. One key factor to consider is the systems you have in place to run your business. While a lot of personal trainers still run their business on pen, paper, and spreadsheets, more and more are now using a gym management software system. 

Leave Room For Innovation 

You might not get everything right the first time around when it comes to your business model. This is normal so leave room for innovation. If your business model is too rigid and relies heavily on everything you thought being completely correct, you might come into a roadblock further down the line. Create a business model that you can improve on and re-evaluate over time. This leaves room for innovation and gives you the ability to adapt to ever-changing consumer trends. 

7 Killer Personal Training Business Models 

As a personal trainer, you can have flexible hours, work independently and see massive changes in your clients. People go to a personal trainer for inspiration, motivation and professional guidance. You may want to stick to one business model or combine different models to suit your mission and overall goals. Here are seven ways you can set up your personal training business. 

1. Small-Group Training  

Group training is all the rage right now. People now want professional guidance and individualized attention without the hefty price tag of an individual personal training session. This is where group personal training comes in. The fitness and personal training environment has changed over the past several years. You can now combine a group exercise setting with the experience of a personal trainer.

Group training has evolved into military-style bootcamps, yoga, HIIT classes, CrossFit, circuit training and more. The exercise classes are usually carried out in one-hour slots throughout the week. You could either offer a monthly subscription package, a pay-as-you-go option or blocks of 10. By offering a monthly subscription package, you benefit from having a more guaranteed monthly income. However, a pay-as-you-go option may be great for new members to try out your class before signing up.    

With group training, you can deliver a high-quality program to multiple people. A standard class can range from 10 clients to over 20, depending on your venue and class type. The potential low start-up cost can be seen as both a positive and negative. The low cost means you don’t need a huge investment to get started however, it also means there will probably be a greater amount of competition. With group training-style classes, make sure your business has a unique selling point that stands out in a saturated market.  

If you’re interested in starting your own bootcamp business, we’ve put together a guide to help you get off the ground. Find out the steps you need to take to open a successful outdoor business bootcamp

2. Online Personal Trainer 

Thanks to innovations in technology, online or virtual coaching is now a popular way to deliver personal training services. Through different platforms, clients are coached over email, by phone, through apps, skype and instant messaging. As an online business, you have the potential to reach clients from around the world without the need to visit anyone physically. This means you have no venue costs unless online coaching is an additional service that you offer to your clients. 

The Customer
Engagement Playbook
for Your Fitness

Discover more

Online training gives you plenty of flexibly to work with your clients. It also gives your clients plenty of flexibility and a program that works entirely around their schedule. Prices can range from $30 to $300 per month. Depending on the service and accessibility, the price can vary massively. An online coach can offer personalized advice and instructions, customized workouts and even provide nutritional help. 

The downside of this as a business model is that it takes a lot more sales and marketing to grow an online community and business. It may be harder to get clients to commit long-term online than when you’re face-to-face. Offering the right service at the right price will help to nail down clients and support them on their fitness journey. 

3. Semi-Private Training 

Semi-private training lands in-between group training and private training. With this type of business model, you’re looking at training a group of three or four clients as opposed to over 10. Training is carried out in much smaller groups and clients are usually offered a custom program with individualized assessment and support. Clients get to experience the social element of working out in a group but benefit even more from the close attention of the personal trainer. 

Classes can vary in length from 30 minutes to an hour. Similar to the group training model, semi-private training is usually based around a monthly subscription pricing structure. However, you can easily offer a cost-per-session structure too. The pricing tends to be individualized and built around the client which usually helps the client to stay motivated. The disadvantage of this type of model is that it’s down to you to ensure you have enough clients per session. If you end up with one or two clients per session then you could lose a considerable amount of money. 

Learn more about setting up a successful personal training business from thought leaders with these excellent resources:

4. Workshops 

Workshops provide an opportunity to do something slightly different as a personal trainer. A business can hire you to provide a workshop for its employees. Whether it’s to give advice about general wellbeing and offer insight into how to get moving regularly, workshops give you the ability to reach an audience you might not have previously been able to. Although this may not be a full-time business model, workshops can easily combine with other models to provide different streams of income. 

One of the biggest advantages with workshops is that the company usually provides the venue, you’re just called in as an expert to offer wellbeing and movement advice. You can also host your own fitness workshop as a way to bring in revenue. Focus on a specific topic involving some demonstrations and hands-on practice. You can target the general public as well as other personal trainers, depending on your experience.  

5. Private Training 

Private training or one-on-one training tends to be for those on a higher budget. The training is usually carried out in the clients’ home or at a gym. They can last up to 60 minutes and in some cases more, depending on the services you offer. Private training generally includes an assessment, personalized advise and instruction on a one-to-one level. The price can range from $350 to well over $1,000 per month. 

There is a big demand for private training and the majority of startup costs tend to be low, especially when training in the clients’ home. If you’re targeting high-end customers with a large disposable income then technically you don’t need a ton of clients to turn a profit. However, due to the type of work it is, it may be hard to raise your prices. Due to the higher monthly price for personal training even just one client dropping off could impact your bottom line.  

6. Camps and Retreats 

Nowadays, there are so many ways a fitness professional can grow their business. Fitness camps and retreats present numerous opportunities. Retreats can come in all shapes and sizes from a weekend urban escape to a week-long fitness bootcamp. With immersive experiences in beautiful locations, retreats offering boutique-style fitness in an intimate setting is a great way to boost revenue. 

Consider partnering up with fitness professionals who offer complementary services. As a personal trainer, it might be beneficial to bring in a sports massage therapist or nutritionist. All these elements add value to the retreat and will be a hit with clients. When planning your retreat give yourself plenty of time to get everything in place and perfect. Research your destination and offer different pricing plans. This is especially useful when you’re hosting an international retreat with a heftier price tag. Attractive payment plans include early bird options as well as a split payment scheme. 

7. Fixed Term Challenges 

The majority of people look to a personal trainer to help them meet a specific goal. Whether that’s lifting a certain weight, dropping a few dress sizes or being able to run a 10K without stopping. These kinds of personal training packages are offered at a standard price to help the client achieve a long-term goal. The packages may last up to 12 weeks with the aim of motivating the client to reach their objective.  

The price you charge per pack of sessions is down to you and can range massively from business to business. If you’re offering packages, make sure that you have planned your schedule properly and can accommodate everything into your day. Packages are perfect for adding additional revenue however you need to have a big enough market to support ongoing challenges. Therefore, offering seasonal packages may be a great way to combine this with another business model. This may look like a bikini bod package before summer or a post-Christmas slim down in January. 

In Summary 

No matter what personal training business model you choose, they all serve a similar function which is to identify how you will make money. Many of the business models complement one another and would work seamlessly together. By choosing the right business model you can position your services, stand out from the competition and achieve success.  


Table of contents

Table of content

We empower you to boost your business

"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

  • flydown-9round
  • flydown-f45
  • flydown-snap-fitness
  • flydown-BMF
  • row-house
  • flydown-spartans