The fitness industry in the United Kingdom is at an all-time rise and new opportunities are always available for those who value fitness. One of the most exciting, high paying, and interesting careers in the industry is the path of a Personal Trainer. This career choice is not exactly what you would call a “walk in the park” but it is a very satisfying and fulfilling, and it is definitely worth the hard work, patience, and qualifications that you require to be successful. All this hard work and dedication makes one wonder: is it worth it? Google claims that the average income for a Personal Trainer in the United Kingdom is £32,603, but there is no way to accurately gauge what type of profits you will make in this specific fitness career choice. Income as a Personal Trainer truly varies from professional to professional. Your revenues will be dependent on your qualifications, location, and your own personal ambition. You must be savvy to be successful in the UK fitness world and you must be able to understand the ins-and-outs of the industry.
One factor that majorly affects your expected income is how long you’ve worked at it. Naturally, if you’re a PT who has recently earned all their qualifications, you’re not going to make as much as a trainer who has been in the industry for years. New Personal Trainers tend to take on lower-paying jobs in facilities, rather than freelancing on their own. As a newcomer, it is much easier and faster to advance in your career when you’re affiliated with some type of fitness club or gym. In the first year of employment, you’re expected to earn around £16k – £22k in a gym setting, but again this varies from your ambitions, qualifications, and choice of venue.
You can increase your profits while working in a facility by spreading out your services among several different fitness training areas. Health clubs always have a variety of courses and the more that you do, the more you’ll make. The more versatile your services, the more ground you’ll cover. You could offer such classes as Yoga & Pilates, Zumba, or Boxercise, but you could also specialise in areas like weight management or conditioning training. Offering more classes to more individuals can increase your profits by £20-£30 an hour.
Personal Trainer’s increase their profits by significantly by earning the required qualifications to run fitness boot camps and circuit training. Specialising in niches increases a Personal Trainer’s earnings by reaching out to specific clients who are looking for a specific type of fitness experience. Specialising in sport-specific areas connects you to high-paying clientele. Not only will working at a facility will offer many valuable learning experiences and support as you step into this new and exciting world, it will also introduce you to a client base that you can refer to after you’ve decided to go out your own. The more clients that you recruit, the more money that you make.
It is not impossible to begin your PT career by freelancing your services, but it is not very easy. With some hard work, dedication, and marketing, Personal Trainers can make a very decent income by selling their services without the third-party health club. Once you establish yourself in the industry, you will be able to train clients on your own without the fitness club or gym taking out a percentage of your earnings. In the United Kingdom, freelance trainers can earn upwards to £75k a year, but again, that number depends on the PT’s personal dedication, qualifications, and how many clients they work with.
Where you decide to work greatly impacts the type of money that you will make in the industry. Just a simple change in venue greatly affects your revenue. There is a great difference between the incomes of a Personal Trainer at a local gym in comparison to the income of a Personal Trainer in a country club. Your clientele affects everything; high paying clientele means high paying jobs. Competition within your venue affects everything; if you’re in an environment with a large trainer to member ratio, your expected revenues will be less than they would be in a club that restricts how many trainers they allow in their field.
Almost all PT’s in the United Kingdom will work within these three spheres: employment by a fitness club, freelancing within the fitness club and freelancing outside of the club under your own management. All three of these positions instil the same responsibilities with differences in location, schedule flexibility, and income.
Working under the employment of a fitness club is pretty self-explanatory – personal Trainers are directly employed by a specific fitness and health club. Most PT’s who are employed by a club earn their income on a pay-as-you-earn-basis, rather than a steady salary. In this venue, trainers are allowed to bring in clients of their choosing, as well as clients that are assigned to the club. In the United Kingdom alone, roughly 10% of PT’s work in an employed-by-club capacity. The average income for a Personal Trainer in this position is around £24 to £28k a year, but this varies with the quality of the establishment. If you work in a flashy and expensive fitness club, you’re more likely to be paid more than working at a local gym. Although working under an establishment is usually the first step that one takes, some trainers spend their entire careers within the walls of a fitness club. They start out small, in an entry-level position and gradually work their way to the top, gaining experience so that they can be transferred to more high-end locations to earn a higher income. Trainers who have worked in the business long enough sometimes have the option to manage a fitness club, where they earn even more money. If you plan on running your own self-employed PT business, it is in your best interest to start small by working at a local gym. Being employed by a Health and Fitness club is the best way to step into this world of fitness, simply because you can connect and build relationships with potential clientele.
However, working as a freelancer in a club is a completely different situation. Freelance PT’s work for themselves, market themselves, and they are their own bosses while they use an already established fitness club to hold their classes. Freelance Personal Trainers rent the club to use the facilities, but the club does not refer new clients to the trainer. This means that the PT can work with clients within the establishment’s walls, but they must find the clients on their own. This is an ideal situation for a PT who has already worked in a club environment and built up a clientele base. Again, the expected income varies on the establishment and the clientele, but the average freelancing PT can earn £40 to £60k a year. Your income depends on your dedication towards your work, how many clients you secured, and how many hours you work. There is serious competition when one is freelancing in a club and because of that, your income is greatly affected. It is best to choose a club that has a select amount of trainers, rather than a club that allows as many trainers as possible, to cut down on the competition. The ideal trainer-to-member ratio is 3 to 1000, but a hardworking PT can become successful even with a significantly higher ratio. Working in this environment can be stressful and extremely difficult, which causes most new PT’s to quit before their fitness careers truly take off, but if you stay committed and you obtain the necessary qualifications, you will become successful. In the UNITED KINGDOM, you are required to have these four qualifications to become a PT: Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification, Personal Training qualifications, First Aid Certificate, and Personal Trainer Insurance. Despite the competition and stress, the only downside of this position is that you have to pay rent towards the establishment. Sometimes it is affordable, but sometimes rent can be as expensive as £1k a month in the United Kingdom. Just remember to do your research on the facility before you begin freelancing there.
The third position for a Personal Trainer is self-employment. Self-employment is another form of freelancing, but in these circumstances, you are not renting your time at a facility. Independent personal trainers obtain and secure clients by their own means, without the support of a Fitness and Health club. Independent Personal Trainers usually work with clients in the comfort of their homes, but once a PT has built up enough revenue, they can rent a studio where they host their own clients. Of course, this is quite an expensive goal and it’ll take some serious time to build up a loyal client base, but it is possible for a savvy entrepreneur. There have been cases of PT’s making upwards to six figures a year in the United Kingdom, but that of course, is when the business is actually successful. Financially, being an independent Personal Trainer is a dream job for someone who works in the industry, but that doesn’t mean that every aspect of the job is ideal.
Being your own boss sounds ideal, but it is not for everyone. Being self-employed comes with a laundry list of challenges and not very many people are prepared to put forth the work. You are in charge of anything, so you can set your own prices, build your own schedule, and work with your own clients, but this freedom is also your own worst enemy. As your own boss, you have absolutely no safety net when mistakes are made. People come into the industry with false expectations and beliefs, because running your own business seems a lot easier than it actually is. As an independent personal trainer, you are vulnerable to high risk and high reward. Some aspiring self-employers enter the field without any business experience and their business goes under in the first year. This position is ideal for an experienced PT who has already acquired all of their qualifications. It is NOT recommended that new Personal Trainers immediately jump to self-employment. To be your own boss as a Personal Trainer you must already have a secure client base and a decent amount of income already established. It is a business so it needs to be managed like a business. It requires a decent amount of knowledge to be successful in this business, but once you do, you can reap some serious rewards.
You can become quite successful as a Personal Trainer, despite what path you decide to choose. Whether you’re working for yourself or under a manager, whether you’re in a gym, a country club, or in the comforts of your own studio, remember that hard work turns into hearty success. Achieving success may be a little difficult, but it is well worth the time, patience, and work that you put into it. Despite how competitive the United Kingdom’s fitness industry is, it is extremely satisfying to build relationships with your clients and push them to reach their goals while you are reaching your own. Stay dedicated, stay committed, stay focused, and work towards your goals until they come true. Enjoy your new journey into the exciting and well-paying career as a Personal Trainer.