Is It Possible to Make Six Figures as a Personal Trainer?

Personal training sessions alone make it difficult to generate large incomes.

Personal training sessions alone make it difficult to generate large incomes.

It’s possible to make $100,000 or more as a personal trainer, especially if you’re willing to expand what you offer and take on contractors. While you can make six figures selling one-on-one training sessions, you’ll need to work a 40-hour week, 50 weeks a year at $50 an hour, or charge more than that and still keep a very busy schedule. Creating a long-term plan to develop varied income streams will help you maximize your potential as a fitness professional.

Run the Numbers

If you work in an area with an affluent clientele and can maintain lots of bookings, you can work half time and generate more than $100,000 in revenue. Working just 20 hours a week at $100 per hour will let you take a two-week vacation and still bring in six figures. That is probably not realistic for most personal trainers across the country. For example, if you charge only $30 to $40 per hour, you can pretty much forget about a six-figure income, unless you’re willing to work crazy hours six or seven days per week.

Calculate your Expenses

If you’re able to charge $75 or more per hour, you probably won’t be working for a gym or fitness center. This means you’ll have marketing, facility rental, liability insurance, equipment and other business expenses. If you travel to your clients, your driving time cuts into your available billable hours. You’ll pay higher payroll taxes and have to pay for your professional continuing education, membership dues and subscriptions. Before you strike out on your own for a higher hourly paycheck, calculate your total expenses to see if it’s worth it.

Diversify Your Income Streams

One way to increase your income without increasing your hours is to expand what you sell. In addition to offering one-on-one training sessions, offer corporate wellness lectures, classes or counseling. Get certified as a fitness instructor and teach classes. Health-conscious individuals might not be able to afford regular $40-an-hour personal sessions, but a dozen people might be happy to pay $10 for an hour workout, tripling your hourly revenue. Become a rep for fitness equipment, apparel and nutritionals you believe in. You’ll be doing your health-conscious clients a favor while you add a revenue stream to your business.

Hire Pros to Work for You

Find young trainers looking to break into the business and offer to act as a mentor, bringing them onto your team. You provide them value by teaching them what you know, promoting them via your website and social media network and giving them a place to train customers, if you have your own location. Factor in your hard costs to bring them into your studio and the time you’ll spend promoting them when you set their rates and decide on your cut. Make sure you have them sign no-compete clauses so when they are ready to strike out on your own, they don’t take your clients with them. Qualified trainers looking to work part-time to supplement their incomes without dealing with the business side of things might be your best long-term bet.

Ramp Up your Marketing

It doesn’t matter what you offer or what you charge if the public doesn’t know about you. To make six figures, you’ll need high-quality, sustained marketing. This will include a professional website and a presence via social media sites, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and a blog. Create a brand that sets you apart from other trainers in your area and develop a referral program that rewards clients from sending you new customers.

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About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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