The most popular question I hear regarding personal training is, “how much can I make as a personal trainer?” The most frequent approach to earning money as a personal trainer is to work in a gym. When individuals initially contemplate becoming a trainer, they consider the big gyms and their salaries. While certifying organizations like NASM like to claim that their typical trainer makes $42k, the fact is that the gyms pay the most.
However, private or online personal training is more lucrative for established or aspiring trainers.
I’ve created this piece to assist trainers in understanding what renowned gym companies pay their trainers and some insider knowledge on what private and online trainers may make. I’ll also cover the three central compensation systems for trainers and give you advice from a seasoned personal trainer who has worked in gyms, private studios, and online.
“How can I know what type of payment system the gym I wish to work at has?” you may wonder. Great question. Let’s answer it below.
How Famous Gyms Pay Their Trainers:
That being said, I wanted to go further and obtain some responses from actual trainers who work at or have worked for several well-known gym companies.
The Fitness Mentors team went out to many gym chains and their existing staff and performed a poll on Facebook with current and former students to learn about current payment systems and trainer compensation. This information is supplied below. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these gyms or anything else you’d like to add in the comments so we can update this page.
Requirements of GYM Instructor
Before You Can Be Paid, You Must Become Certified:
Accredited personal trainer certification is required to work in personal training or at a large box gym like 24-Hour Fitness. Gyms prefer certified trainers because they establish credibility. We offer an entire essay on the most acceptable personal trainer certifications where you can compare ten major personal trainer certification organizations. Read this post if you want to know how to become a trainer and what you need to do to get there.
Many gyms may accept you without a certification, and others will even demand you to go through their internal certification process, so it is best to inquire what their criteria are first. A proper personal trainer certification will allow you to work in more places than just that one gym, which you should consider as your career progresses.
But before you enter the personal training employment market, it pays to grasp some of the prevalent wage structures, so you know what to anticipate.
Three Pay Structures for Gym Personal Trainers
When you begin your search for gyms that will give you meaningful employment, you may anticipate one of three wage structures:
- Commercial fitness center
- Self-employed personal trainer
- 1099 individual trainer
1. Gym Pay Structure
The gyms that force you to acquire clients tend to pay the best in the gym sector. The gyms that feed you clients will also pay you the least.
Commercial gyms usually pay minimum wage to “work the floor” and recruit new members. By genuinely training clients, you will earn more each hour as you grow the gym’s income. Commercial gyms frequently pay a commission on expensive personal training packages.
2. Gym Pay Structure for Personal Trainers
They are not exposed to as many prospective clients as they would be on a vast gym floor and only get paid when they train. If you are self-employed or a freelance personal trainer, you may be able to establish ties with more minor, privately owned gyms to bring in your clientele.
Read More: Do You Need a Qualification to be a Trainer?
The drawback is that you have to pay the gym to coach your customer. For example, I used to pay a non-chain gym $15 a session to train my customer. I could charge my customer whatever I wanted, and no one could force me to sell more training sessions. You are operating your own business. Thus you are responsible for bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, advertising, sales, and lead creation.
3. Gym Pay Structure 1099
Unlike the self-employed trainer model. The gym has a connection with its clientele. 1099 is a tax document for independent contractors, while a W2 is for employees. The gym does not hire you as a personal trainer in this pay structure. But contracts with you to make money on personal training and avoid employee costs.
For example, when you hire a plumber to repair your broken toilet. They get paid for their services but not your employees. The personal trainer and the gym typically share the gym’s fees 50/50. You’d get paid $30 if the gym charged $60 for an hour session. The gym takes the client’s money and then pays you, the trainer. Because the personal trainer is not an employee, the gym does not set aside any revenue for taxes.