I would say that most new personal trainers are faced with a massive dilemma in terms of what type of gym they would like to work in. Unfortunately there is no one universal answer, so if you know you want to go for a gym but you are not sure which one this article should help you narrow down you focus.

First of all you should consider where you stand in terms of your needs in order to live a happy and balanced life. Here are the 5 simple questions I ask students to help them be more aware of what they need from a job to make it sustainable.

Here we go:

  1. How much money do you need to earn as a minim each week once your established?
  2. How many hours can you commit to making the above happen?
  3. How much stability do you need… do you need an employed job or could you be self-employed?
  4. How far will you travel on a daily basis?
  5. Can you commit to being in the gym at peak hours?

These simple questions should help you better understand what you need form a job in the fitness industry, this is a step that a great deal of new personal trainers do not follow. So they tend to just accept the first job that comes along rather than looking for what is the right fit for them!

Next you have to understand the types of job roles that exist in the fitness industry and in particular within the gym environment. These are split down into two main categories… you are either employed or self-employed. So lets discuss you various options:

Employed – you have a traditional model of employment where your employer pays you no matter what your output is. You will get holiday and sick pay and the employer will take care of all the business stuff. Now there are some PT jobs that are classed as employed but most would be instructional or management. The main perk of this method is that you are stable, you know exactly what you are going to earn each month and it is always there. Downside is there is a limit to your earnings and your freedom.

Self-employed – you work for yourself so you decide when you come in, you book your clients, you market yourself, your responsible for your tax and national insurance. You basically have a business within a business. There are many perks to this in terms of freedom and earning potential. The major things that scare newer PTs is the stability, however if you market yourself correctly and run your business well this is not an issue.

Within the self-employment category gyms tend to have 3 different approaches to charging you to use their facilities and have access to their membership base.

These are:

Hours for rent – this is where you work on the gym floor or teaching classes without payment in exchange that all your personal training revenue is yours. This is a great way to work when you first set out as you are time rich and generally cash poor. Additionally the number one way to get client is to be in the gym so you would have to be there anyway. Downside can be for very successful trainers that if they fill their quota of clients and are stuck for time you still have to do your hours on the gym floor.

Commission – this model is mainly used in some of the higher end gyms, the gym will take a commission off you per session that you deliver. The amount can vary massively and a lot o the time is down to your negotiation skills at day one! Now the plus side of this is that you have no on going time or money commitment so if you do zero personal training sessions you pay zero and do zero hours. It gives a great deal of flexibility. However in most cases overall you end up paying out much more money than you would for any of the other models.

Rent – this is a great model for most trainers, as it gives you the freedom to work as and when you want you will not be tied into teaching classes or doing hours, you will keep all your personal training money and you are free to work when you wish. Basically this system is like paying rent on a flat, you pay your money and you get access to the gym and the members.

I would take some real time in choosing where you are going to set up, it is always better to take a little longer to find the right gym for you than to rush in and spend months establishing yourself, just to change gyms a few months later and be starting all over again!