I remember thinking back to when I started as a Personal Trainer (PT) and considering how much I could earn. I would think to myself, "Most PTs charge about £30 per hour, and I could easily do 40 hours. That's nearly £5000 per month! I'm going to have so much money!"
Money was never the most significant driver for deciding to become a trainer, but being a student who had lived off eggs, tuna, 9p noodles and the cheapest alcohol money could buy for four long years, to say I was motivated to get out there and earn some money was an understatement.
You can earn a FANTASTIC salary as a Personal Trainer.
If you market yourself appropriately, get great results, deliver excellent customer service and find yourself working out of a gym that doesn't charge a bomb in rent, you can be earning £40000+ within a few years.
But this is rarely the situation the average PT finds themselves in.
There is a reason that 2 out of 3 trainers leave the fitness industry within two years; it is a lot harder than it first seems to get and keep clients, and then turn this into a profitable business.
In this article, I'll aim to breakdown how much you can expect to make as a Personal Trainer.
How Much is the average personal trainer salary?
According to PayScale (August 2018), the average PT can expect to make £19,482.
Within this average, the lowest 10th percentile earned £13,155, and the highest 10th percentile earned £32,897, which shows us we have some variability in how much you can earn. We would assume the lower percentile are working Part-Time (or they are making it harder for the rest of us by charging £10 per hour...)
Should personal trainers earn large salaries?
It’s funny that wanting to earn a good amount of money in the fitness industry is seen as being morally wrong.
If you earn MORE money, you can help more people.
If you’re not earning enough (like I was just after I qualified), you’re forced to make more decisions that are influenced by your financial situation.
Personal Trainers work hard.
The hours are unsocial, and they spend an inordinate amount of relaxation and time off listening to podcasts, reading books and attending seminars about getting better at being a Personal Trainer.
If you’re good at what you do and help people make positive changes in their lives, you deserve a well-paid salary.
What Determines How Much You Can Make?
1. Employment Status
Whether you are employed makes a difference with regards to how much you can earn. Self-employed trainers have more leeway to charge what they want and offer a wider range of services.
Employed trainers do, however, have the benefit of having a set wage, pension, yearly salary increases, bonuses and paid holidays, as well as lower stress levels due to not having to concentrate on business, marketing and branding.
2. Service Offering
Part of what will dictate your salary will be due to what services your business offers.
If your sole offering is working one on one with clients, you’ll have a ceiling in terms of availability to what you can offer your prospective clients. If you provide one on one and small group training, you may be able to increase your per hour income as you’ll be able to charge a higher overall rate.
If you offer a range of services including one on one, small group and online, then your potential for growth (as you can take on more clients for small group and online) may be more substantial.
This is not said to force you to do other things alongside one on one PT; there are plenty of very high-level Personal Trainers only offering one on one and doing it incredibly well. If you’re based in somewhere like New York or London, you can position yourself as incredibly high end and charge a premium for what you offer.
It’s not unheard of to charge £200-500 per session in some big cities.
If you’re based in a bigger City, like London, Edinburgh or Manchester, you’ll be able to charge more for your services.
Higher average salary per resident, higher rent and a higher cost of living all make the standard rate for something like Personal Training that bit more justifiably expensive.
Being in the industry for ten years can easily mean you have lived the same year ten times, but for most trainers, the more experience you get working with clients, the better you’ll get at being a Personal Trainer.
Working with people and understanding the nuances of things like training/ fat loss plateaus and solving parts of how a person moves can only truly be appreciated by gaining experience.
Due to this, the more experienced you become, the more you should be earning.
This is an interesting one as in a lot of professions, the more qualifications you have, the larger your salary. But this is not necessarily the case in personal training as a lot of the “qualifications” are completed to gain things like REPS points that offer very little in the way of improved service or support to your clients. They become more of a box-ticking exercise than genuinely getting better at your craft.
If you’re spending a couple of thousand pounds per year on professional development through conferences, seminars, mentorship programs and books, this should mean you’re charging more year on year as you are getting better and investing in what you do.
Just make sure you’re considering your professional development through the lens of developing your business and supporting your clients and not just doing it to get another qualification.
If you can position yourself as someone who can solve a specific issue for a particular group of people, like the Body Coach, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to earn a high salary.
You’ll be able to charge a premium for something that very few people can offer, and if you use things like social proof, testimonials and before/ after pictures, you’ll have a large amount of authority which will encourage more people to want to act.
7. Quality of Product & Service
If you work at continually improving what you offer, take the feedback your clients give you on board and continuously learn more about things that will help your client base the quality of your personal training service will be ever improving.
In a world where things like shakes and pills and false promises are continuously touted, having a service that does what it says on the tin and delivers results, you’ll be able to charge more money for this.
8. Hours Worked
This one is simple.
More Personal Training sessions completed = more money earned.
This obviously can’t go on forever, and most PTs find a middle ground that tends to sit around 25-40 sessions per week, but there are a few who manage well into the 50s and 60s.
Personal Trainer salary case studies
Below are some hypothetical examples of Personal Trainers who are doing different things and charging different amounts to give you a sample of what your salary could be. These case studies are not based on actual trainers and do not consider things like tax, VAT or taking time off for holidays.
Simon, 2nd-year personal trainer.
Completes on average 20 sessions per week.
Pays £700 per month in gym rent to a studio.
Session Cost = £35
Sessions Completed Per Week = 20 sessions per week
Income Per Week - £35 x 20 = £700
Income Per Year - £700 x 48 (4 weeks holiday) = 33,600
Minus Rent - £700 x 12 = 8,400
Salary - 33,600 - 8,400 = £25,200
Lyndsey, 1st-year personal trainer.
Completes on average ten sessions per week and runs a bodyweight Bootcamp in a local sports hall twice a week.
Pays no gym rent but does 15 hours on the floor in Pure gym.
Session Cost £30
Sessions Completed Per Week - 10
Session Income Per Week - £30 x 10 = £300
Session Income Per Year - £300 x 52 = £15600
Bootcamp Cost - £50 monthly membership fees
Bootcamp Members – 10
Bootcamp Income Per Month - £500
Bootcamp Income Per Year - £6000
Salary = £15600 + £6000 = £21,600
Gary, 4th-year personal trainer.
Works part-time in the Police.
Completes ten sessions per week charging a monthly fee for five clients on two sessions per week.
Pays £10 per session to the gym he rents space out of.
Monthly Session Cost for 2 x PT Sessions Per Week = £360
PT Monthly Income = £1800
PT Yearly Income = £21600
PT Rent - 10x£10 = £100 Per Month
PT Rent Per Year = £1200
Salary = 21600 – 1200 = £20,400
+ His Police salary.
Ashley, 11th-year personal trainer.
Completes 15 sessions per week charging £60 per session.
Pays £750 per month to rent space out of a studio.
Runs an online group training service.
Session Cost - £60
Sessions Completed Per Week - 15
Session Income Per Week - £60 x 15 = £900
Session Income Per Year - £900 x 52 = £46800
Studio Rent = £750x12 = £9000
Online Group Training Cost = £67 Per Month
Online Group Training Members = 25
Online Group Training Income Per Month = £1675
Online Group Training Income Per Year = £20100
Salary = (£46800 - £9000) + £20100 = £57,900
Lisa, a 2nd-year personal trainer.
Completes 12 small group sessions (max four people per session) per week.
Cares for her two kids the rest of the time.
Pays £300 per month rent to a studio.
Twelve small group sessions per month cost = £240
Currently has ten people paying £240 per month
Small Group Training Monthly Income = £2400
Small Group Training Yearly Income = £28800
Rent = £3600
Salary = £25,200
As you’ll see from reading through these, there is a wide variance on how much you can earn as a Personal Trainer. Generally, the more experience you have, the more you can charge for your services.
How Does a Personal Trainers Salary Compare to Other Careers?
Teacher – £27939
Firefighter – £29930
Police Officer – £32500
Accountant – £28541
Estate Agent – £19361
Registered Nurse – £23709
(averages are taken from payscale.com)
How Can You Increase Your Salary?
If you’re self-employed, there are an array of ways you can increase how much you earn.
You can work more hours, but as has been mentioned, this does have a ceiling and something a lot of PTs learn the hard way is that you can easily do too many hours and burnout.
You can increase your prices, which is something that very few trainers do. Our advice would be to bring your current clients rates up to a reasonable level for your local area and then increase to a higher level for any new client who comes in. Just be sure to give your current clients plenty of notice.
Depending on your circumstances, there could also be the opportunity to create another service. You may be doing 121 personal training charging £30 per session, and if you add on a semi-private group training service that costs £20 per person per session, you could be earning up to £120 (6 people x £20). This would also apply for online training. If one of your limitations to earning more is due to hours available to work in person, online training can help this due to you not needing to be somewhere at specific times. Large group training is another model some personal trainers step into.
Lastly, if you’re always increasing your current knowledge and understanding of topics related to being a personal trainer, this may open other opportunities that may include things like becoming a specialist in an area and being known as the expert in this and educating other Personal Trainers.
As Personal Training is becoming more and more critical for its role in helping aid lifestyle-related disease and general wellness, there are opportunities everywhere to earn a good salary if you can be creative and committed enough to find them. Both employed and self-employed career paths offer different pros and cons and depending on things like your location, service offering, qualification and quality of service.
The reality of how much you earn comes down to you deciding how much it is you would like and then working backwards. What do I need to do to make this salary? What do I need to change? How many clients do I need? Work back from those questions and you’ll have a much better understanding.
Thinking About Becoming a Personal Trainer?
If you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer who doesn’t become part of the statistic of not lasting longer than 18 months in the industry and you want to give yourself the best learning platform for becoming a trainer, our course is for you.
The Lift The Bar Training qualification is the industries first personal training course that merges both online and offline learning while also having an extended Applied phase that supports you in the early stages of your new career. Rather than just receiving your qualification and throwing you out into the world (like Sarah experienced above), we guide you so that you get a fantastic platform to build from in one the most challenging stages of your career.
Having worked with 1000’s of personal trainers, the education team at LTB Training have created a 12-month long industry leading personal training course that includes a foundation level 2 and entry level 3 qualification, which allows you to become a fully certified personal trainer. This has been created with practical application at the core and with cutting edge research in mind so that you’re left with no stone unturned for starting off your career as a personal trainer. You’ll then complete our qualification by going through a 6-month applied phase, which teaches you the essentials of how to work with personal training clients and arm you with the knowledge on how to build a business that lasts and helps as many people as possible.
Our next course launches on the 4th of August 2019. You can find out more about what it includes by clicking on the "certification" tab at the top of this page.
The fitness industry is full of myths, misconceptions and bad information. When starting out in your career it’s hard to know what is right, what is wrong and how to tell the difference.
LTB Training educates and mentors thousands of personal trainers around the UK. Our goal is simple. Provide the best education, in order to produce the best personal trainers. In doing so, we hope to be the solution to a failing fitness industry and an increasingly unhealthy population.