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Finding Work as a Personal Trainer

You may also find our pages on 'How to Become a Personal Trainer' and 'Typical Rates of Pay for Personal Trainers' helpful.

This combined with how much will I earn seem to be the two most common questions. Click the link for more information on typical rates of pay for personal trainers.

First step is nearly always - call your local gyms and become a freelancer for them, either running classes or helping out in the cardio / weights rooms for their members who want a personal trainer.

Pros – ready source of income, good place to get your name known, if you’re just starting out it’s a great place to learn the ropes.

Cons – low hourly rate, most gyms have a list of freelances already so work may be slow and infrequent.

Alternatively, or even better at the same time, start the long process of finding work independently. The following is a list of activities you could try, most of which can be done at the same time as holding down a full time job elsewhere.

Something it’s best to discuss right now is most personal trainers fail because they just don’t get enough new clients to be able to make a full time business of it.

As well as being a personal trainer you’re going to have to be your very own sales and marketing guru. Sales is the toughest part of any new business, sure there are lots of people who want to become fitter and healthier but how do you make sure they know about you?

Marketing is simply getting your name out there in a cost effective and sustainable way, you could advertise in a national newspaper or do a TV advert and be seen by millions but this would hardly be cost effective.

Think about who needs and wants to be fitter and healthier, where do they go, what do they do and then think about how you can get your name and face in front of them – SIMPLE! And I bet you thought you were a personal trainer, now you’re also a marketing director of your own company.

How to find work

Word of mouth

Everybody will tell you this is the best way, shame when you’ve start out and don’t know that many people. For starters tell everybody you’re a personal trainer, help family and friends for free and make sure they spread the word. Your family and friends will be you’re toughest critiques.

Life cycles

Think about people’s life cycles and when people want to become fitter, healthier and slimmer, for example:

Weddings – approach wedding shops and ask if they could give flyers and cards out for you.

New mothers – having a baby is a pretty traumatic time and many mums struggle to achieve the shape they aspire to be. Think about where these mums go and put posters up, run free seminars in other words get your name out there in places like - Nurseries, baby clubs, with nannies.

Doctors surgeries – if people haven’t been well health and fitness will definitely be on their minds.

Local clubs – Lots of personal trainers target the obvious i.e. local football and rugby teams. However think a little more outside the box: sailing club, scuba diving clubs, cycle clubs, walking clubs, judo, boxing, karate etc. Any pursuit where being fitter and healthier would be an advantage. Don’t just stick a flyer up, run a free seminar about health and fitness.

Work places 

Put posters up in the canteens, ask local companies to send an email with a special offer / discount to their employees, run free health surgeries at lunchtime.

Local advertising

Be very careful here it’s all too easy to start paying for advertising. Think to yourself would you look for a personal trainer where you’re just about to pay to advertise?

Stick a banner on your car – sounds tacky but somebody could see it and call.

Get a website

People may search for ‘Personal trainer in XXX town’. Don’t get too hung up on building the next Microsoft website, it’s all too easy to spend all your time building a world beating site without having any clients ever see it.

We’ve mentioned above but don’t just put up a few posters, tell a couple of friends, do a bit of work in the local gym and expect to be able to retire. People and clubs especially love free seminars, imagine if you’re running the local yachting club every monthly meeting you need to find something to talk about, what about a free seminar by the local personal trainer on how to improve your sailing skills by nutrition and fitness – perfect. It costs nothing and you’re bound to pick up a few new clients.

Remember sales is hard, very hard and getting new clients is going to take some hard work and effort on your part. You will get one new customer at a time, however if you keep pushing yourself and keep doing the long hours with clubs and third parties, the rewards will slowing begin to come through.

Our advice is don’t waste money on local advertising, it’s costly everybody does it because it’s easy so will yield very low results. Doing all the above first, which are all free and many of which are fun, and strangely enough is what most personal trainers don’t do, will bring you more clients than you can cope with.

Good luck and keep trying new things even when you have a full appointments diary. Once you decided what you want to do give us a call and we’ll help you to understand all about tax and setting yourself up in business

For more advice on setting up as a freelancer, or to find out more about our fixed fee packages, please call 01442 275767 or email

You may also find our pages on 'How to Become a Personal Trainer' and 'Typical Rates of Pay for Personal Trainers' helpful.

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