10 top tips for starting your own personal training business

Personal training is an exciting area to be in right now! Demand for personal trainers is high, financial prospects are excellent, and there’s flexibility galore. Here’s a list of our top ten tips on what you need to do and where you need to go to make your personal training business a sizzling success!

Get qualified
No-brainer alert: getting qualified is step one. Head on over to our course information on the nationally recognised Sage Diploma of Fitness and get the lowdown on all the cool stuff you’ll learn. You’ll be covering physiology, nutrition, fitness testing, the latest personal training techniques, communication and leadership skills and even sales and marketing tips for personal trainers. You can do this course full-time or part-time – and by that time you graduate, not only will you have all the latest knowledge in personal training, but you’ll have learned excellent business skills that are vital for success.

Join an appropriate fitness association
Joining a fitness association gives you credibility and access to the latest industry information, professional development activities and keeps you in touch with other fitness professionals. The three main associations in Australia are: Fitness Australia, Physical Activity Australia, and Australian Fitness Network. These three associations are also the major insurance providers for the fitness industry.

Get insured
You will need insurance if you set up your own personal training business. The insurance provides protection for you (professional indemnity insurance) and your clients (public liability insurance). As mentioned, Fitness Australia, Physical Activity Australia and the Australian Fitness Network are also the major insurance providers for the fitness industry or you can go through an insurance broker. They all provide similar options, so check them out to work out which one is best for you.

Get an ABN
Getting an ABN is a necessary step – and fortunately, a fairly easy one. To register for an ABN, visit this Australian government website:

Choose a business name
This is an area that definitely requires some thought! Good business names can be a huge strength to a business: they are easy to remember (even catchy), easy to spell, have some relevance to the business, inspire confidence and are easy enough to type into Google or to include on an email address.

Bad business names can come back to haunt you. Business names are bad if they are irrelevant, cheesy, silly, impossible to spell or to remember.

Decide on a venue or a van
If you’re going mobile and choosing a van or suitable vehicle, it’s best to talk to your accountant about your financial situation. Your accountant will advise you whether purchasing a vehicle outright or hiring one is a better solution for you. Purchasing a vehicle second hand could be a very smart idea; just make sure it looks smart and professional.

Looking for a premises? Remember, with personal training businesses there is no need for shop frontage. Prime real estate in shopping malls or shopping districts can cost a fortune and should only be used by businesses that desperately need passing trade. Look for property just a couple of minutes away from the action, down a side laneway or up on the second floor and you’ll find fantastic spaces available at a fraction of the price.

Purchase appropriate equipment
Write a list of all the equipment you’ll think you’ll need. Then, categorise the items into what must be new and what can be second hand. Obviously, certain items like exercise mats will need to be new. Some items though, could certainly be pre-loved. Weights, bars and gym equipment can all be found easily online on sites like Gumtree or eBay. There are always people that have purchased good quality equipment and have to sell due to moving overseas, change of business, upgrading, whatever. Having a quick look online can save you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars.

Build an affordable website
More great news – getting a website up and running is no longer a difficult or expensive exercise. There are great DIY websites available, such as Squarespace and WordPress where you can purchase a template and build it yourself or find someone to do the job for you at an affordable price. Make sure you have some great images and good, clear information about the services you offer. Remember too, to clearly mention your geographical area on your website. By putting in your address and the areas you service, you’ll be giving a clear signal to Google about your location, so you’ll have a better chance of appearing at the top of search requests for people in your area.

Personal training business advertising - Sage Institute of FitnessAdvertise in the local paper, get flyers made up and distributed in the local area. It might also pay off to think about other local business owners in your area with whom you could set up reciprocal offers. Strike up a deal with a local sports shop, a fitness store, physio, podiatrist or even a massage centre. You’re all in the same small business boat together, so why not scratch each others’ backs?

You can also advertise online through sites such as Facebook ads or even one of the ‘daily deals’ sites. Remember to start small and be careful with your advertising spend until you know which advertising is right for your business.

A word on discounts and special offers: Specials can be a great idea and really draw people in. However, don’t get in the habit of them, or you’ll end up with clients who always expect a discount or keep their cash away until the next offer appears. So if you want to make an exciting offer, do just that: make it big, bold and exciting – and very, very tempting. Make people act by setting an urgent end date, then once the offer ends bring things back to “business as usual”.

Get people talking about you!
There’s no business like good business. Do your job well. Make people love you; give them the results they crave and make your sessions the best part of their week. Before you know it, they’ll tell all their friends and you’ll have one enviable little business on your hands.

Sage Institute of Fitness – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan

Vicki Tuchtan is the Academic Director at Sage Institute of Education. She oversees learning processes, teaching outcomes, resources and course development. A passionate advocate for bettering standards of training in Australia, she is currently writing her PhD thesis on defining quality training in the Australian vocational education sector.
Vicki Tuchtan

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