The Fitness Zone

What To Ask Fitness Employers Before Signing A Contract

Mar 08, 2022 | by AIF

One of the most common ways to gain employment in the fitness industry is by entering into a sub-contractor agreement with a gym or health club. This is where you run your own business, but under a franchise or licensee system. This system is regularly used by commercial fitness facilities, with the flexibility it permits the PT, coupled with the alignment of systems and branding that the facility provides, is often seen as a ‘win-win’ for both parties.

Before entering into any agreement, however, it is important to weigh up all the pros and cons to ensure it’s the right option for you.

To help you decide whether the sub-contractor agreement that a potential employer has presented you with is right for you, consider the following five points:

1. Do the T&Cs allow flexibility & growth?

When you are offered a position with a gym under a sub-contractor agreement, you will be provided a contract with all of the terms and conditions. This is a legal document, so it is really important you take the time to read through each section and understand all that is required of you. A few key things to look out for are:

Length of your contract

As with any contract or gym membership there is usually a fixed term that you are locked in for. Check whether this is 3 months, 6 months or 12 months – or whether you can actually leave at any time.

Marketing and advertising

Because you are working in someone else’s facility, it is important to know what your options and limitations are regarding marketing yourself both in the club and online. Are you able to put up posters or leave flyers to market your services, or are you limited to social media and word of mouth?


Potential employers may, or may not, put in extra requirements. It pays to look out for these extra clauses, e.g. how many people you can train at one time, requirements for attendance of professional development days, or open days for the gym.

2. What is the rental system?

The system that is usually implemented in a PT subcontractor model is very similar to that used when renting a home.


A bond (normally two weeks rent) is required prior to working, which is used if a payment can’t be made later on. You will receive this back at the end of the agreement, provided you have not needed to use it to make up payments.

Franchise fee

A franchise/licensee fee is a one-off payment which covers business start-up costs like uniform, business cards and training. This fee varies from gym to gym.

Weekly payment

A weekly payment is then required in order to cover the use of equipment, utility costs and access to members (this also varies from gym to gym).

Now, all of this can sound a little scary, but most facilities do not expect you to pay rent straight away as they understand that it will take time to grow your business. So, gyms often offer a build up phase to paying rent, which could look something like;

  • Your first month’s rent is FREE, but you may need to work for the gym 10-12 hours a week.
  • The second month, you may pay 50% of the rent and may need to work 8-10 hours a week.
  • Your third month, you pay full rent.

It’s worth remembering that, as a subcontractor, you are running your own business so you do not get paid annual leave. It’s a good idea, therefore, to ask about rent-free periods for holidays, so you can give yourself a break throughout the year.

3. What support will I receive?

To build your personal training business you are going to need clients, and many of these will come from existing members of the facility at which you sub-contract. It is important that you know the answers to important questions, such as:

  • How many members does the gym have?
  • What is the member-to-PT ratio?
  • What is the current growth trajectory of the membership base at the facility?

The pre-signing stage is also a good time to ask about upskilling and professional development. Some clubs will offer internal or external upskilling opportunities that can range from practical courses (boxing, suspension training, kettlebell) to business or sales training.

4. Will I stand out from the other trainers?

Usually, you’ll find yourself working alongside other personal trainers in a facility. It’s good to know what the gender split is (male v female trainers) as some populations and demographics prefer to train with a certain gender.

It is also good to find out what the other trainers specialise in, i.e. weight loss, pre- and post-natal, strength and conditioning, or functional training, so that you can find your own unique selling point that will help you stand out from the other PTs. Gender, personality, age, qualifications and area of training specialisation all play roles in this.

5. Is it for you?

Once you have asked all of your questions and received the answers, you should be in a better position to make an informed decision that matches your personal budget, goals and lifestyle.

It is important to make sure whichever employment status or career path you follow in the fitness industry is right for you. The more questions you pose, the more information you’ll gather to help you make that decision, so don’t be afraid to ask. Good luck!

LOOKING TO UPSKILL? As a PT, you need to keep up with your professional development. AIF’s Network is here to help you do just that. With an unrivalled variety of continuing education courses, across areas from Functional Training and Strength & Conditioning, to Online Training and Women’s Health, Network can help you stay at the forefront of the constantly evolving fitness industry. Check out the vast, and growing, range of online courses at



The Australian Institute of Fitness
The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) is the largest and longest established fitness training organisation in Australia, with dynamic training methods and expert course coaches nationwide - spanning fitness, massage and nutrition. The AIF qualifies more fitness professionals than any other provider in Australia, as well as offering a broad range of continuing education courses (CEC), upskilling resources and partnership programs for existing industry.

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Disclaimer: Where Certificate III in Fitness, Cert III/Cert 3, or Fitness Coach is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Fitness, Cert IV/Cert 4, or Personal Trainer is mentioned, it refers to SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Program™ is mentioned, it refers to Fitness Essentials and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Master Trainer Plus+ Program™ is mentioned, it refers to SIS30321 Certificate III in Fitness and SIS40221 Certificate IV in Fitness. Where Certificate IV in Massage or Cert IV/Cert 4 is mentioned, it refers to HLT42021 Certificate IV in Massage Therapy. Where Diploma of Remedial Massage is mentioned, it refers to HLT52021 Diploma of Remedial Massage.