Setting up your own Personal Training Business can be quite the investment, which is why is it important to look at ways you can do this on a budget (there are many!). There will be initial costs such as insurance and registration, and even franchise fees in some cases, however once you have these out of the way there are many ways you can cut costs.

There are so many routes you can take as a PT for your business; do you want to run bootcamps? Work for a gym? Open your own gym? Train clients from your garage? Deciding what avenue you want to go down and what will be your niche,  is the first step. We strongly encourage you to do plenty of research and create yourself a business plan. This will include any initial and ongoing costs, equipment required, marketing strategy, business details, insurance info, local council considerations (if relevant) and more.

If your budget for equipment is limited, you can start with the essentials (skipping rope, mats, resistance bands, boxing gloves) and build up your inventory over time. You can get creative with the sessions you plan for your clients with these pieces of equipment; you would be amazed at how many body parts you can train with a resistance band!

When it comes to building a client base, it has never been easier to do this for free, thanks to the wonderful world of social media. Through platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, you can promote your business and services entirely for free, and build a community that have the potential to be converted into clients. Should you wish to promote your business further, there is the option of doing paid ‘sponsored’ posts, however you should try to cultivate a strong social presence through posting consistent, engaging and relevant content first.

Tips for personal trainer marketing

Create and maintain social media accounts and a website

A good Facebook business page and a basic website, if you have the budget, are now as important as the trusty old business card.

A solid digital presence means potential clients can search for (and find) you. In addition to serving as a platform for building your professional image and engagement, it enables you to sell additional products and take bookings. Consistently posting interesting content on your Facebook business page is a great, and free, way to engage your followers – especially if a percentage of the shareable content you post is your own creation.

Facebook marketing can be targeted at specific age groups, genders, locations and interests, so you can direct your marketing to the exact demographic you want to train – your ideal client. You can choose your level of budgeting as well, so you can spend according to what you can afford.

social media to your advantage

With people using a variety of social media outlets, you shouldn’t stick to just the one social media platform – but neither should you spread yourself too thin across platforms that aren’t used by the ‘ideal clients’ you are marketing to.

For most personal trainers Facebook and Instagram will be the primary social platforms they find their prospective audiences to be active on. If, however, you were to survey your current client base and discover that, for example, Twitter is where they spend their time, then consider changing your focus. Put your time and efforts into where your market is.

Use different types of updates and media for each social channel. This may seem like a time-consuming task, but it can pay off. Use great imagery and video for your Instagram feed, share content and blog posts on Facebook, and GIF’s, quotes and content links on Twitter. Using the right type of media for the right social media network is essential to getting the most out of your marketing.

Promote your business locally

Traditional marketing activities, like distributing business cards and flyers to nearby businesses and even homes, is a simple and inexpensive way to reach out to your local community. Although it might seem like an ‘old’ way to market your business, it can put your name and face in front of lots of people who live or work within a couple of kilometres of where you are based. Most people won’t travel much further than this distance from their homes or workplaces for a personal training session.

Cover more bases by also listing your business online with free platforms like Google My Business. These can help you be found quickly and easily by local customers.

a referral program

Word of mouth referrals are the lifeblood of every personal training career. There is no better marketing than a happy client.

Establish a ‘bring a friend for free’ system for existing clients, and offer a reward, such as a free training session, to those who successfully refer a friend. Everyone likes to feel rewarded for their efforts, so this is the least you can do to thank them for connecting you with prospective new clients.

You can also set up a referral system with local businesses, whereby successful referrals of their customers to your training business earn them perks, such as free personal training sessions or a small group training session for their team – which in itself can also lead to further ongoing paid sessions.

Marketing mistakes to avoid

Once you’ve found some marketing momentum, keep it up! Just try to avoid some of these common missteps.

Throwing Away Marketing Dollars

Avoid this by tracking your leads and gaining a good understanding of where your business is coming from. This way you’ll know exactly what’s working for your business and be able to save yourself from expensive marketing experimentation. You can find this information out by asking new clients where they heard about you. This could be as simple as a question on a signup form. If you use paid advertising on social media, you can also use data insights from the platform to show you what is most effective in terms of lead generation.

Stop-and-start marketing

Give each of your marketing efforts the chance to succeed. Often people will abandon an activity after a month, but most promotions need a good six-week cycle to start converting potential clients.

Getting complacent

Don’t forget to keep up your marketing. If you get hundreds of shares on your Facebook post or a tonne of retweets on Twitter, this doesn’t mean that you’re set to relax. Keep content fresh and active so that you can reach more people on a daily basis.

Lack of planning

Resist the urge to promote on the go. A 12-month plan means you can implement strong and organised promotions. By ensuring you have a full calendar year of events and posts planned, you will never be lost when it comes to your marketing plan.

The five key self marketing tips for personal trainer

If you’ve ever worked in sales or dabbled in marketing, you might’ve heard the term ‘marketing funnel’ pop up a few times.

This consumer-focused marketing model is vital for building a client base and can prove to be a powerful marketing tool for personal trainers; it is certainly something you would want to be across if you are starting your own personal training business that’s for sure!

The marketing funnel is the process a potential customer has to go through before they become a client. It consists of 5 stages:

  • 1.  Awareness
  • 2. Consideration
  • 3. Conversion
  • 4. Loyalty
  • 5. Advocacy

The model is likened to a funnel because it is designed to attract as many people as possible to your brand/services and push them through the funnel using different marketing messages until they are ready to purchase (also known as a conversion).

When you first start out as a personal trainer, getting your head around how to attract recurring customers to your business can be tough if you’re doing it on your own.

You should use the marketing funnel to make the process as straightforward as possible and effectively communicate with your audience wherever they are at within the marketing funnel to sell your value as a personal trainer.



Awareness is at the top of the funnel. At this stage, people become familiar with your brand through several types of marketing, including:

  • Content marketing, which involves creating assets that educate your target audience on their core needs and goals, such as ‘how to gain muscle mass’ or ‘how to improve running times’. For example, writing health and fitness blog posts and promoting them on social media.
    eBooks and in-depth guides that people can download by providing their email
  • Creating video content to share on YouTube, Vimeo, and social media.
  • Trade shows
  • Online advertisements


In the consideration stage of the marketing funnel, leads have turned into marketing qualified leads. It’s at this stage that your prospective clients are defined and have demonstrated they’re interested in finding out more about your product. This is when you can begin to send out more information about your services.

You want to provide your market with more targeted content that appeals to their needs. By doing this, you demonstrate that you have the solution to their problems. As a personal trainer, your next steps could include:

  • Emailing a client success story showing a previous client’s progress since embarking on your training guide.
  • A live webinar demonstrating your personal training services.
  • Promoting a free training program. For example, a ‘10 Week Get Moving Challenge’.


The goal of the conversion stage is to convince your prospective clients to become your personal training client. Once you’ve educated them on what you offer and how you can help them, next comes the delicate dance of convincing them why your services are better than your competitors.

Focus on the benefits of your service and create a sense of urgency to purchase. Be careful not to overwhelm your client or subject them to pressure marketing, as this can deter them from choosing your services. Instead, invite your clients to purchase by:

  • Inviting them to a VIP webinar where you show them your product or services
  • Offering a free session
  • Offering discounts for signing up
  • Providing rewards or gifts for the first 10 people to sign up
  • Creating an automated email that describes the different benefits of your personal training
  • Creating landing pages to attract more subscribers
  • Using Facebook ads to promote offers to a targeted audience, which you can break down by age, gender, location and interests
  • Creating competitions. For example, ‘Like and share this post to win a free PT session’ not only generates interest in your brand, but reinforces the sense of urgency needed when converting a new customer


Once you’ve gained a customer through the conversion stage of the marketing funnel, now’s the time to develop a plan for creating customer loyalty. Repeat customers or clients are more valuable to your business than new customers, particularly as a personal trainer.

It’s through creating loyalty that you’re gaining repeat sales, as well as opening yourself up to potential referrals and great feedback which can help to improve your business.

Here are a few valuable tools to create loyalty:

  • Giving your client access to exclusive deals, programs, offers, and discounts
  • Providing them with ongoing support through weekly video content, one-on-one mentoring, offering personalised programs, or giving them access to a members-only support group
  • Providing a 20% discount to members who purchase a yearly subscription to your training program

The key to loyalty is to ensure that your clients know they’re getting the best deal in addition to your high quality, professional service.



The final stage in the marketing funnel model is advocacy. It’s at this point where your client is more than a customer; they’re your biggest fan. This is the best stage as your clients are so excited about your offers and services that they begin telling their friends and family about you, they post their own progress pictures, they leave positive reviews, and they have nothing but belief in your brand.

In other words, they’re now helping you to create brand awareness by becoming ambassadors for your brand. At this stage, you can celebrate with your fans while enticing new customers by:

  • Sharing your clients’ progress or transformation pictures, and using hashtags to further promote your page
  • Sharing clients training pictures or health journeys on Instagram
  • Sending customer feedback forms or surveys to learn how to further improve your services
  • Asking your client for referrals and offering them incentives to do so. For example, free PT sessions for a week for every referral they give or ‘bring a friend to class day’
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What should you be charging your pt clients?

Whether you are an aspiring Personal Trainer, wanting to see if a career in fitness is financially viable for you, or soon to be qualified PT, looking to establish your own business, one of the most common queries we are asked is, ‘how much should I be charging my PT clients?’

Gone are the days of the one flat fee! As the industry has evolved, so have our trainers, which has opened many different avenues and earning potential within the industry. So, here we cover five of the top services you can offer your clients, and what (on average) you could be looking to charge your clients.

1. One on one personal training

As a Personal Trainer, the most common form or income is derived from one on one PT sessions. There are your ‘bread and butter.’ Now, like any role in any industry, you tend to earn more as you gain further experience in your position. Furthermore, some facilities and gyms provide a recommended, or minimum amount (so you do not under-cut the other PTs at the gym), you should charge your clients.

As an industry average a 30 minute one on one PT session generally goes for $45-$50.

2. Small group training

Small group training is a GREAT way to gain new clients who maybe a little intimidated by a one on one session, or who are unable to afford the one on one fee. By offering small group training (SGT), your clients are also able to bring along friends, or even meet new gym members, while working towards their goals. Bringing a social element to your sessions will encourage your clients to build relationships with fellow clients, AND keep them coming back, win-win! SGT is usually limited to 4- 6 clients in one session, but this is really up to you. The average charge for SGT is $20 per person, for 45 minutes. If the groups are slightly smaller, or larger, you can amend your charge accordingly.

3. Bootcamp

Running a bootcamp is a service you can offer your clients as a cheaper option. As you can have a number of attendees at a bootcamp, you can offer a cheaper rate, while still maintaining a healthy overall hourly income.

Most bootcamps charge their participants $10 – $15 for a 45 – 60 minute session.

4. Twelve week challenge

Challenges are an AWESOME service, as they help your clients kick start their health and fitness goals. (Especially great for any one on one PT clients who may have dropped off their training). They can also be a great service that you can market to new clients!

What you include in you challenge will determine what you can charge, but for example:

A 12 week challenge that includes:

  • An information evening including a fitness and nutrition seminar, and goal setting at the start of the challenge,
  • Before and after photos and measurements,
  • A Massage (from a qualified Massage Therapist),
  • Exercise plans for the duration of the challenge, including 1 PT session per week, and 1 group session per week, and
  • Ongoing support throughout the challenge, by means of a Facebook group, or email communication,

You could look at charging anything from $500 – $900. While this sounds like a lot of money, running a challenge requires hours or preparation to be successful. Remember the end goal is for your clients to achieve their goals and have FUN.

5. Online personal training

A lot of Personal Trainers start by creating social media accounts to promote and advertise their skill sets, but to take your online PT business next level you will need to be creating a lot of content, have a website, and an eBook is a great resource that you can sell.

So what should an online PT be charging their clients? Again this comes back to what you are offering your clients online. If you were to start off by creating a one off eBook which included say a month’s worth of programming, you could charge anything from $30 – $100 depending on the content.

When entering the industry for the first time, it is always a great idea to do a competitor analysis, of other PTs in your gym, or of different gyms/ bootcamps in your area to find out what they are charging, as while the above are industry averages, there are other things to take into consideration when setting your fees. These include, demographic in your area, target market (e.g. Mums who are on maternity leave and not working, in comparison to corporate clients), and your experience and services you offer.

These options are not the only way you can earn income as a Personal Trainer, as some facilities offer an employment option, and there are MANY different ways you can structure your payment plans too!

How to keep pt clients

Retaining clients is an important part of your personal training business and it’s all about the quality of the service you deliver.
Client retention not only saves on marketing costs and time building new relationships, but it also builds credibility for your business.

The following three things should be taken into consideration to retain your clientele.

1. Professionalism

  • Always arrive or be prepared at least 15 minutes prior to the commencement of the session. It doesn’t look good when a trainer is fumbling through a session due to not being prepared.
  • Ensure that you look the part, and presentable at all times.
  • Your phone greetings need to be professional and most importantly ensure you follow up messages as soon as possible.
  • Ensure all marketing and social media is up-to-date and presented in a professional manner.
  • Avoid being critical of other trainers and fitness professionals.

2. Preparation

Always look to contact your client in advance (at the start of the week is always recommended) to confirm their session. This also allows you the opportunity to provide extra sessions to regular clients or utilise this opportunity to approach potential new clients.

You can also follow up 24-48 hours prior to the session to discuss what to bring (if anything), any injury concerns that may have presented since the previous session, how their individual training may affect your planned session, and any extra information that may assist with their session performance e.g. their nutrition.

Plan your session in advance after referring to your previous session notes and have all necessary follow-up assessments, paperwork, and external resources prepared and ready to implement with your clients. Always advise your client of fitness assessment dates and any other specific sessions so they can also be prepared.

Practice your exercises and technique skills (especially those that are new) in your own training and time to ensure you are providing the safest execution of these exercises for your client.

3. Program Design

Program cards need to be specific to the goals of your clients. Yes, you may have many clients who want to achieve the same goal (especially if you have a specialised target market) however, there will always be an element of variation to each individual client. For e.g., the same exercise is applied, however, you have a variety of level and ability or technical skills of your clients you need to take into consideration at all times.

Every exercise you apply to your programs and sessions needs to be justified in relation to your clients’ goals and how it specifically will help them achieve these. Remember it’s not about us applying our own favourite exercise or a new idea we picked up on a weekend course to their session. If it doesn’t relate to your client’s goals, don’t do it!

Provide variation to your sessions and program designs. This keeps your client interested and avoids boredom. You don’t need to change every aspect or concept of the training session; just slight variations and progressions will keep them engaged and allow them to see why they are utilising your service to help them achieve their goals faster.

Be creative. This is a must especially when training groups of people. You’ll often have many personality types and learning abilities in the one group, so with adequate planning and program design, you can ensure everyone gets the workout they came for.

Look to apply these tips to your everyday career as a Personal Trainer. Your business will not only grow and develop to be extremely successful, but you’ll also ensure you have a regular, enthusiastic client base who will not only gain so much from you as a PT but will become one of the best marketing tools you will ever have; word of mouth.

Gaining the respect
of your clients

Personal training clients will work harder, and be more consistent with their training, if they respect you. Not only that, but with trust and respect comes greater word of mouth publicity and existing clients’ signing up for more.

So, here are our top tips for gaining (and retaining) a great rapport with your personal training clients.

Listening factor

The first step in earning a client’s respect is listening. That means actively engaging and listening to their history, goals and motivations. It’s often easy for a personal trainer to become complacent because you might hear from so many clients.

But, for the success of your business, it is vital to keep each client’s experience separate from the next. Listen to their journey and understand what they are hoping to achieve, whether it’s to lose weight, conquer a fun run or improve their general health and wellbeing.

Care factor

One thing is for sure, you can’t fake care factor. As a personal trainer you must be genuinely passionate about assisting your clients’ because if you’re not, they’ll see right through you.

Care factor means:

  • How a client perceives your actual interest in their training;
  • Your attention to detail; and
  • The way you focus on them during their time.

Remember, it is easy to lose a client’s respect. All it takes is standing at training with your hands in your pockets while counting reps, or checking your emails on your phone during a session. Do these things and just watch your care factor score drop to zero and their respect for you immediately diminish. Instead, try to focus on punctuality, your communication ability and professionalism to help show how much you care.

Time factor

It is possible to build a great rapport with a client from the very first contact you have with them. First impressions really do matter so, start acting as their personal trainer right from the first phone call or email. Show them that you can listen, make a recommendation as to how you can help them achieve their goals and let them know that you care. This will form the basis of a trusting, and hopefully long-lasting relationship.

In gaining respect, make sure you:

  • Be contactable;
  • Be a good listener, remember it is about them and not about you;
  • Communicate with passion, knowledge and empathy;
  • Make a recommendation as to how you can assist them as soon as possible, and if you can’t be honest and tell them that;
  • Be honest with your feedback. For example, if you think they can work harder, tell them. Or let them know if they are being too hard on themselves.

The do's and don'ts of working with personal training clients

Professionalism and know-how are vital in the fitness industry. For a client to achieve their full fitness potential, they need proper guidance from their trainer. That said, you need to be mindful as to the advice you give and the way you conduct yourself.

To gain a better understanding of what you should or shouldn’t do when working with clients as a personal trainer, here are some helpful do’s and don’ts.

4 things personal trainers
should do


Keep your education and certifications up-to-date

The fitness industry is always changing and evolving, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with your certifications. Not only does it instil confidence in your client, but it also helps you to be a far better personal trainer. Actively pursue personal training courses, conferences, and read literature related to the industry. The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it is to maintain proficiency in your job and be able to offer clients sound advice and techniques.


Be a leader

Being a leader as a personal trainer doesn’t just mean setting out a program and yelling “good job!” as your client follows it. While having a cheerleader to help motivate a client can be helpful, they also need a personal trainer who can lead by example and help them achieve success over their challenges.

Ignite your client’s inner drive by actively taking them through each step and explaining how each contributes to achieving their end goal. Make them fall in love with fitness by getting them to the point where they’re excited to train. Have sincere belief in them and become just as excited about their personal goals as they are.


Have compassion

A lot of personal training clients have little to no experience within a gym, are battling short or long-term injury, are feeling disillusioned in their fitness goals, or have a personal hardship that can make training difficult without some form of guidance and empathy.

Having compassion for each client no matter how young or old and no matter what fitness level they’re at is one of the most important dos’ to being a good personal trainer.

It helps to cast your mind back to when you first began training or to a time where you struggled with your own personal fitness roadblocks and to allow that to help relate to your client and offer them the right understanding to encourage them to keep striving mentally and physically.

An effective trainer is one who trains with both empathy and compassion, leaves their ego at the door and focuses on helping their client reach their full potential.


Believe in your client’s abilities

A lot of people who are new to training lose faith in their abilities if they don’t see any rapid change or feel like whatever they’re doing isn’t working.

As a trainer, it’s important to re-instil belief in your client by having them acknowledge their accomplishments – no matter how small or sizable they might be – and to reassure them that they have the capacity to succeed.

Tracking a client’s progress can be a great way of giving them the reassurance that they are improving from week to week which will help give them the belief to keep propelling forward.

4 things personal trainers
shouldn’t do


Don’t ignore the importance of nutrition

You can’t expect your client to achieve optimum fitness & health without incorporating a proper nutritional plan with a fitness plan. Training and nutrition are intrinsically linked, and it’s important to educate clients on both fitness and nutrition and have them know that both is required for their goals to be achieved.

Instead of approaching nutrition in a lecturing way, have them see that the right nutrition is like fuel for the body to be able to perform exercises and lifts to full capacity. A lot of people are swayed to believe that in order to lose weight or maintain fitness, they should enter near starvation mode.
Educate your clients to show them that food in the correct moderation will help to promote muscle growth and aid fat loss.


Don’t put all clients in the same fitness box

Every client’s body and fitness level is different, therefore every fitness program must be personally tailored to facilitate this. For a client to stay motivated to train, even outside of PT hours, they need to enjoy what they’re doing. Find out what exercises will benefit your client’s long-term goals and align them with types of exercise that allow the client to perform comfortably.

There’s no sense in giving a client who wants to build muscle a Tabata style program or long cardio sessions. Tailoring the program to the client’s goals will see results come to them a lot faster as well as generate a higher client-referral base.


Don’t prioritize intensity over form

Pushing a client to the verge of vomiting is not the hallmark of a good personal trainer. Proper form should always trump intensity when it comes to training a client. Teaching proper form will prevent injury and maximize muscle development leading to far quicker results than piling on the weights and expecting your client to push themselves to breaking point.

Proper form improves overall posture and functional movement which will transfer from the gym floor to outside the gym, allowing your client to become more mindful when it comes to lifting weights or pushing loads.


Don’t neglect to explain terminology

To be an effective trainer you need to be able to explain industry-jargon and terminology simply. Try not to overcomplicate your language and when necessary give your client an explanation of any vague terms used. When necessary, demonstrate any technical terms or provide illustrations to help.

Recommend books or blogs and even YouTube videos to help foster a client’s understanding and to teach them why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Be a smarter personal trainer with the Australian Institute of Fitness.

Gain the right education and know-how to become a professional within the fitness industry through the Australian Institute of Fitness personal training courses. You can choose from:

Master Trainer

SIS40221 Certificate IV
In Fitness

Personal Trainer

SIS40221 Certificate IV
In Fitness

Fitness Coach

SIS30321 Certificate III
In Fitness

Help clients achieve their personal fitness goals with the proper guidance that only an industry-approved and recognized provider can offer.

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