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Starting a Personal Training Business

Starting a Personal Training Business

If you’re passionate about fitness and helping others to achieve their physical goals, you may be perfectly suited to a career as a personal trainer. Personal trainers can work independently or can be employed by organisations such as fitness centres, gyms, or sports teams.

In addition to experience, personal trainers in South Africa must have a qualification recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals in South Africa (REPSSA). However, to run a successful business, they also need to have excellent people skills. The ability to motivate a client and support them with their challenges with empathy and patience – while still pushing them to achieve their goals – is important. This is why business insurance is essential for personal trainers as there is a risk of injury to both the client and themselves when physical exertion is involved. But what else does it takes to start a business as a personal trainer?

Why become a personal trainer?

Working out, competing in sports, and generally staying physically fit is becoming more and more of a priority as we learn about the importance of physical and mental health. Enabling others to reach their fitness or weight loss goals can be incredibly rewarding. Freelance personal trainers tend to work with wealthier clients and can set their own hourly rates, which can mean a higher salary than working for a gym. Then there’s the convenience of working from home or nearer to home, and the flexibility of your own time.

How to start a personal training business

Being a freelance personal trainer can be challenging as it takes time to establish a client base and a regular, reliable income. If you’re up for the challenge, here are some key steps to follow when starting your business.

Become certified

Get the professional training you need to become a personal trainer in your area. There are several personal training courses online which help people understand the procedures of being a personal trainer.

Register your business

Register your business as a separate entity from your personal finances. This will protect you financially should a client take legal action against you.

Get a business license

Make sure you have obtained all the licenses and met all the legal requirements you need. Just like personal training certification, obtaining a professional business license is highly recommended for validation and regulatory reasons, along with getting the right tax credentials.

Decide if you will specialise

Some personal trainers decide to focus on a specific target market such as the elderly, sports people, or individuals wanting to lose weight. If you do decide to specialise, you may need to skill-up in specific subjects and extra training techniques.

Write your business plan

Your business plan should outline all the details of your business’ operation, how you will finance the business, who your clients will be, how you will charge them, and other key strategy details.

Create your marketing strategy

How will you attract your clients? Consider all the different marketing tactics you could use such as social media platforms, flyers, attending fitness trade shows, or advertising in a local gym. Referral schemes are often successful for freelance trainers where existing clients are offered an incentive to recommend friends and family.

Buy equipment

You will probably need to buy fitness equipment to assist in your sessions. Whether you focus on strength and weight training or aim to become a yoga instructor, getting the basic equipment is important.

Business insurance

Make sure you have good insurance to protect you from legal action in case of injuries or accidents under your supervision or advice. For an unbiased business insurance comparison, you can compare competitive quotes at

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