Personal training requires a variety of skills and knowledge. In addition to knowing about exercise, a personal trainer should be able to educate their clients on the fundamentals of nutrition and be great listeners, communicators, and motivators. Trainers also need to understand business and sales principles to increase their earnings.
I get it; there’s a lot to learn. However, chances are, if you’re already employed at a gym, the only thing standing between you and online coaching is knowing how to pitch and structure the model for clients. Keep in mind that there are infinite possibilities when it comes to offering online coaching packages. Additionally, coaching prices should be modified to your geographical area’s typical personal training rate.
Structure of typical personal training packages
Oftentimes gyms will put sessions into packages. Sometimes, they’ll sell individual sessions and offer monthly plans. Each gym does things differently, and ultimately, unless you’re a contracted trainer, you need to play by your gym’s rules. Clients pay the gym for a predetermined time with you, and in turn, you receive a cut equal to somewhere between 40-60% of the session cost. Keep this percentage in mind later when we talk about determining rates.
Each personal training package or agreement has a contract, and so should your online training. Contracts guarantee income and a long-term commitment from both parties. If your gym does not incentivize clients to purchase more sessions with discounts, you can create your own scalable options by providing online coaching.
I prefer the package model instead of offering sessions at a flat rate. Packages of 10, 20, or more sessions at a time get immediate client buy-in and incentivize them to make a more significant purchase. Sometimes packages can be confusing for clients or not align with their goals. For example, if they wish to meet with you once a week for 3 months (12 sessions) but can only afford the 20-pack rate, they might just choose not to train at all. However, flat pricing for sessions doesn’t give discounts and is typically more expensive.
How to upsell your online training as an add-on to in-person training
I highly suggest simplifying your options for clients in the beginning. I found that, on average, I spend about two hours per client for online training each month, and those hours include quick check-ins. The duration does depend on how long I’ve been working with the client, as I typically spend more time with new clients. At first, you may find yourself spending more time writing client programming. Write a sample monthly program for a client and how long this process takes if you wish to modify your monthly pricing.
Based on my two hours of work, I should keep it simple and charge them roughly for two hours of training per month. So if your personal training sessions are $60 an hour, your online coaching costs $120 per month. Simple enough?
Most people still don’t understand the importance of a long-term training program but online training is your opportunity to pitch it. You could immediately ask clients to purchase online training to supplement their in-person workouts. If they say ‘no thanks,’ always offer a free week or two of online programming. Then, when you start discussing online programming, your client will be unaware of what that looks like or why it’s useful.
Start by onboarding clients on Everfit, where you can train up to 5 people for free! You could make the 2-week sample training the same for every potential new training client; it doesn’t have to be super custom, although it can be. The point is to show the client the service you’re offering. Then, after two weeks, once they see the benefits, offer them the online training again.
Always use online coaching as a stepping stone. For example, if you offer a client to train in-person three times per week, instead of immediately going down to two sessions per week, offer two sessions per week plus one day of programming per week for $120 a month. This saves your client $120 a month and still provides an entire training program. I suggest not downgrading your price in this situation because you still should write the other two days of in-person training. Even though you’re theoretically offering just one extra programming day, explain that the cost is to help pay for the app and your time writing the program.
Promoting add-ons and subscription-based training
The options are limitless.
You could focus your efforts on writing fully custom programming for clients or just a team-based program. For example, offer a weight loss program add-on for $60 per month for all of your weight loss clients. Then, train your clients in person and have them complete the program in their own time. This option allows you to scale your training business efficiently since you only write one program but have multiple individuals paying for it.
Specialize your offerings to clients but make it very simple. For example, offer a muscle gain and weight loss program. If your niche is powerlifting, offer a squat program, a bench program, and a deadlift program. The idea is to provide something to supplement your client’s training, so they still have guidance in the gym. It saves your clients money and allows you to earn more.
Promotional strategies to get clients on any add-on or subscription-based programs should start with free trials. Then, have a consistent offer for clients, such as free two-week access to the program. Another way to promote the program will be to offer a 25-50% discount on their next month if they refer a friend to the program. You could also use the program to run challenges. For example, if you have a powerlifting-based squat program, offer a prize to whichever client improves their squat the most after 12 weeks.
Find your niche
The best way to attract clients is to hone in your niche. Whether it’s yoga, HIIT, endurance, strength, powerlifting, weightlifting, or cardio kickboxing, you should try to accommodate a narrow audience. I mentioned the weight loss and muscle gain groups above. However, these categories are very broad, and programming can be much more tailored for particular groups. For example, if some men prefer to lift heavy weights, target these men specifically with a weight loss program that promotes heavy lifting if that’s your niche.
Online coaching is a powerful tool to scale your business and provide value to clients that other coaches or trainers don’t offer. Start simple, provide additional custom programming at the rate of two training sessions per month, and create one or two supplemental programs that clients can add to their in-person training with you.
If you are not a contractor, you could just sell an extra two sessions per month to the client and check those in to get paid for online coaching. However, don’t get yourself into hot water with your gym by pocketing the money yourself unless you’re authorized by management to do so.