How to start a gym or fitness business

Do you love health and fitness? Do you enjoy going to the gym? Do you get excited about helping others achieve their personal trainer goals? Perhaps you are interested in human movement and learning more about strength and conditioning?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be a strong candidate for a career as a qualified personal trainer running your own personal training business. So, how does one go about setting up a personal training business and start providing personal training services? Here are the top fitness business tips and important points to consider if you plan to pursue a career as a rewarding career as a personal trainer.

Gain your personal trainer qualifications

You are required to have a Certificate IV in Fitness to be able to work as a personal trainer in Australia. You cannot legally give professional personal trainer advice if you if you haven’t completed and currently hold a Certificate IV in Fitness.

It can also be a good idea to join one of the Australian registering personal training organisations such as the Health And Fitness Industry Association, even though this is not a mandatory requirement for personal trainers. Such organisations can list your business in their online directory of personal trainers, offer industry-related discounts, and allow you to use their logo for business purposes.

There are many avenues and opportunities available to pursue in the fitness industry – so much so that it can be difficult to know where to start when starting your own fitness business. So, with all that said, let’s dig into the steps to take to form and launch your new fitness business.

Step 1: Select a niche that you want to specialise in

A niche allows you to put your entire focus on one area of fitness. Many trainers set out to learn all aspects of training, only to find that they are overwhelmed.

Focusing all of your attention on one specific niche can make you a great expert in that niche and help you to attract a specific type of customer. Your personal trainer niche, if you wis to choose one, can be anything from corrective exercise, bootcamp classes, body transformation expert, weight loss expert, to name but a few.

Step 2: Location, location, location

When opening a fitness instructor business in Australia it is crucial to choose the right location for your business, because this can help determine the overall theme and thrust of your fitness business. Your location will also affect your pricing, as well as the time that you will hold your fitness sessions.

For example, if you work in the suburbs, you will notice that your busiest periods will likely be outside of office hours, so early morning or early evening before and after work or at 9.30am You may also service some clients during the day, for example stay at home parents or retirees. However, if you live in a city or the city surrounds, you will likely experience peak times around lunch for those who want to work out during their break.

Step 3: Identify your target market

Your target market is important for your fitness business because it will determine how you market to clients in the fitness niche that you choose. Think about the type of person that you want to train, and what this person would like to learn from you.

Step 4: Do your research

Find out everything that you can to positively impact your new fitness business.

To do so, thoroughly research your competition in your niche and geographical location. Understanding your competition will enable you to identify the unique selling points (USPs) that your fitness business can offer to entice clients to choose your fitness business over the competition.

As part of your research get to know your market like the back of your hand. Find out what time they train, how they like to train, and where they can and do train. For example, if you are only planning on training at a powerlifting club, there is no reason to target elderly people.

While you are at it, try to gain an understanding of the median level of household income in the area you will service. Knowing the approximate income in the area you will service can help determine how much you can charge for your fitness classes.

Step 5: Don’t forget your obligations as a small business owner

One of the most important fitness business tips is formally setting up your business. Once you’ve completed these first four steps, it is time to start formally putting together your business, including the administration for formalising your fitness business and all of the paperwork that goes with it. Consider the essentials of small business ownership:

  • Your business budgeting.
  • Naming your business.
  • Registering for an ABN (Australian Business Number).
  • Managing your tax obligations, including GST and superannuation requirements.
  • Determining the structure of your business – whether it be a sole trader or a company structure.
  • Your personal training registration and any permits that you may require.

Step 6: Marketing your fitness business

It is now time to consider how you will get your company name out there. There are many personal trainer marketing levers that you can pull to raise awareness of your fitness business and reach and engage your target audience. It is important to set aside time for marketing to help establish your business grow so it can stand the test of time.

Social media can be an integral part of raising awareness of your up and coming fitness business. From Instagram to Facebook to Tik Tok, social media can be a powerful tool that can be used to each and engage individuals looking for fitness classes in your area.

As you draw new business enquiries as you market your fitness business, it can be important to track how people are finding your fitness business and engaging with it. Are they finding your business on social media? Have they seen and clicked on a Google Display Ad that you have set up? Perhaps they found your business in an online business directory, or they may have read a flyer you had distributed to letterboxes in your local area.

Step 7: Client procedures – registration, inductions, cancellations

You are now ready to build your business and sign up clients. It is important to ensure that your processes are clear, easy to understand, and efficient, all of which will contribute to your fitness business providing a great customer experience. Consider:

  • Health and fitness consultations;
  • Contracts;
  • Setting your pricing structure;
  • Your cancellation policy; and
  • How you handle injuries to your clients, should they occur.

Step 8: Avoid letting your business admin slide

While you are working tirelessly to get clients as a freelance personal trainer, it’s also important to keep track of your business admin. Track the financial wellbeing of your fitness business with the help of business software programs such as MYOB or Xero. These programs can offer efficient ways to track your cash flow, manage your business admin, including your business reporting requirements.

Step 9: Get cracking with it

Now that you’ve got the systems and processes in place you are ready to officially launch your new fitness business and start training your clients.

Here you can put all of your knowledge to use. This is what you are good at. For long-term success, you may consider gradually introducing new classes or new services that can help bring in more customers and steadily grow your fitness business.

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Learn more about how fitness business insurance can help reduce the risks to your fitness business and help you achieve your personal trainer goals. Compare competitive fitness business insurance quotes online from Australia’s leading insurers, get covered in only 10 minutes, avoid mountains of paperwork, and have more time to train your clients.

*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2023 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769.

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