Last updated Jul 11, 2024 and written by Aditi Mohan

The Side Hustle Series: Personal Training, our handy guide to the what and how.

Looking to make some money alongside your full-time responsibilities? Look no further than our side hustle series. Today, we delve into the world of freelance Personal Training. Are you looking for a fulfilling and personable side hustle? Read our handy guide to learn more. 

Looking for another opportunity? Our Side Hustle Series is here to help you find the best side gig for you.

What is a personal trainer? 

A personal trainer is a fitness professional who works with all kinds of people, known as their clients. A person generally works with a PT in order to achieve certain fitness and well-being goals. 

What kind of skills do you need to be a personal trainer?

Being a personal trainer may require a more diverse set of skills than initially expected. Of course, you must begin with having a passion and a skill in fitness and training. However, you are also a business owner, you need to be able to market yourself and manage your books and other business admin. Finally, as a PT you are also a teacher and an instructor. Which means you need to have good communication and teaching skills. 

During your training, you will sharpen your practical skills- the ones needed to train your clients, but developing skills such as teaching and entrepreneurial skills will help you get and retain clients. 

You can practise your teaching skills by working with friends and family who can honestly feedback about your communication and explanation skills. Secondly, you can watch fitness videos on YouTube to see how these instructors explain movements and direct their clients. When you train yourself, it may be useful to imagine how you would explain the exercises to your clients. 

Your entrepreneurial skills can be similarly learnt through leaning on start-up advice for new businesses, such as guides like this to blogs or videos on marketing techniques, tax, and business organisational structures. Other entrepreneurial traits like networking and getting clients can be built through time, through following examples and learning with your peers. 

What kind of certification do I need? 

To be able to train clients or groups, you will need to have certain qualifications and insurance. This is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. If you already have sports-related qualifications you may not necessarily need a certification. If you’re unsure, ask your local gym or see your local council’s advice for training people. For example, if you’re choosing to train your clients in the local park, your council may demand you have a certification or licensing to do so.

The National Register of Personal Trainers (nrpt), is a reputable and neutral source which allows you to find out more acour courses and lists a directory of places to be trained. 

Level 3 personal trainer

This allows you to work as a personal trainer in the UK. Level 3 is the same level as an A level or BTEC National Diploma, you may have to complete a level 2 qualification to do level 3 if you don’t already have one. If you are studying part-time this can take around 5 months, full time it will take you about three weeks plus. Make sure you look closely at the course, shorter courses may only give you certification up to level 2. 

First aid certificate

It is essential that you have a first aid qualification in case a client has an injury whilst they are working with you. Most are valid for 3 years. You can find a course through providers like St John Ambulance. 

PT insurance 

Whilst PT insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK, it comes highly recommended by most PTs and Personal Training regulatory bodies. Personal trainer insurance will cover you in the event of your client injuring themselves when under your care. There should be no circumstances where anyone is working as a personal trainer without it.

If a client is injured whilst working with you they could decide to sue you for that injury. If it leads to them being off work for a period of time you could also be liable for their loss of earnings. 

As a small business owner, you should also consider other forms of insurance such as equipment insurance if you decide to invest in any expensive equipment. Or public Liability insurance if you decide to do outdoor PT sessions. 

Becoming an LTD

Incorporating your company is an excellent way to protect your business. As an LTD your business becomes a separate legal entity, therefore should your business go under you are only liable for the money you put in. Secondly, as an LTD you’ll have other benefits such as protecting your company’s name, tax efficiency and a more professional status. 

Personal training is an extremely scalable business model, what may start as a side hustle can become your full-time job. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to incorporate early.

Starting your Personal Training business 

After qualification, your biggest challenge as a PT is to get your business up and running. 

Set your hourly rate

You’ll need to determine what to charge your clients. As a new personal trainer, you may want to keep your prices lower than your competitors as both a chance to incentivise clients but also as your first few sessions will help you work through teething issues. However, you still want to make sure your prices cover any expenses for you. The price of your commute, any gym use fees, and the price of your marketing materials or software should be encompassed in your hourly rate. As you grow as a PT your prices should rise to reflect your tenure. 

Secondly, you want to see what other PTs in your area and in your specialism are charging. You may be based in London where PTs have extremely competitive prices but more clients or you may be based in a small town where you may have fewer clients but less competition. These factors will influence your pricing. Secondly, if you’re trained in a niche market, such as PT sessions for lower mobility clients or PT sessions for menopausal women, your hourly rate can be higher due to the speciality. 

As you gain a steady stream of clients you may want to consider a dynamic pricing model, where you offer different pricing depending on your client’s needs and requirements. For example, if you find yourself struggling to fill a Friday evening slot you can offer this timeslot for a cheaper hourly rate. If your client wants to train with their partner you can offer a discount for to clients etc. 

Marketing

As a PT your main aim is to gain enough clients to make your business profitable. One of the best ways to reach clients is through marketing. Set up social media accounts for your company, there’s no need to be spread across all of them, only the ones you feel comfortable with. Instagram is a great way to start as it’s visual, allows for videos and posts and can be shared easily. Even if you don’t share client photos or videos, you can share your own fitness videos and photos, and you can share testimonials and inspirational quotes about fitness and wellness. 

Next, you may want to start building a website and/or social media page where clients can find you, read testimonials and see examples of previous jobs or your work. This website should reflect your personal branding clearly. 

There are many easy website creation options available. Such as WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. Your website doesn’t have to be incredibly technical, but it should reflect yourself and your services. A few useful pages to include on your site can be: 

  • About Me– which goes over your qualifications, any additional certifications, something about yourself and maybe a professional image of you.
  • Testimonials- which include positive reviews of your services. 
  • Services- this will include what sort of PT training you provide and any additional services like nutrition plans or gym programmes.
  • Contact Me- this includes all of your contact details (email and/or phone).

You can add as many pages to your site, however, the most useful pages for your side hustle will be the ones above.

Final considerations before becoming a personal trainer

As a business, you’ll have to make sure your books are all legal and compliant with the law. Follow any tax requirements, or if you choose to incorporate make sure you’re filing your yearly annual accounts and confirmation statement. 

Now, you may be thinking this is a lot for a simple side hustle, but most administration or bookkeeping can be digitalised now. It may be that once a month you’ll have to spend a few hours making sure your business is running smoothly. By picking the right kind of services you can optimise your admin work. Opting for business-friendly banks such as Tide, ANNA, or Cashplus will help save you hours of invoicing time due to its compatibility with bookkeeping services such as FreeAgent. All in all, by picking the right software your business can run smoothly with just a  small time commitment. 

Being a PT can be the perfect side hustle if you are looking for a flexible job. With the right strategy and execution, you could turn it into a full-time business and become your own boss.