Why Charging by the Hour Punishes Personal Trainers for Being Good
Us personal trainers often really suck at making money. This is because we fail to charge what we’re worth.
Personal Trainers who charge less, in fact, undercut you to win business.
Both personal trainers and commercial gyms are guilty of this practice. It erodes the integrity of what we do.
Recently, a trainer asked a question in one of the Facebook Groups for personal trainers. He wanted some moral support and affirmation regarding his desire to double his prices.
This perked my interest.
Yet it was the comments from one hundred other personal trainers chipping in that left a sour taste in my mouth.
The comments were packed with negativity, suggesting that “selling” is a bad thing in our industry. Seriously? Making money is absolutely critical to what we do. There was, I knew, something more to the story.
But first here’s my 8 reasons why personal trainers fear asking for real money.
1. You’d have to upskill yourself. Learn about business, selling, persuasion, influence and leadership. This requires you to admit that you know less than you know, then commit to a greater vision of your life and business.
2. Client will demand more of you. You’ll have to actually live by your values, not just provide lip service. For a premium price, your clients should expect nothing less than a premium person.
3. Overcome your fear around money and selling personal training. I’m not the first person to say this; money is not inherently good or bad. It’s an energy, and it’s up to you to decide what kind it is.
4. You’d have to challenge the status quo. You’ll be standing alone rather than fitting in. Many trainers fear of being judged by their peers but remember your peers don’t pay you, your clients do. If you want to fit in with the billion other trainers in Singapore, don’t stand out. But the real money requires courage.
5. Stop comparing yourself to other personal trainers and their fees. Do not worry about what others might think about you. All you have to do is be you. Recognise your value and demand proper exchange of value.
6. Losing clients. You might think it is a bad move to increase your prices in fear of losing clients, or psychologically you simply feel that you’re not worth it.
7. Living in old patterns and habits manifested outside of the gym as you were growing up.
8. Working on someone else gym floor. They dictate the prices. They choose the commission. When you really do the math, it works out less than what you would be paid working for McDonalds. When you do eventually charge more (and you will at Core Collective), remember this, and set up a system which rewards good talent in your business.
Alright. So how do you charge what you’re worth, profit handsomely and have clients happily agree to pay you?
Let’s get to Core of this, once and for all.
Chase the Money (client comes second)
I have always chased the money before the client.
What do I mean by this?
It’s starts with rewriting that story that the more clients we have, the more successful we’ll be. This is simply not true.
This destroys your free time and your personal life and relationships.
Taking a helicopter view, this is the very thing causing our industry to fail.
There’s been a lot of talk about how gyms are taking large chunks of a personal trainers income. Who could blame them? It’s a business and must maximise its income potential so the shareholders can live the life you dream of. It’s the same logic that should apply to you charging more for what you do.
However, charging less, whether it’s a gym membership or a personal training session, gives permission to everyone to have a lot less responsibility to the client.
The answer? Raise prices and raise standards. This automatically creates a greater sense of responsibility and, in turn, reduces procrastination, something overworked and underpaid personal trainers are so very very good at.
Despite us being in the game of fitness, personal trainers aren’t really willing to do the work required to level up. We just get the job done.
The client turns up. We provide a so called workout based on their wishes for the day and that’s it. Then clock out. Done.
If this isn’t you and you’d like a proven approach that’ll help you charge more for your services (even if you have no clue what you are worth yet), then read on, my friend.
Coming up with your current pricing strategy probably didn’t take much effort. Most just engage in a few web clicks, sheepishly browsing prices and sorta guessing where you might place yourself. That best guess is usually based on age, experience, qualifications, and the psychological element I alluded to earlier. Or your current gym boss sets your prices. WTF does he know. Probably never been a PT or never reached the heights you aspire too.
Instead, just put yourself in your client’s shoes.
Start by asking these questions of yourself:
What are your clients’ 3 biggest problems?
What's their biggest frustrations?
How long has this been going on for?
What have they tried previously which didn’t work?
What moments can you create that would take your client’s breath away?
What are your clients concerns when hiring a personal trainer?
Want to go deeper? Try these on:
What factors does the fitness industry take for granted and should be eliminated?
What factors should be raised well above industry standards?
What benefits should be created which the fitness industry never offered?
Already, just by reading these questions, you are constructing a more profitable mindset, one that puts the money first and comes from a place of empathy and understanding of what really matters to people.
Your fee should be based on the client's goal, the problems you have the solution for, and when you will achieve it. Do not charge on an hourly basis.
A lack of timing is a pet hate of mine. For example, you go to the physio because you are injured, but they rarely ever give you a date when you can expect to be fully recovered and fixed (except the physios at Core Collective of course!).
They’ve got you hooked. It could go on forever. For what reason?
For-profit, of course. Conveniently, they don’t know when you’ll be fixed, as they are not convinced they’ll have another client coming to pay their hourly fee. So who better to pay this than you?
The fitness industry falls into the same trap. Personal trainers get paid for their time, not their results.
This is backwards. Personal Trainers get punished for being good.
If it takes you 10 training sessions to get the same results as a Core Collective Personal Trainer does with a client, where it only took them 5 training sessions, on the current personal training payment model, you will get paid more.
So, surely if a Core Collective Trainer achieved the results in less time than you (by half), they should be worth more (more valuable), right?
My First £7,200 (SG$14,400) Client
Considering the amount this client invested in for my services (upfront), and the promise I made to them to deliver results in a specific time frame, a massive pressure was put into place.
Most personal trainers are afraid of this kind of pressure. They would prefer to undervalue themselves to avoid failure. I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.
You’ve had your fair share of the following:
Clients cancelling 5 minutes before their session started or after
Clients not prioritising your services
Cold emails from clients wanting to cancel and expecting a refund with no explanation
Clients just turning up and going through the motions
Client complains when she doesn’t hit her goals
Client goes to the trainer down the road who is undercutting you with their low ball price.
Stop wasting your time with these types of clients.
Let’s role reverse this. What if you were responsible for your own situation?
You’ve been given a cheap $10 watch, with no brand. Nothing special about it. Just plain and simple.
How would you treat this watch?
On the flipside, you could be fortunate enough to purchase a Breitling Colt Automatic for $6000. You pay in full.
How would you treat this watch in comparison to the cheap, unbranded watch?
There’s a massive difference, right?
The same is true when you charge a premium for your services.
The key is to stop thinking of your services as a commodity. They are not just workouts.
How? Your services help others in more ways than you can imagine, including helping yourself. It’s you who becomes the leader, the role model. And you cannot offer life advice if you don’t have your shit together yourself.
Become More Than Just Muscles
In a nutshell, the majority of your clients’ goals that you face requires help with their nutrition and exercise strategies. But to get your clients to consistently follow through, there is something completely different that we weren’t taught in PT Certification.
Something you haven’t been able to figure out yourself either. Why were you able to stick to your exercise and eating plan so diligently, yet your clients somehow cannot?
Once you understand this, clients will pay whatever you want to help them solve this challenge.
You are selling more than a workout. You are selling the invisible.
Yes Is For Poor Personal Trainers. To Become Rich, Get Used To Hearing NO.
Previously, I shared a recording of a client consultation in which trainers felt the need to reply in a negative way. They say signing one client out of every 3 prospects is nothing to shout about.
To which I replied…
For the two “NOs” I received (clients not willing to pay for my services), I received one
Here’s the math:
2 clients pay £300 ($600) each per month (total of £600 ($1200))
1 client to pay £800 ($1600) per month
Which is the better deal?
If you knew, in advance, that for every 3rd client you consulted with, you’d sign them up for the price of 2 low paying clients, plus £200 ($400) more, would you be happy?
Of course. You work less. Fewer clients to manage means better quality time with each high paying client. In turn, they become a more committed client, and you receive more money and profit.
Let “NO” serve as a motivator. If you get a no, get to work on becoming better at sales. Do whatever it takes.
“NO” keeps out the cheapskates. These are the worst clients to work with, don’t you agree?
You want clients that respect and value you enough to work hard and achieve results. These will become your billboard clients! Which will then get you higher paying clients? It’s a vicious cycle of awesome.
Let “NO” be a reminder that you are different. That you will be successful. That you have no desire to fit in but to rise above and in the New Age of Personal Training.
Let “NO” mean you have to upskill yourself all the time. To this day, I still get a NO and it now and forever only means that I have to continue to learn and develop myself more.
It was Jeffrey Gitomer’s fantastic book The Sales Bible which turned on the lightbulb for me.
He said, “The sale starts when the customer says no.” Brilliant.
From now on, take that approach. It turns the formerly negative into a positive, raging fuel.
Then, when you get the “YES” from the client you want willing to pay the fee you deserve, it will feel 100 times better than you’ve ever experienced. After that, you’ll never settle for anything else.
“Missing out” on all those low-end sales doesn’t matter anymore.
What Amount of Money Do You Need To Earn To Feel Successful?
Better yet, what would it cost to live your dream life?
Back to my very first point: chase the money. This dictates a number of clients you need, not the other way round.
Have fun while you figure this out.
How much would you like to earn in the next year?
$50,000, $100,000… $1 million?
What is the amount per month?
Now, play around and divide the desired amount per month by the number of clients you’d like to have.
At first, the numbers may seem very unrealistic.
Find something you are comfortable with, but stretches you at the same time. Motivates you without breaking you. Like you were chasing a new PB in the gym.
For example, could you charge $866 per month per client?
If so, 10 clients would make you $8,666 per month, or $104,000 (Six Figures a Year)
How do you convince a client to pay you $866 per month?
First, don’t focus on a number of workouts you will include (yet).
Simply nail the primary reasons the clients need you and what you can fix that they haven’t (or anyone else) hasn’t been able to for the past 10 or so years? Answer these questions and apply some basics and you’ll be on a six-figure income faster than ever.
Not quite ready to move gyms, then perhaps this blog will provide the direction you need. How to quit working for your boss at the gym.