Start Your In-Home Personal Training Career
Are you considering a career in personal training or newly certified? You’re on the right track to a great career if you are! Earning your fitness certification and beginning to use the knowledge of exercise science, movement, and program design you have gained is the first step. New trainers often have many questions about what comes next. Should you work for a gym or work for yourself? Perhaps you’ve been certified for a while, but you are not sure what type of client you want to train. Open your eyes to the many niches in the fitness industry and consider in-home personal training!
The average client is seeking accountability, motivation, guidance towards their fitness goals, and structure in their training when they make the investment to hire a personal training professional. Many clients will do their personal training sessions in a gym, but there are quite a few who would love the opportunity to do in-home training. Exercising in the comfort of their own home and flexible scheduling are great benefits. Some clients are busy and just don’t have the time to get to a gym. Many clients, especially those who are new to fitness, will feel safer or more comfortable when they train at home as well. Opportunities abound for those who venture into the realm of in-home personal training.
What is In-Home Personal Training?
It is pretty much like it sounds! Your certification qualifies you to meet clients and train them in their homes or yours. Some clients may have a home gym or equipment for you to take advantage of while others will need you to provide the gym equipment for the workout to match the space they have available. Your training certification has taught you how to program a workout routine for nearly any client regardless of their fitness goals. Put your knowledge of exercise science to work and enjoy the flexibility and travel. You may even be able to expand as an online personal trainer if the required travel distance is too far.
The fitness industry is expanding every day. The explosion of boutique studios, small-group gyms and fitness classes, and big-box gyms has created a little something for everyone. There are still so many opportunities to work for yourself and create your own training schedule with a flexible, virtually limitless income! Sports coaching, prehab and rehab for general health, fitness consulting, online coaching and workout planning, in-home fitness training, post-rehab partnerships with medical offices… the list of things you are qualified to do goes on! Should you decide to take the leap into one of these options, be prepared and you will be as successful as you choose to be!
How Do I Get Started with In-Home Training?
There are many considerations when working to grow into a successful personal trainer. A fitness trainers’ job is to create effective programming that drives results and prevents injury no matter where you train your client. When you are not working for a gym, you are solely responsible for building your own business, the liability, and client management.
Make a Plan
As an in-home trainer, you should create some type of business plan or goals. Your goals should be both long-term (12 months and beyond) and short-term (30 days or less) to give you a picture of your future and the steps you will take to get there.
- What you will charge for your services, including your travel expenses?
- Will you be offering training services in your home gym or their home gym?
- If traveling, how far are you willing to travel for a single client or a geographical area you wish to stay in when you work?
- What is your desired income each month and, based on what you charge, how many sessions will you have to sell and service monthly to meet this goal?
Working backward will simplify your smaller goals and, as in the 7-Habits of Highly Effective People, help you plan with the end in mind.
Along the same vein, you will need to create your own business, training, and service policies. You’ll need to develop rules and structure for some of the following and more:
- Session cancellations and late policies
- Refund policies
- How your clients will pay you and when?
- What is included in your training sessions?
- How you and your clients will communicate?
Often, these things have been prepared for you in a gym, but now it is up to you to set your rules!
Insurance and Licenses
Next, determine what training insurance or business licenses are required of you, both by law and to protect your business. Typically training liability and injury insurance is a blanket coverage you can buy to cover you, your equipment, your clients, and their property. If you wish to cover your vehicle for travel as well, you may need added coverage.
Business licenses may be as simple as forming and running under an LLC for your state. Contact your local Small Business Association or City Hall to learn what you need as a fitness professional and ensure they know you have your certification.
You will want to have your own PAR-Q and new client questionnaires ready. If you are an experienced trainer, you have seen these before. If you are newly certified, or in the process, refer to your training forms and assessment chapters in your certification text to see examples of these forms. They will give you an in-depth look at a client’s medical and health history, fitness goals, and physical limitations. You will need this for program design and as a first step to really getting to know your client.
Here is a great quick guide to starting a new personal training business that goes into more detail.
Equipment and Supplies
Even if a client has an extensive home gym, you may still need to invest in fitness equipment of your own. The average in-home client will not have the space or means to invest in a large home gym set up. Your own set of mini bands, resistance bands, extra mats, medicine balls, or simple agility equipment like cones or hurdles are beneficial to have on hand should you need them. If you decide to go bigger with your equipment offerings, you may invest in your own weights, exercise balls, or other small equipment. Here are some equipment choices to consider:
- Adjustable dumbbells/barbell
- Ab coaster or ab wheel
- Foam Roller
- Exercise mat(s)
- Suspension straps
- Resistance bands
- Mini bands
- Exercise ball
- Adjustable box
- Dynaball or slam ball
- Medicine balls
- Pull-up bar
- Adjustable fitness step
- Yoga blocks
- Jump ropes
- Battle ropes
- Floor sliders
- Push-up handles
- Body bar set
- Sand bags
- Balance discs
The possibilities are endless so long as you have a way to transport everything safely!
Understand that having your own fitness equipment is quite an investment and will require regular maintenance and upkeep. It will also prove to be an ongoing expense to replace any disposable items.
Marketing Yourself to Grow Your Business
Simple tools like business cards, flyers, social media, and branding a website are great ways to begin. However, do not rule out the power of in-person events and promotions. After all, you deliver an in-person service, so give your potential clients a chance to see how you can work for them face-to-face!
Any certified personal trainer with a service to offer can host an event in their local area. A small group fitness class for a local church group or a free park workout circuit advertised through the local community center is a great way to get your name in the community and get in front of a group of future in-home training clients. Even the local Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is a gold mine of new clients! Come prepared with your personal training marketing materials to give out and be sure to be clear about what you offer and how you can help them with their fitness goals!
Local doctor or healthcare practices are equally valuable as avenues for partnerships to reach potential clients. Many physicians’ groups offer physical therapy for patients. Physical therapy itself is outside of the scope of practice for a personal trainer, however, once a patient is released from a physical therapist’s care, they often need continuing training to heal and fully recover. If you have any knowledge of or certifications in sports medicine, Exercise Therapy, or Corrective Exercise, this is a great way to showcase yourself and have a steady stream of potential clients.
As you begin to secure clients, focus on their results and really get to know them. Helping someone achieve their goals beyond just their training sessions means they are getting the results they wanted. They often come to you in confidence and rely on the relationship you build with them. The word-of-mouth marketing from a satisfied client breeds referrals. Referred leads convert into paying clients at a much higher rate than a cold lead would. Results also create a sense of obligation for a client to remain with you month after month. That repeat and reliable business is the foundation of a sometimes-unpredictable industry.
The work you will put into growing a successful in-home personal training business will be worth its weight in future income and the job satisfaction you are sure to earn. The field of fitness can be time-consuming, but it is just as rewarding. Explore ISSA’s fitness trainer certification course to begin your new career. Enjoy the journey and it starts today!