ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Business, Why Set Up Monthly Personal Training Payments?

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Why Set Up Monthly Personal Training Payments?

Reading Time: 4 minutes 59 seconds


Date: 2020-08-18T00:00:00-04:00

With a gym membership, payment processing is simple- monthly dues are paid automatically to maintain a monthly membership with, typically, a 30-day cancellation policy. As a certified personal trainer in a health club, your pay for delivered training sessions is paid to you at an hourly rate through payroll. When you work outside of a club, the burden of determining your services, setting your rates, and payment processing is left up to you! No one gets into fitness to be a "check chaser," so simplifying the way clients pay will ease the burden. Whether your personal training business is well established in your local market or you are just getting into the fitness industry, collecting the fee for your training sessions will always be something that you will have to pay attention to.

If you are transitioning from a health club to online, in-home, or virtual personal training, there is a lot to consider ensuring you are offering your best services and getting paid what you deserve! Check out this ISSA blog post to learn more about making the move to in-home training.

Start Your In-Home Personal Training Career

What Are the Options?

There are many options for payments with a fitness business.


Debit card and credit card are common ways a client will pay for groups of sessions- especially when the purchase amount is over $300. Trainers often bundle 10, 20, or 30+ sessions and allow the client a set amount of time to use them.

Online Payment

When using a website, some trainers will have clients pay online. This is common for trainers who offer online training or virtual sessions.


For a trainer who conducts in-person training sessions, cash is often accepted, though it is becoming less common.

Monthly Fee

Boot camp style fitness and group fitness classes often charge a monthly fee with varying rates based on the number of sessions desired per week or per month. Typically, the trainer will have to collect the next payment at the end of each billing cycle.

Recurring Payments

A recurring payment is set up automatically to draft an agreed upon amount for services directly from the client's bank at a certain interval. Some trainers will opt for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly options based on the services provided.

What Is Most Effective?

Unless you like handling cash or asking for money every few weeks, recurring payments are an ideal option no matter what services you offer. Establishing your business on recurring monthly payments is ideal for several other reasons:

  • You will have a firm grasp in your income for the month

  • Clients are more committed when they purchase sessions up front

  • You do not have to collect money at every session

  • You don't have to chase people who are behind on payments

  • End of the year book keeping becomes infinitely easier

If you already have a fitness business established and want to switch to monthly payment processing, be sure to give your existing clients the opportunity (and maybe an incentive in the form of a small discount!) to make the switch with you. Then, be consistent with all new and incoming clients and ensure that the monthly payment option is your onlyoption!

How to Make the Switch?

Be Results Focused

As a trainer, you focus on getting your client results. From strength and conditioning to group fitness or online personal training, the focus is the same. Every client should have a clearly defined goal which gives you as the professional a chance to establish a realistic timeline to get them to that goal. In most cases, people have 3 or more months of work ahead of them, right? Paying one session or one week at a time gives the client a lot of room to make excuses or stall their progress. Monthly payment options for your services show the client that you are committed to their timeline and can motivate them to be as well.

Build Value in Your Services

What you offer to your clients has an inherent value. If you believe your time and efforts are worth a $50 hourly rate, then charge it- and deliver! However, while a client may fully believe in you and what you do, they may have their own concerns. Common concerns that may hold a client back include:

  • Missing sessions within a month

  • Staying motivated

  • Not getting results

  • Paying a large amount at once

Offering monthly payment plans for your services also allows you to offer a small discount on your services to help ease a client's mind when it comes to missed sessions and paying a larger amount at once. For example, your normal rate of $50 per hour is discounted to $45 per hour when your client pays monthly. For 3 sessions a week, they'll pay $540 instead of $600 for the same 12 sessions. That saves them $60- enough to miss a session every now and then if necessary. It also means you are collecting $540 at once and in advance instead of the possibility of less if the client cancels a session or two (unless you have a cancellation policy that protects you from this).

Check out websites like Thumbtack where you can see what other trainers near you charge and also market yourself for new clients!

Establish Your Policy

Essentially, your client is entering into a membership with you for your services much like they would with a health club. The training package you are setting up for them to get to their goals comes with expectations on both sides. They expect to get results and all the things you promise them. You, on the other hand, expect that they communicate issues and inform you promptly should they wish to cancel the arrangement.

Establish your cancellation policy for your monthly billing in writing at the initiation of the payment agreement. Establish how many days of notice you require, acceptable reasons for pausing or refunds, and a written list of your expectations of the client (and yourself) during the agreement. Ensure both you and the client read and sign your policies and store them with your business documents.

Then, stick to your policies! They only work if you enforce them.

How to Set It Up

There are many online payment options available for small business. Some are free and some have either transaction fees or monthly service charges. Explore the options and see which best fits your business and budget. Some common payment platforms are:

Options like Quickbooks also allow trainers to track driving miles, log income and expenses, and even do your taxes at the end of the year!

Hit Your Financial Fitness Goals!

Understanding how monthly payment arrangements will help you focus more on the workout than collections makes it an easy choice to make. Keeping your business afloat is one thing, but watching it grow is another. When you believe in your services and the results you can get, your confidence will motivate clients to commit to their goals as well.

If you are looking to expand your training services, there is no time like the present! ISSA offers a large variety of specializations like kickboxing, group fitness, and the new yoga instructor certification. Dive into a new course today!

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