Personal Trainers: Should You Be Employed Or Self-Employed?



For the fitness fanatics among us, becoming a personal trainer can often seem like the ultimate dream job. Not only will you get to spend your days in the gym working out, but you will also get the chance to share your knowledge with others and work with them to achieve their goals. 

However, the road to becoming a personal trainer is filled with difficult decisions that can influence the direction your career will ultimately take. One of the main questions personal trainers ask themselves when they are first starting out is: is it better to be employed or self-employed? If you’re wondering that very thing yourself, we’ve got the perfect guide for you. Keep reading to find out more. 


While there are some key differences that you will find between being an employed and self-employed personal trainer, education is similar in both career paths. The law requires you to hold a Level 3 Personal Trainer certificate whether you are self-employed or not, if you do not have this qualification, you will not be permitted to train clients. As well as being a legal requirement, personal trainer qualifications will give you a fantastic foundation of knowledge that can help you kick-start your career and deliver the best possible service for your clients. 


This is one of the main differences between working as a self-employed or employed personal trainer. As an employed trainer at a gym, you will train clients in the gym itself and have full use of the gym’s equipment and facilities. If you are self-employed, the onus will be on you to source a premises to use and provide all the necessary equipment. 

While gyms do often rent out spaces for independent personal trainers, this can come at a high cost and can limit the kind of service you can provide. Finding your own space to use, while it can be tricky and time-consuming, can result in you being able to design your own highly individual and unique training space that many clients will prefer over a generic gym environment. 


Sourcing clients can be difficult for a new self-employed personal trainer. This is one reason many people choose to take a trainer job at a gym, as the gym will provide clients for you. However, you will often have no say in the clients you take on and will have to work with who you’re given.

Self-employed trainers must be effective marketers and advertisers as well. You need to be able to successful market yourself as a brand and convince potential clients that you are the best option available to them, setting yourself apart from established competitors. This can be a tricky process to get right, but it can act as a learning curve and the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. 


Being self-employed can allow you to specialise in a particular area of personal training that appeals to you, including things like training for professional sports teams or athletes, or training for the elderly. Being employed at a gym will give you less opportunity to customise your services like this, so keep that in mind if you want to work in a more niche sector of the industry. 


If you’ve got your heart set on becoming a personal trainer, you have undoubtedly asked yourself whether it is better to be employed or self-employed. Both career paths offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages. The best way to come to a decision is to think about what exactly you hope to achieve as a personal trainer and move forward from there.







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