Self-employment in any field can be confusing and overwhelming at first. There are several things you need to be aware of if you’re contemplating pursuing a career in fitness and working as a freelance personal trainer.

This article discusses how you can become a freelance personal trainer. It highlights the challenges you may experience, such as obtaining your certification and business license, purchasing equipment, the pros and cons, and purchasing the right insurance for you.

How to start a self-employed personal training business

The majority of personal trainers work out of community and fitness centers or gyms. However, many independent personal trainers work either for extra income on the side or full-time. Freelance trainers can either make house calls using the client’s equipment or run a personal training business out of their homes.

To get started, you’ll need to have a background in exercise and health. Before you can start your personal training small business, you’ll need to begin with becoming a certified personal trainer through a certification program. Several organizations provide personal training certification which covers the anatomy, strength and conditioning techniques, and health fitness knowledge required to train clients and give you credibility for your abilities as a trainer.

The pros and cons of beginning a self employed personal training business

If you’re passionate about helping people reach their fitness and weight loss goals, then becoming a freelance training and fitness instructor is a great path that has many advantages.

Personal training clientele tends to spend more money on services than they would if they went to classes or a gym. Owning and operating a small business in the fitness industry means your earning potential is higher and more profitable than if you were employed at a fitness center or gym.

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You not only keep all the profits from each client and session, but can charge a higher hourly rate. According to Talent, the average hourly rate for a personal trainer in Canada is $25 an hour and can go as high as $40 per hour. You also get to choose what clients you provide fitness training for.

It also gives you the flexibility to either work out of your client’s homes, or run your own fitness business out of your home. Regardless of where training sessions are run, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary liability insurance in case a client or yourself sustains an injury.

However, there are some disadvantages as well. Building up a clientele can take a bit of time, and often you’ll work more. At first, it can also be difficult to find enough clients to sustain your income needs. Additionally, as a freelance personal trainer, you’ll need your own fitness equipment, business cards, and liability insurance.

Once certified, many trainers choose to run as a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest and quickest way to set up your business. However, sole proprietorships don’t protect you personally from legal actions like a corporation would. That’s why it’s vital to purchase a business insurance policy. If face a lawsuit arising from training business, the right business insurance plan can pay for legal cost and potential damage awards.

Related: Sole proprietorship, partnership, and incorporation—what’s right for you?

You’ll also need to invest in a business insurance policy to help protect you. If you’re running personal training sessions out of your home, you’ll need to purchase exercise equipment to sustain your business.

Related: Do You Need Insurance to Train Clients Outside?

It’s also necessary to create a dedicated marketing plan with strategies on how to obtain and keep clients. Business cards will help you long-term and should include your personal information, certifications, and the qualifications that make you the ideal choice for a personal trainer.


Whether you choose to become a freelance personal trainer practicing out of your client’s homes or start your own small business out of your own home, you’ll need to obtain the necessary certifications and liability insurance for your needs.

As a personal trainer, your love for fitness and health is key to a successful business. However, you also need to know how your services benefit people in their personal goals.

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