This article is brought to you by ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)
One sign of a successful personal trainer is a full client load. If you’re new to training, you may wonder what this load looks like. Even experienced personal trainers sometimes wonder how many clients they should have. Before we answer this question, let’s talk about averages.
Average Number of Clients for a Personal Trainer
A 2016 study asked personal trainers how many clients they taught per week. A total of 596 trainers responded to this question. A large majority (84%) provided training full-time. Based on their answers, these trainers saw an average of 50 different people weekly. Sound like a lot?
The study also revealed that the average number of clients taught per session was 7.8. This suggests that many personal trainers offer group services. You would likely have a much smaller client load if providing one-on-one training. The average number of clients seen via individual sessions is thought to be somewhere between 10 and 25.
How Many Clients Should a Personal Trainer Have? Factors to Consider
Averages are just that: an average. A better question to ask is how many clients you should have. Finding the answer requires considering a few different factors.
- How much time you can commit to personal training. Are you a part-time trainer or running a personal training business full-time? If you train part-time, your client load will be less than if personal training is your full-time job.
- The type of personal training packages you offer. When a client signs up to work with you, how often will you train them? If your packages include three training sessions per week, for instance, this will take more time than three training sessions per month. The more time you spend with one person, the lower your total client load.
- Whether you offer private training or group training. Group fitness instructors can accommodate more clients at one time. This results in a higher client load.
- The length of the session. Does your training involve a one-hour session or a half-hour? The longer the session, the fewer clients you can see. Conversely, offering a shortened session increases your ability to provide more people with a fitness program.
- The number of personal training clients needed to support your business. To find the right number of clients for you, knowing how much you need to earn to pay your expenses is helpful. For instance, if you train in a gym, your equipment is likely provided for you. This results in less expense than owning or leasing a training facility. Add up your costs. Include those that reoccur (such as utilities if you are a gym owner) and one-time costs (purchasing equipment or client management software). How many clients do you need to train per week to cover these expenses?
Thinking about each of these factors can help you find the right client load for you.
Consequences of Taking on Too Many Personal Training Clients
When you’re passionate about fitness, you want to train as many people as possible. And you will work overtime to help them reach their fitness goal. But there are several negative consequences of taking on too many clients as a fitness professional.
It doesn’t allow you to provide each client the attention they deserve during the training session. You’re so tired that you can’t give them your all. Become too focused on the numbers, and you can also start to lose sight of the purpose of the training.
You may even risk personal trainer burnout. You can only keep an overflowing client load for so long before you wear yourself out. Burnout can cause you to lose your passion for fitness. If you do the workout with your clients, it can put you at risk physically.
How to Keep Your Client Load Manageable as a Fitness Trainer
It’s essential to find a client load that works the best for you. This involves keeping your client list manageable. How do you do this?
First, consider your goals as a personal trainer. Do you want to offer training as a side gig, or is your goal to be a full-time trainer? This will dictate how many clients you want to take on. You can always start part-time, then transition to full-time training later. This would allow you to grow your client list slowly over time.
Next, decide how many hours you can commit to personal training weekly. Take a look at your current schedule. How much time is open? Determine how much of this time is needed for business tasks such as marketing or paperwork. The remaining amount is what you have available for personal training sessions. Stick to this amount to keep from overloading yourself.
Finally, be realistic about your time. If you are the type of person who tends to take on too much, you can avoid this by being honest about how much time you can commit to personal training. Don’t forget to leave space in your schedule for unexpected things, such as needing time for a car repair or having the time necessary to attend an impromptu medical appointment.
Strategies for Increasing Your Client Count
Maybe your concern isn’t having too many clients but not having enough. If you’re not training as many clients as you’d like, there are a few things you can do to increase your load.
- Offer a free or discounted introductory personal training session. Give a potential client a risk-free opportunity to work with you. Show them what your workout is like without requiring a commitment. During this session, tell them how hiring you can benefit their fitness journey. Help them see that your training is worth the investment.
- Be clear about how you are different from other fitness instructors. Why should a prospective client hire you over another trainer? Do you have an innovative strength training approach? Are you an expert in sports medicine? Highlight what makes you stand out from your competition. Give them a reason to choose you.
- Reward referrals and online reviews. One of the best ways to grow your client list is by having your current clients recruit for you. Get them excited to do this by rewarding them for their efforts. If they refer a new client to you, give them a free workout session. Do the same if they go online and tell the rest of the world what a good personal trainer you are. Give them a reason to sing your praise.
- Offer online training. Online personal training removes geographical barriers. This is especially important if you live in a small town or have lots of competition in your area. Online training offers benefits to your clients too. It helps them reach their fitness goals without leaving home. It also reduces their need to join a fitness center and sometimes pay expensive membership dues.
- Provide group training options. If you want to help more people improve their fitness, offer group training. Larger group fitness classes are one option. Or you could keep your groups small, training 2 to 5 people at a time. The latter allows family members, friends, and colleagues to pool their money for training. Making it more affordable can reduce their resistance and make it easier to sign up.
Become a certified personal trainer. Being certified provides credibility to you as a trainer. It says that you understand fitness. It also says that you know how to help people reach their goals. This makes it easier for a potential client to trust you. It also helps you stand out from others in the fitness industry who are not certified.