How easy is it to set up your own Personal Training Facility?

A lot of personal trainers and fitness professionals dream about setting up their own facility. Whether it’s a Personal Training Studio, or a fully stocked Boutique Fitness Studio, there are clearly some pretty hefty costs involved. So is it viable ?

This is the first of a three part series that will hopefully will help answer just that!

When I first started out as a Personal Trainer twenty years ago it was seen as an indulgence only for the rich or famous!

Now, it is much more common place as people want to achieve results more quickly and safely.
In the UK alone there are 69,000 personal trainers, according to Statista – that’s an increase of 12,000 in just two years!! Which may be partly related to the increase in budget gyms making in house PT more of a commodity than luxury.

Clearly, more and more people are following their dreams of becoming a personal trainer and changing people’s lives for the better.

However, getting into the fitness industry is one thing, but surviving and being successful is a completely different story – particularly with the market as saturated as it is today.
Entry-level work at a commercial gym is a good place to start your career. Even if the work itself isn’t as lucrative as you might hope, it’s a fantastic place to build up your network of contacts and clients, as well as learning from more experienced trainers.

Over time many trainers get the urge to jump ship and do their own thing, which is great, but how they choose to do this can significantly affect their success.

You can pay for the privilege of working with members of the gym. A rental agreement if you like, which depending on the gym can be anything from £400-800 a month

A second option is to work a set number of hours on the gym floor for free allowing you to then offer personal training outside of those hours.

A third option is to work as a Personal Trainer for a gym and receive approximately 60% of the earnings.

In all circumstances you will be highly unlikely to be able to run small group training as it will conflict with the gyms own offering and policies meaning that unless you work around 60 hours a week you’ll be earning below minimum wage!

It’s a fundamental flaw in the business model of the fitness industry which, I believe, significantly contributes to 80% of personal trainers who leave the industry within the first two years.

Many trainers cut ties with gyms altogether and set up their own PT Studios but often do this with their heart and not their heads and unfortunately fail due to unrealistic assumptions in relation to costs and overheads, which can be astronomical, especially in prime locations.

So how much does it cost to launch a gym anyway?
Opening a gym is expensive so if you've only got a couple of thousand pounds to invest, a gym is unlikely to be the perfect business opportunity for you.

Installing a decent home gym in your spare room or garage can easily cost in excess of £10,000, so the start-up costs for opening even a small Personal Training Studio are considerable.

I spent in excess of £120,000 setting up a small group training / personal training studio back in 2009, the majority of which was on property renovations including flooring. sound proofing, shower facilities, sauna, ventilation system. The list goes on….

Personal/ Small Group Training Studio in Harrogate, North Yorkshire


Then there’s the kit of which you need enough to accommodate the number of people in your proposed class! And of course you need to consider Insurance, business rates, even business facility charges are astronomical.

All in all, depending on your business model and obviously the size of business
setting up your own small gym can cost you a minimum of around £80,000 to £100,000, anywhere up to £1m if you’re looking at a Boutique fitness facility in a city centre location similar to this one we have recently installed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and then there’s all the running costs, and overheads to consider!

Boutique Fitness Stdio in Sheffield, Yorkshire

So what’s the answer?

Well you’ll need to get investors on board if a Boutique Gym is your desire


You can start a Personal Training / Small Group Training business from home with a beautiful Garden gym

That’s right, home gym solutions can help you create the perfect gym space from which to work, without losing that much need space in your home that will give you the freedom to cut ties with your local gym, saving you a lot of money in the process.

Without the added stress of inflated overheads, and travel, you’ll be able to do what you love best -  coach people to better health & fitness.

Just Like Claire in York did

Real life example 1: Claire worked as a PT in a local gym in York and although she had a good number of clients the thought of having to pay the gym owners by giving them 20 hours a month of her time stuck in her throat a bit.   Claire had always wanted to run her own fitness studio but was a little daunted by the understandable anxieties associated with branching out on her own. After much research She came to the conclusion that in order to run pre-natal classes wish was her niche, she needed a building or room big enough for 10 people with privacy at a cost of £600 per month or less.   

Claire ordered a 7m x 4.5m Rhino garden Gym with integral toilet facility. This matched her budget and requirements and had numerous benefits including:

  1. Fixed cost business model with low overheads
  2. No rent or commercial business rates
  3. No commission or free hours given to gym owners
  4. No commute to and from work
  5. Private garden gym that makes customers feel special


Click here for some more real life examples of how aspiring Personal Trainers have created a successful business from home.


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