Working for a big gym can be a great way to begin your career as a personal trainer. Since you are new to the business, being associated with a respected and well known gym can help to ease you into the market. Most gyms will offer their new members a free training session or consultation with a trainer as a perk when they sign up for a membership. This gives you the opportunity to make contact with potential clients that are actively looking to begin a fitness program. If you can build a good rapport with these new members and get them excited about working out, you then have a good chance of building your client list.
Most gyms will give you a free membership as part of your employment, a nice bonus when you consider the cost of a gym membership over the course of a year.
Working for large gyms also has a few drawbacks. They require you to split the hourly rate, leaving you, in some cases, with less than 50% after taxes! Ouch! You may also be required to work floor shifts, during which time you must walk around the gym and be available for any members that may need advice or assistance…not to mention re-racking an occasional dumbbell or two. Sometimes these mandatory floor shifts only pay minimum wage or slightly higher. This can severely lower your average hourly rate and limit the amount of time you can devote to actual clients.
Some trainers choose to start their own business rather than working for a big gym. For more info on the benefits and drawbacks of owning your own personal training business, you can check out our article here – Starting Your Own Personal Trainer Business.