Renting Space in Other Businesses
You may be able to find a health club, studio, country club, physical therapy clinic, or other business that is willing to have you train in its facility independently. This can be a win-win situation for both you and the company you rent from. As a trainer, you'll be generating money for the club because people who want to train with you will sign up as members. It is also a great way for you to supplement your income, as well as get your name out there and network with other trainers and potential clients.
Benefits and Risks
There are several benefits to renting space in an established business. For one, the equipment is already there, so you and your clients won't need to invest in any. In addition, you won't have to spend as much time commuting, so you can schedule more appointments in a day. This may allow you to keep your per-hour rates lower and more affordable for people. Finally, because you are training in a place where other people can see you, it is like having free advertising for your services, and it makes it easier to obtain new clients.
If your advertising options are limited, the best way to promote yourself is word of mouth. The club may not allow you to use print ads, so you need to work with your present clientele and ask for referrals. People value the advice of their friends, so your clients' recommendations of your services should help generate new business.
You need to consider that many health clubs and gyms do not want or allow independent trainers, because they are in direct competition with the trainers employed by the club. If you are permitted to train independently, you will most likely be required to sign a contract outlining the terms of your agreement. Unfortunately, this contract does not guarantee that you will be able to train at this facility for the long term. Another risk to renting space is that your overhead may be greater than your income if you don't have enough clients. Therefore, you will need to figure out if the cost of renting is worth it for you.
What Are Your Limitations?
Advertising can be a limiting factor when renting space in a health club. Find out if the club will allow you to advertise your services and what the restrictions will be, if any. Can you put up flyers? Can you hand out brochures and business cards? Can you offer free lectures to increase your warm market? The more visible you can be, the more business you will generate. If the club does not allow this type of advertising, your potential for growth will be stunted.
Pricing can limit your business in a club. Before you decide to work in a club and set your rates, you will need to find out what the other trainers at the club are charging. There are a couple of different ways you can set your prices. If you don't have many clients or much experience, you could price yourself slightly lower than the other trainers. If you are too low, however, people will not see your service as valuable. You may also set your rates to be equivalent to the other trainers, which is wise if your experience is equal to theirs. Finally, if you have significantly more education and/or experience, you can set a slightly higher rate. You will need to be able to justify this and the rate should not be dramatically different, or you will price yourself right out of business.
Before you decide to rent space from a club, survey your in-home clients and evaluate their level of interest in following you. It may be that you will lose all or most of your current clientele, in which case you may want to reconsider you decision. At the very least, you will know what to expect if and when you make the move.
If you already have an existing in-home training business, then the location of the health club can be a limiting factor. If your clients are already accustomed to training at home, having them switch to a club may be a difficult sell. If you choose to do this, the gym should be located no more than fifteen minutes driving time from the majority of your clients to make it as accessible as possible. Time is precious to people, so the more time it takes them to get to you, the less likely they will be to come. When switching from in-home training to renting space, you may lose 10–20 percent of your existing clientele. Losing two or three clients who train multiple times per week could mean having to fill five or more sessions per week. This is no easy task. You might consider continuing to travel to a few clients' homes until you build a new client base at the club.
When you rent space in another business, you must cover your rent before you can make a profit. It is therefore in your best interests to negotiate the lowest rent you can. If possible, try to get the first three to six months rent at a discount so you can build your clientele. After the initial time period has passed, you should have enough business to pay your full rent and make a sufficient profit.
Prior to negotiating your rental costs, gather information about what other trainers are paying for rent in your area. Contact other independent trainers, as well as health clubs in and around the place you will be working. This will provide you with concrete information so you can negotiate the most equitable deal possible.
Another option that might be better for a trainer who is just beginning, is to pay the club either a percentage of each session you perform or a flat rate for each person you train. For example, you might negotiate to pay the club 20 percent or $10 for each client you train. If you train ten people a week (forty people per month) at $50 per hour, you will make $2,000 and pay the club $400 from that. That is a profit of $1,600 for the month. If you were paying a set rent of $800, you would only make $1,200. On the other hand, if you train thirty people in a week at that same rate, you would make $6,000 and pay the club $1,200 from that. You are taking home $4,800, but if you paid the set rent, you would only have paid $800. This example demonstrates that when you are starting out, it may be better to pay a percentage or set rate on each client. That way, if it takes some time to build your client base, you are not sweating huge overhead. The problem with this is that when you do have a significant number of clients, you could end up paying more on a per-client basis than you would have for a set amount of rent. One way to avoid this problem is to try to negotiate a cap on the amount you will have to pay the club if you are paying per client.
Another way to negotiate rent is to offer to perform various services in exchange for training at the facility. You may give free lectures to groups of members or perform a certain number of new member consultations per month at no charge. By doing this, you may be able to train there for reduced or free rent. This is also a great way to meet people and add to your client base.
Another factor you will need to settle in the contract is advertising. You should put in specific terms how you are allowed to advertise and network. Will you be allowed to place flyers and brochures in the club? If so, will you have to pay to do so or is it included in your rental fee? Can you offer trial sessions and give seminars? Covering all of your bases will ensure a smooth transition and will help you know exactly what to expect. These issues are important, because advertising and networking are crucial to the growth of your business, and you do not want to find out once you are there that you are restricted in these areas.