How the Real Estate Business Model Bulks up the Fitness Pay Scale

For years, I’ve heard personal trainers complain about their pay. This should come as no surprise to anyone in the fitness industry, who has undoubtedly heard the same message from coworkers, employees or even competitors: “How am I supposed to make a living on $25 thousand a year?”

Well, it’s not because the money isn’t there. Despite poor paychecks for trainers, U.S. health & fitness clubs alone produce over $22 billion a year.

Americans are investing in their physical well-being more than ever as 53 million gym memberships prove that a healthy and happy lifestyle is a growing priority. There are endless reasons to believe that fitness is a flourishing industry- and yet most personal trainers are struggling to get by.

The problem stems not from consumer habits, but from the traditional fitness business model that all but few personal trainers have accepted as the norm. Typically, two well-traveled paths are used to pursue their career:

1 Most personal trainers choose to work at health clubs. Although they see numerous clients a day and produce plenty of profit for high-priced lessons, much of the revenue goes straight back to the gym. The trainer is only making around $18 an hour when the customer pays $70 for the session. Those from outside of the fitness industry are quick to identify that poor compensation is what hinders any potential career growth. However, it’s the clients in particular that are the fuel behind this conflict. As frustrating as this model is for trainers, customers are equally irritated by watching significant amounts of their payment go to a large gym rather than the trainer they’ve developed a relationship with. The result is less participation from customers, stifled financial growth for trainers and ultimately a career path that leads to a dead end.

2 Others who are brave enough to choose a less traditional path test the waters of starting their own personal training business. Now they have the freedom to run their training sessions with a more personal touch and often take many of the clients with them when they separate from their former gym. The problem surfaces when it’s time to bring in new customers. Trainers that run their own business don’t have the marketing experience, client resources, structured business model and company support that an established fitness concept offers.

Suddenly, the trainer is wearing several different company hats to make sure ends meet. From a personal standpoint, I’ve tried this route and suffered from working 70 hours a week doing training sessions, sales and advertising on my own. It’s simply exhausting and doesn’t provide enough stable income for success in the long run, nor does it allow for a flexible, balanced or healthy lifestyle.

These are the two options that many personal trainers are aware of. However, once the traditional business model is rethought, another door opens that allows the best of both worlds.

How Does the Real Estate Model Apply to a Personal Training Franchise?

For those that are unfamiliar with real estate, the franchise model is designed for fair compensation and work load at each level. Realtors are aided by franchisee support that oversee a territory. In return, the realtor and franchisee benefit from the company’s brand and resources. Franchisees aren’t burdened with finding new clients; that’s up to the realtor’s determination for more income. This isn’t an overly complicated model, so why can’t it work in the fitness industry? The day Fitness on the Go used this real estate model is when it became clear that there was no need to settle for plateaued growth.

Using this business model offers each player the benefit of seeing more rewards based on their work.

• Personal trainers are making double or, in some cases, triple their salary by receiving about 90% of the compensation. The company support and propriety software allows trainers to bring in more business, as well as better manage the clients they already have. By paying a small fixed amount to the franchisee each month, trainers receive premier marketing, business tools and support and a structured model, so their primary focus remains on training.

• Franchisees benefit from having exclusive rights to a territory for a minimal investment. With corporate aid, they already have a business model and support system in place so that they can concentrate heavily on recruiting and managing their trainers. Thanks to a rare opportunity that makes trainers happier and better paid, building a team in a territory is an easy sell.

• The brand benefits from franchisees and trainers that have more incentive to produce results. Thanks to this model, Fitness on the Go has become the most widespread in-home personal training franchise in Canada. As long as territories have a large population, there’s no end to the growth potential, which is why this year we’ve just announced expansion into U.S. markets.

• Finally, and most importantly, the customer benefits from all of the above. Clients develop a strong relationship with their personal trainer and are more satisfied knowing a majority of their payment goes to the one they trust. With more time to focus on sessions, trainers are able to provide customers with improved and more personalized lessons. Happier and healthier clients are retained at a higher rate and business continues to grow to new territories.

For more information on Fitness on the Go franchising opportunities, please visit:

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