Welcome to the PT world!
Well it's been a while. Upgrading to Windows 10 can really cause havoc to the system, couldn't access the edit feature of my website. Buy hey, that's history, I'm back now.
It's been an interesting few weeks. I have been actively looking at doing the Personal Training full-time as opposed to fitting it in around my job. A big decision, but one taken with the knowledge that it's a huge risk to go it alone, but life's about risks sometimes.
I have found the PT world here in Australia isn't all it seems to be, and possibly is the same elsewhere. It has one of the highest turnover rates of employment. Which I found strange, especially as it's my passion to help others achieve their fitness goals and I always assumed if you were a PT then it's one of those rare jobs that you would truly need to love to pursue.
But after being interviewed by numerous gym franchises, it became clear that actually working as a PT, especially in the larger gym franchises, consists of being a savvy salesman as well. Of course to be a PT you need to have belief, education, communication and people skills, which is imperative to succeed and have longevity in the business. But many gyms have an interesting model, whereby the PT pays them weekly rent, and the gym provides the PT "leads" from newly signed gym members, who are usually offered a free PT session. For this session, the PT doesn't get paid! So the point is to assist the member and then hopefully they use your serviced on a regular basis. All sounds great. But the member has signed a contract with the gym, not the PT. Usually locked in as well for a set period of time. Therefore the assumption is that the member intends to pay their, for example, monthly fee, and use the gym, as opposed to pay on top of that fee to use a PT as well. There comes the dilemma for the PT. You want to help the member and be personable, but with other PTs in the gym all waiting for their chance to pounce on the new member if you don't manage to make them a client for you as well, then you weigh up whether you want to be a salesman trying to convince someone to pay for your services whether they need it or not, or potentially lose a client to someone else because they will be more forceful and eager, regardless of the clients needs. So my first impressions have been slightly worrying, as I wanted to get into this business to help people, not feel like a despised used car salesman trying to sell people something they don't want, or need.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that there's options. As noted earlier the PT business has a high turnover, mainly due to the fact that many young PTs come straight out of school or a first job, do their Cert III & IV course at a fancy college, love the gym and looking good, and assume they will be able to relate to people like a single mother of 3 who wants to get back into shape after a divorce and losing a house, but find the new PT has no life experience or communication skills and can't empathize with these types of situations, they simply provide the single mum with a routine that they think anyone will do, lose the client, lose interest, and decide to get another job. So the gyms have a regular turnover of PTs and generally are in a win/win situation, because the PT pays rent, and whether they get business from the gym's clients or not, the gym still has the client signed and locked into a contract, and the PT still has to pay rent!
So the options are there, take the risk and work in a gym for yourself but hope the gym is marketing itself in a way that will create a possible business stream for you, or take a risk and go out on your own and build your own business from scratch. Either way, if the passion is there and you are genuine with helping clients, eventually you will catch a break.
Time will tell.