In this post I’m going to outline how you can transition out of one location and into a new one with your personal training business. You will need to have a plan in place to make the switch as smooth as possible to continue training clients with zero down time.
Whether you have been working for a corporate gym or a locally owned studio there are benefits of working for someone else. Starting out, it’s a great place to gain more experience and confidence in training, scheduling, and selling your services. The limitations are sometimes the lack of new members in those spaces to prospect for training or the cap on the amount of money you can make per hour (i.e. no overtime). After two years of working for a corporate gym myself, the decision to leave became clear when I was continually undervalued by the company and felt I was being held back from reaching my full potential as a trainer.
The decision to leave and look for another opportunity was clear and easy. It did take patience and timing to have a plan in place with clear execution markers for when it came time to implement. The exit strategy is the most important part to figure out. When will you make the move and how you will transition your clients into a new environment to begin training right away? This aspect is key if you want little to no downtime in your business. If you aren’t training a client you aren’t making money.
Here are the steps I took in making the exit plan:
- Make a list of all current clients and when their pre-purchased sessions run out
- Figure out the date when 2/3 of the training clients finish up their sessions
- Are clients under a contract and if so can the contract be broken?
- Is there a penalty for breaking a training contract early?
- Know if you need to give two weeks notice or 30 days
- What are clients being charged per session right now?
- Do clients have a gym membership and if so how much do they pay each month?
- Am I doing only personal training or any group training?
Having a better understanding of your business by answering the above questions your next steps will involve market research. You’ll need to research other training facilities in your local area and if they allow you to rent space or if you would be working for that business/company. There will often be a very limited number of gyms/studios that that allow trainers to rent space and manage their own business, but this opportunity has the greatest potential.
For those who want to take their business to the next level, there comes a time when you may find yourself limited based on the space you’re in. Often simply working more hours doesn’t translate into making more money (burn out is a real thing). This is where renting space and managing your own business can be a great option.
Once you have the names, locations, and owners information you can then make contact to set up a time to meet with the owner(s), see the space, ask if they’re taking on any new trainers, how much rent is or how operation works.
Do clients need a membership?
Is the rent based on a per-client bases or a minimum rent payment?
What are the peak times in the gym?
Are their any times/days I can’t train clients?
Is group training allowed or only personal training?
You will want to be prepared to ask these questions and get as much detail as possible to make the best decision for your business.
Gathering all of the information on your current business and the options for a new location now comes the time to make a decision where you’ll move. Choosing the right space is important so listen to feedback from your clients. They will normally give you enough feedback if they’re comfortable in a larger gym or prefer a smaller set up, what equipment they like or you use in your programming, other amenities your clients are use to or would like to see in the new chosen space. All of these factors will weigh in on your final decision as the fundamental reasoning for moving your business is to retain as many of your current clients as possible.
You should now be at the point to establish a date when you can exit with at least two thirds of your client roster, which space you will be going to and how much you will need to pay for rent or any other expenses. The next step is to develop your business plan. After all, you’re now going to be managing all aspects of your business including scheduling, programming, taking payments, advertising, marketing, paying rent and much more. Having a business plan in place along with your systems will make the transition easier and keep you focused.
Your business plan should include:
- What days/times you’re available to train clients?
- What your training options or packages will be
- How much you’re going to charge per session?
- How long will your training sessions be or will there be options (such as 30 min or 1-hour)?
- Forms of payment (are you accepting cash, credit cards, online email transfers)
- How you will be managing your schedule and client programs (app, online software, pen & paper)
- Social media accounts and website (what accounts you will use to promote your business)
- Will you wear a uniform or will you have your own brand?
- *Will you work under someone, partner with another trainer, or work solo as a new business?
*There are advantages if you’re still quite new to training to work under another established trainer. Some trainers are full of clients and unable to take on new business (this can be rare, but such trainers do exist). Another option is to partner with another trainer and share the business management. Two trainers can compliment one another well if both have different skillsets to bring to the table such as marketing, social media, website development, branding, programming, nutrition coaching etc. The third option is to branch out solo as your own business and develop all of your own systems… this approach is the most challenging and has the greatest workload but the trade off is total freedom to do what you want.
A better understanding of how you want your business to look and operate will make the transition process much easier and less stressful. The stressful part normally comes from uncertainty, doing something new and different. Preparing yourself first takes that anxiety away and allows you to focus on what you do best, which should be training your clients.
This is the point in time where if you’re in a relationship you want to now present your idea of the move to your partner. The reason you wait until this point is so that you have the necessary information to discuss allowing them to make an informed decision and give honest feedback. It’s also good to bounce your ideas off someone to know if you’re seeing all the possibilities or making the right decision for your business.
Next, talk with your clients about the potential move and get their feedback. If it’s an option, do a workout in the new location to become familiar with the setup (this makes programming much easier). Have your clients come in to see the space… and if it’s possible even take them through a workout there. Including your clients in the decision making process gives them a sense of importance and that their opinion matters. This goes a long way in building trust and loyalty from your clients. Most of the time all of your clients will be on board with whatever you choose, the clients you want to work with will normally be the ones on board with whatever wherever your decision lies.
The final step, give your notice and let your clients know about the transition date.