05 July 2021

Foreword: How to build & maintain your PT business

Today I wanted to talk about ways to have a successful business in the fitness industry.

During my six or so years running a PT business, I had a large group of consistent clients who would see me weekly. This provided me with a successful business during my time in the industry. I see many PTs come into the industry for a short time, and then drop out because they can’t keep a constant flow of clients, struggle to pay their gym rent, etc. These are real issues when running your own business, but there are ways to avoid this. Below are some of the ideas I used to stay busy.

Top tips to (continuously) upsell your PT business (Part 1)

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Free sessions

Free sessions are a classic example of building your business. You will most likely have to give out free sessions, especially if you are working in a commercial gym. Free sessions are a great way to show off what you can do as a PT, then potentially convert that person to a client. You will need to work on your sales pitch to sell at the end of the session; the goal is to convert the member into a paying client. Some members will say they aren’t interested in training with you, but this does not mean they will never become a client. Give them a great first session and stay in touch with them. Many clients came back to me months or even years after their first session.

Offer cheaper options

When someone says no to training with you, it can often be because personal training is out of their price range. If that is the case, instead of seeing you for an hour session each week, they could see you for 30 minutes. Or, instead of seeing you for 30 minutes each week, they could see you for 30 minutes every two weeks. If cost is still an issue, they could come along with a friend and halve the session cost, or you could slot them into a small group training session. This also relates to the next point on upselling.

upselling your pt business

Client upselling

Your current group of clients are an important source of extra business. These clients already know you, trust you, and know you get results. Why not ask them to see you for another 30 minutes each week? The client’s circumstances could change, or they could decide that after seeing you and seeing progress, that it is worth spending less in some other areas to spend more with you. If you can get a portion of your clients to see you for an extra 30 minutes per week, this can generate a significant increase in your weekly income. The more clients you can convert into paying clients, the more you can potentially upsell. So, even if the client is only seeing you for 30 minutes a fortnight, you could eventually upsell them to see you once a week. My best example of this is when I converted a client from seeing me for one half-hour session per week, then after a few months, he increased to two sessions, then to three, and eventually four sessions per week!


Talking to your current clients and asking them to refer their friends to you is another easy way to gain a new client. I would commonly make a deal with my clients that I would give them a free session if their friend signed up to train with me.

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Group training

An easy way to boost your income and get your name out there is by taking group fitness classes. Some gyms will let you do classes in exchange for cheaper rent or will just pay you. This is great when starting out. Another benefit of taking classes is that you can talk to members each session about any tips/technique adjustments, and invite them to see you for a free PT session. This is then another chance to convert them into an ongoing client.

Social Media

Creating a personal training social media page to promote your business is a great place to start. Starting a page is free and easy to set up, and social media has so many users that you are sure to reach someone. Inviting your friends to like the page will help. You can also spend money to “boost” a post, which will get your page or post in front of many more people. I would consistently post clients’ achievements, deals, photos, or anything else I could think of. I put quite a bit of money into boosting my posts to ensure they were seen by a large amount of people.

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During my time as a PT, I had a website. I did not get as many views on this as I did on my Facebook page, but it did give a much more detailed overview of what I offered. I found that potential clients who found me on my website were a much stronger lead as they had to go searching to find me, whereas Facebook ads popped up in their newsfeed. You can also use Google AdWords to get more views on your website.


Using a website called Fiverr, you can pay contractors from overseas to create posters, flyers, social media advertisements... the list goes on. These can be made within 24 hours and for as little as $5. I used this a lot. If making a poster, once you have the final copy you can have it printed and put it in a café (if you have permission)! This can be an easy and cheap way to get your name out there.


Above all of this, the best way to keep a busy business is to have a high client retention rate. Making sure clients do not fall off the back end of your business will help you to stay busy. Make a habit of asking your clients, monthly, if they are happy with the service you are giving them and if there is anything you can change to make them happier. Do not be afraid of their answer; it is far better than clients leaving you and not telling you why.


My advice to new PTs is to not fall into the trap of thinking that the only way to build your business is through free sessions, as many become disillusioned with the industry and give up too early. Be prepared to hear “No” from potential clients - this is normal! Try new ideas, and if they do not work, scrap them, and go on to the next. Eventually, you will find things that work for you.

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