5 tips for starting a successful outdoor personal training business
If you’re considering what type of PT business to start, then mobile personal training has a number of key advantages. For example, there are low overheads (potentially) and you get to work outdoors. However, your working day can involve a lot of travel back and forth to each client and you may have to operate a service without a physical base in the daytime. The issues and challenges of this choice of business model centre around admin, logistics and marketing.
Having been a mobile personal trainer and run a mobile training company for 10 years, here are some top tips for starting your own business.
1. Carefully choose the size of the catchment area of your business
Too small an area and there may not be a big enough market to sell your services to. Too large an area may mean that travel time between clients will affect your ability to take on more clients. Your chosen mode of transport will also help define the catchment area: walking, cycling, car or public transport will all shape how far you can travel in a working day.
2. Research that chosen catchment area for appropriate locations to work with clients.
Visit parks and green spaces and other public areas at the times you might expect to train clients. Are there opening and closing times? Are there enough facilities? Is there enough space? Can you offer clients a certain amount of privacy by avoiding pathways, desire paths and other areas of high footfall? Do other fitness services make use of the space?
Exercising clients in a public area is very different from the private space of a gym. Be aware of other park users – dog walkers or commuters travelling home – and pay attention to local bylaws.
3. Choose a small and practical range of fitness equipment to take with you. And commit to that equipment.
The fitness equipment you choose will again be partly determined by your mode of transport. But it is fair to say you won’t have the range of options that you have in a gym. Instead, you must choose equipment that is proven, effective and flexible. And learn as much about that equipment as possible.
4. Decide on your niche.
If you decide not to be based in a gym, then you can’t rely on a sales team behind you feeding you potential new clients. You’re going to have to create your own sales leads and then close them. A first step towards doing this is to have a clear view of your market and why your service might be of value to them.
Check out the competition and determine how your business should be perceived in the market. Address needs that are unmet by the competition. Package your offerings to appeal directly to your ideal client.
5. Take your admin with you.
Long days out in the field means you may end up doing admin (and chasing leads, creating marketing materials and other essential tasks) back at home, at midnight. If you carry with you a small tablet computer that has internet access, together with your phone, you can catch up with emails, voicemails and programme writing in-between clients.
Outdoor training may seem like an easy option but it is not. However, it can be a very rewarding one. Professionalism and organisation will help you stay on top of the demands of your clients. Planning and a clear focus on your service’s value will help you create a place in the market.
© Jason Doggett, 2016
Mobile Personal Training Service Provider – MuddyPlimsolls