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Advice for personal trainers on setting training fees.

Fees are a balancing act. “High fees might turn away prospective clients,” says Jeff Decker, NASM-CPT, CES, owner of Personal Training Solutions in Champaign, Ill. “But if your fees are too low, clients may not take your program seriously.” Decker recommends following these six steps for setting fees.

Scope the market. Research your competitors’ fees. Often you’ll find fee information on gym and trainer websites.

Determine the average. Once you’ve collected info on at least 50% of the trainers in your area, find the average: Add the rates together, then divide by the number of trainers.

Set a base rate. Decker suggests setting your base rate for one session no higher than the market average.

Encourage frequency. Decker offers subscription-style plans for sessions once, twice, and three or more times per week. The higher-frequency plans have a lower per-session rate, but plans are sold on a month-by-month basis.

Stick to your rate. You might be tempted to drop your rate for a client who’s on the fence, but Decker recommends skipping discounts. (For two exceptions, see below.)

Track closing rates. Record the number of prospective clients you speak with versus the number who sign up. Decker says a good closing rate goal is about 50%.
Freebies Worth Trying

First session: This helps prevent buyer’s remorse and gives clients a feel for your training techniques. It can also lead to referrals.
Successful referrals: Provide a free session when a client provides a referral who signs up for sessions.