Most personal trainers, at some point in their career, will consider opening their own business. This, however, is a very daunting task typically requiring a bucket-load of cash and a total commitment to the project. Undoubtedly, the intimidating nature of launching a business inevitably scares most trainers into inaction. But what if there was a way? Some way to open your own business that didn’t require tens of thousands of dollars (or possibly more)? Would you be interested? Perhaps it’s time to consider in-home personal training.

1. Built-in marketing advantage

In-home training has a built-in marketing advantage in that you are immediately differentiated from the myriad training studios and big box health clubs. You can use this to your advantage to stand out from the crowd. For example, several years ago I did a talk for a local chapter of the Kiwanis Club in Chesapeake, VA. At the end of the talk, as frequently happens, a gentleman approached that was interested in training. He asked the obvious question, “where is your office?” He got such a kick out of my answer (“my office is in your home!”) that he repeated that story frequently to his friends and Club acquaintances. It’s nice when your clients do your marketing and advertising for you.

2. Low capital and operating costs

Commonly cited as one of the top reasons why new businesses fail, gathering the appropriate amount of start-up capital can be a monumental task. An in-home personal trainer, however, simply can’t rely on a warehouse full of expensive equipment. Since you are travelling from one client to another you must be “light on your feet.” This actually has a hidden bonus in that this reliance on light and portable equipment will force you to be more creative in your training.

An in-home personal training business also deftly sidesteps what can amount to a crushing amount of financial strain. While having a “sticks and bricks” location does improve your visibility, importantly it also adds large recurring expenses such as monthly rent (and the multi-year commitment typical of commercial property) and costly utilities, all of which must be paid before you realize a single dollar in profit.

3. Remove client barriers, while maximizing client convenience

A basic function of a good personal trainer is to lower the common barriers to exercise. The most common barrier…I think we all know because we’ve heard it so frequently, “I don’t have the time.” In this situation in-home personal training becomes the ultimate in a time-saving convenience. Moreover, being an in-home trainer immediately establishes your unique value proposition. “Don’t have time to go the trainer? Let the trainer come to you!”

By offering in-home training services we maximize the client experience by providing the utmost in client convenience. This is actually a win-win situation for both the client and you because this unique service you are providing for the client should be offered at an appropriately higher price. In a studio setting it’s entirely possible to train 8 clients in 8 hours, but that’s simply not possible for an in-home trainer. Your travel time (and related costs such as fuel, car maintenance, etc.) as well as the added convenience you provide to the client should translate into appropriately higher fees.

While I offer no specific formula to calculate your in-home rate, when I launched my in-home training business I factored in a 25-30% premium for the added value and convenience I offered.

4. Trainer “freshness”

If you’re successful in your training career you’ve no doubt experienced the overload of back-to-back clients from sunrise (or possibly earlier) to sunset. While this is great for your bank account, it’s not so great for your long-term health and productivity. In an effort to serve the needs of our clients and also maximize our own income, we have a tendency to book our schedules as solidly as possible. In-home personal training provides a built-in break between clients. Yes, this will reduce the overall quantity of clients that you can see in one day, but that small “mental break” that it affords, while travelling to your next client, will keep you “fresh” and increase the quality of your client interactions.

5. Trainer burnout

And this leads us to the final advantage; avoiding the dreaded trainer burnout. If you’ve been training long enough, you have likely experienced that dip in enthusiasm that frequently accompanies a high volume training schedule. Most of us, at one time or another, have become the victims of our own success. It reminds me of that old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” In-home training allows you to maintain a “freshness” by taking a break between clients and lowering your overall training volume without sacrificing income. In-home personal training is a win-win situation for you and your clients.