Personal training is a rewarding career but still comes with its share of administrative work. Collecting payment as a personal trainer can be one of those uncomfortable things that no one likes to do, but at the end of the day, it’s how you get paid.
Personal trainers have many payment options available to them, but what are some of the most recommended ways of collecting payment?
In-Person Payment Methods
Traditional or “old-fashioned” in-person methods of payment include cash, check and debit/credit cards.
Trainers who started training in the early 2000’s know that cash and check were just about the only options available, until Square came around in 2009 with its mobile credit card reader.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see clients paying with cash or even checks. However, in-person payments should never be overlooked.
While tried and true, these methods of payment each have their own considerations to keep in mind when planning how you will accept payment for your personal training business.
- Cash – While cash is often said to be king, you’re going to be charging your clients hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. Very few of your clients are going to want to carry around such large sums of cash, which makes this payment method a bit impractical. Cash may be useful if you’re accepting small one-off payments, but most trainers I know tend to prefer other forms of payment.
- Checks – Checks are a dying breed but still get the job done. They’re slow and cumbersome and few clients carry them around. The good news is that most banks offer mobile check deposits straight from your mobile phone, which is a whole lot more convenient than having to physically visit the bank or ATM. Unfortunately, when it comes to paper checks, they can take multiple days to clear the bank leaving your income in limbo for a short period of time.
- Credit and Debit Cards – According to Experian data from 2019, the average individual holds four credit cards. They’re fast, simple and easy to use and accepted just about anywhere. Because they’re so popular, most customers will expect that you’re able to accept payment via credit/debit cards in some form or another. To accept in-person payment via card, you’ll need a card or chip reader such as those offered by Square or PayPal. Simply plug the device into your mobile phone and start collecting payment right away. As with most digital payment options, each credit card transaction typically comes with a fee of around 2-3% per sale.
Online Payment Methods
Thanks to the digital age we live in, electronic payments exist and there are a number of online payment methods for personal trainers.
Online payment methods are quick, reduce the amount of tracking needed, allow for recurring subscription payments and are convenient for both the trainer and the client.
Whether you’re an online personal trainer, social distancing from Covid-19, or simply want to accept payment without being physically next to your clients, here are a few of the best online payment methods.
- Square – In addition to its credit card readers mentioned above, Square also offers easy checkout links called Square Online Checkout. Simply send your clients a payment link through email or text and they can quickly pay the outstanding invoice through a simple checkout page. Supports recurring subscriptions and the fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per sale.
- PayPal – PayPal has been around since the early days of the internet and is one of the most recognized names in online payments. It is quick, secure and easy to use. Many online shops have integrated PayPal into their checkout process so a lot of clients will already have an account set up with their payment information saved and ready to go. If you’ve got a website of your own (which you should), you can integrate the PayPal checkout function directly to your packages or products page. Alternatively, you can send the client a pay-enabled invoice that allows them to pay with a card or their PayPal account. Supports recurring subscriptions and the fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per sale.
- Stripe – Stripe is a secure and popular service that allows businesses and individuals to accept payment online. Stripe Checkout enables you to integrate a payment page to your website’s checkout process. Stripe also offers pay-enabled invoicing to conveniently submit to your clients for payment. Stripe requires slightly more advanced tech integration, which can be a deterrent for some. Supports recurring subscriptions and the fee is 2.9% + $0.30 per sale.
- Payment Apps and Direct Transfers – Recently, mobile payment apps have come onto the payment scene such as Zelle, Cash App (owned by Square) or Venmo (owned by PayPal). These services allow customers to send and businesses to accept payment through a few simple taps on a mobile app (iOS and Android). The fee for accepting payments is 2.75% on Cash App and 2.9% + $0.30 per sale on Venmo. Zelle doesn’t charge a fee, but your bank might, so be sure to check with them.
Zelle offers immediate transfers to your account, whereas Cash App and Venmo take 1-3 business days to cash out unless you pay an additional instant transfer fee. Fees for Cash App instant deposits are 1.5% of the total while Venmo charges a $0.25 fee and is only available if you have a Visa or Mastercard debit card. These services are best for those that don’t require a whole lot of frills or extra services.
Deciding On A Payment Method
In most cases, having an integrated checkout function built into your website will be most desirable in order to keep everything together in one spot. However, if all else fails, cash and checks will always be useful to most small businesses.
With both in-person and online payment methods available to personal trainers, the decision is ultimately yours on which you prefer to use. Just be sure to do a bit of research into the services you decide upon because income is the livelihood to you and your fitness business.