Setting rates can be one of the trickiest part of operating your personal training business. Charge too much, and you may not see the quantity of clients you are looking for. On the other hand, charge too little, and you may not see the quality of clients you are looking for.
In either of these cases, you’re missing out on some valuable clients and revenue. To meet your revenue and income goals, you’ll need to find that “sweet spot” where supply meets demand.
But, now that you’ve done all the market research and have settled on your personal training rates, can you change them in the future?
What happens if a client you’ve worked with for years can no longer afford your rates?
Whenever you consider changing your rates, you’ll need to revisit the market research you did to set your rates in the first place.
This time, it’s important to consider both current as well as future clients.
How sensitive to price changes and fluctuations are your clients? If you raise the prices of your personal training services even a little bit, will they stay or will they go?
How elastic is the demand for your services as an Independent Personal Trainer?
- How many substitutes are there in the market?
- Is it a luxury or a necessity?
- How differentiated are you?
- Who is paying? What is the customer base?
Typically, if you offer a certain rate with any client, it is a good idea to keep them at that rate, if at all possible. This rewards customer loyalty results in a steady income stream due to the client appreciating you maintaining the original, lower rate.
If clients hesitate upon learning of your rates due to following their own pre-conceived value, you will need to remind them of the value that you provide. All of the continuing education that you have been keeping up with builds your value and brand. Your rates should increase over time as you continue to develop your skill set.
However, if the client really only has the extra income to train with you twice a month, then that is highly unlikely to change. You can sell two individual sessions to them at the single-session rate and provide them with other prescribed workouts to do on their own outside of training with you. However, it’s important to decide whether it makes sense for this particular client to train with you only twice a month. If you’ve got a full schedule, your time might be better put to use with another, more-consistent client who wishes to to have that time slot from your schedule.
You should be able to recognize which clients are pushing back on price because of perceived value, and those which simply cannot afford your services.
Should You Negotiate With Clients?
Generally, I don’t recommend ever lowering your prices or negotiating with clients. It reflects poorly upon your skill set and abilities, but will also impact your take-home pay. However, adjusting your rates during a time of an extreme economic downturn (remember 2007-2010 anyone?) may be necessary to keep your clients. If you take the time to explain the reasoning for your generosity and understanding, your clients will be much more likely to be receptive when the time comes to bring rates back up to match the market.
You won’t win every client and not every client will be able to continue paying for your services forever. When I share my rates with my clients, the thought of spending thousands of dollars on personal training isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. When a client declines due to pricing, I don’t take it personally and simply move on to the next. If you’re doing things right, there will always be another client who can afford your rates just waiting to be marketed to.
Collecting Payments From Clients
The mere act of asking for money from your clients for the first time can cause much unease for many that are new to the concept. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to.
Whenever possible, be sure to advertise your rates as clearly as possible. This way, there is no question about your rates and only during special exceptional circumstances, would you stray from these set rates, setting you up for success.
Flexibility Is The Key To Your Success
As with everything when running a personal training business, you’ll need to be flexible. If you notice that you’re doing all of the marketing and prospecting correctly and you’re still not able to build up a steady line of clients, then perhaps the perceived value you are offering isn’t equal to what you are charging.