Here’s How To Start A Successful Personal Training Business In Australia?


JUNE, 2021

Have you ever thought about going into the fitness industry and starting your own personal training business?

Here’s a definitive guide, broken down in a chronological, step by step process. Learn how you can become a personal trainer, start a business and turn it into a successful enterprise.  

resistance band pull with trainer

1. Get Your Personal Training Qualification

Fitness qualifications come in many flavours. The fastest way to get qualified is to complete Certificate III and IV in Fitness from nationally recognised providers such as AIF. Most certifications take 6 months. Some students opt to do a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. These degrees provide you with a more comprehensive education but take 3 years to complete and cost several times as much. The only real benefit that they provide is negating the need to complete CECs, which are part of a point-based system that’s required to continue your registration as a fitness professional.

2. Register As A Fitness Professional

This step is required to practice as a personal trainer and will be checked if you apply to work at gyms or mobile personal training companies. It does not seem to be heavily enforced if you run your own business, but might be required to obtain insurance.

There are 3 major providers of professional registrations in Australia. Fitness Australia, Physical Activity Australia and FITREC. Fitness Australia and Physical Activity Australia require you to do course credits yearly to maintain registration. Fitness Australia calls them Continuing Education Credits (CECs), while Physical Activity Australia calls them Professional Development Points (PDPs).

In all honesty, these are a scam. Both these entities provide overpriced courses that allow you to ‘continue’ your education, and make a lot of money doing so. These courses are then mandated for continued registration (almost as if you are not developing by just working as a professional).

FITREC is the only provider that does not require any form of points to continue registration. They are also significantly cheaper than the other providers.

If you’re really interested in developing a specific skill set, go do some classes! Instead of paying $300 for 1 day to get a piece of paper that no one cares about, you could squeeze in 10-15 classes where you will learn much more!

3. Get Experience By Working For A Gym /Mobile Pt Company

Once you complete your qualifications and register as a professional trainer, you will need to gain experience. Many commercial gyms gladly accept new graduates. This is because they want to train you and make you one of their franchisees. This essentially means you will run your own business while still representing their company and paying them rent. It doesn’t mean you need to sign the final contract at the end of the traineeship, however, even though they will pressure you to do so!

Another option is to join a mobile personal training company. Usually, the standards for these companies are a little bit higher. You will gain similar experience here, but be more independent. The pay will also be much better, although you will not have consistent work and your clients will likely be spread out over the day. Your choice should depend on what you plan to pursue in the future. You can use the job experience part of your certification to taste both types of roles before you enter the workforce.

superman with personal trainer

4. Choose What Type Of Personal Trainer You Want To Become – Find A Niche/ Speciality

While you work for a gym or mobile personal training company you should start thinking about your personal training niche and specialisation.

People aren’t looking for a bodybuilding coach who coaches soccer and hockey with a focus on boxing technique. They typically want 1 or 2 things. It’s okay to have weight loss and strength training as the foundation of what you do – but think about how you achieve this. Do you want to be well known for your aerobics weight loss routines, your olympic lifting or your calisthenics training?

5. Build An Online Presence – Socials, Blog, Podcast, YouTube, Etc

In our increasingly digital world, fitness professionals need to compete for attention if they are to become successful. The great thing about fitness is it’s visual, captures attention, and is easily communicated through social media.

Get on the well-known socials like Instagram and Facebook, but know that the more saturated a platform the less chance you will have to break through. Start using less well-established platforms like TikTok, or platforms where you can convey a longer message that can give your audience a better connection with you – such as YouTube or podcasting platforms.

6. Save Up Enough Money To Start Your Own Business

To start your own business it takes some capitol. Here is a rough guideline of how much money you need. Some of these costs are optional, depending on what type of trainer you want to become.

Fitness Registration (Yearly)
= $100- $300

Personal Liability Insurance (Yearly) = $400 – $2000

Advertisement (Yearly)
= $1000 – $2000

Facility (Weekly)
= $150 – $400

Equipment / Gear
= $500 – $2000

= $500 – $3000

Business name registration (Yearly) = $80

Car = $?

Total = $2730 – $9,780 + Car (if required)

bench tricep dips

7. Government Requirements

To run your own business you need a TFN (Tax File Number) and ABN (Australian Business Number). These are both easily obtainable online for free. You can apply for a TFN on the ATO Website and ABN on the ABR Website. This is required for taxation and for registering your business. You may also consider getting a Working With Children check (WWC).

8. Buy Equipment (Skip This Step If You Are Renting Space At A Gym)

Mobile personal trainers need equipment. Although outdoor spaces can provide basic steps, benches, and fitness stations; professional equipment is required for a good variety of workouts and to impress your clients and more effectively help them achieve their goals. Some good equipment to consider are resistance bands, TRX, gymnastics rings, battle ropes, dumbbells, kettlebells and more.

A body composition scale can give your clients an indicator of their progression and perhaps you want other tools to help quantify their progress.

9. Build A Reputation As A Personal Trainer – Get Social Proof

Build social proof – this is the key to your success. Would you trust a surgeon has never completed an operation, or a mechanic who has never fixed a car? You need to show previous results, as this will give your clients an idea of what to expect. Don’t be afraid to ask clients to do video reviews of your services for you to post on socials.

Social proof can be gathered in the form of reviews. Get clients to review you on everywhere – Google, Facebook, Trustpilot, etc. Even better than reviews are results. Show before and after transformations. Show clients hitting PBs and new skills and lifts.

hollow body hold personal trainer

10. Network With Other Personal Trainers And Business Owners

Get to know other fitness professionals and ask them about how they do things. Build genuine relationships with people in the fitness industry as it can lead to partnerships, referrals and more. Learn from them and share your own experiences and processes (although be careful not to share too much). Take some things away and apply them in your own business.

11. Keep Up With The Latest Fitness Trends

The fitness industry is always changing. There are new fads, new equipment, new trends. Get on top of these. Learn about them and potentially add them to your arsenal. The more novelty you have about your business the more clients you will attract. Stay ahead of the game.

Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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