When Should You Increase Your Personal Training Rates?
As a Personal Trainer you work very closely with your clients, so thinking about increasing the price of your services can sometimes bring about some feelings of anxiety. You may feel that an increase in your rates is long overdue, or perhaps you are just wondering when it is appropriate to make a change. Either way, you don’t want to lose your clients or income, and at the same time you need to make sure that your business is also profitable.
It’s a tricky decision to make, so we have some tips that will help you decide when to increase your Personal Training rates.
How Much Experience Do I Need?
Having a great personality no doubt helps you to maintain good relationships with your clients, and will also help you to obtain new ones. But it’s your experience as a Trainer that will get your clients the results they desire, and as such it is one of your top assets. So as your experience grows and your ability to deliver results is improved, so should your fees.
But experience can be hard to gauge. You can think of it in terms of how many years working experience you have, but you should also consider how much experience you have in delivering results to clients. Experience in delivering results should give you a good indication of whether it is time to hike up your rates a little. If you are continuously delivering great outcomes to your clients (and this ability is increasing each year), then you have enough experience to increase your rates. However there are a few caveats. As a rough guide, you shouldn’t raise your prices more than once a year, so just because you feel you are delivering great results every month, that doesn’t mean you should increase your rates every month. And if it’s your first year of operation (or operation in a new location) in general, you shouldn’t raise your fees for at least the first year.
It can be difficult to reflect on how much experience you have, and so this is not the only thing to consider when planning for a rate hike. Also consider how much demand there is for your services, and whether your pricing model is keeping up with inflation.
When Is Demand Strong Enough?
How many billable hours are you working each week? Are some timeslots in high demand? As a trainer your working hours are not the same as a typical 9-5 job, so you can’t measure demand based on normal work hours. Certain parts of the day will be booked out quickly, while other timeslots may never be filled. There are parts of your day which will be spent on administration tasks, which you need to consider when setting your PT rate. If you have so much work that you struggle to fit it all in, then demand is obviously high. But it may also be only periodically high if you are finding it difficult to allocate clients their preferred time because many of your specific time slots are in high demand, even if there are other parts of the day that go unfilled.
So if your clients are achieving their results, and you’re finding it hard to squeeze in any new clients, then it’s probably a good time to consider increasing your fees.
Should I Consider Inflation?
The short answer is yes. Inflation rises in line with the cost of goods. What this means is that if in general all goods and services increase price by a given percentage, and yet your business fails to increase charges by this same percentage, then you will essentially be giving the same service for a lower price than the previous year, and a lower price in comparison to what other Trainers charge.
When Do I Tell My Clients?
To avoid shock and to give your existing clients time to prepare for the increase in your rates, you should provide as much notice as possible. Two to three months notice is generally considered appropriate. Giving this notice allows your clients to prepare for the change and, if they don’t feel that they can afford the new pricing, they may be able to change the number of sessions they take - this is a better option than losing the client altogether. If you like, you can even provide additional options to existing clients, such as the ability to pre-purchase future training at the current lower rate, or for longstanding and valuable clients to defer the price increase for an extended time.
Tell your clients in person if possible (such as after a workout), and follow this up with a clear and concise note or email outlining the new charges and the exact date that this pricing will come into effect. Make sure you thank your clients for their commitment to their training, and acknowledge their individual goals. Don’t feel that you need to provide excessive justification for the raise, however provide clear details on pricing and when these will come into effect.
For new clients however, the change in pricing can be immediate. There is no need to discuss previous pricing with new clients, they can be taken on immediately at your new rate.
Keep Your PT Business Profitable
While you may inevitably lose some clients, if the timing is right then this loss of clients will be minimal and will be offset by the increased revenue that your business generates from new clients which join at the new rate. Focus on delivering results, keep an eye on demand and inflation, and don’t be afraid to raise your prices from time to time.
As you build your business and maintain strong relationships with your clients you will inevitably need to increase your prices. While it may feel a little daunting, taking a professional approach will help the transition to go smoothly and will help you to meet the needs of your business, as well as those of your clients.