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How Do Personal Trainers Get Paid?

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Last editedJun 20234 min read

It’s only natural that those obsessed with personal fitness and the benefits it can bring want to spread that joy to others. But what if you could get paid for doing just that?

Turning your desire for a better body into a thriving career has never been a more viable option thanks to a boost in the wellness industry following the pandemic. People everywhere are starting to realise the importance of treating their bodies like temples rather than pubs.

But while there are so many different exciting avenues to consider as a personal trainer, whether it’s as an independent contractor, working for a gym or even as an online coach, you might want to also think about how you’re going to get paid. To that end, here we’ll be exploring the various payment methods open to personal trainers in the UK. But let’s start with the basics.

What is a personal trainer?

A personal trainer is more than just a cheerleader badgering you to lift heavier weights and “keep up the good work”. A personal trainer is a professional, certified fitness expert in everything from nutrition to physiology. They work tirelessly to develop personalised fitness programs tailored to each individual client, whether they want to lose weight, build muscle, or even rehabilitate following a serious injury.

They are motivators and educators that help their clients mould their lifestyles around their fitness goals. And, while they can be often found in the gym, personal trainers can also visit you at home or even coach you online. This has become more popular in recent years thanks to the surge in popularity of platforms like Peloton. Most personal trainers, however, still prefer the good old-fashioned one-on-one, face-to-face workout.

Getting set up as a personal trainer

If you’re planning a career as a personal trainer, it’s important to understand that how you get paid is tied directly to the avenue you choose to take. Below, we’ll explore the various options available when it comes to setting up as a personal trainer.

Hourly rates

If you ask most personal trainers how they choose to bill their clients, it’s based on an hourly rate. The amount charged will depend on everything from the trainer’s expertise to where they’re based (you can always charge more in London, for example) and how much demand there is for personal trainers at the time. Those that work out of a gym or fitness centre, however, will often earn a percentage of the hourly fee, with the rest going to the facility.


Package deals typically consist of a set number of sessions or a specific timeframe to achieve a client’s goals, such as a month, six months or a year. These deals are often advertised at discounted rates as compared to paying for individual sessions. This is to draw in clients and encourage them to commit to a complete training schedule, rather than just “whenever they feel like it”. For trainers, they might earn less per hour but it’s a far more financially stable option.

Online coaching

While it might once have been sneered at, technology and the latest digital platforms have finally caught up to the concept of online coaching, with the pandemic catalysing a major boost in popularity for virtual training sessions. For trainers, the benefits are obvious here as they can work remotely while still providing the same advice, support and guidance. Payment methods for online training can include anything from monthly subscription fees to one-off payments for set programmes. These sessions can either be streamed live or pre-recorded and offer a great amount of flexibility for both client and trainer.

Group training

You could always maximise your income potential by teaming up with some other personal trainers and organising group sessions for multiple clients at once. You’ll be getting a lower cost per person, of course, but you could see it as a way of getting to know more potential clients and expanding your base.


Many personal trainers in the UK choose to work as freelancers, allowing them greater control over how they work and how they get paid. Freelance trainers often negotiate their rates directly with clients and have a great deal of flexibility, however, self-employed trainers also need to manage their own taxes, insurance, and marketing. They also need to source their own clients.

Getting paid

How you actually get paid is another important thing to consider. Cash payments have fallen by the wayside in recent years as contactless direct debit payments have become the new normal in gyms across the UK. Even if you’re working freelance, there are several affordable credit card machines that can be setup in minutes and linked directly to your personal or business account. It’s also incredibly easy to set up online bank transfers, particularly with the help of online payment portals such as GoCardless.

The average pay for a personal trainer in the UK

There is no exact answer when it comes to potential earnings as a personal trainer. Various industry reports set the average annual salary at between £20,000 and £35,000 but the reality is you can make far more from that if you apply yourself. Factors that impact your earnings will include, but are not limited to: 

Location – As with most professions, salaries tend to be higher in major cities and more affluent areas, where demand and the cost of living are higher, and lower in rural or less populated areas.

Experience – As trainers gain more experience and develop a strong client base, they can command higher rates. Additionally, obtaining advanced certifications in areas like sports performance, corrective exercise or nutrition can boost a personal trainer's value.

Work – Your work arrangement will also impact your earnings, with those working as employees in gyms typically earning a fixed salary supplemented by commissions. Freelance personal trainers, meanwhile, have more control over their earnings but also bear a greater responsibility and won’t get any paid time off.

Specialities – Personal trainers who offer specialist services or cater to a niche market may be able to command higher rates.

We can help

Personal trainers in the UK have a range of payment methods to choose from, each with its own advantages and considerations. However you choose to get paid, GoCardless can help.

GoCardless provides a payment platform that allows personal trainers to automate the payment collection process. By eliminating the need for manual payment collection and invoicing, you can reduce administrative costs and improve cash flow.

GoCardless also offers a range of features that can help optimise the payment collection process. For example, the platform can automatically retry failed payments, reducing the need for follow-up communication and improving payment success rates.

Success as a personal trainer demands building a strong reputation, establishing a loyal client base, and continuously investing in your professional development. With us taking care of the bottom line, you’re free to focus on what’s truly important and build your business and reputation without worrying about your finances.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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