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Common personal training business challenges and how to solve them

Building a successful personal training business takes grit and determination. There are many aspects of achieving success that a lot of trainers decide to do the hard way. This article explores how to streamline your processes, connect with your customers, and grow your business.

Personal trainers are adapting. With social distancing measures and options to work out at home, coaches have fewer opportunities to be as hands-on with their customers. Juggling large groups switching between online and in-person classes can be a handful. Here's how to balance your schedule, manage changing COVID restrictions, and keep things personal.

Starting with the right tools to get the big admin obstacles right out of your way is your first step. Without a booking system or software to help you manage your business, offering private one on one sessions can become challenging and disorganised. Here are some of the bumps in the road that our customers told us about when running personal training sessions without a proper system in place.

fitness instructor giving a personal training session

Managing customers at multiple venues

Customers tend to like to train close to their place of work or home for convenience. If you can offer flexibility in where sessions are delivered - for example at multiple gyms or studios, then this can be helpful in expanding your potential customer base. A lot of trainers we work with have found that as they grow this gets more and more complex causing confusion and disorganisation. Having an online system to manage schedules that is easy to access and amend will be especially helpful in this situation. Your customers might even want to change location sometimes - for example if they are working from home for a time.

Slipping up on the little things

In the early days, it's easy and perfect to manage your schedules manually. With fewer customers to focus on, it is not as difficult to manage them all by text or email. When you get busy enough and add more customers to the mix, you might find yourself slipping up. Maybe you head to the wrong venue. Maybe you call someone the wrong name. Maybe you forgot about an injury your customer is nursing. That's when it's time to start looking for something to help keep you more organised.

No-shows and cancellations

"Managing my students' bookings and payments myself was taking a lot of time and I also had problems with payments and cancellations which stressed me out often."

When your customers cancel last minute (or just do not show up), it can throw off your day and even your business. It's important to your business that your customers attend and pay when they say they will. If you're having trouble with no shows, a booking system that requires payment at the time of booking will be your best next step to avoiding those awkward conversations.

Awkward work-life balance

"Admin was taking up all my time which I could be spending with family and friends, my stress levels were high and I was feeling out of control."

Not having a properly organised schedule or hours of operation can create some serious overlap between work and personal life. Some trainers may not mind this, some might. Regardless, not having a modern or organised schedule for your business can create mishaps and frustration if not managed well. Giving your customers access to you 24/7 will lead to you becoming a workaholic and disrupt your balance and wellness.

Late or missed payments

"I was spending a ridiculous amount of time giving payment details and then having to check the payments had been made."

"Applications like Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay are reliable and will ensure that I always get paid on time right?" While using apps like this for your business is great to start, they do not ensure that your customer will always be on time with their payments or even remember to pay you. If you are always chasing your customer down for their payment your relationship will quickly become awkward, unreliable, and unenjoyable. Not having packages or a payment plan set up that requires customers to pay in advance becomes a big problem that is hard for some trainers to recover from in the future. Especially when their income depends on it.

Business growth has slowed

An important part of growing your business is having a positive reputation and marketing your services to potential new clients. This begins with your customers. Relying on your customers to spread the word about your personal training business will encourage new customers and referrals. Without a program or way to reward your customers for referring you, some may not feel as motivated to do so. Having a referral program that will make it easy for your customers to refer you to friends and family, and receive an incentive for helping creates trust, loyalty, and adds a fun challenge for them to participate in.

No matter what the obstacles are in running your personal training business, it's up to you to give your clients the best experience possible. Here are the 10 TeamUp features that can help you manage your business properly.

10 TeamUp features that can help manage your business

"Pretty much as soon as I started running my own classes, I realized I wanted something in place that would just eliminate all of that admin side of things."

While many TeamUp features will help you offer one on one sessions for your customers, these ten tools will increase engagement, streamline the process, keep your customers organised, and allow you to focus on offering an exceptional experience training with you.

CRM

With fewer clients to manage, it is still just as easy to mix them up and forget to keep track of their customer details. Having a dedicated CRM (customer relationship management tool) where you can keep all of your customers' information, personal details, fitness history, injuries, and progress all in one place will help you stay organised and avoid confusion.

This feature will also help you keep track of your customer's status at your gym or studio. Based on their status (if they are active, have been coming to more classes, are slipping away, signed up for a new membership), you can set up notifications and alerts to help you manage your customers (but more on that later).

Packages

Offer your customers one on one sessions by encouraging them to purchase this option within your select membership packages. Be specific in your name and description for this package so that your customers are aware that this type of membership is dedicated to one on one training and not your regular group classes.

If your customers have different levels of fitness or some of your sessions are more advanced than the other, you can offer different tiers within your packages to best meet your customer's requirements. For long term customers, you can also make their packages recurring so that they pay automatically on a given date, and do not have to worry about paying you directly at your gym or studio.

Calendar

In TeamUp, one on one sessions can only be booked by customers that have purchased the specific package that is associated with personal training. There are two major tools within the calendar feature that will improve your customer's experience in booking these types of sessions.

  1. Appointments. Using the appointments tool within the calendar will allow you to offer personal training sessions to the customers who have purchased that package. Alternatively, if you have a customer that is interested in a personal training session, but does not have that package, you can set up the sessions for them, and request them to purchase before confirming.
  2. Class Sizes. You can set up regular sessions to give your clients the ability to pick their own times and to re-arrange sessions using credits that you allocate.
  3. Visibility and view. To prevent any customer confusion your appointments appear on your calendar like the rest of your classes, however, they will only appear to your customers with that package and to the customers that are booked in for a personal session.

A modern calendar will also allow personal trainers to make their own schedules. Offer classes at times that work best for you, so that your hours of operation do not have to overlap with you non-work related commitments.

Customer referrals

Are your customers enjoying private sessions with you? Create your own customer referral program to encourage them to refer their friends or family to your gym or studio. You can reward both your new customer and current customer for signing up. In your TeamUp dashboard, you get to create your referral program however you want. You can either offer a free trial, discounted class, account credit, or more which can be applied to the existing customer, new customer, or both. You can also customise it so that the new customer receives a type of incentive, for example, a free trial while also giving your current customer a credit to their account for future sessions.

Confirmation emails

It's very important to send your customers a confirmation email to confirm that they have booked a one on one session with you. In your dashboard, you can customise confirmation emails to be sent directly to your customers once they register for a class or even if you register for them. Using TeamUp's marketing integrations, all you'll have to worry about is making sure your template is written how you want and being sent to the right group of customers when you want. Your automated pre-class notifications are an extra reminder for your customer that they have a scheduled session with you.

Online classes

Whether you normally offer training sessions in the gym, at the park, at home, anywhere, you can also add online classes (thanks to TeamUp's Zoom integration) to your sequence to connect with even more customers. When your customers sign-up for your online sessions, they will receive a link to open Zoom and start the session with you. Being able to offer private sessions online will allow you to have a wider net of customers, and connect with them no matter what their schedules are.

Forms and documents

This feature comes super in handy when assessing your customer's fitness level before getting started. Create and customise forms to find out information about your customers including:

  • How long they have been training
  • Previous injuries
  • Their fitness goals
  • Any types of medical conditions

If there is something you want to ask about later, simply add the field to your form and ask your customer for their information to update it in their customer profile.

Encourage your customers to download the TeamUp member app to their iOS or Android mobile device or tablet. This will allow them to book anytime, anywhere, and amend their booking later if need be. They can also automatically add their classes to their own personal calendar using the calendar export feature within the registrations section of the app. This will ensure they see their scheduled classes with you in their everyday calendar and never miss a session.

Payments

One of the biggest challenges is guaranteeing your customers pay in advance or on time. Having an irregular income or not knowing when they will be paid is a struggle that can disrupt your entire business. As a customer has to pay before class to attend, if they no-show or cancel at the last minute, you will not lose revenue - it switches the responsibility to them to attend. A payment plan will also let you plan your finances ahead of time, which will allow them to make personal and business decisions affected by their income.

Learn how to use TeamUp to offer one on one personal training sessions and packages, here. You can also find more tips on offering your customers one on one sessions during COVID-19 and the ins and outs of offering personal training.

Are you giving one on one classes at your gym or studio? Tell us about your experience at stories@goteamup.com.

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