During my first two and a half years as a Personal Trainer, I kept my prices at the same level.
Also during this time, I invested over £4000 in continued professional development and traveled across the UK for 20+ weekends – going to seminars, conferences, business days and trainer meetups. I invested in new equipment, started offering free monthly review sessions and started a client-only Facebook group to build a community within my client base.
My knowledge, service and client experience vastly improved.
And yet, it wasn’t until I went to get a back massage and the therapist I was seeing told me her prices had gone up that I started thinking it might be the appropriate time to increase my own prices.
I remember saying to her, “I’m surprised you haven’t done increased them before and that you’re not charging more anyway!“.
I spoke to a few trainers who I knew had increased their prices, asked how they had done it, did some research and over the next three years, I steadily increased my prices.
In this article, I’m going to run over how and when to increase your prices, as well as some of the common concerns trainers have about doing so.
Is Your Personal Training Business Busy?
Part of the assumption I’m making about your business is that you are good at retaining clients and getting results. If this is something you struggle with, increasing your prices at this moment in time makes little to no sense as you don’t have proof that what you’re delivering is worth paying more for.
You must “earn the right” to increase your prices by having a proven track record.
If you haven’t got to this point yet please don’t think you’re doing something wrong. You’re not, and this is a normal phase of your career to be in. Keep working with more people, getting results, increasing your knowledge and level of service, and looking for ways to seek out feedback from clients, peers and mentors about how your business could be improved. My first couple of years in the industry saw zero increases because I was finding my feet and learning how to be a real-life personal trainer that could deliver something worth charging for – your experience may not be much different.
“I can’t increase my prices!”
“I’m not good enough and/or worth it”
Have you got better at being a personal trainer over the last year? Has your service improved? Have you invested in your education and sought out ways to keep improving?
If you answered yes to those questions, your services have gone up in value and justify an increased price tag as a result.
I can guarantee you that you’ll have more people saying that it “makes complete sense” and is “about time” rather than “See ya! I’m off to the guy/gal down the road then!”.
You are, to quote Alwyn Cosgrove, a “constantly upgrading learning machine”.
- spend your weekends listening to podcasts about business, training and nutrition.
- buy books not for the love of literature, but for the love of growing your business and better supporting your clients.
- pay monthly fees to be part of subscription services like LTB, MASS and Weightology, and you pay £100’s to attend seminars and conferences.
- spend time thinking about how you can help every single one of your clients enjoy exercise more, get better results and make everything you offer that bit better.
You are worth the increased cost!
“People will leave me and go elsewhere”
Let’s put aside the part of you not being worth it as we’ve addressed that above, but the likelihood of your clients leaving because of an increase is much smaller than our minds will let us believe. The cost for haircuts, your TV subscription, food and buying a daily coffee go up each year and you don’t leave those things – why are you any different?
As long as people are getting something they want from your service they will continue to value it.
“I’m not financially motivated”
If you’re happy with how much you earn and don’t see any need to increase your prices, you don’t have to. Your business is yours to do with whatever you please 🙂
When Should I Increase My Prices?
Most companies increase their prices yearly, I see no reason for PTs to be any different.
We’re in a service industry, just like hairdressers and massage therapists. It’s not uncommon to walk into a business like one of those two and see a price increase notice.
3-4% is the average increase just to cover inflation, but around 5-10% is acceptable.
This means if you charge £200 per month you should be going up to around £210-220.
Should My Current Clients Rates Go Up?
I handled this by lifting my current clients up to a rate that was more in line with what I delivered over a three-year period (£40) and any new clients who signed up would go on to the new rate that I had for that year. This way, they paid more than when they started but weren’t receiving the yearly increases new clients had.
A lot of companies keep the clients who signed up on day one at the same rate throughout their time at their business to respect their loyalty during what was likely a time when things weren’t perfect. Going for it this way is another option but you can handle it whatever way you feel is more aligned with your business and where you want to go.
How To Go About Increasing Your Prices
My advice would be to:
- Set a date 6-8 weeks from now for the increase
- Write each of your clients a letter and give it to them in-person
- Use our sample script to write this letter (edit and change what you feel makes it sound more like you)
- Give your current clients a transition period or a midpoint between the new rate and their current rate
Sample Price Increase Script
Dear Someone Somebody,
As a coach I am truly honoured to work with a client base that I love to see doing so well and you are a linchpin in that.
As you know, over the last X years I have worked tirelessly to improve my skills as a coach, and spent around £XX in further development to become a better coach for each of my clients. It has taken me XX hours, and I have traveled well over XXX miles to learn from the people who lead the way when it comes to scientific, applicable knowledge.
My commitment to you is that I intend on further developing my skills next year by learning more about (name something key to their goal).
Due to the increasing costs of studying from elite coaches and the increased price of travel costs, I am going to be increasing my prices for the first time in XX years.
The subtle increase in investment of X will be rewarded with better coaching as my skill set continues to grow, which will lead to more effective and sustained results over the coming year – something that I am proud to help you with. New clients will be paying X amount, but as a thank you to your loyalty over the last few years your increase will be X.
The new pricing structure will take effect for all bookings made after XX/XX/XXXX. However, any current bookings that run beyond this date will still be honoured at my current rate.
If you have any questions regarding this decision I will welcome your feedback, so please raise this during an upcoming session.
Yours sincerely X
What Happens If Clients Refuse to Pay The Price Increase?
This is uncommon but let’s just say you’ve got 10 clients and 1 refuses to pay the price increase of 10% on their monthly rates.
Everyone else is now paying £220 per month, which means a total increase of £180 across 9 clients and you’ve lost one paying £200, yet you have opened up hours of your time per month.
In total you lose £20 per month, but you gain time that can be used for professional development or to find a client who is happy paying the price increase.
You may well have a few clients who simply cannot afford an increase. Address this on a case by case basis. You’ll know the clients who are legit and value your help but cannot afford to pay more. You can always offer a different service that fits their budget if you want to.
Conclusion / Action Steps
Increasing the amount you charge for your service is not something that is spoken about or discussed often in personal training circles. You’re offering a service that you already hear is expensive. But really, it’s no different to any other service out there. Inflation affects personal trainers just like any other career and in my opinion, you probably spend more time on professional development than most other service professionals. If you’re investing your time and money in learning how to be better and the results you get are constantly improving, there is a clear reason to consider increasing your prices. Whatever you decide, I hope this article has given you some consideration about why and how you might go about it.
Learn More About LTB
Would you like to learn more LTB? Head here to learn more about us and to sign up to our 2-week free trial. You’ll get full access to everything on the site and can cancel anytime. If you’re interested in learning more about how to set your prices you can check out lesson 3 of our Business Foundations Practicalities course.