All business owners know that they need to make sacrifices to their daily lives to ensure the success of their personal training. Many forgo sleep. Others don’t eat properly, or skip workouts, or forget to take days off. And while those people deserve a lot of respect, trainers have a tricky balance to maintain. Because of course, a trainer’s product is literally the physique of their clients.
And in order to be their best for the clients, they need more than an endless supply of coffee: they need to be in peak condition for their clients; ready to push them up a hill, to get down on the ground and do the final set of push-ups with them. In short, trainers can’t be sacrificing their health for their business if they want to continue having a business.
So we have some opposing information. Owning a business is crazy, and it doesn’t care about your need to eat properly and keep up with your own training. Trainers need to take care of themselves to keep their business going. How can trainers adapt their businesses without shredding themselves?
There really is only one answer: you’ve got to get really, really smart about your costing structure.
Think of your personal fitness as an advertisement for your business. No one is going to hire a trainer that doesn’t have the body they want themselves. When you think of your own fitness as a “product” , your rates can reflect the time you spend keeping yourself in shape.
That means trying out new routines, testing new diets, switching protein supplements–all of these represent time that you can bill for. The question is how to incorporate this into your rates.
We’ve compiled a list of ways that trainers can get smart about calculating their business expenses for personal training, and generating profits that care for their costs.
1. Time yourself: The road to profit looks different for a trainer. A florist’s business expenses might include a trip to the wholesaler and a few new sets of clippers. A trainer needs to include the time they spend: building out individual plans for clients, testing new circuits, and of course, equipment. While a florist can ascribe a profitability right into their product–a flower they buy for a dollar will be sold for $4–a trainer’s profits are less concrete. It’s important to get an idea of how much time you are spending on your business if you want to set a precedent for profits. Choose a working-rate for time that you spend setting your business up, and log those costs so you have an idea of what your rates need to cover. A great app for tracking this is Trippeo: an expense management app. Add your logged hours to Trippeo to keep tabs on how much you need to pay yourself.
2. Aim to break even, then scale up: This isn’t sexy advice, but it’s sound: when you try to take on 100 clients right at the beginning of your business, you’ll likely find that you aren’t able to keep up with the quality and demand of your client-base. This could create a lot of drop-off, and possibly poor reviews–a nightmare for any small business owner, and in some extreme cases, it might even bankrupt your business. A little manageable debt is totally acceptable for a small business. While you may not love starting your business on credit, you’ll thank yourself later when your business grows at a rate you can manage and charge for.
3. Make time: Set aside 20 minutes a week to go over your finances and calculate your gains and expenses. If you’ve been using Trippeo to calculate your expenses, you can easily build a report of everything you’ve spent that week In the beginning, you may not be covering all your costs. But if you’ve been diligent about tracking your expenses, you’ll see the areas that you need to increase or diminish in order to approach profitability. Maybe you need to spend a bit more time testing your circuits and find something that works across a few clients. Or maybe you’re losing clients because they are not finding their workouts challenging enough, and you need to step up your planning time. It’s a tricky balance to achieve, but seeing it in dollars and cents makes it easier to plan.
In the end, it’s safe to say that balancing costs and profits should be the main concern any small business owners should have. Getting organized or using a tool to manage your expenses for you can be essential in getting a good picture of where you stand financially and what you need to improve on.