THE BLOG
09/15/2014 06:35 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2014

Personal Trainers: How to Price Your Services

Whether you're expanding your personal training business, introducing new classes or offering private appointments for the first time, determining pricing can be both an art and a science. On one hand, you want to make sure you aren't setting prices so high that it would deter clients from signing up, but on the other, you don't want to set your prices so low that you end up short-changing yourself.

So what's a trainer to do when it comes to determining a pricing structure that works?

Know your market: First, it's important to get a handle on the pulse of the local fitness community. Are you in a large city or a small town? Are you doing more specialized work with athletes, or are you dealing with general fitness clients? Good insight into your market will help determine what potential clients are willing to pay before you evaluate your own price range.

Determine your value: Second, you need to figure out what your time is worth. Don't fret over what your competitors are doing; remember what value you bring to the table and price accordingly. Make sure when you are filling out your business profile page to tell your prospective clients, very specifically and thoroughly, why you are the best choice for them.

Communicate your worth: Third, market back your value. Let your customers know exactly what they are paying for, and why it's of particular benefit to them. Do you have a lot of experience? Certifications? A specialty? Whatever it is, be transparent with your clients, stating your rates clearly and setting expectations accordingly.

For example, say you're in larger city and the going rate is anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour. Using that as a starting point, it's time to factor in your experience, qualifications, certifications and expertise. Think about your degrees, certifications, etc. and use that to fine-tune up with a rate with which you're comfortable. Depending on where you fall in the spectrum, your rate may increase along that range.

Next, realize that your rate is not set in stone. Start out at a median rate to test the waters in terms of client response. After creating a solid book of business and getting more experience under your belt, reevaluate yourself and your rates again. Remember, it's not about seeing how much you can charge; rather, it's about striking that delicate balance between filling your roster of clients -- but not having to overload it so much to make ends meet that your quality declines.

Finally, now that you've determined your current rate and your value relative to it, you've got to be able to communicate that to others. It's essential to clearly market your areas of expertise, specific elements of your business and teaching that provide clients with the best possible experience in that area. But don't just tell -- show them that your business is the best value, because your experience, certification, and/or teaching style offers an added value that can't be found elsewhere. But also be willing to move on from a client who just doesn't recognize that value; it's important here that both trainer and trainee are on the same page.

Bottom line: know your worth and be ready to communicate it. And don't be afraid to be flexible with your pricing structure and experiment with your prices and see what works best. Trying out new marketing strategies and increasing your client outreach will also help you to build a solid client base which will, in turn, allow you to increase the value for your business going forward.