Group Training vs One-on-One – Why Starting a Fitness Boot Camp Makes Dollars and Sense

I talk to personal trainers every day who are either struggling to make ends meet with their one-on-one training business or who are working for a gym and trying to decide whether to strike out on their own.

I tell every single one of them that starting a fitness boot camp is the best thing they will ever do for their income, their family and their quality of life. There are a number of reasons for this, but I think one of the best ways to illustrate the difference is by breaking down earnings and hours for you.

Remember, for personal trainers, it’s all about earnings per hour.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 11.22.46 PMIf you’re training one-on-one right now, how much are you charging your client? How much could you conceivably raise that rate without losing the client?

How many hours in the day can you realistically train? For most trainers, once they deduct travel time, set up and meals, the most hours they can train in a day is 6-8. That may not sound like a lot of work, but that’s 6-8 hours out of a 12-14 hour day. Additionally, there are very few one-on-one trainers who have enough clients that they can book 30-40 sessions per week.

On the other hand, if you run a fitness boot camp, you might have 20 people per session and hold 30 sessions per week. 20×30 = 600 paid sessions. Will you ever be able to book 600 one-on-one sessions in a week? Of course not.

So let’s look at earning per hour. Let’s say you charge $40 per session for one-on-one training and you book 30 sessions per week. That’s 6 sessions a day five days per week. But your days run about 12 hours long because you have gaps between sessions as well as travel and set up time. In this example, you’re making $1200 per week, but it only comes out to $20 per hour.

Now let’s look at a typical boot camp set-up. I’m going to really downplay the numbers, because most boot camps have more than ten people per session, but let’s keep it simple. Let’s say a fitness boot camp owner runs six sessions per day, just like the one-on-one trainer. Let’s say he has ten people booked per session and their monthly payment adds up to $12 per session. 6×10 = 60 people trained daily. $12×60 = $720 daily or $3600 per week.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 11.28.30 PMThat’s triple the earnings already, but there’s one more thing. Those boot camp sessions are only 30 minutes long and there is no travel or set up time. Even if you add on two hours a day of administrative and marketing work, that boot camp owner made that $3600 in 5 hours per day or 25 hours per week. Hourly earnings: $144.

Let’s look at one other factor in the hours and earnings equation. If you’re training one-on-one, you only have so many hours in the day that you can train. If you need to make more money, you’ll have to add clients (training hours) or charge your current clients more. Very few savvy business owners will tell you to raise rates by more than 10% at a time, so if you choose to raise your rates to $44 per hour, you’ll only add $120 per week to your income (as long as none of your clients drop you).

If you decide to add one more training session per day to an already long week, you’ll earn $200 more per week.

But with a fitness boot camp, you have much better options. Let’s stay with the example of the boot camp owner who’s running six sessions per day. He’s doing an hour of admin and an hour of marketing every day as well, but he’s still only working five hours per day. He can easily decide to work six hours per day. That means two additional sessions per day. With ten people per session paying an average of $12 per session each, he just increased his income by $1200 per week, but he’s still only working 30 hours to earn it.

The bottom line is that there is a very definite earnings ceiling with one-on-one training and that ceiling is very low. There is no ceiling at all with a fitness boot camp. You can always hire more trainers, add more sessions or even open a second or third facility.

If you’re trying to decide between one-on-training or starting a fitness boot camp, crunch the numbers yourself. The math never lies.

Committed to Your Success,

Bedros