On fitness forums, I have seen this question posted quite frequently:
Which is better, to hire a personal trainer as an employee or as an independent contractor?
In Part I of this series we looked at the very basic options that both gym owners and personal trainers have when hiring and being hired. I received a great response with an overwhelming majority of personal trainers who work as independent contractors. I have yet to receive feedback from gym operators. Regardless, some of the personal trainer responses described their independent contracting experiences as “win-win” both for them and the gyms that they work for – as they were able to bring in clients who were not members of the gym they trained at but who ultimately signed up. It was pointed out that some clubs require a guest fee and others just may have charged the personal trainer a fee to train at that particular club (I could not decipher whether or not the guest client was charged too – please clear this up for me if that is the case!). I will continue to keep you up-to-date with any other responses I receive! Now, for Part II, I would like to focus on the gym owner’s perspective of paying personal trainers…
Personal Trainers and Compensation
There are so many things to think about as you get ready to add one or more personal trainers to the services you offer at your gym. One of these is wages and who is going to be paying the trainers. Depending on the size of your gym and your financial status, this can be a very important decision and have a dramatic effect on the number of personal trainers you have in your gym.
Hourly Personal Trainers
This speaks for itself in that you are going to actually hire your personal trainers, include them on your staff and pay them either an hourly wage or a salary. This has several advantages such as the ability to set their hours, how many they work and at the same time control the fees that your members will have to pay to use their services.
At the same time, you are going to be responsible for paying your share of their taxes, collecting all of their taxes and ensuring that they get paid. You will also be required to provide full liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and provide holiday pay and an annual holiday pay. Along with this, because you are going to be paying them holiday pay, you are going to be paying them even when they are not providing services to your members.
Independent Contractor Personal Trainers
If you choose to go with independent contractor personal trainers, the entire dynamics of the situation change completely. You no longer have to worry about paying wages as they do not “work” for you. Each independent contractor is self-employed. He will set his own rates and the only money he earns is from the fees he charges your members. At the same time, many gyms actually charge these independent contractors a fee for using their facilities. Instead of paying their taxes and insurance, you can make money from their services.
Questions for Discussion
- Are there any costs associated with either employee or independent trainers that are missing?
- Does your gym charge you, the independent personal trainer, for using their facilities?
- For Independents, does your gym allow non-members, as your clients to workout at their facility? If so, are there any stipulations?
This article originally ran 1/14/2013 and has been updated and republished.
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