So you’re wondering “can I run a personal training business from my garage?” The answer is yes, which is why we have a guide on what you need and how to get set up.
If you’re looking to get the correct qualifications first before you start setting up your new business venture, then why not enquire about one of our personal training courses here at OriGym? Find this and many other health and fitness courses here in our downloadable course prospectus.
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What Do You Need to Run a Personal Training Business From Your Garage?
Before you start building your gym and investing in equipment, there are some tasks and legalities you need to get in order first. Below, you can find a list of what you need to start off with before you get into the logistics of registering your business and setting up.
You Need to Be a Qualified Personal Trainer
Before you start practising as a personal trainer, you first need to ensure that you have the correct accredited qualification behind you.
A Level 3 diploma in personal training is a really good start since you won’t need any prior qualifications beforehand.
This is the minimum qualification needed for you to be a recognised professional and to get your PT insurance. This qualification includes two parts:
Without a Level 2 qualification, you’re unable to work in a gym, which makes it difficult to get experience working within the fitness industry prior to opening your own garage gym. It is recommended that you do get some experience in a commercial gym perhaps prior to opening your own business.
Taking the diploma route is so vital since you cannot take on the Level 3 course without first completing the Level 2, so it's best to tackle both of these at once to become fully qualified to run a garage personal training business.
With that in mind, without a Level 3 in PT, you will struggle to get insured and practising without insurance is a big no no, but we will talk more about that later.
For now, what you need to know is the bottom line, which is that gaining your qualification should be your first priority before anything else.
Get Registered With CIMSPA
Once you’re qualified as a PT, you should then go on to register with the likes of CIMSPA.
CIMSPA is a body that essentially establishes standards for the industry, so being a member communicates how you value the commitment to your career while also receiving any progression help.
You can see below at what CIMSPA says about their personal membership, which is the one that would be suitable for you as a PT.
Though it isn’t necessarily a requirement, it is something that can help your corner, since it will set you apart and show your high standards amidst other PT’s.
If you’re hoping to run a garage based personal training business, you need to consider ways to make your business more noticeable since you won’t have the reputation of a commercial gym behind you.
Thus, having memberships like CIMSPA can help to do this and provide you with some sort of standard even if you’re new to the industry.
You May Need to Get Permission and Make Renovations to Your Garage Gym
When you’re renovating your garage, there may be some circumstances in which you might need planning permission or permission to renovate.
This isn’t always the case though so check for your own situation by researching on your government and local authority websites.
For example, if you rent the property that you want to operate from, chances are that you’re going to need permission from your landlord. This can be relatively straightforward but something that you must do is get this in writing.
Aside from the basic level of permission from your landlord, there are some other areas of concern, like local planning permission. You can see below what it says on the UK Government website regarding this:
This is in relation to making changes to the actual building itself. Notice where we have highlighted, it is only when you want to make major alterations to the property do you then need local planning permission.
If you’re operating from your garage with plans only to make minor refurbishments and furnish with equipment, you won’t be needing this level of permission.
However, you could need planning permission from your local council if you want to advertise outside of your home or if you need a licence to run your business.
There are some helpful resources that can help you distinguish the legalities that you need specific to your situation. For example, below you can see what to expect from helpful tools like Planning portal.
You can utilise this website and browse through all of the options that you feel appropriate.
If you own your home or have a mortgage, it is worth getting in touch with your mortgage provider just in case. The more you are planning to change your garage gym, the higher the chances are that you’re going to need some level of permission.
You Need to Get Insured to Run a Personal Training Business From Your Garage
We spoke about the importance of getting insurance and that you can’t do this without having an accredited qualification. That being said, there are some vital policies that you must have, and some that are sensible to have as add ons.
Public Liability Insurance Policy
The most important policy to get prior to starting to work as a PT is public liability.
This policy is what you need to protect yourself, your business and your clients. Since personal training is an active activity for your client, there is the possibility of injury.
If your client injures themselves as a result of your personal training session they could take legal action. This insurance policy will protect you should that happen and you and your business.
You can typically get cover for up to £10m with the likes of Insure4Sport, a popular and affordable option. It is easy to get a quote too, you can see below how you can do this:
It is super easy to do and you should get this up and running as soon as possible.
Professional Indemnity Policy
Professional indemnity is often something that you can ‘add-on’ when building a policy. This is essentially a policy that could protect you should you fall victim of a negligence claim.
For instance, if you provide instruction that results from your incorrect advice, you could end up with legal action against your business. This insurance can protect you should this be the case. You can see below how you can get this as an add-on when building your policy with Insure4Sport for example.
This isn’t a necessity, but it is sensible to have, particularly since you’re operating from a garage based gym and there may be minimal witnesses to counter any allegations.
Get a DBS Check & First Aid Before Starting a Garage Gym
Besides the insurance policies themselves, there are some other things that you should have when running a personal training business from your garage.
First aid is something that you need to have, by law since you’re the business owner you need a kit and the certification.
In this instance since you’re in a space where you are the sole person responsible for your clients safety. So, you should make sure that you have not only your First Aid certification, but also a first aid kit stored in your garage.
Below, you can see a list of everything you need in your kit, from Steroplast - a company where you can also buy various first aid kits from too.
Similarly to what we said about insurance, you will be the person responsible for the care of your client, so having a first aid certification and the correct kit is extremely important.
As well as this, you may want to consider getting a DBS check. Though this isn’t a necessity in the same way your first aid or insurance certifications are, it can be useful due to the circumstance of running a gym from your garage.
A DBS check can be beneficial if you want to show your clients that you have taken extra care in providing them with safety and security while they’re training with you.
It is super easy to get too, you can see below a snippet of the UK Government website showing you how simple it is:
It is a budget friendly extra to add to your certifications and just provides that extra layer of professionalism and security when running a business from your home garage.
For some more resources that can help you to set up your garage gym, read these articles below:
- How To Run A Referral Program For Your Fitness Business: 5 Simple Steps
- 5 Steps for Conducting a Personal Trainer Risk Assessment
- How To Have A Successful Gym: 13 Crucial Tips
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym!
How to Start a Personal Training Business From Your Garage
Now that you know the important stuff that you need to get done, you’re ready to start migrating your business into your garage and building your very own PT studio.
Register Your Garage Gym Business
First things first, you should begin by registering your business with the UK Government.
You should decide whether you want to operate as a limited company or a sole trader. Essentially, a sole trader means that you are personally liable for your business however, if you choose to set up a limited company your company is a separate entity from you personally.
The government website on how to set up a business is super helpful and takes you through everything you need step by step. You can see below some important information about setting up as a sole trader and some things you need to keep in mind:
Since you’ll be self employed if you own a garage based personal training business, you will have to register for self assessment and complete this every tax year. This is your responsibility and you should make sure this is a priority to legitimately run your business.
Something to also be aware of is what you name your business. You can see below what the Government website has to say about this:
Aside from things like licences, names and insurance that we have already mentioned, it is pretty simple to register your business; you just need to follow the step by step that the webpage walks you through.
Acquire Essential Equipment
If you’re asking “can I run a gym from my garage?”, you’re probably already aware of the biggest task of all- getting your studio furnished.
Of course you need equipment, but there are some other things you need to think about. Do you have enough space? You might need to make some refurbishments but if you have an empty space with no huge obstacles chances are this won’t be the case.
Aside from that, another logistic you should think about is heating and cooling. In the UK, you need to be prepared for the colder winter months, while also ensuring you have sufficient air conditioning for warmer months since your clients will be building up a sweat regardless of the weather outside.
You should install heaters and air conditioning so you can have the correct temperature. This is very important for running a personal training business from your garage since you’re responsible for your clients safety and overheating, or pulling a muscle because they can’t warm up is the last thing you want.
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym... Get your journey to a PT studio in your garage underway with a level 3 diploma in personal training here at OriGym!
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym...
Get your journey to a PT studio in your garage underway with a level 3 diploma in personal training here at OriGym!
Your choice in gym flooring is important in determining the extremities of the weather, so take this into consideration when browsing efficient floor choices.
Aside from that, at the very least, you’re going to need the following equipment:
- Treadmill, rower or another sufficient cardio machine
- Free weights: Dumbbells up to 20kg
- Squat rack & Barbell
- Cable rig & all attachments
Though there are more things you can add if you have the financial means and space, this list of equipment for a garage based gym allows you to do a lot with a little. For example, a cable rig may seem like a big investment but the amount of variations of exercises you can perform on it is endless!
Market Yourself to Your Existing Clients
Finally, in order to set up a business and actually get clients through the door, you need to put some effort into your personal training marketing strategies.
The good thing about marketing your own gym is that you can take inspiration from independent small gyms or even commercial gyms on how they get clients through the door.
For example, do some research into similar gyms or even other garage gym businesses too. Some things that you could begin with are the more so budget friendly options such as:
New / Re joiner discounts: Create a discount for any new clientele who join your programme. Make it time-sensitive for example “Join in the month of January and receive your first month 50% off!”
This is a common approach across the industry, you can see an example from JD Gym below for instance:
These kinds of offers are often communicated through the likes of email marketing or on your business social media.
Referral schemes: This can be a great option if you’re moving from a gym and want to keep your current clients. Provide an incentive for the referral and referrer and you have a higher chance of client retention.
For example, you can create a win-win referral scheme in which your clients can refer a friend, if they sign up, they both receive 2 free PT sessions.
Memberships: Memberships are a great way to keep clients around for the long term. Create membership packages on a rolling contract direct debit so you have less chance of clients finishing up their services with you.
For example, an independent PT studio in Liverpool does this, you can see below what this could look like for your PT business too.
Create a website & social media page: Finally, aside from the more hands-on strategies, you should increase your brand awareness and increase communication efforts with the use of personal trainer websites and social media.
Before You Go…
So, can I run a garage gym? Yes! Refer back to our guide if you need any guidance and start creating a strong business plan.
Don’t forget though, you need to be qualified first. If you’re ready for this first step then why not enquire about one of our personal training courses here at OriGym? Find this and much more in our downloadable course prospectus.
Start a Successful Online PT Business From Home in 9 Weeks
Download our video guide to get started