How to Start a Personal Training Business with No Money

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Step 1 – You need the Right Qualifications

In order to start a Personal trainer business, you must hold the right certification.

To legally operate in the UK as a Personal Trainer, you must hold an Ofqual regulated Level 3 qualification in Personal Training.

Ofqual is the sister company to Ofsted and regulates vocational qualifications across the UK, in health and fitness, social care, beauty, amongst dozens of other industries:

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You will not be able to get personal trainer insurance without an Ofqual regulated PT certificate and would be liable if any claims were brought against you by a client regardless of how well you have written their programme.

PRO TIP TO SAVE MONEY:  You can qualify through various study methods to gain your Level 3 personal training certificate, but if you want to start a Personal trainer business with no money, qualifying online is the most cost-effective route.

For example, here at OriGym we run Ofqual approved Personal Training Qualifications through classroom-based learning, blended learning and online study. Our online course is £800 less than our full-time classroom-based study. 

It is cheaper via online learning as the overheads to us as the provider are substantially less, so the fees to you as the student are also less, for example: 

  • No Venue Required- We do not have to supply a venue for classroom or practical learning
  • Less Teaching - We do not need to supply a tutor to teach everyday
  • You are self-learning – You’re doing the majority of the work to get yourself qualified

You can also spread the cost of the personal training qualification on a 0% interest basis over 12 months to keep outgoings at a minimum and with online learning you can do it around your full time job to keep income flowing in whilst you qualify. 

Step 2 – Low-Cost Personal Training Ideas & Services 

If you’re looking to set-up a personal trainer business with no money, you need to think about where you’re going to offer Personal training, through which medium and what services you’re going to include that do not incur substantial costs or overheads to implement. 

For example, freelancing from mainstream gyms, would incur rent fees that can range from £400-£1200 a month depending on location as well as license fees for uniform, marketing and other add-ons.

But there are a few options that incur little to no cost at all.

Here are our top 5 options for starting a business with no money:

Start a Home Personal Training Business with No Money

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You could offer home Personal Training by travelling to client’s houses.

When travelling to client’s homes, you can charge more per hour, for the inconvenience of travelling and factor for petrol and deprecation of your car.

The typical inflation for travelling to people’s homes is increasing your hourly rate by 25% for example, if you normally charge £30 and hour, you could then charge £40 per hour.

Apart from some minimal costs for some functional based equipment, which we’ll come onto shortly in this article, you’re not having to pay rent for a venue and many clients prefer this medium of training for their own connivence or fear of mainstream gyms.

See here, how Personal Trainer Kim Clarke has set-up her PT business specialising in home visits in and around the Derby area:

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Setting up a Personal Trainer Business with no Money Using the Outdoors

Using the great outdoors is the one of the most cost-effective ways for you to start a personal training business with no money, whether you want to run 1-2-1 sessions, a running club, bootcamps, classes or boxing and pad-work sessions. 

See here how Personal Trainer Michele Simpson set-up an outdoor fitness business in Sheffield using a local park:

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Or here how Bournemouth based trainer Rebecca-Jo is using the beach for her 1-2-1 training sessions:

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Outdoor training removes the overheads of a venue and many clients actually prefer it… permitting of course!

Start an Online Personal Training Business with no Money

A great place to start if you are setting up a fitness business with no money is to go online. 

With an online business, you’re not having to worry about gym rent, equipment costs or where or when to train clients. 

Online Personal Training has the biggest potential for scale of any avenue as you’re not bound by location or by a set hourly rate. 

With online Personal Training you can deliver programmes, nutrition plans, live classes via video or even motivate and correct clients form from the comfort of theirs and your own home.

See here how Trainer, Andy Griiffiths has set-up as an online PT offering 1-2-1 sessions:

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You can start an online PT business just off your social media and using some of the tools we will we cover later in this article. 

Normally with online training, you will charge clients via a monthly package depending on what level of service and quality of support you’re including for your fee. 

As you can write dozens of programmes and nutrition plans with the aid of PT software, which we’ll come to shortly, you can scale an online business quite quickly with minimal costs to you. 

Some online trainers have over 1,000 paying clients, which if you multiple by £150 a month, which is a pretty standard monthly rate, that gives you a whopping £150,000 a month and £1.8 million a year income.


Continue Your Education With OriGym

Expand the services of your business with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course!

Running Classes Without Equipment

A great idea to start a Personal trainer business on a budget is to run classes that do not need equipment.

Certain types of classes require mandatory equipment in order to facilitate.

For example, if you were running a Kettlebell class, you would need to have enough kettlebells for all the attendees and at different weights to cater for different ability levels, which can be quite costly.

However, if you ran: 

  • Bootcamps
  • Circuit classes
  • Bodyweight workshops
  • Pilates
  • or yoga classes

You can negate the use of equipment and still run a very successful class.

Additionally, classes when scaled properly can be extremely lucrative, for example, if you ran a circuit class for an hour on an evening and got 20 attendees and charged just £5 per person, that is £100 per hour.

If you manged to scale this over time to running 20 classes per week, that equates to £2,000 per week and £8,000 per month. Not bad from 20 hours’ worth of work!

1-2-1 PT Through Reciprocal Working

Many one-off gyms and Personal Training studios are privately owned, thus if you need a physical venue to take your clients to, you could negotiate with the owner to allow you to bring clients into their gym without rent, in exchange for doing some hours for free on their gym floor on a limited basis such as 8-10 hours per week. 

This keeps your rent overheads to zero, gives you a place to bring clients and you still have plenty of time to build your PT business around these hours.

Another way of achieving the same end goal if you don’t want to do any hours for free is to negotiate with a private venue again, where you pay a flat fee each time you bring a client into their facility.

This results in you only paying when you actually conduct a session and get paid, keeping your outgoings lower than your incomings at all times.

Combining PT Avenues Together

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You can combine any of these Personal Training avenues together to widen your demographic appeal.

Some clients will be looking for a Personal Trainer to come to their home, others will prefer just being sent a programme online to follow and some doing classes outside. 

By offering more than one solution, this naturally increases widens your appeal and demographic as you’re not restricting your business to only one format of training. 

See here how Sheffield based Personal Trainer Nick Screeton has set-up his business by offering Face to face sessions, online PT and group PT:

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Or here as Personal Trainers Sarah Lindsay and Rich Phillips have set-up their business, Roar Fitness, to offer 1-2-1 PT, online programming as well as live classes that clients can join along with from the comfort of their own home:

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Once you have established which route you like the sound of, it’s time to move onto step 3.

Step 3– Branding your PT Business on a budget

Once you have decided on the way your going to deliver PT and the name of your company, whether that’s harnessing your name and adding “PT” to the end of it or crearting a personal trainer business name, you’re going to need to brand your business.

What branding do you need to consider? Here’s the most important branding points every trainer business needs: 

  • Logo
  • Social media Posts & Banners
  • Flyers
  • PT forms
  • Business Cards
  • Uniform

Here’s how you can brand your PT business for free:

Creating a PT Logo For FREE

You can create your logo for your Personal training business for free with logo makers. Just pop in your brand name and select the industry and it will generate thousands of templated ideas, based on colours you want. 

See an example on screen using of my hypothetical PT Business “LJ Personal Training” and I have created a slogan for this business -  “Become More”:

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You can further edit the logo’s colours, icon, slogan and layout. It will even show you how your logo will look when used online and in hardback:

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Social media Posts & Banners, Flyers, Forms & Business Cards 

You can get the majority of the rest of you branding done in one place, using Canva.  Whether you want to create your business cards, banners for Facebook, posters, flyers or letterheads……with Canva you can do it all and its free.

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Here is a PT business Card I created using our fictional Personal Training business, which took less than 2 minutes:

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Getting Cost Effective Personal Training Uniform

Lastly, the last part of your branding is your uniform.

If you’re starting a personal trainer business on a budget, keep costs low by just buying branded clothing that you’re going to actually train clients in and for your top half only like hoodies, jackets and T-shirts.

Wearing neutral leggings, shorts or tracksuit bottoms that are plain that you already own is perfectly acceptable as most clients will judge your appearance based on your top half.

Getting decent quality gym clothing is still important though, as your clients want a trainer who is both professional during sessions and in appearance. 

You can get high quality and relatively cheap customised Gym Hoodies, jackets and T-shirts, from Personal Trainer

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Use our resources below to help you get started with your own personal trainer business:

STEP 4 – Sourcing Cheap Personal Training Equipment

Depending on the route you decide to go down with your PT business, you may need to source some personal training equipment.

For example, if you’re planning to do home personal training, PT outdoors, run certain types of classes, then the requirement for equipment becomes inevitable.

If you’re starting a fitness business on a budget, you can minimise equipment costs by:

Buying Functional based equipment - Functional based equipment like resistance bands, suspension straps, sandbags and med balls are extremely cost effective, portable and durable:

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Buying your Equipment Second-hand - You can find second-hand gym equipment on big general sites like:

General Sites – such as Gumtree, Ebay or Freeads:

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These sites have hundreds of listings for all different types of gym and personal training equipment and you can filter by price and equipment type.

For example, on Gumtree I have filtered for “Sandbags” and put a maximum price of £20 and found this 30kg sandbag going for just £15, which looks in great condition:

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The price range for a 30kg sandbag brand new would be between £50 and £100 depending on the brand.

There are even dedicated Facebook groups for buying and selling gym equipment that you can request to join and scan their feeds for bargain buys.

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Lastly, you can even find specific sites dedicated to selling used gym equipment

Specific Sites: like

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STEP 5 – Legalities & Personal Training Forms 

There are various forms you may need as a Personal Trainer, which include: 

  • Pre-exercise Questionnaire
  • Client Goals & Lifestyle questionnaires
  • Client Tracking forms
  • Service level agreement
  • Client Contract
  • Client Mandate form
  • Informed Consent

To name just a few.

When starting a fitness business with no money you can simply find templated versions of these forms online and then adapt them to suit your PT business.

Simply type into Google “Personal Trainer form Templates” or Personal Trainer Form Downloads” and this will bring up a few websites that are willing to allow you to download documents for your business for FREE, such as this one here by The Institute of Personal Trainers, where I can download their 14 essential forms for Free:

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Then you can pick the forms that you feel that you need and adapt them with your logo and branding, like this “New Client Agreement Form” here that I downloaded:

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Using a combination of sites, you should be able to get all the personal training forms you need for free.

STEP 6 - Management Tools to Run your PT Business

When setting up your personal trainer business with no money, you need to ask yourself how you’re going to track your clients progress, their payments, communication, as well as having systems for marketing, enquires and running your day-to-day services.

Here are some low cost and free key tools you can use to manage these processes and run your business effectively whilst keeping the costs down:

Mail Chimp – Marketing Platform 

Mail Chimp is a customer relationship platform and it’s a must for starting a fitness with business with no funds to manage your clients and prospective client’s information.

Mail Chimp allows you to:

  • Store the details of people that enquire about your personal training services
  • Schedule follow up tasks for those enquires
  • Track and store your all your client’s details
  • Automate process within your fitness business like sending contracts, and forms
  • Send marketing e-shots to prospective clients
  • There is even free branding and marketing tools that you can use

The best part? Its Free for you to add up to 2,000 contacts and you get 10,000 emails you can send for no charge each month, perfect for a personal trainer just starting out:

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Using Zoom

Zoom has many functions for a Personal Trainer and it’s FREE.

Whether you want to do personal training consultations distantly, do remote check-ins with clients or even live mini classes, zoom works for all these functions.

You can host up to 100 people and do 40-minute zoom meetings without paying anything.


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Cheap PT Software

PT software is critical in this day and age whether you want train clients in person or online.

It saves you huge time writing out programmes and nutrition plans manually, tracking clients progress and there is no technical skills required to maximise your business. 

If you’re becoming a Personal trainer with no money one of the best software’s to use to get your business off the ground is TheWorkoutCoach.

The Workout coach is one of the very few personal training software’s where you can register your first 5 clients for free, allowing you to not spend a penny until you have built up your client base and started generating revenue.

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The Workout coach app allows you to send customised training programmes to clients, report and checking on their progress and for your clients to record their sessions via mobile when they are actually in the gym and training.

There is more sophisticated software on the market that you can explore at a later date, like PT Distinction or PT Minder that come with inflated costs, but if you want to start a PT business on a budget, using Workout Coach’s 5 free client application is a great way to get started. 

Take Payments for FREE

Next yours’re going to need to set a system to take payments for your business.

Firstly, once you have legally registered your business, you’re going to need to set up a business bank account.

Most banks offer free banking for up to 12 months such as Lloyds banking group is here:

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Once you have filled in your online application, been approved and got your bank account set-up you can set-up a PayPal account to take payments from your clients. 

Paypal is free to set-up, just enter your email address, create a password and then fill in your business details and you’re done. It’s that simple:

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You can set-up re-occurring payments each month if you do monthly personal training packages or lump sums if you’re selling your training in blocked sessions.

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Step 7 – Marketing your Personal Training Business on a budget

There is a whole host of ways you can advertise and market your personal training business for free or next to nothing:

Create a Cheap, yet High Quality Website

If you’re going to offer outdoor sessions, home PT, online or a combination of them, you’re going to need a personal training website.

The point of a website is ultimately to get rankings and therefore traffic from people searching via search engines like Google for exactly what you sell. 

To save money, you can use WordPress to create an aesthetically pleasing website from just £3 a month that is optimised for Google rankings like this one here from Celebrity trainer Matt Roberts:

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This website is built via WordPress and not just does it demonstrate Matt’s companies’ packages, expertise and services, it actually pulls in hundreds of clicks and enquiries through to his website each month from people looking for personal training in his area each month:

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With this wordpress option, you can create your own themes, use their extensive library of templates, hosting is included, and you get your own domain name. Not bad from just £3 a month:

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Set-up your Google my Business Page

Whether you’re looking to start a fitness business with no money or not, the first thing any freelance trainer or company should do is get their business listed on Google my business.

Google my business or google snap map as it’s also referred, is the local business’ that show up on the map when a Google user is searching for a particular service in their area. 

Here is an example for when I type in “Personal Trainer Leeds” into Google. These business' show below the paid ads at the top, but above all the organic results, making it a great way to get to advertise your personal trainer business right at the top of the Google rankings for nothing.

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When you create your Google my business page, you will get a blank Google profile.

You will need to populate this profile, as we have done here for our Google my business page for or head office:

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As you can see it will display your business address, opening hours, contact details, showcase your reviews as well as allowing customers to click on your photos, website and get directions to your location. 

Google my business pages can produce thousands of views.....

Take a look at our analytics for OriGym’s Google my business page in Liverpool for its performance over the last 28 days:

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As you can see we got close to 10 and half thousand views from people using search terms in Google like “personal trainer courses”, "gym courses", “fitness qualifications” and hundreds of others, as well as those searching for our direct brand name and landing on our Google my business profile.

This leads to more people asking for directions to our business, more calls and more visits to our website:

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PERSONAL TRAINING ADVERTISING TIP: When you get your Google my business page approved, ensure you complete 100% of the profile and fill in your companies logo, images, contact information and links to your services. 

Combining this with getting clients to leave you reviews will increase your trustworthiness with Google and therefore how frequently you feature in the Google snap map.

Additionally, you can use Google my business to post articles and put-up personal training adverts and promotions.

Prospecting on Social Media Groups

Fitness based Social Media groups are massively underused by trainers.

You can get in front of thousands of people free of charge with minimal effort.

Some Facebook and LinkedIn groups have thousands of members in, such as this Weight Loss Exercise Tips Group on Linkedin:

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Or any of these Facebook groups:

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There are literally dozens of them.

Once you get accepted to join some relevant groups. You can start posting in the community offering tips depending on what that group pertains to, but also linking back to your services.

See here how I have posted one of our latest YouTube videos in the Linkedin group “Find a Personal Trainer” and here on Facebook group “Fitness Instructors UK” to generate more video views from fitness professionals:

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The video adds value, but I’m not spamming them with just links to our PT courses or services.

You can also start prospecting group members who post comments asking for advice.

Take this example. This was a comment in the Facebook group "Keto Diet, Weight Loss, And Fitness" to somebody called Clarissa’s post on their gym progress:

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This would be an opportune moment to reply with a constructive comment and then link back to your services.

“Hi Ashley,

I am a qualified Personal Trainer, here is a couple of tips for you (Then provide some tips) – if you’re interested in a customised nutrition and training plan, advice and support drop me a DM I would be happy to help.”

Setting time aside to prospect people on social platforms is a cost-effective way of generating your own business.


Continue Your Education With OriGym

Expand the services of your business with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course!

Advertise for FREE with Voucher Code Sites 

You can actually advertise your Personal training business for free to a huge database of people local to you. 

Large voucher code sites like “myvoucher codes”, “voucher cloud” and “Groupon” have millions of subscribers from all over the country including potential clients local to you…..Afterall everyone loves a discount.

See here How SK Personal Training is advertising their 1-2-1 online Personal Training on Groupon:

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And here how Hello fit is using Groupon to advertise their fitness classes without paying a penny in upfront fees:

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All you have to do is go to Groupon and fill in their Groupon merchant form with your business details, wait for Groupon to approve you and then you can start uploading discounts and deals that gets sent out to thousands of subscribers in your local area.

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Set-up a FREE Bark Profile

If you wanting to market your personal training business for free, using Bark is an absolute must!

Bark is a platform that connects customers to services from every sector, including Personal Training.

See here how Personal Trainer Esther Anu has set-up her Bark profile to start getting prospective clients contact her through Bark:

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Additionally, every day, Bark emails you with leads straight into your inbox from people looking for a Personal Trainer based on your location. See on screen this email that was sent to our inbox from Bark with leads based on our Liverpool Head Office’s address:

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You can then contact the lead directly via phone, email or the Bark platform messaging system. 

Getting started with Bark could not be easier. Sign up by clicking “join as a professional” and fill in your company details and your off:

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Set-up a Referral Scheme

Referrals from your existing clients are the most powerful type of lead you can get and its free. If you’re starting a personal training business with no money, getting a pipeline of referrals is critical for scaling your business.

In fact, referrals are that powerful, they convert into new customers almost every time. See here OriGym’s conversion rate from referrals compared to other types of enquiry:

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As you can see for every 100 referrals we get, 77 of them will convert into a new paying customer, far stronger than setting up Google ads or running Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

The reason referrals work well as you are getting endorsed by a third party…. your client! 

Your client is doing the hard work for you, promoting your services to their friends, family and work colleagues. 

If any of their friends are in need of a trainer, the natural choice is for them to pick the trainer that comes recommended, from a reliable and trustworthy source – your client!

When setting up your referral scheme, ensure you give something to both the referrer and referee.

This double incentivises the process.

It incentivises the client to push your offer and then the recipient to actually sign up! 

See here our referral process for our personal training students:

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They can refer someone to the course and get paid up to £100 or a free fitness CPD of their choosing and their friend gets an automatic 10% discount for signing up.

When you’re starting a fitness business with no money, you need to ensure all your clients are told about the referral incentive when they sign up, during check-ins and progress reports.

Just ensure to mix up your referral prizes every now and then to keep things fresh. 

Before You Go!

As you can see, it's entirely possible to start a fitness or personal training business with no money. If you want to expand the number of services your business can offer, check out our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course or download our course prospectus here.

Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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