Where Do Freelance Personal Trainers Work?

Where Do Freelance Personal Trainers Work?

Answering ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’ will require an in-depth look at a variety of different locations.

This article will explore how various different factors can influence the location in which a freelance personal trainer will work, and how each place will bring with it new opportunities.

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Where Do Freelance Personal Trainers Work and Why Does The Location Differ From Person to Person?

Where Do Freelance Personal Trainers Work and Why Does The Location Differ From Person to Person?

As we’ve touched on, there is no single answer to ‘where do freelance PTs work?’. Freelance trainers are classified as self-employed, meaning that they don’t have full-time contracts in fixed locations, like a more conventional PT in a gym.

Without this restriction, freelance PTs have the opportunity to train their clients across a variety of locations, determining where they work and how long they work for. This means they can make money as a personal trainer from wherever suits them best!

Every freelance PT can answer our question differently, whilst still providing valuable insight into employment opportunities. 

Let’s explore some of the more common locations a freelance personal trainer might work, whilst also discussing why you might choose to pursue this form of employment.

#1 - Freelance Personal Trainers Can Work at a Gym

Can Freelance Personal Trainers Work at a GYm?

One of the most commonly asked questions among self-employed individuals in the fitness industry is ‘can freelance personal trainers work in a gym?’. 

To clarify, freelance personal trainers can work in gyms. This isn’t to say that every gym will provide those opportunities, as some may only hire part- and full-time employees. 

To avoid confusion with other contracted roles, these employment opportunities will be clearly distinguishable in the job’s description. Listings will look something like this example from Total Fitness:

Can Freelance Personal Trainers Work at a Gym example

One thing to be aware of when pursuing a freelance position in a gym is that your clients will be made up of the gym’s existing members. 

Those who aren’t members won't be able to train there, unless the gym allows people to buy day passes or temporary memberships.

PureGym operate this policy, and state in their rules and regulations:

Can Freelance Personal Trainers Work at a Gym like PureGym

In some instances, the gym may refer its customers to your personal training services, whilst other gyms will require you to personally market the service and recruit clients on the gym floor

Whilst working in this role you will not be receiving a salary from the gym itself, as this will be reserved for contracted trainers. Instead, you will earn money by charging clients to receive training.

You will be directly in control of how much you charge for these services, but senior members of staff may offer recommendations, which can help inform how you structure your pricing.

Most employers will allow you to keep 100% of these earnings, but be aware that some of this money will need to be paid to the gym as rent. 

As a result, when faced with the question ‘can freelance personal trainers work in a gym?’ a more direct answer would be - Yes, but only if they make enough money to pay their rent.

Where can freelance PTs work

The way in which these payment methods are structured can differ from one employer to another through the likes of: 

  • Monthly payment schemes 
  • Paying a flat fee per visit 
  • Taking a fraction every time you make a sale

Be aware that most gyms won’t publicly disclose how much their rental fees cost. Instead, they often encourage interested parties to make an enquiry before sharing any concrete details.

can freelance personal trainers work in a gym professionally

Some factors that can influence the overall cost of rent include: 

  • Location - Personal trainers in London will likely be charged a higher price
  • The Facilities on Offer
  • The Number of Customers 

Whilst this may sound somewhat intimidating the process can be fairly straightforward. To make an enquiry, simply contact a gym that you’d like to work from and ask about their rental fees. 

#2 - Freelance PTs Can Work In Private Studios

Can freelance personal trainer work in a studio

For those seeking a quieter location for their sessions, private fitness studios can act as great alternatives for commercial gyms.

One of the benefits of training clients in this location is that every piece of equipment will be at your disposal. You won’t have to worry about peak hours disturbing your client’s progress as you wait for an exercise machine to become available.

Take Solo 60 as an example. This privatised gym chain offers their customers total exclusivity, allowing the PT and Client sole access to the location at any given time:

Can freelance personal trainer work in a studio privately

A natural question that develops from researching the topic of training clients in private locations is - ‘Can freelance personal trainers work in a studio if the client is not a member?’

The answer to which is yes, private studios are often more lenient with who they allow to use their facilities. Keep in mind though that the facility may reserve the right to question who you’re training in their location for health and safety purposes. 

The way you pay for these private locations can vary depending on the provider, and in many instances these locations may give you multiple options to choose from

This can be seen in a pricing breakdown below from Workout Liverpool

How Can freelance personal trainer work in a studio privately

This isn’t to say that these are the only payment options available for PTs looking to rent privately. 

PT Workspace, for example, charges their customers in blocks for a set number of sessions, meaning that clients have a fixed number to use before renewing.

Can freelance personal trainer work in a studio with clients

Once you have found a private studio that you wish to use, be sure to research their facilities and ensure they have everything your clients might need. 

Conducting research on the location will allow you to determine whether the studio is suitable for you and your clients, including:

  • Whether they have the necessary equipment
  • If their pricing structure is within your budget 
  • How frequently you will have access to the location

Keep in mind that other trainers and fitness enthusiasts may be using the same location too. Just because a studio is ‘private’ does not guarantee that you have sole access.

In order to guarantee complete privacy, you may choose to set up your own gym instead. This can be a time consuming and costly process, one that not every personal trainer can pursue.

If you are looking to set up your own training space, though, our complete video guide takes you through every step of the process, with minimal investment needed.

#3 - Using Your Own Home as a Freelance Personal Trainer

Where can freelance personal trainers work at home

In this instance the answer to ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’ has been right under your nose, as you can use your home to train your clients.

Our article covers this process in much more detail, but there’s multiple areas that freelance personal trainers need to consider when starting a fitness business from home. These include:

  • Purchasing the right PT insurance 
  • Receiving permission from the local government
  • Informing the landlord or property owner (if you rent)
  • Acquiring business loans (if necessary)
  • Completing a first aid course
  • Going through a DBS check 

While these can undoubtedly prove to be early hurdles, working from home as a freelance personal trainer has a variety of benefits, including:

  • There is no commute, saving you time and reducing travel cost
  • No rental fees
  • You won’t have to transport any equipment to different locations
  • It offers complete privacy with no interference from the general public
  • Provides the chance to build rapport between your clients by incorporating a personable element into their sessions

how can freelance personal trainers work at home

However, while these benefits are huge draws to this option for working as a freelance PT, there are downsides.

One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home is some PTs may not have much exercise equipment. As a result, they will have to rely on routines which prioritise bodyweight exercises, like push-ups or squats.

If you've got your mind set on working from home as a freelance PT, a great option is to work on building a home gym.

While this can be expensive, there's numerous options out there that can save significant money, and still mean you have a great place to train.

Check out this example from established trainer Pamela Aitcheson, and her small-scale shed gym dubbed The Little White Gym.

can freelance personal trainers work at home example

Pamela’s attitude to training was that ‘no space was too small’, deciding to utilise her garden space and 4 x 3 metre shed to cater to a small group of dedicated clients.

To optimise your space it is important to take into account what equipment your clients actually require. For example, if you specialise in strength and conditioning training, then fill your home gym with workout gear that will facilitate this speciality.

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Those with an invested interest in questions such as ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’ are sure to find these other OriGym articles to be of interest:


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Help your freelance personal training clients reach their goals quicker with our Sports Nutrition Course.

#4 - Working From Your Clients’ Home as a Freelance PT

Where do Freelance Personal Trainers Work graphic

Many professionals in the fitness industry will argue that a direct answer to the question ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’, is wherever the client requires them to be.

As a self-employed business, you’ll be meeting your clients in locations that are most suitable for them.

With this in mind, some clients may prefer to train from the comfort of their own homes, meaning that you will need to travel to them in order to provide this service. 

Where can freelance personal trainers work at clients homes

When working in this capacity, you will either need to transport your own equipment to the client’s home, or create a bespoke plan to suit what your clients already have, even if that’s no exercise equipment at all.

Training clients in their own home is regarded as a luxury experience as you’re travelling directly to them. As a result, many PTs who provide this service typically do so at a higher rate.

Take Jack White from Southampton as an example. He charges £50 per hour for this service:

Where do Freelance Personal Trainers Work website

For reference, the average personal trainer in the UK costs anywhere between £25 - £40 per hour. 

The higher rates associated with this role can be justified, as you will lose more of your professional and personal time travelling from one training location to the next.

Whilst this may all sound positive, there are some drawbacks to offering training at a client’s home. 

For example, if a client lacks space, then you may have to alter their programme and restrict the equipment you bring. Or, if they live in an apartment, you’ll want to avoid dropping heavy weights or equipment.

To avoid such issues, implement PT booking software that requires clients to provide the following information when making an appointment:

  • Personal information - Name, age, etc.
  • Address and postcode 
  • Their goals for the programme 
  • The size of their available space

Once the information is automatically logged onto the software, you will be able keep track of everything you need to be aware of to ensure the session is as tailored as possible to that client.

#5 - Using Public Spaces To Train Clients as a Freelance Personal Trainer 

When determining ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’, you don’t have to restrict your practices to indoor locations. Instead, you can take your sessions outdoors and work with clients in public spaces.

For example, you may choose to offer personal training in public parks. An example of this can be done can be seen below from Lindsey Holcroft who operates across a variety of locations in the Liverpool area: 

One of the primary benefits of which is that it’s significantly cheaper than renting a gym space. So not only are trainers like Lindsey saving money, but they are also providing an experience for their clients that can improve their physical and mental health, thanks to exposure to Vitamin D.

By saving money training clients outside, this makes it a great source of income. Check out our article on 6 Additional Personal Training Revenue Streams to find out more.

To conduct these workout sessions, you will need to apply for an outdoor business permit, which can only be obtained through whoever is in charge of the land. 

Please be aware that there is no blanket permit in the UK and you may need to fill out separate paperwork for every park you want to use.

This application process is a way of approving the safety and validity of a PT business to the land’s owners. Typically, applications will be asked to divulge:

  • Proof that you have completed a Level 3 Personal Training Course
  • Photographic ID
  • An explanation of what training you provide - One to one sessions, group fitness classes, bootcamps
  • Dates that you’ll be running your training sessions
  • How many clients will be in attendance 
  • Locations - When applicable you may need divulge multiple locations should they fall under the same jurisdiction 
  • Evidence that you have conducted a risk assessment

As you may expect, this service isn’t free, and in order for freelance trainers to be eligible to work in this location they will need to pay a predetermined fee, following the approval of their application. 

The prices of these permits vary depending on factors such as location and the frequency at which you will use them. Using Liverpool’s Sefton Park as an example, we can see just how much the location charges both per session (£10) and for yearly access (£500). 

In contrast, parks in central London charge a much higher fee due to their location, an example of which can be found below:

Once again be aware that every park may have different rules and regulations pertaining to their specific licence. Be sure to read over their application process in order to ensure that the location will be suitable for your training sessions.

This process is not just applicable to parks, as every outdoor location (such as beaches) will require an official business licence from the land’s owner.

#6 - A Freelance Personal Trainer Can Work In Multiple Different Locations 

The question ‘where do freelance personal trainers work?’, can be somewhat restrictive at times, as it can force many self-employed individuals to only focus on one specific location.

Instead, when deciding to work in this capacity you can choose to operate from multiple different sites as a mobile personal trainer.

This role is somewhat similar to a trainer who goes to clients’ homes, except you will also be available to travel to locations such as:

  • Gyms
  • Places of employment
  • Private studios
  • Outdoor venues

As a freelancer this may be the ideal employment option, as you can essentially work in whatever capacity you deem appropriate. 

For example, the Liverpool-based mobile team at Pret-A-Train offer their services across the entire city:

From this screenshot alone we can see that the qualified team of mobile trainers are willing to work in whatever location their clients require, including both indoor and outdoor locations.

As a freelance mobile PT you will still need to adhere to all of the aforementioned rules and regulations that we have been discussed throughout this article. This includes:

  • Paying rent for gym
  • Acquiring the correct insurance for multiple locations
  • Filing the correct paperwork for outdoor venues

With this in mind, becoming a mobile personal trainer could be considered a pricey career endeavour, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pursue. Interested parties will simply need to construct a business plan that details your expected outgoings.

Following this, you can create a sales forecast which will influence your final pricing structure, in order to determine how much you’ll need to earn on a monthly/annual basis  in order to break even.

Our in-depth exploration of the mobile personal trainer job role is a valuable resource for all freelancers who are interested in exploring this career option. 

Here, we expand upon ideas that are present in this section, and provide key insight on employment based topics such as the expected salary, and the skills required to succeed in the position. 

#7 - Freelance Personal Trainers Can Opt To Work Online

Whilst technically not a fixed location, a feasible answer to the question ‘where do freelance PTs work?’ is online. 

In a similar vein to being a freelance trainer, in this role you will be able to work in a variety of locations that you deem appropriate. But where these roles differ is that you won’t physically meet the clients in-person.

Instead, as an online personal trainer, you will complete your roles virtually, performing such responsibilities as providing your clients with bespoke workout plans that they can complete in their own time. You may also decide to conduct personal training over Zoom.

Scott Laidler is an example of a PT who has gained notoriety for offering this service:

Online trainers like Scott will first need to create a PAR-Q form, which will provide information pertaining to a client’s:

  • Availability/Workout schedule
  • Fitness goals
  • Diet
  • Current levels of fitness
  • Medical history 

In turn, this will allow an online PT to create a workout programme that is bespoke for their online clients, just as they would do for their in-person ones.

Your responsibilities won’t end there, though. As an online PT is also expected to maintain a level of contact with their clients to ensure that they hit their goals. These check-ins can be as formal or as informal as you wish, and can take place over:

  • Phone Call
  • Direct Message 
  • Email

For example Onside PT offers weekly video consultations to ensure that his clients remain motivated and on track:

You alone are responsible for how you approach the role of online personal trainer. Just because you’re not meeting the clients in person does not mean you shouldn’t put in the effort.

Unlike other entries on this list there aren't any fees that you should be made aware of for this role, as you can work in whatever location you deem appropriate. 

Before You Go!

You will now have a better understanding of what makes the question ‘Where do freelance personal trainers work?’ so complex. 

From this you will be able to craft an answer that is bespoke to your business, amending it to suit your personal needs and those of your clients.

Enquire about our CIMSPA-endorsed Sports Nutrition Course and pursue your dream career in the fitness industry in as little as 4 weeks! 

Want to know more about this qualification or other OriGym courses? Download our free course prospectus here


Continue Your Education With OriGym

Help your freelance personal training clients reach their goals quicker with our Sports Nutrition Course.

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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