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Training a client in a home or office

This is an excerpt from Business of Personal Training With Web Resource, The by Mark A. Nutting.

Some clients greatly value receiving personal training at home or at the office because it saves them time that would otherwise be spent in traveling to and from the health club. Their appreciation of this benefit makes them more likely to use the services of a personal trainer.


Benefits

I have held many positions in my personal training career, including that of independent personal trainer at various gyms. Through it all, one ongoing part of my business has been to train clients in their homes, offices, or apartment-complex gyms. Training in a client's space can be a great option for the following reasons:

  • You don't have to make arrangements with anyone other than your clients. Do your schedules match? If the answer is yes, then book it.
  • Getting paid is simple and easy - cash, check, or credit card. To accept credit cards, you can use a card reader that attaches directly to your smartphone or tablet; for example, this service is offered by Square, Intuit GoPayment, and PayPal.
  • Some apartment or condominium buildings contain their own gyms, and some clients have their own home gyms. These options may offer a good choice in terms of both equipment and relative privacy as typically only residents are allowed to use them.


Training clients in their homes or offices can offer benefits to you and your client.
Training clients in their homes or offices can offer benefits to you and your client.
Getty Images/Blend Images/Shestock


Challenges

The challenges of providing personal training in a client's home or office relate to space, equipment, and travel time.

  • If you don't have access to a private or semiprivate gym, then you may need to get creative by working in some very different spaces. For instance, I used to train one celebrity client at her home, which included a large, comfortable space. I have also trained people in spaces where I would need to move the coffee table in order to have enough room to work out. Of course, the available space dictates the kinds of exercises that you will be able to use with the client.
  • If your clients have no access to fitness equipment, then you may need to purchase some to carry from appointment to appointment. In this case, you certainly won't be able to use a lot of traditional equipment. Alternatively, you could require your clients to purchasetheir own equipment as part of your terms for working with them. Here are some equipment choices that offer versatility, portability, and compactness for use in smaller spaces:
    • Resistance bands
    • Yoga mats
    • Suspension trainers or devices
    • Jump ropes
    • Small medicine balls
    • Selectorized dumbbells (not portable but compact and versatile and therefore a possibility for clients to buy for their homes)
  • Another challenge is travel time. Whereas a single location would allow you to do, say, four 30-minute sessions in two hours, traveling to a client might occupy 30 minutes each way in order to conduct a single 30-minute session. That's an hour and a half of your time. With this impingement in mind, you must decide how far you're willing to travel for a client and how much to charge for travel time so that your compensation is comparable to that of working in a single place. Clients do know that they will pay more for the convenience of having you meet them at a place of their choosing. In working out these details, recognize and plan for the possibility that your travel time will vary depending on traffic, bus, or subway delays.

One of the big challenges with training clients in their homes was the distractions of home life (kids, pets, phone calls, etc.). I just had to do my best to manage the emotions and personalities that would come into play in their home space.

Joe Drake, MS, NSCA-CPT; co-owner, Gravity & Oxygen Fitness, Boca Raton, Florida


Even when you work in a client-selected space, it remains your duty to ensure that the space and equipment used are safe for your client. This responsibility includes moving loose rugs, safeguarding breakable items, and keeping animals and small children at a safe distance. Consider everything that might happen and adjust the space accordingly.