Brandon Fitzgerald


When it comes to building a career in personal training, professionals have a crucial choice to make: work as an employee under a gym’s brand or venture out as an independent business owner.

Each path offers distinct advantages and challenges, but for those who cherish flexibility, autonomy, and the potential for higher earnings, the self-employed route may be especially appealing.

Let’s delve into the comparison and discover why striking out on your own could be a game-changer.

Stability vs. Freedom

Sometimes working as a personal trainer in a big box gym can offer a sense of stability. Initially, gyms list this will likely provide a few clients to help a trainer get started, as it’s in the gym’s best interest to support its staff. However, the same holds true for an independent business owner personal trainer renting space at a facility like The Station Fitness Studio.

Here at The Station the business model is built on a win-win philosophy. Because The Station has an established online presence and acts as a hub for personal trainers, there are regular inquiries from potential clients. These leads are distributed among the trainers, providing a stream of opportunities than one might find in a traditional gym setting.

Building Your Brand

When you considering gym employee vs working independently, while neither option should be mistaken for guaranteed stability, building your own personal brand is one of the best ways to create stability and security for yourself. A significant advantage of being self-employed is the ability to build your own brand.

At a big box gym, you are part of a larger entity. Your individual identity can often be overshadowed by the gym’s branding. As an independent, every success story, every client testimonial is a testament to your personal brand, enhancing your reputation and allowing you to stand out in a crowded market.

Earnings Potential

Another aspect to consider, as a gym employed trainer, you don’t have to worry about overhead costs like rent and utilities. However, this comfort comes with a cost—literally. Gyms typically take a significant cut from your session charges, which can be as high as 60%, leaving you with a fraction of your hard-earned money.

On the flip side, as a self-employed Personal Trainer renting space at a facility like The Station Fitness Studio, you gain immense freedom. You set your own hours, choose your clients, and most importantly, keep a larger portion of your earnings. While there’s rent to pay, the overhead costs are predictable and often significantly less than the cumulative cuts a gym would take.

Let’s break it down with some numbers. Suppose you charge $65 per session and train 30 sessions a week. As a gym employee on a 40% commission, your take-home before taxes is approximately $780 weekly. However, as a business owner paying $225 weekly for studio space at The Station, and minimal additional expenses, your net revenue jumps to around $1,690 weekly! That’s more than double the earnings compared to the commission-based scenario!

Customized Client Experience

As your own boss, you have the liberty to tailor sessions to meet the specific needs and preferences of your clients, rather than adhering to a generic gym framework. This customization can lead to higher client satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, more referrals.

Long-Term Relationships

Utilizing space at a location like The Station Fitness Studio enables you to foster long- term relationships with clients who follow you as you grow. This is often more challenging in a gym environment, where clients might be handed off to another trainer based on scheduling or gym policies.


The best trainers, who are great at what they do, will be sought after and busy regardless of where they work. Transitioning from a gym employee to a self-employed personal trainer involves challenges, such as building a client base from scratch and managing a business.

However, for those willing to take the plunge, the rewards—both financial and professional—are substantial. You gain higher earnings potential, freedom, and the satisfaction of creating something that’s truly yours. If you’re driven, entrepreneurial, and passionate about fitness, then taking the self- employed path could be the key to a fulfilling career.

Please keep in mind, there is no right or wrong path. The objective of this blog post was to present some of the benefits of working as a self-employed Personal Trainer. However, this is just my perspective having worked in the Fitness industry for 20+ years as a self-employed Trainer and business owner. I’m sure others can offer different insights; the important thing is to do what’s best for you.

In closing, no two gyms are the same, and there are certainly pros and cons to all options. Most importantly, if you’re a Personal Trainer helping people change their lives and become healthier and more fit, you’re winning regardless.