Today we are talking about pricing and payments for personal trainers – everyone’s favorite topic, right? Probably not because I know so many people, unfortunately, struggle with this in a few different ways. But I also think it’s interesting that so many of us struggle with pricing, and really charging what we’re worth because if you think about it, it doesn’t really happen outside of the online entrepreneur world.
If you go into a hair salon, they don’t hmm and ha, and stutter as they tell you their price. They’re like, “This is what it is. Pay up.” If you go into a restaurant, you’re not gonna be like, “Well, I really only want to pay $4 for tacos instead of $8,” so I think part of why we get uncomfortable talking about our pricing and charging what we’re worth is because money is a touchy and personal topic, but also we just don’t have this experience with us being able to haggle prices, or anything with restaurants and stores.
Today, we have three parts we’re going to talk about, as it relates to pricing. Then I’ll wrap this up by talking about a few ways to actually accept payments from clients as well.
First, informing. I am a strong believe in listing your prices on your website. Price is often one of the first factors people take into account when hiring someone, whether or not that should be one of the first factors is another thing, but it is what it is. I think the best argument for putting your prices right on your services page is that you will quickly weed out clients that might not be the best fit or can’t afford you. This way you won’t be spending any additional time replying to inquiries, or spending that time vetting potential clients that will never hire you anyway. But the biggest issue with listing your prices on your website is that you eliminate the opportunity to sell your clients on your services first.
People use their emotions rather than just logic to making buying decisions, especially with higher price services, or ongoing services. When you leave pricing information off your website, you’re forcing the potential client to get in touch with you, and thus begin that first step of tapping into the emotional side when you connect with then, and have the opportunity to explain both the features and the benefits of your service. I list prices on my website and encourage my clients to do the same because often I find that people think if there are not prices listed, you might just be out of my budget. If your prices fluctuate a little, maybe depending on certain factors or whatever, you can always just say, “Prices starting at XYZ,” instead of having to say, “This is X amount of money.”
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Next I want to talk about value, because you want to be sure that clients know what you do other than just making them sweat at the gym.
You don’t want to devalue yourself and your expertise. Even the cheapest dietician, or the cheapest trainer in the world is too expensive for people if that client does not believe and understand your value. You don’t want to sell them fitness or nutrition, you want to sell them results.
Like I said earlier, people buy emotionally. When you can get them to talk to you about why they want to get in shape, the real reason, the one that keeps them up at night and then explain how you can solve that problem, they’re more likely to sign up. It’s not always about the money, it’s about them believing you can get them to where they want to go. It’s also not just about the technical stuff of how many meals per week and all that. They want to know you understand what they need, you understand their problem, that they trust you and know what you have to offer will help them, and you deeply connect to that need they have emotionally.
I also think value goes back to my conversation from last week’s episode with Libby about niching down. If your website says you work with women and men who want to lose weight and gain muscle, that’s a pretty broad audience. If you hone in on one very specific type of client you’re best qualified to help, then when they visit your website or read your content, they feel like you’re speaking to them and only them. It’s like if you were diagnosed with cancer, would you want to go to the primary care doctor down the road, or the best oncologist in the state? You want someone who specializes and understands your problem.
While we’re talking about niching down, think about what makes you different. If you are offering just a training program and a meal plan, that’s the most basic thing on the menu. Everyone’s doing that. What is your specialty? What’s the thing on the menu that’s named after you because it’s so unique? What is it that you offer that is different than anyone else to the point whereas a potential client has to work with you because you solve their specific problem with expertise and precision.
Lastly, we need to talk about calculating your prices because I know this is something a lot of people struggle with, with how much do I charge people for different things. There are a few different ways to calculate your prices. First, you could go cheap, like be the cheapest in your area, or in your niche. But then you risk loading up with cheap people who, let’s be honest, can sometimes be the most picky, or the most difficult, the most time consuming, or maybe they just lack more motivation than others.
You could also base your pricing on how much time every month do you usually spend with one client, including the programming, the check-ins, the follow-ups. But the then it gets tricky if a client is taking up more time than usual because then you’re either losing out on getting paid what your time is worth, or you have to come back and ask the client for more money.
But I think the best way to consider your pricing is to think about what you want to earn in a year. What do you want your salary to be? What money do you need to be making to pay your bills, but do the other fun things we all want to do in life?
Let’s just say your program is $119. To make the math easy, let’s say you want to earn $100,000 a year. You would need 70 clients per month with that program. That is a ridiculous amount of clients. Now let’s say that you raise that to 297 for your program. At that price point you need only 29 clients per month to earn that same amount of money. It’s much more manageable, and you get to develop a deeper relationship with each client, and provide a higher level of service. It’s a win-win situation.
I do think you have to consider at least a little bit of what your competitors are charging. We have three main grocery stories in my area, Publix, Kroger and Walmart. Publix is the most expensive, but their stuff isn’t double the price of Walmart or Kroger. It’s not like the gallon of milk is $12, but their products might be a dollar higher or so. Unless you are just providing a totally different service package than those around you, I do think it’s smart to stay reasonably in range compared to your competitors, especially if you are newer in business and still needing that build that base.
Now that you’ve calculated your prices and all that jazz, it’s time to actually start accepting payments as a personal trainer.
I know a lot of people gravitate towards PayPal because it’s so popular and easy. But I’m not a fan of PayPal for business owners since there is no tangible proof you have delivered your service to your clients. It makes it very, very easy for your clients to file a dispute and get their money back. I’ve heard way too many people talk about this being a problem in their own business.
A free service I used for a long time was Wave Accounting – which is a great solution for payments for personal trainers. You can use it just for invoicing, or you can use it also for just all your accounting and taxes. It’s really nice. They even have reoccurring invoices as an option, so your monthly clients can be billed automatically. You can also connect Wave straight to your bank account and it’ll automatically deposit in your bank for you. Again, this is totally free.
The service I use now is called Dubsado, which I’ve talked about on the podcast before. It’s a whole client management system, so you can use it for contracts, intake questionnaires, and invoices – perfect for payments for personal trainers who need to save time. They also still have the reoccurring invoices and auto debit as well.
That’s all I have for today, but just to recap, make sure your prices are on your website, make sure you’re conveying that value to your potential clients, and figure out an easy way to accept payments from your clients.