The amount you charge really depends on what people are willing to
pay in your area. I taught group fitness classes of all types for over
5 years before becoming an ACE certified personal trainer. In my prior
state, I could get as much for teaching a class - $25-75/hour as I
could get for an hour of personal training in the area I live now. It
also depends whether you teach in a club or train people privately in
their homes. In a club, often the management will dictate what they
charge for training, and then pay you. Or, you will be required to pay
the club a certain sum, ex. $600/month, and then charge clients on
your own without forking over a percentage. That can be agonizing,
since you have to be sure you charge enough and have enough clients to
pay your priviledge fee and still make a good profit.
What is the going rate for trainers in your area? Look at some ads,
go to some clubs, and call some trainers personally on the premise
that you might be a possible client. See if their rates vary for
instructing within a client's home rather than in a club. That is the
best way to figure out what to charge.
I would tend to tell you not to train as a personal trainer without
your certification. First, you need to have personal insurance (which
you should be able to purchase through AFFA) if you are working
independently. Secondly, you need to protect yourself by having
clients sign a waiver. First, prepare a general health waiver advising
that they consult with their physician, and asking them to sign that
they have, or have declined, to obtain their physician's signature.
Secondly, I used to have clients sign a "before and after" session
form. The first form contained a rough outline of how much cardio and
weights we were doing, asked whether they felt comfortable doing the
program, and whether they presently had any injuries or discomfort.
The second form, equally important, asked if they felt any particular
pain or unusual symptoms after the routine. (That will protect you
should a client have a heart attack, for instance, the day after their
program) Make sure you have it dated.
It's always a bit scary to start out on your own. However, start out
at a reasonable hourly rate, and you can increase it as your