Independent Or Dependent Personal Trainer?

What type of fitness trainer do you want to be?

After getting certified to be a personal / fitness trainer you can either become an independent or dependent trainer. Basically what we mean by this is either you work for a gym (dependent), work as a contractor at a gym (independent), or simply run your own training business outside of a franchised gym (independent). All have many advantages and a few disadvantages. Let’s take a look at of these fitness trainer options:

Fitness Trainer

Dependent Fitness Trainer

Trainers referred to here as “dependent trainers” work for a gym. Some of the biggest benefits of working for a gym is that you don’t have to furnish your own equipment and space, which can save you a lot of money! Also, the gym you work for can usually help you get new clients which can significantly up your income, especially when you are just starting out as a trainer! Being a dependent trainer is a good way to start your career!

A few disadvantages of being a dependent trainer is you don’t get to make your own hours or just be your own boss. You may have to work weekends and usually have to perform other tasks not completely related to personal training (answering phones, customer service, cleaning…etc). Likewise, a percentage of your earnings from your training sessions goes back to the gym!

Independent Fitness Trainer

Trainers referred to here as “independent fitness trainers” work for themselves. Easily the biggest advantage of being an independent trainer is that you are your own boss and answer to no one (except maybe your clients). You get to make your own hours, charge what you want to charge (as long as people will pay it), and keep 100% of what you make (minus taxes).

The disadvantages are that you sometimes have to furnish the equipment and space (unless you are a contractor in which you basically lease the gyms equipment and space for a fee but are not a gym employee). Likewise, you have to take care of everything from marketing to sales. It can be really hard starting out but can be very rewarding if you can stick with it!


Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. More often than not, most fitness trainers start out by working at a gym as a dependent trainer. As you build up your experience and following you can convert over to being an independent trainer! The choice is yours but the rewards and income all depend on the time and hard-work you put in.

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