T Nation

How Much Do I Charge?

Hi again,

Let me re-word this post. Since 50 people or so have read or viewed this without a response I am thinking it is the way I posted this.

ok trying again…

Would it be beneficial to charge a lump sum at the beginning or charge every month or once every 2 weeks? Which would keep him more motivated etc. Anything guys…

I was hoping some trainers in here could give me a little help with how to charge a “client.” Its funny to say that. This will technically be my first client if you want to call it that. While at school some of my friends have noticed my body and my eating habits and want help with their diets. One guy in particular wants me to help him lose some weight and he offered to pay me if I helped him. He came to my door at like 11:00 o clock and said, “I want to lose some excess weight and I will pay you to help me.” I am no trainer or nutritionist. I am a student athlete with little money who got asked to help someone out. Since I am low on cash I think this is a great opportunity to make a little money to help out with the supplements I am going to buy from biotest this month and at the same time help a brother out. The problem is I have no idea what to charge or how to charge him.

Any help on this would be appreciated.

I was thinking of structuring his diet mainly and giving him some workouts to go on. Aerobic interval and some weight training included on the same day. 4 days a week or so. Figure out his RMR and activity etc.

-Get Lifted

Just be carefull… some gyms are anal when they see you training people because they want you to use their trainers.

While this isn’t the case with some trainers, you SHOULD charge a client in proportion to your knowledge, experience, and abilities. Being that this would be your first “client” it is only fair to give him a very reasonable rate as you’ll be learning on his time. If you’re good you’ll draw in other clients in the future.

Up here in Canada (sorry…don’t know where you’re from) a starting trainer at a gym usually fetches about $40 per hour. Of course, this is a function of the city he or she is in and the training only takes home about $20 of what the gym charges. If you’re training him hourly I’d start somewhere around this range.

However, it appears to me that you’ll be giving advice more than one-on-one training. If this is the case I’d suggest a monthly rate. You meet him once per week to review his diet/training log and to advise him on his next week’s workouts. Assuming $40 per hour you could say that $150-$160 per month is fair. If he’s a student you may not be able to get what your time is worth. If you want to be a trainer though…every person you train is a potential contact for new clients.

I edited this post. It hopefully will be posting soon.

I rephrased my original post. I am not trying to be a trainer. I am as you say. “Giving advice.” Yet the training will be one on one I suppose depending on your definition. What I mean is. I will use his RMR and activity level, etc to calculate his needs and the deficit that will be needed for weight loss. I thought I would give him a weekly food plan to. Like tell him what to eat in other words every day for that week or two weeks and then mess with the calories/carbs if he is not losing. The going to the gym is what I won’t focus on as much as the nutrition part. I will be pretty much telling him what to do in the gym and expecting him to do it… I want it to work because its like a test project and will in turn help me with doing the same thing with my diet. Except mine is usually gaining lean mass.

That is great advice you gave.

I am considering how much effort this will take because of my own school work and football. Maybe I am getting myself in trouble lol.

-Get Lifted


Yeah, I will do the monthly deal. I was thinking more along the lines of like 50 or 60 dollars a month. His goal is to lose 10 pounds. I think this is tangible in eight weeks or less. ceteris paribas (all else remains the same) what is the normal time span to lose 10 pounds or 15? I was thinking maybe of giving him a meal plan once every two weeks and he follows it for those two weeks and then upon his weighing I would manipulate calories/carbs etc depending on how he reacts/loses. I would keep his workouts the same I guess cause that would be a lot of work to change those all the time.

I was thinking of using fat loss supps as well… I don’t want to really use them, but I also want him to get what he pays for.(it would be faster and cheaper for him)

What else do you think?

-Get Lifted

To me, this sounds pretty informal so I’d say keep it that way. Ask for cash at the end of each session and try to avoid letting them owe you. That will help avoid that awkward moment when you have to let the “client” know they’ve run out of session and need to re-up.

Of course, asking this person how they’d like to handle it isn’t a bad idea either. Just be confident. If you act and feel awkward the effect will be magnified on the person.

I’d say 10-20 per session cash would be a hell of an infusion to your pocket money fund.

I don’t want to actually train with him like a training session. I was thinking that I would go in with him the first time or two to show him the exercises and the pase to show him the idea. Then hes on his own with the paper I give him. The nutrition sheet I would give him too. That way I could do my school, lifting, football, done and still have free time to … well read T-nation. LOL

Maybe 25/30 dollars for the two sheets every two weeks? That way it would be 50/60 per month. It would allow him to follow the plan. He is right across the dorm so I am sure he would have questions anyway. LOL


I could go the training route and charge him 15 dollars a session in the weight room/track and give him the meal stuff on paper. That would be 75 dollars a week! I may be able to spare an hour out of my day. 10 dollars would be 50 dollars!

Ok can anyone think of a third route?

I will ask him which one he wants to do.

  1. Monthy payment of 50-60 dollars for a meal guide every week and a training sheet. All of which is up to him to actually do.

  2. Training session of 10 dollars. Lasts and hour and I give him the meal guide once a week. That is 40/50 dollars for a week for 4/5 days. 160/200 dollars a month! There is my biotest order and 20 bucks to spare.

Any other suggestions for this?

-Get Lifted

Do it for free?

I’ve done this same thing with a half dozen or so people. They have little money like me to spare so I just do it out of the kindness of my heart.

Gives you that “awwwww” feeling when they’ve hit their goals or gotten stronger.

Although I think I would like to be making money.


He always ask me questions as is.(dining hall especially) I love giving him the little information I have when it helps him. I don’t want to give up my spare time(training him etc.) without an incentive though. Athletics(include my training, Fball coaches on your ass, running), registering for school, reading text books, and my own nutrition take up the majority of my time. The rest of my time is spare time which would consist of reading this website, listening to music, figuring out girls LOL, and reading books.

When he finds me at lunch and brings his friends I spend some extra time after I eat to talk whatever about nutrition.

You see the dilemma? My close friends call me every day to tell me what they ate and talk training too.

I do feel all warm and fuzzy though when I go train with my close friends and give them a good workout!

-Get Lifted

I was not planning on responding to this but as I kept reading I had to think of the guy wanting advice/training. You are not going to like my opinion but I am going to write it anyway. I think this bullshit. You want to give up as little of your free time to help this guy but you want 50-60 dollars a month. If you want money for anything then you need to do everything you can to help him and that includes giving up some of your free time. If you do not want to give up your free time then just give him the advice you have been giving him and do it for free. I would not pay you a damn thing for the amount of time you plan on spending helping him. I hope he realizes he won’t be getting near 50-60 dollars a month worth of help.

You’ve been giving him advice and tips-all good. But now he is asking for you to help him individualize his program. So don’t feel bad about receiving some money from him. I give free advice to my friends all the time. But if someone comes to you saying they will pay you for a program that is written up for their specific goals, I see no problem w/ getting a little cash. U know your and his financial situation best, so don’t try to charge an arm and leg, but getting some extra spending cash for the keggers or GROW! or whatever is ok.

BTW, if you figure out girls while still having a little extra time on your hands, let me know how you did it! Acutally, if you figure out girls period, write a book!!!



[quote]hfrogs00 wrote:
I was not planning on responding to this but as I kept reading I had to think of the guy wanting advice/training. You are not going to like my opinion but I am going to write it anyway. I think this bullshit. You want to give up as little of your free time to help this guy but you want 50-60 dollars a month. If you want money for anything then you need to do everything you can to help him and that includes giving up some of your free time. If you do not want to give up your free time then just give him the advice you have been giving him and do it for free. I would not pay you a damn thing for the amount of time you plan on spending helping him. I hope he realizes he won’t be getting near 50-60 dollars a month worth of help.[/quote]

I appreciate the negative feedback. No pun intended. I don’t mind giving him the information for free whenever he asks for something in particular. I actually enjoy the conversation. However, when he comes knocking on my door at 11pm at night. Says, “Hey Get Lifted, I am sick of this spare tire and I want it gone can you help me?” I don’t see the big deal on taking him up on the offer? After all, I asked him already what he wants to pay and he says its up to me. That is why I am trying to figure it out…

You want to give up as little of your free time to help this guy but you want 50-60 dollars a month. If you want money for anything then you need to do everything you can to help him and that includes giving up some of your free time. [/quote]

Rather, I am trying to figure out how much time I can give to help him along with the amount of money he is willing to give. More along the lines, “you get what you pay for.” If he wants a full blown out training experience hire John Berardi or TC, or yourself or someone who is an actual trainer or does it for a job. I can only devote so much time to what he is willing to pay. That is why I was trying to get more solutions so I can present them to him and let him decide which is best for him. You see where I am coming from? I think he is dedicated enough to make it happen so I am glad to help him.

-Get Lifted

I think how much you charge is a matter of your location and the competition.

I do think that getting a monthly fee up front is probably the best way to start.

Good Luck

I charge a weekly fee. I think that helps to “break-up” the total and make it less over-whelming for some clients that are on a tighter budget. I typically charge only $25 bucks a week, but with students I cut it to $19! This is stealing from me really, because they work out with me at my home gym, 3 X week, for 40 minutes. As was posted though, you have to charge in relation to your skill (knowledge), experience, and facilities. If you don’t have a great deal of any one of those, you should ethically charge less. Then again, it is YOUR business and business ethics say to charge what the market will bear! When I move and update my home-gym, I will charge more because I can provide a more dynamic and comprehensive service. What kills me are the health clubs that charge 60-70 PER HOUR, when I give the same, if not better (thanks to T-Nation) advice! I just don’t have 10 million dollars in equipment… I mostly train clients the old fashioned way - no machines - just dumbbells baby! In any event, nutrition is 80% of the battle, and that doesn’t take anything more than Microsoft Word and a printer.


3rd Option:

Two sessions a week @ $20-$25 per session.

Session 1: A one hour meeting at your dorm room or library that you can discuss training, review food logs, answer questions, and identify areas in his life that he can improve that will facilitate a positive training experience. If you do this in your dorm room or someplace private, you could measure progress with body measurements as well.

Session 2: A one to two hour session at the gym, facilitating the actual program. Correct any bad form and implement your knowledge attainted from T-Nation and personal experience (tips).

This will help you manage your time more effectively, and it will give you an opportunity to have a chat session with the person, rather than them flapping their jaw during your gym session.

Regardless of what some people may think, especially trainers, you don’t need to be a certified trainer to benefit someone and deserve pay. You’ve put in the experience and research to give you an advantage over the average person, and that is worth $omething. Your time is valuable. Never underestimate the value of your personal time.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further. I’m glad to help out any way I can.

~ Jack

dboy, top serloin, and zeb,

I agree with all of you. Top serloin, thank you for your input that gives me a better idea of what is normally charged under certain conditions. I will first ask 8 dollars(5 or six is the lowest) a session 4X week plus giving him the nutrition printouts. That way, I can help him out while still covering my Biotest supplements every month and my free time! 60 dollars a month for workout + nutrition print out and it is up to him. I think 70 dollars a month for just the printouts of each.

I could present him with these two options since revising:

  1. 8 dollars a session for an hour. 6 if he is unwilling to give 8.

  2. 70 dollars a month for just the printouts if he does not want to go with the first approach.

Scenario one:

Ds = dollars D = days DAW = dollars a week.

8DS X 4D= 32 DAW

32DAW X a month = approx. 128 DAM

7DS X 4D= 28 DAW

28DAW X a month = approx. 112 DAM

6DS X 4D = 24 DAW

24DAW X a month = approx. 96 DAM

5DS X 4D = 20 DAW

20DAW X a month = approx. 80 DAM

How much money I would lose for Scenario 2.

128 - 70 = 58

112 - 70 = 42

96 - 70 = 26

80 - 70 = 10

To Train or not to train.? That is the question.LOL

Meaning, would it be worth while to train him for an hour plus give printouts at 5,6,7,8 dollars a session? And which amounts are acceptible.

I only lose 10 dollars if I use the 70 dollar a month plan. 10 dollars is not worthwhile to go in extra an hour to train him.

26 dollars more for 6 dollars a session is borderline regarding whether it is worth it go in an extra hour. Still acceptible.

Therefore- I’ll approach him with a session based charge; 8 is ideal, 7 would be dandy, and 6 would be fine. 5 however is too little given the other alternative of 70 dollars a month.

Ultimately, the first approach will
yield more money in all scenarios and is likely to produce better results.

The Last alternative to approach him with if he wants to do it on his own still yields results depending on how disciplined he is. It is less than all the scenaries but I don’t have to spend that extra 4 hours to be there with him.

Do you guys think my math is right? are these relatively beneficial;

  1. 8, 7, 6 dollars a session for an hour plus nutrition.

  2. 70 dollars a month for nutrition and workout. (up to him to do)

  3. 20 dollars 2 times a week. 1st session: 1 hour get together in library to discuss food diary, goals, any questions about nutrition and training. Weighing, tape measurements, and supplementation. 2nd session will be 1-2 hour training session. This will yield 160 a month.

more feedback is welcome?

-Get Lifted

I think you’re making this more complicated than it needs to be.

You’re exactly right to charge the guy. Otherwise you could just direct him to this website and he could do it himself. He’s paying for your experience.

Now you need to determine a few simple things.

  1. How much time do you need to put in so that he is progressing towards his goals? Figure out how many hours per week you plan to spend with him (if you think he’ll knock on your door for an hour to clarify things add that into the time). How long will it take you to write the program?

  2. How much is your time worth per hour? Keep in mind that you’d rather be doing other things so how much is it worth to you to take time away to help him out.

  3. Multiply the number of hours by your worth per hour.

  4. Present him with a price and details. Stand firm on the value. Remember, you don’t want to take less money and realize later that you’re doing too much work for too little.

Kinetix I agree with you.

  1. 8,7,6 requires too much time and work on my part. I am likely to say, "This is too much for work for 8 bucks a session(4days a week) + nutrition.

  2. 70 dollars a month is not really gointg to work for him. He is likely to get sub par results.

3 is the best strat. to pursue. 25 dollars a session for 2 days a week, one of which is a get together.

Thanks Kinetix for your time.


Consultation- 1 hour in length consisting of;

Part one: weighing him and taking body measurements.

Part Two: give him his meals for the week/2weeks. Discuss questions about nutrition and supplements.

Part Three: give him his training for 4 days, one of which he will train with me. The other 3 are on his own. Discuss his training.

Part Four: open discussion

Part Five: Close, collect and schedule workout.

Next day, train with me for 1.5 hours.

some aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training.

What yeah think of the final plan Kinetix?

-Get Lifted

Get Lifted,

Let me throw a wrench into this for your consideration.

Our society has become so litigious that it is difficult not to consider how liability may impact the personal and professional ventures that we undertake.

By taking on this individual with the result of financial compensation to you, you are effectively entering into a contract with that individual, whether it is formal or implied. As a result, you have personal exposure to liability for claims that your “client” may make.

I’m not a lawyer (not bragging :^) and I’ve never used a personal trainer. However, I do know that many certified personal trainers have access to liability insurance or have the gym (deeper pockets) standing behind them in the event of an injury or claim. And that many gyms have you sign a liability waiver when you become a memeber.

Not trying to alarm you, but you should recognize this risk. Very easy to get sued over very small matters these days. (Yeah, I’m pretty anal about this!)

Just a head’s up.

Very nice heads up. It is implied I think. My legal environment of business course went through a lot dealing with “contracts.” In addition to liability, in the case lets say we would agree on a price and if he were not to pay me the amount from previous sessions then I could technically call a claim against him. Because the price was implied after he continously paid me. The contract is implied even if there is no actual paper. However, it may not be the case since I don’t have a business license which I am not sure about. The lady that spilled coffee on her legs from mcDonalds I found interesting. The temperature at which they found the burns on her legs to be at was well above the needed temperature to “heat” coffee. The prosecuters did some research and used some stats to show the coffee was unnecessarily hot and a danger both to employees and consumers. I thought it was interesting that her case may be warranted contrary to what I originally had thought about it. Anyway, just throwing that in. I am no lawyer either and may be getting myself into trouble… mmmm A possible way around this could be simply to charge him as if information/paper I give him is what I am charging him. However, It would be ethical to at least GIVE him a heads up of possible injury and make sure that he understands that what he is paying for is the sheets, not the training. I want to do this, he obviously wants to do this.(He called me last night a asked me about it again and told him I will let him know today) I guess I am not sure how to handle that except what i mentined.

-Get Lifted