T Nation

Legal Advice: Offering PT Services

alright so since i got fired from my PT job i figured what do i need them for? and decided to do freelance work. now so far i havent approached anyone at the gym but ive talked to a couple outside which isnt my concern. anyway to the point whats the legality of trying to market services in the gym?

for example casually walking up to someone and giving a tip like oh, if you arch your back and put your legs down on the bench you can get more weight up then ask if theve ever had training etc and try to sell my service. is that considered soliciting? im not on great terms with the gym as is and really dont want to endure a legal shitstorm from them.

I would be pretty annoyed if some dude casually walked up to me and tried to pimp his services in the middle of my workout.

See if you can hang up a flier or something.

well for one id market myself to people who sorta dont look like they know whats going on in the gym. i mean its not hard to spot out a guy with no confidence in the gym who will completely abandon whatever he was doing if you ask to work in versus a guy who knows what hes doing.

i could also talk to people in the locker room. like throw my 2 cents in there about their form or hey have you tried these out? then start discussing my real motive.

commercial gym PTs have to approach people too. its called “prospecting” you just approach random people in the gym, make small talk and try to sell. the biggest part of sales is talking to people because thats how you present whatever your product or service is.

im just curious about the legality of approaching people in a commerical gym w/ their own PTs because i could see how it could be considered soliciting. obviously marketing outside of the gym is a given and non-issue, its just marketing in a gym that has its own trainers seems like a gray line. like its most likely against regulations. my guess is yea, it is. but im just hoping someone will prove that it isnt and its perfectly fine to do…then agian i could always do it til i get caught.

And you are doing this in the same gym that fired you from the PT program?

As in, if your prospective clients decide to ask around about you (as any semi-intelligent buyer would), they will hear that you were fired from the training course provided by the gym?

id just tell them i resigned. or tell them the truth, they said we were done doing phsyical work and fired me. they fired someone on the first day for laughing out of turn. i dont really need to hide the truth. thats not going to stop me from approaching people either.

again, the only real concern i have is regarding the legality or overall policy of what i want to do as far as its concerned with marketing inside the gym.

id ask the gym people myself but itd just seem weird going up to the director or his compadre and ask so yea…is it cool if i market at this gym? Ballys isnt exactly known for their by the book tactics either.

Not sure about the legality of the issue, but I know most gyms here charge “rent” for the PT’s that train people there. I mean, the real gyms, not those Energy-Cardio places or the like. If you are prospecting clients and not kicking back to the gym, some one is bound to get pissed off. Any good gym owner is not going to let an un-certified, un-affiliated guy off the street start trying to train his members.
Why don’t you get into a good certification program, then affiliate yourself with a good gym.

If management catches on you will be either asked to stop training if you’re not a hired trainer there, or you will no longer allowed to be a member, simple as that.
I’m a manager at a gym and we have to deal with that fairly often.
It’s tough though because we have to know that there is money exchanging hands.

I would be more worried about liability. If you’re not certified (I thought you weren’t) chances are you won’t have liability trainers insurance, which means if someone gets hurt from your advice and they decide to sue you’re SOL.

Also be aware that if you start giving out advice as the bait for people to work with you, they might start trying to just pimp you for advice only. One question leads to another, and so on. So should that happen, know when to cut them off and tell them how they will have access to your knowledge and experience if they hire you as their trainer.

i dont know how theyd be able to sue me. id only deal with cash, leaving no papertrail and you know what they say, if it aint documented it didnt happen.

theres another gym though where i know for a fact other trainers train people. im not sure if they kick back or not.

i guess if im gonna do it inside the gym i might as well just do it when the gym isnt crowded and none of the management is there.

You would probably just have your gym membership revoked.

On another note, you would get by much easier in life if you were more tactful to begin with, and didn’t get fired in the first place. Pick your battles. There is a time and a place for everything.

I think you’d have much more success marketing yourself to people outside the gym (much bigger population).

Ask to hang fliers in the supermarket, mall, barber’s, etc…

A good amount of people don’t want to be hassled in the middle of their workout whether they know what they are doing or they don’t. You don’t want people walking around saying “when you see him in the gym stay away because he will just come bother you.”

Plus I work out in a different gym than I work at and I would never think of pimping my services and business away from them. When you are between those walls that’s their business not yours.

If you get talking to someone outside of there then go ahead and introduce your services.

Quick note though. If you are going to go freelance pick up some resources on sales, business and business plans, and marketing. You can’t just improv the running of a business, it needs to be structured and running smoothly.

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
You would probably just have your gym membership revoked.

On another note, you would get by much easier in life if you were more tactful to begin with, and didn’t get fired in the first place. Pick your battles. There is a time and a place for everything.[/quote]

agreed. but whats done is done. i honestly never thought theyd take it to that extreme of firing me for inappropriate footwear though.

you know what though, screw them.

id be starting off at $10-“first workout” $12-14-actual training session and $8- phone calls, prospecting

id also have to sell packages ranging from 400 to 2400 which i believe was from 8 to 48 sessions.
although for some reason i think the rate was higher.

so i figure if i sell my own sessions at $25 per session, to people already in a gym. (yea its a bit more shady and less profressional) even with 3 clients at 3x a week i could make 225 a week…thats for 9 hrs of work. and its all tax free, in my pocket cash. add another client at that rate and bam im up to 300 a week which is full time pay for half the hours of a part-time job.

its definately easier to play with numbers than to actually make it happen but when you look at the figures it definately makes you think that its obtainable.

especially when you look at it this way; HYPOTHETICALLY if i was still at Ballys in order to make the same rate as 4x4, four clients four sessions, id have to have 4 people FIVE days a week (280@14hrx4x5day) or obv. 5 people 4 days and id STILL be making more money independently $300@25x4x3

and like i said the beauty of it is that theyre already in the gym which means i dont need my own equipment. meaning every single cent i take in is towards profit. thinking about it just makes me wanna cum in my pants.

Yeah, there is no use dwelling on it, like you said. But I was once a stubborn hardhead (which is how you come across) and it took me a few more years to learn how to be more diplomatic.

Also, like you said, this is much easier said than done. How do you plan to go about training people at Bally’s without the other trainers noticing? I would assume the first time you’re caught, you’re kicked out of the gym permanently.

And if I recall another post of yours correctly, there isn’t a decent gym anywhere else near where you live, right?

. . .

Most gyms would have several problems with your idea.

  1. You’re uninsured, uncertified (quite different than a license, but the lack of cert. would definitely cause you issues, since most insurance companies require a proof of cert.)

  2. You’re pulling business from the staff-trainers, which is money out of the pocket of the company.

  3. If you area good trainer, the gym will probably: note how you were trained to train by them; assert you, as an independent, ex-employee hold ill-will or talk poorly of the gym and it’s trainers/programs.

  4. If you’re bad, the gym will probably note how they let you go for, “among other things,” non-compliance with trainer-behavior policy.

Also, if anyone would be willing to pay the price for your individual sessions (far too low) or “package deals” (far too high), well . . . you get what you pay for, I suppose.

I would advise against “fucking them” and “doing your own thing,” since it would almost certainly cost you your membership. Even if you are good, is losing your gym worth “sticking it to the man?”

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
LankyMofo wrote:
You would probably just have your gym membership revoked.

On another note, you would get by much easier in life if you were more tactful to begin with, and didn’t get fired in the first place. Pick your battles. There is a time and a place for everything.

agreed. but whats done is done. i honestly never thought theyd take it to that extreme of firing me for inappropriate footwear though.

you know what though, screw them.

id be starting off at $10-“first workout” $12-14-actual training session and $8- phone calls, prospecting

id also have to sell packages ranging from 400 to 2400 which i believe was from 8 to 48 sessions.
although for some reason i think the rate was higher.

so i figure if i sell my own sessions at $25 per session, to people already in a gym. (yea its a bit more shady and less profressional) even with 3 clients at 3x a week i could make 225 a week…thats for 9 hrs of work.

and its all tax free, in my pocket cash. add another client at that rate and bam im up to 300 a week which is full time pay for half the hours of a part-time job.

its definately easier to play with numbers than to actually make it happen but when you look at the figures it definately makes you think that its obtainable.

especially when you look at it this way; HYPOTHETICALLY if i was still at Ballys in order to make the same rate as 4x4, four clients four sessions, id have to have 4 people FIVE days a week (280@14hrx4x5day) or obv. 5 people 4 days and id STILL be making more money independently $300@25x4x3

and like i said the beauty of it is that theyre already in the gym which means i dont need my own equipment. meaning every single cent i take in is towards profit. thinking about it just makes me wanna cum in my pants.[/quote]

You are thinking like an employee, not like a business man

  1. You need to market yourself to the gym as someone who is going attract new members through your reputation as a trainer who gets results. Charge the gym a fee for everyone who signs up based on your referral. Make it seem like they need to be in business with you

  2. Train other “independant contractor” trainers your training system and earn residuals on the clients they train. They can also train others and earn residuals that can flow up to you.

  3. Write a book about your training system. Give it away free to clients. This gives you instant credibility, even if you publish it yourself.

  4. give seminars. A training seminar presented by Livefromthe781 author of Getting Buff with LIVE

Regarding the legal issue, you really should protect yourself and at least use the internet to look up a waiver/release for them to sign. Even then I don’t know how much protection that will lend you.

Now that you better know what might be expected of you as a trainer for a gym, why not try a different gym and get into their program? If this is your career choice why not make some adult decisions and build a credible foundation of education and experience?

You are young and despite what you say, you don’t know enough yet. Use all this enthusiasm to get some direction, learn what you need to know, and show you are mature enough to stick with something.

Best of luck to you

You simultaneously need to keep it quiet since the management can’t find out - but you also have to advertise in order to get any clients…these goals kind of contradict each other. It’s not like they need proof to revoke your membership. It’s their business, they can kick you out for whatever reason they want.

I mean, PTs aren’t hard to come by. If I heard that gym ownership and other people didn’t like my PT or that he got fired, i’d definitely look elsewhere.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
for example casually walking up to someone and giving a tip like oh, if you arch your back and put your legs down on the bench you can get more weight up[/quote]
First problem with that example, right off the bat: you can’t go around suggesting people arch and use heavier weights without knowing their history. What if the dude had recent back surgery? But that’s not really here or there.

That’s textbook soliciting, and as everyone’s said, it’s “frowned upon” by the gym and when you get busted, you’ll get booted from the place for good.

Plus, you’ll have to have the awkward conversation with clients at the beginning, “Look, we’re not really supposed to be doing this here, so if anyone asks, we’re just working out together.”

This whole idea is much more trouble than it’s worth. Like I suggested in another thread, I suggest you look into interning at Cressey Performance in Hudson, Mass. If you’re totally, no bullshit-serious about becoming a trainer, it could be one of the best things you do for your education and your career.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
theres another gym though where i know for a fact other trainers train people. im not sure if they kick back or not.[/quote]

I just noticed this. This gym is where you should try your plan. You probably will have to pay the gym something, either monthly or per session you train someone, but it’ll be on the up-and-up, which helps your credibility in the clients’ eye, and it’ll be less headaches all around.

[quote]LiveFromThe781 wrote:
so i figure if i sell my own sessions at $25 per session, to people already in a gym. (yea its a bit more shady and less profressional) even with 3 clients at 3x a week i could make 225 a week…thats for 9 hrs of work. and its all tax free, in my pocket cash.
[/quote]

…you know there is a big difference between tax evasion and tax free. Earning a living without paying taxes is an easy way to become someone’s girlfriend in a federal prison.

You will be responsible for federal, state,social security, medicare AND self employment taxes. “Self employment taxes” are the portion of social security and medicare taxes that your employer normally pays. Granted, if you only gross $12K/year you probably won’t pay much (if any) federal or state taxes, but you will still be responsible for both sides of SS & medicare.

Please note, I’m a CPA and my wife is a freelance PR/Communications writer so I have a good idea of what your are in for if you go out on your own. It’s not overly difficult, but it is more involved that you probably think.