Seeing as all of us here are either trainers or aspiring to be, I thought I'd share my rather interesting experience at Lifetime Fitness and hopefully give you guys a little more insight.
A little bit about my background, my name is Mike and I currently play professional Arena Football. I say this because on the 'spectrum' of trainers, I defiantly am closer to the "Looks the part" side versus the insanely qualified. Not saying I don't know my stuff, but as a 24 year old, I'm still learning and perfecting my craft.
For the past 6 months, I've worked in a Training Studio that specializes in 3-D Functional Training. Going into Lifetime after work to train, I would routinely B.S. with the trainers there. My initial impression was that they were pretty unintelligent, following a 'cookie cutter' program, and driven by some insane commission pay structure.
There was one time a guy walked up to me and asked me what I was doing. I kid you not, I told him, "I'm doing a functional circuit. Push/Pull/Core and hitting every group in all 3 planes. So I'll do a Transverse lunge shoulder press, lateral row, and do some medicine ball slams in the frontal plane for core. Just a mix and match."
His response, "Wait, what's the transverse plane" *Facepalm*
Anyways, after working out there, they offered me a job without even applying. Lifetime is literally 2 minutes from my house and the studio I trained in was over an hour away.
So, what the hell, I figured I'd give it a shot. Knowing how much people pay for memberships and having 6+mo exp running an entire LA Fitness, I figured I would do alright.
Not the case.
Lifetime has a "Draw" pay structure and it's 100% commission. Also, you are required to work 40 hours a week. My shifts were Sunday - Thursday 6am - 2 pm.
The "Draw" rate is $12/hr. For those unfamiliar with draw, your paycheck cannot be lower than your draw rate. If your commissions exceed draw, then your check is the commission. Any accrued draw must be paid off before commissions are earned. It's not free money, but rather an interest free loan from the club to survive.
An example could be:
Check 1 - $980 (You earn $780)
Check 2 - $980 (You earn 1180, but have to pay off the $200 advanced from check 1)
Check 3 - $1380 (You earn $1380 and get to keep all of it because you paid off your debt)
In theory, draw is pretty sweet. You don't have to worry about surviving and you have time to build your business.
Now here's the kicker, draw at Lifetime is a Catch-22, you only get draw if you clock in.
My first day of 'training' was an 8 hour shift. I get there and ask my manager where to clock in.
Manager - "Do you need money?"
Me - "Wait, what?"
Manager - "Do you have enough money to last a few weeks?"
Me - "I guess why?"
Manager - "Well corporate doesn't want anyone to clock in unless they have clients. I mean legally we have to let you if you want to, but you will be fired if you don't hit your goal in 2 checks."
So, their "Draw" system is a bunch of ****. Corporate is on the managers ass to hit a certain quota per hours trainers work and if they don't the managers get in trouble.
Their solution, force employees to work for free.
Full time benefits? You can forget those too as you're not 'technically' working 40 hours.
They also tell you that the commission is 49%, but it's technically not the case. I believe only 29% comes from the session and another 20% comes from the sale. My manager worded it, and even showed me on a calculator, what I could get with the 49%+20% commission. It wasn't till I blatantly called him out that he said "Oh yeah, you're right, it's 49 TOTAL"
Sessions for a new trainer are $79. So you're looking at $22 a session. You need 45 sessions in a 2 week period just to not owe the company money and not get fired.
I've heard a few people tell me to steer clear of this place and it's all Sales, Sales, Sales.
Don't want to discourage you from working there, but the only way you're going to succeed is if you have your clients already lined up, and in that case why not just go independent.