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  1. #1
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    If You Could Go Anywhere and Be a CPT...

    I recently got my certification through NASM and started training a couple of clients. I plan to eventually move to a larger city in order to have a chance of turning this into a full time career. Being single and having no kids, plus a little bit of saved money to take a chance on making a move like this, I figure it's a good time to make a plan. I'm just wondering what kind of factors I should look at in terms of deciding where to go. I would ideally like to work somewhere in Florida in one of the bigger cities (Tampa, Jacksonville, etc). Any suggestions on what kind of research/planning I should do? Thanks for any suggestions
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    dlt rocks my socks arian11's Avatar
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    There are alot of things you have to look at and consider and not all are directly related to being a PT. Just a few off the top of my head:

    1. Overall population
    2. Percentage of demographic you are trying to train
    3. Average wage of your job
    4. Average cost of living
    5. Median household income

    Alot of other things to consider. I've never been to Jacksonville, but I heard it's a sh!t hole and people are poor there. Which means they may not have expendable money for a gym, let alone, personal training. You can go to rich areas like Boca Raton where rich, old people go to retire. But then you have to figure out if that is the age group that you want to train. You could try going somewhere like Tallahassee that has tons of people in their 20s, but they are all college kids. So, once again, it comes back to will they have the extra income to hire a PT.
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by arian11 View Post
    There are alot of things you have to look at and consider and not all are directly related to being a PT. Just a few off the top of my head:

    1. Overall population
    2. Percentage of demographic you are trying to train
    3. Average wage of your job
    4. Average cost of living
    5. Median household income

    Alot of other things to consider. I've never been to Jacksonville, but I heard it's a sh!t hole and people are poor there. Which means they may not have expendable money for a gym, let alone, personal training. You can go to rich areas like Boca Raton where rich, old people go to retire. But then you have to figure out if that is the age group that you want to train. You could try going somewhere like Tallahassee that has tons of people in their 20s, but they are all college kids. So, once again, it comes back to will they have the extra income to hire a PT.
    One important thing not mentioned there is the number of trainers/gyms there already are in that area. I lived in Tampa for a while. While there is a large percentage of the people who would be interested in having a physical trainer, the area is also served by a ton of PTs. I found the same thing when I moved to Denver. Oddly enough, when looking for places to relocate to, I found the northern suburbs of DC were actually underserved. There are studies that various organizations do (usually as part of a market plan to open franchise gyms).
    If you want to live in a certain area, you might look at the various suburbs. If you look at Tampa, the city and northern suburbs have a glut of trainers, but if you are willing to hang your shingle in Brandon, or even up in Mango/Seffner, or down in Gibsonton/Riverview, you will likely fewer competitors. Lakeland might also be an option, but there you're really not really even a suburb of Tampa.
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    Disposable income and culture are two very important factors. For instance, my understanding is that in New York is a "hip" thing to have a personal trainer, do yoga, etc. Here in New Hampshire, we don't get as much of that. You really have to mold your services to the area you work in.

    Don't think that working in a big city means you will make more money. There are generally more people with more money. Unfortunately, the cost of living tends to be higher (for you) and your business costs will likely be higher, in the form of commercial property and/or rent for the use of a facility.

    Lastly, I will say that already established businesses in the area can be both a good and bad thing. The fact that they are established means that the location is viable for those types of services. This could be harder for you to build up a client base over time, but remember that you can always increase the size of the pie instead of fighting over a percentage. You can find new clients instead of fighting to steal other trainers' clients. This could be achieved by targeting a new market, using new marketing methods, or a variety of other ways. I'll be opening my business within 1/4 of a mile of two quite large and successful health clubs. Most people would say I'm crazy. However, I'm focusing on a small, tight knit community and letting them play the spa, tanning, and expensive equipment game.
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by 1mo View Post
    MIAMI........predisposed with a desire for health, looks and money! no question!
    Depends what is his niche market. I was born and raised in Miami and not everyone has the gym mentality or the get a personal trainer mentality. LA Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness reign supreme over there and I rarely see people actually getting personal trained. There are also quite a bit of Crossfit warehouse gyms popping up and that seems to be where the more active people who want to make actual progress go. But Miami is a big city, so it depends what part of town he attacks. There are alot of poor areas but some really rich areas as well. If he did some kind of in-home personal training for rich, housewives, then he could make some good money.
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    A couple of things to consider:

    Income and living expenses - you should consider both how much it costs to live there and/or commute plus what the going rate is for PT services. At the beginning you will likely only be able to charge the bottom end of that as you build.
    Population - should be large, but not too large and not be oversaturated already with fitness professionals if at all possible. If there is a presence of athletes (city has pro/amateur/college sports teams) this is a plus in my opinion, but there should also be a healthy attitude in the city as a whole.
    What is your niche? Like another poster said, you will likely have to tailor your business towards what the people want. Do people work out in all four seasons, or is it sunny only?

    If it were me I'd choose a medium to large size city but set up in the suburbs where a lot of people who have money live and commute to work. Establish in a decent studio and start aggressively marketing.
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    If it was me, I'd be bumming a job at Sagefit's place. Cus, well..it's NY BABY!!!

    Obv I'm just stuck in the UK though so my opinion doesn't count
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  9. #9
    Registered User theoriginal's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good information here! This gives me a lot to think about, and now I have a better idea of what type of research I need to be doing.

    Florida is definitely where I would like to go, but I have always figured places like Miami would be highly competitive in terms of personal training jobs. I have about 3 weeks of experience so far, so that may be a limiting factor for me with some locations.
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    Originally Posted by theoriginal View Post
    Thanks for all the good information here! This gives me a lot to think about, and now I have a better idea of what type of research I need to be doing.

    Florida is definitely where I would like to go, but I have always figured places like Miami would be highly competitive in terms of personal training jobs. I have about 3 weeks of experience so far, so that may be a limiting factor for me with some locations.
    Where is your current location and what are your reasons for leaving?
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    Originally Posted by SFT View Post
    Where is your current location and what are your reasons for leaving?
    Currently in TN, but I have family in FL..and I really like it down there.
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    I'd make that the reason moreso than moving to try to chase the ideal location for PT.
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  13. #13
    dlt rocks my socks arian11's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by theoriginal View Post
    Thanks for all the good information here! This gives me a lot to think about, and now I have a better idea of what type of research I need to be doing.

    Florida is definitely where I would like to go, but I have always figured places like Miami would be highly competitive in terms of personal training jobs. I have about 3 weeks of experience so far, so that may be a limiting factor for me with some locations.
    If you plan on being a personal trainer at a commercial gym, then I believe Miami will be competitive for you. If you want to have your own studio or go to homes, then I believe you will have a better chance. As someone mentioned, SageFit has 2 of his own locations in NY which is bigger than Miami and possibly more competitive. But he isn't competing with big commercial gyms, he has his own niche market which he seems to be dominating. Miami does have alot of athletes, especially high school football players. Miami and nearby towns have some of the best high school football recruits in all the country. But, once again, the downside of that is they are not always from the richest families and can't afford PT. There is a warehouse gym in Miami called Idolmakers Physique and Performance and is almost entirely competitive athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters. They run the Westside method and are Westside Certified and have had Louie Simmons come there and give a seminar specifically of how to program for football players. And the dude has a ton of football kids running around there getting strong. Except almost none of them pay a membership. He knows if he charges them, they can't afford it and they will leave. He does it more out of fun and enjoyment of helping them. But I'm sure you wanna make money

    As mentioned, a mid-sized city or working in the suburbs might be a better option. There is a guy in the powerlifting section who started up his own gym in Sarasota and is doing well. I plan to open a gym with a friend of mine somewhere in the Ft. Lauderdal to Boca Raton area hopefully.
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    Originally Posted by SFT View Post
    I'd make that the reason moreso than moving to try to chase the ideal location for PT.
    This. Pick your location on where you'll be the happiest, the rest will come.
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    3-4 Crossfits opened in a 5 mile radius of me within the past ONE year. Competition is becoming fierce over here in NY. Remember though, im right outside Manhattan, it's even worse within it. This is a tricky question, guess it depends on what type of business you plan on opening.
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    Thanks again, arian! You're feedback has been very helpful to me and has given me a lot to think about. When it comes to money, my only goal is to be able to make a living and pay the bills as a personal trainer. I simply want to be able to live where I want and have enough money to pay the bills--not get rich or anything. If I could make enough money to survive by doing in-home training in Miami, I would pack up in a heartbeat and relocate there.

    Hope ya'll have a lot of success with that gym in the Ft. Lauderdale or Boca Raton area!

    Originally Posted by arian11 View Post
    If you plan on being a personal trainer at a commercial gym, then I believe Miami will be competitive for you. If you want to have your own studio or go to homes, then I believe you will have a better chance. As someone mentioned, SageFit has 2 of his own locations in NY which is bigger than Miami and possibly more competitive. But he isn't competing with big commercial gyms, he has his own niche market which he seems to be dominating. Miami does have alot of athletes, especially high school football players. Miami and nearby towns have some of the best high school football recruits in all the country. But, once again, the downside of that is they are not always from the richest families and can't afford PT. There is a warehouse gym in Miami called Idolmakers Physique and Performance and is almost entirely competitive athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters. They run the Westside method and are Westside Certified and have had Louie Simmons come there and give a seminar specifically of how to program for football players. And the dude has a ton of football kids running around there getting strong. Except almost none of them pay a membership. He knows if he charges them, they can't afford it and they will leave. He does it more out of fun and enjoyment of helping them. But I'm sure you wanna make money

    As mentioned, a mid-sized city or working in the suburbs might be a better option. There is a guy in the powerlifting section who started up his own gym in Sarasota and is doing well. I plan to open a gym with a friend of mine somewhere in the Ft. Lauderdal to Boca Raton area hopefully.
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