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  1. #1
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    [new PTs] Wage, percentage and rental

    Attached is a rental contract from Goodlife here in Australia IMG_20170604_153200954.jpg. The rest we can't see as the interviewing manager (illegally) wouldn't let the potential "employee" take the rest with them to examine at home (or even worse, let a lawyer see it) and shredded it in front of them.

    You can see why the gym likes this approach. They have 17 PTs signed up, so they are getting about $5,000pw just from PTs. That's $250k pa; in practice there is a 20% default rate as some clueless 19yo just doesn't have the money and it'd cost too much to chase them for a few grand, so they get $200,000pa. In my city, the gym will pay about $100k rent on a 500m2 facility, another $20k on utilities, $20k on cleaning, leaving $60k for the manager/owner - so they are paying for all that with PT rentals before even getting a single member.

    For those who don't know, the 3 basic models for a PT working in a big gym are,
    • rental - the trainer pays $X a week (200-450, depending on location), charges what they like, and takes it all. Most require a big upfront payment, too.
    • percentage - the trainer pays nothing but receives nothing for being on the gym floor, charges what they like, and takes a percentage of it
    • waged - the trainer is paid an hourly rate for gym floor shifts, the gym sets the trainer's fees and the client pays the gym, the trainer receives a percentage of it, usually a smaller percentage than in pure percentage contracts, as above
    If you are a new trainer, do not sign a rental contract.

    Consider: a gym is a business, it exists to make money. They have chosen the rental model because they believe it will make them more money. For example, if Goodlife charges $293 rent, it is because they have assessed that in a percentage system, they would receive less than $293. For example, if as a new trainer you charged $60ph to clients and paid 50% to the gym, after you did 10hr pw of PT sessions (eg 10 clients at 2x30' each) they would get $300. If you raised your rates or did any more sessions than that, they'd make more money. Why would a gym choose to make less money? That is, gyms charge rent because they expect new PTs to fail. And they're right, they do. If they with all their business experience expect you to fail, why would you expect to succeed?

    In a waged system, if you fail as a trainer then at worst after doing 8-12hr pw of gym shifts you make the equivalent of unemployment benefit, but hey at least you're doing something productive with your day. In a percentage system, if you fail then at worst you make $0. In a rental system, you will actually end up 12 months owing the gym money.

    A new trainer doesn't know if they'll succeed or not. So a new trainer should first seek a waged gym job, which in Australia means a YMCA or council gym. If they can't do that, they should find a percentage gym job (eg Anytime in Oz), and on no account should they sign up for a rental (Goodlife, etc)

    Now, if after some years at a waged or percentage gym they find they have a waiting list of clients, they can consider that about half of their clients will follow them to a new gym (there are no compete clauses, but in practice these can't and won't be enforced legally for something as small-scale as PT, only for big things like commercial solicitors working with banks etc), and they know they can get the same number again in a few months - then it may be worth doing this.

    However, the rental gym manager will avoid working with experienced staff, because they have their own ideas and argue too much, and if the PT is that successful and wants to pay rent, they can just open their own place, yeah?

    It is time that PT schools stopped working with these dodgy rental gyms to funnel naive young PTs to them. It's a system based on exploiting ignorance and is wrong. But since PT schools won't stop it, all we can do is spread the word: no new PT should sign a rental agreement with a gym. Please spread this around.

    IMG_20170604_153200954.jpg
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    "A fox has many tricks, a porcupine has only one trick - but a very good one."

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    Current (November 2017) 1rm:
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