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  1. #1
    I hump you like camel? 401Delta's Avatar
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    1 on 1 Personal Training sessions vs Small Group classes

    I have a friend with a Starting Strength gym located in a strip mall in a fairly dense suburb of a major city (Dallas, TX) and his set up is 100% small group classes. His turnover rate is fairly brisk, but he caters to a market of mostly older white males, so it works for him in the location that he's at with minimum equipment or amenities.

    I would like to hear from anyone that does both 1 on 1 and small group classes, and to discuss the pros and cons of each from your perspective.

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
    husband, father, trainer KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Small group or "semi-private" all the way.

    1:1 you can only train so many people a week, so you have to charge a high hourly rate. This means either a very small number of people who can afford 3x1hr sessions a week, or a much larger demographic of people who can afford 2x30'. Aiming at a small demographic means you have to be a great marketer as well as a great trainer. Aiming at a larger demographic allows you to be mediocre at both. 20 people doing 2x30' weekly is a more resilient base than 7 people doing 3x1hr; lose 1-2 clients of 7 as they go on their skiing holiday to the Swiss Alps means losing a quarter your income, losing 1-2 of 20 means 10%. And of course the 3x1hr clients are going to be very fussy and demanding of your time and energy. So most PTs will end up doing 2x30'. This means having a lot of clients, all requiring and expecting 1:1 attention.

    Half an hour is pretty tight. Anyone comes 5 minutes late, what do you do? Cut an exercise out? Rush them through it all? Take 5 minutes off the next person's session? You do say 0600-0900 and that's six different people, first up you have a 30yo friendly male accountant then a 35yo shy self-conscious male doctor then a 70yo arthritic woman and - well, you have to adjust to each one, which is tiring. Roll forward 12 months and trust me, you've run out of small talk with this person. If anyone's absent then you're left like a spare one standing around the gym until after 10 minutes you give up and go for a coffee and try to set aside your bitterness by the time the next one rolls in.

    Now take those 6 people and whack them in a small group. They don't need 3 hours, only 1-1.5hr. And what they used to pay for 30' 1:1 many will be delighted to pay for 60-90' small group. You're now getting 3 hours' pay for 1-1.5 hours' work. Now you don't have to adjust to each person, they all adjust to each-other. And with 6, typically in any month 1 of them will quit or fade away, you sign up a new one, and this keeps things fresh. No more awkward silences 12 months in. If anyone's late it doesn't matter - you've got 90 minutes. If anyone's absent, well with 6 signed up, at least 3 will always be there, and usually 5, so one deadbeat misses out, who cares.
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    husband, father, trainer KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Registered User DaveDavit's Avatar
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    Definitely learning a lot from here. Thanks for the tip!
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  5. #5
    I hump you like camel? 401Delta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    Small group or "semi-private" all the way.
    I really enjoy 1 on 1 training sessions, but I agree that small group classes are a better business model, so I'm leaning towards a mix with 1 on 1 sessions during the day and maybe one or two small classes during the evening and a few on the weekends.
    Last edited by 401Delta; 07-16-2019 at 01:00 PM.
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