Tapping into a growing market
If you want to set up a personal training company as a sideline, or extend your company's coverage across the company, you may want to set up an online business - receiving requests on your website and delivering tailored programmes to clients by e-mail.
North-easterner David Riley wanted to set up his own personal training business as a part-time job, around his main work in exercise referral, but he realised he wouldn't have the time to see all his clients face-to-face. So he set up a web-based company, Dr. Exercise, at a cost of around £300.
David says that a prospective customer will register their interest on his website, and he will then send them a questionnaire and an exercise sheet to find out about their goals, their abilities, and any health problems they may have. Based on these responses, he will work out a six-week exercise programme, and e-mail it back to them.
While he strives to visit clients in the North-East in person whenever possible, David deals with a number of clients in other parts of the UK by e-mail only. All payments are made on David's website through Paypal, which charges a small commission for the service.
David says that "it's a lot easier to do a programme this way. With one-on-one personal training you've got to dedicate an hour to the tuition, and driving to and from the client as well. But this is much more efficient."
David'a comments are echoed by seasoned fitness instructor Keith Daniel, who set up his own online business, Full Effect, in 2001. Together with his IT literate brother, Daniel set up and designed a web site himself, spending £500 on a secure server and a credit card transaction facility. This was his only initial outlay, as he worked from home and thus didn't have to rent office space.
“There is a massive target market out there,” said Daniel. “Anyone who has found that programmes or diets don’t work for them is a potential customer. Operating solely over the internet also means that, as well as keeping the trainer's costs at a minimum, clients can do their training and communicate with the trainer when it suits them. Its very flexible and potentially lucrative.”