What you need to know before adding small group PT to your offers
Any business needs more than one way of making money. As a fitness professional, you might do this by having different levels of coaching, high-ticket VIP offers, or physical products in the mix.
If you only offer one way of training with you, not only will you drastically limit your income but you’ll also block potential clients from engaging with your business.
Sessions must be tailored to the people in the group, and you need to give individual attention to their form, technique, and ongoing progress.
Small group personal training is a smart idea for any fitness professional. With minimal set-up, it will help you make more money and reach more clients without taking up extra time in your diary.
What is small group PT?
Small group PT simply means training more than one client at a time. In the traditional 1-2-1 PT model, one trainer coaches one client (usually for an hour). This strategy has an obvious limit – you only have so many hours in a day, and once you’ve swapped those coaching hours for money, you can’t earn more.
Small group PT is a good way to scale your Personal Training or coaching offer. By training two or more people in the same session, you can earn more money in the hour – and you can actually charge the clients slightly less. It’s a win/win.
Is small group PT the same as semi private PT?
Yes, semi-private personal training is the same thing as small group PT. The terms are interchangeable, so choose whichever one resonates with your audience and suits your brand identity.
The name itself suggests that “small group PT” should have a handful of people in it, whereas “semi private PT” suggests an element of exclusivity. Therefore it makes sense to limit semi-private to 3 clients, and extend small group PT to 6-8 people. But it’s really up to you – there are no rules, only what works for you and your people.
How is small group PT different to a fitness class?
Good question. If your small group PT really takes off, you might find yourself coaching 8-10 people in a group. How is this different to a bootcamp or a class? The difference rests on the PT element. Any small group or semi-private PT must retain the foundations of true personal training.
Sessions must be tailored to the people in the group, and you need to give individual attention to their form, technique, and ongoing progress. People can come and go to classes on an ad hoc basis. Small group PT clients commit to a block, just as they would with 1-2-1 personal training.
4 reasons to add small group PT to your fitness business
1. Profits and margins
Small group PT helps you make more money in less time. Rather than charging one person for the hour (plus admin and programming time), you have the income of 2+ clients for the same time output.
2. Client experience
Whilst some clients insist on training 1-2-1, others thrive on training with other people. Putting like-minded people together in a small group situation can improve engagement, consistency, and retention.
If you’re only offering 1-2-1 PT, your business isn’t scalable. Small group is a smart way to scale, so you can get more people through the door and make more money without running yourself into the ground.
4. New clients
Small group might attract clients who would never sign up for 1-2-1 PT, gym membership, or a high-ticket offer. If you think a client is suitable for small group PT, ask them if they have a friend or family member that would join them.
How to set up small group personal training
Small group PT is a great way to overcome one of the biggest barriers to personal training – cost. By offering small group at a slightly lower rate than 1-2-1 PT, you can help more clients and increase revenue per session.
Assess your space
You will need more space to run small group PT, so make sure your gym or studio can facilitate the number of people. You’ll also need to look at the equipment you’ve got. Will you be able to have each client working on the same exercise, or will you need to give variations (using different kit) or have them working on different things?
Be a matchmaker
Small group PT doesn’t work if each participant has different goals and abilities. You’ll need to create groups that work well together on all levels. Make sure nobody feels out of their depth or left behind – this is still PT, not a group ex class.
Explain the set up
It’s your responsibility to explain what small group PT means, how it works, and the benefits. Don’t expect people to know. Clients will naturally want to understand what they’ll get out of it, how sessions will operate, and what’s expected of them. Be clear throughout your marketing, onboarding, and sales conversations.
Prepare your sessions
Small group PT is still PT. Put the same amount of care into prepping your sessions, programming and following up. If you’ve matched your group participants, this shouldn’t take any more time than prep for a 1-2-1 session.
Set your price point
Small group PT needs to be financially beneficial for the clients and for you. Set the price lower than 1-2-1 PT, but not so low that it loses its perceived value (or that you lose money).
Ask all existing clients to tell their friends and family about your small group PT offer. Come up with an incentive for anyone that signs up via a client referral.
Nurture your community
Small group PT naturally creates a community of its own, with like-minded clients meeting up regularly to train together. Consider creating an online group for small group PT clients, host social events, and highlight client success stories through your socials and emails.
Get started with small group personal training software
Ready to get started with a small group PT offer in your fitness business? Don’t forget the admin. You’ll need a system that tracks, books and helps you run small group PT. Why do all that with spreadsheets and notepads when there’s dedicated software for fitness businesses?