As a personal trainer one of the most important business decisions you need to make is where to train your clients. If you rely on gym equipment to deliver your form of training, you’ll need to find a venue that houses that equipment.

For most personal trainers this will come down to a choice of two: creating your own fitness studio or partnering with a commercial gym.

Fitness studio vs gym: which is right for you? The answer will depend on your circumstances, goals, clients and training style.

In this guide we’ll take a closer look at both options, to see why you might choose each, and what you need to be aware of before you lock either one in.

Fitness studio vs gym: 5 key differences for personal trainers

To partner with a commercial gym or to create your own fitness studio? To decide which is best, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of each and find the option that best suits your situation.

Five key considerations include:

1. Access to equipment

When you partner with a commercial gym, you and your clients gain instant access to an extensive collection of equipment. If you choose wisely, a commercial gym will have the exact machines you need to help your clients achieve their fitness goals, although access to that equipment will be limited to the opening hours of your chosen gym.

Creating your own fitness studio can grant you more convenient access to equipment, though you’ll need to purchase it yourself. If you end up investing in your own machines, be sure to choose high quality, robust commercial gym equipment from brands like Circle Fitness, Body-Solid, Concept2 and Force USA, as these machines are built for regular, heavy use. 

2. Price

In terms of price, fitness studio vs gym is a choice between upfront vs ongoing costs. Creating your own fitness studio will initially be a more expensive endeavour, particularly in terms of investing in equipment, although if you can create a studio at home you can at least save on renting a commercial space. Once those big upfront costs are covered, ongoing costs can be minimal.

When you partner with a commercial gym you’ll pay for the pleasure. Depending on the gym this will either be in the form of a flat fee or a percentage of your training fees. While upfront costs are minimal, a busy personal trainer may find a gym partnership to be the more expensive option if the partnership extends over years.

3. Price

Flexibility can be viewed in one of two ways. For some personal trainers, a commercial gym will offer far more flexibility than their own studio, as you can wander in and out as you please, without thinking about managing and maintaining the equipment and space. The other side is that you’re forced to play by the gym’s rules, working within their hours, following their systems and processes, and travelling to and from the site.

When you create your own fitness studio you have total control over when and how it operates. Sure, you’ll need to manage the space and maintain the equipment, but if the studio is small, this won’t be a time-consuming task. And if it’s at home, you won't have to travel anywhere, and clients come to you.

4. Business development

Fitness studios are ideal for personal trainers who have a regular roster of clients, or who have a steady stream of new leads thanks to referrals or marketing efforts.

If you don’t have a full training week or established lead generation strategies, a commercial gym is a great place to work, giving you valuable exposure. In a gym setting you’re surrounded by people who are interested in fitness, many of whom will be open to the idea of hiring a personal trainer. If they like what they see when you’re training a client, you might win their business.

On the flip side, most commercial gyms will have multiple trainers on the floor, so competition for new clients can be high. You even run the risk of losing clients to other trainers, although you can minimise the chances by offering a great client experience. 

5. Client experience

A private fitness studio allows you to offer a more intimate experience to your clients, away from the prying eyes of other gym-goers. This can be ideal for clients at the beginning of their fitness journey, particularly those who may be self-conscious about the weight they want to lose.

Your own fitness studio grants you far greater control over the training experience. You can decorate the space, play your own tunes, and even offer clients a bit of fitness-focused food and drink.

That’s not to say that you can’t deliver a great client experience in a commercial gym setting – it’s just that you don’t have as much control over the environment.

GymQuip: your gym and fitness studio experts

The decision to train clients in a commercial gym or a private fitness studio will depend on your budget, your clients, and the sort of training you want to deliver. But if you have the means, and appreciate the enhanced level of control that your own space will offer, we’re here to help make your fitness studio dreams a reality.

At GymQuip we’ve spent the last three decades helping personal trainers create fitness studios that will enhance your reputation and ensure your clients achieve their fitness goals. Armed with deep levels of knowledge and expertise, we can help you identify what the perfect private fitness studio looks like in your situation.

Home to Australia’s largest fitness showroom, we offer an extensive range of commercial gym equipment built to handle whatever you and your clients throw at it. We also offer a complete gym fitout service, where we come to you and help you to create the perfect training space. We’ll guide you on equipment choice and layout, then take care of everything from delivery and installation to ongoing maintenance.

Visit us in-store, browse our extensive range online, or let us come to you to conduct an on-site consultation! Get in touch with our friendly team today.