How To Raise Your Prices Without Annoying Your Personal Training Clients
Putting your prices up is something that can fill many personal trainers and online coaches with dread. Pricing is something that should be regularly reviewed as you develop your skills and services as a coach and undertake additional training. When considering a price increase, it can be worrying to think that it may cost you clients. That they'd be offended, may complain, or even go to a different trainer.
Charging more for your fitness services may cost you a few clients. But they are likely not the right clients for you as you evolve and improve your coaching skills. There are three main reasons for increasing your prices, and all of them reflect increases elsewhere in your personal training business: increased inflation, increased operational costs (this may include the fees of training you've taken or the tools and software required to run your business) and increased demand.
Ideally, increasing your prices shouldn't be a sudden decision; instead, a strategic and recurring step in growing your fitness business. As such, it starts a few steps before you notify clients about the price raise. Let's dig into the details.
Step 1. Be Willing To Let Go
Not everyone should be able to work with you. You're creating a highly personalised professional coaching service, and it's right and fair that your prices reflect that. The clients you lose are likely not the right fit for your evolving service and will free up some space in your coaching programme for potential clients that are a better fit for your values.
Recognising that this is a possibility and facing it with an attitude of acceptance is more likely to make your clients see the value in what you do for them, and want to stay on with you for longer. You'll project confidence in the value you provide and attract people who appreciate your offerings.
Step 2. Thank Clients For Their Loyalty
Sending a message of thanks to your clients for their loyalty to your personal training service and their contribution to your fitness community more broadly is never unwelcome, especially when it comes unexpectedly.
You can send a thank you card after their first three months has passed, you don't have to wait until there are changes to the terms of your contract together to say thank you. However, it's worth letting your clients know when you're communicating your new price list that the way you develop your services is also thanks to their continuous feedback and support.
Step 3. Deliver Valuable Services
This step is frequently overlooked; especially in the world of online coaches where it can sometimes seem like almost everyone is promising a six-figure business and next to nobody is talking about delivering a hugely valuable, exceptional quality coaching service.
Regularly surveying your existing clients to get a feel for what aspects of the coaching service they feel is most valuable, which elements they rarely use and what they would like to see getting developed in the future will give you a clear perspective on what your clients desire. You can make sure this way that you can create more, better quality elements that your clients love. It will also help you spend less time and energy building features and contents that are not useful for them.
Step 4. Introduce a Tiered Option
Having a lower cost "down-sell" option could be a good idea if you're raising your prices significantly. You may choose to have a lower-priced product that requires much less coaching input from you, such as a group coaching programme delivered via a shared Facebook group or even PT Distinction's group coaching system.
This option won't be right for all personal trainers - it depends on the way your business model has been set up. If all the marketing for your coaching model is based on the idea that only your core offer is sufficient to get the results they want; this may not be a suitable alternative option. You'll need to use your judgement to gauge what's best for your business.
Step 5. Choose the Right Time
There's no one correct answer to this question. You could increase your prices for new starters by 10% each time someone signs up. You could re-evaluate and raise prices after a set number of completed sales (e.g. every 10 new clients). You can introduce an increase regularly, like every other year, or after every significant CPD course, you complete.
One thing is advisable, though. When you do put your prices up for existing clients, put them up by such a margin that you won't have to put them up again within 12-18 months. Price increases that feel overly frequent to your clients can be ill-received as they feel like you're treating them like a source of revenue only and not treating them like someone that matters in your business. Similarly, never putting your prices up can lead you to feelings of dissatisfaction and resentment if you feel like you're not fairly paid for the work you do.
Step 6. Give Plenty Of Warning
Changing your prices for clients that have not yet signed up is easy. You quote them the new price when they ask about the fees for your coaching service and also update them on all your marketing channels, including your website. Changing the pricing structure for existing clients is more complicated.
Ideally, you'll formally write to your clients so that they can consider the pricing structure in private. They absolutely should not find out about the change at the point the new bill is due. You could give some explanation as to the training you've undertaken since the last time you changed your pricing and highlight the ways that you've taken your continued professional development seriously. Explaining to clients that your new pricing reflects your value more fairly will allow them to see the behind the scenes work that you've been doing to deliver an excellent service.
Give clients a precise date from which the new pricing will come into effect. That should be at least one full billing cycle from the date you communicate your intentions. You're explaining your reasons, but you're making no apologies for your decision.
If you're in the business for the long haul, you'll inevitably need to increase your prices now and then. Whenever you decide to raise, ensure there's plenty of time between letting your existing clients know before the new pricing structure comes to effect.
There should be at least one full billing cycle at the old pricing for your existing clients before the new prices are introduced, according to The Balance. Your fees may not fit every budget, but you deserve to be properly paid for your level of skills and service so that you can have the impact on your clients' lives that they expect from you and even more.