Personal Trainer Payment Methods

The topic of payment can be a slightly awkward one for anyone, but having up-to-date personal trainer payment methods is a great way to streamline the process. These need to be trustworthy and secure when it’s time to collect money from their clients.

With this article, we’ll cover:

Before we begin, if you’re really looking to stand out as a trainer, check out OriGym’s range of Level 4 Fitness Courses, including our Sports Nutrition qualification! Combine fitness with nutrition to keep clients using your service.

Download a free prospectus today to learn more and get in touch with us today!

What To Consider Before Collecting Payments

personal trainer payment methods

Before settling on the first personal training payment method you think of, it’s important to think carefully about this decision. 

It’s likely that, if you decide on a particular payment method, you will have to continue using this for every client.

To avoid going through the hassle of setting up a certain personal training payment method only to decide it isn’t worth the effort later, check out our list of things to consider first!

#1 – Are You Employed Or A Freelancer?

personal trainer payment methods freelance

If you are employed by a company, there will probably be less freedom when deciding on personal trainer payment methods. 

This means you’re limited in what you can charge clients for your service, as your employer ultimately decides on how you get paid. Here, you’ll most likely be paid in the form of a direct deposit into your bank account.

However, if you run your own fitness business or work as a freelancer, it’s up to you to collect your own payments. This also means you can set your own prices, rather than having them be dictated to you by an employer.

As a freelancer, you may still have to pay a portion to a gym if you’re using their facilities to teach classes. While there isn’t a definitive answer to how much it costs to rent gym space, sites like Gumtree advertise prices from anywhere between £400 per month to over £1000 a month. 

However, this largely depends on the location of the gym you want to rent, and whether they provide exercise equipment or if it’s an empty space for you to fill yourself. If the rent is high for the space you’re using, this can help dictate how much you charge for your service.

#2 – Continual Payments

personal trainer payment methods continual

When deciding on personal trainer payment methods, one of the first things to consider is whether or not you will have recurring payments. Some personal trainers collect payments weekly, while others choose to do it monthly.

Other PTs have one-time payment fees, or charge membership rates for a period of time rather than collecting it at regular intervals. It’s up to the personal trainer to decide on how often clients pay, so it’s important to have payment options that work for you and your business.

If you decide on having clients pay weekly or for each individual session, it’s vital your personal trainer payment method is the right one to accommodate this. 

Whether you have recurring payments or one off payments, you should have different payment options available. This makes it slightly easier if you have many clients who are paying you at different intervals.

For instance, you may choose to have a direct debit option for clients who pay on a monthly basis, as well as an option to bank transfer for clients who are less regular, or have irregular schedules.

#3 – How You Train Your Clients

personal trainer payment methods train

If you’re simply an online personal trainer, cash payments are something you can rule out completely. Although cheques are an old-school method of payment, it also means you can’t be paid in this way either.

These days, most payments are done online or through direct debits. This makes it easier to keep records and it’s also a great way to avoid clients skipping payments as it can be done automatically.

Even if you see clients face-to-face, it’s best to choose one kind of payment method and stick with it. Regardless of how you train clients, the last thing you want is to lose track of which clients have paid for your service because some are paying cash and others are doing it online.

According to Payscale, personal trainers in the UK earn around £24.80 an hour. As some at the higher end of the payment scale make up to £50 an hour, this is a lot of money that needs to be kept track of. 

pt payment collection

As records of bank statements are usually kept for as long as 7 years, this also applies to payment methods such as PayPal and GoCardless. With digital systems, it’s never been easier to keep a record of bank statements and payments.

You can simply download these statements and keep them in a file on your computer in chronological order. This is much easier to do than having dozens of physical copies that may be misplaced or accidentally destroyed.

It’s likely you’ll want many clients, so it’s vital to decide on a personal trainer payment collection method that works for you, regardless of whether you work online, in person, or a mixture of both.

If you want to find out more about taking your service online, check out our article – ‘How to Livestream Your Fitness Classes‘.

#4 – Ease of Payment Method

personal trainer payment method ease

As you want to make money as a personal trainer, you’ll want your payment method to be as simple as possible for both you and your clients. This is something important you need to consider as a complex or difficult payment collection service can be detrimental to your business.

It shouldn’t be an ordeal for you and especially your clients when it comes to paying you for a service. While it may seem like something small, it can negatively impact your business.

If people have a bad experience with any part of your service, certainly when it comes to something as important as payment, they may be less likely to return if your chosen personal trainer payment method is confusing or unprofessional.

When signing up to use websites such as PayPal or GoCardless, they only require you to have an email address and decide whether you want to set up a personal account or business account.

#5 – Personal Preference

personal trainer payment methods ease

Similar to the point above, your own personal preference is important when deciding on personal training payment options. If bookkeeping is your responsibility, you want to make it easier on yourself.

While you want to be flexible for your clients by keeping their own personal preferences in mind, it’s vital you know what money is coming in and can easily keep a record to ensure nothing has been missed off.

It’s likely digital payments will be the easiest option when it comes to keeping records. These payment methods are much faster and more convenient so, for many, this is likely the best way to go!

This makes it easier for you as money can be transferred directly from their bank account to yours. You don’t have to rely on clients withdrawing cash or bringing cheques to work which may be lost or misplaced at the end of a session. 

If you’re starting a personal training business, you’ll want to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. It’s important clients have a good experience with all aspects of your service, so be sure to choose an easier personal trainer payment method that suits you and your clients.

personal training payment methods

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Enjoying this article so far? Here’s a few more we think you’ll love:

Personal Trainer Payment Methods

personal trainer payment options

It can be overwhelming for a personal trainer to decide how to collect money from clients when they’re first starting out. 

As it’s incredibly important to decide on what personal trainer payment methods you want to make available to clients when offering your services, we’ve included them all in our list below.

#1 – Cash

personal trainer payment options cash

With the growth of digital payments, most companies and businesses no longer expect clients to pay cash in hand. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a thing of the past just yet!

If you decide on cash as a personal trainer payment option, this must be declared just like any other income to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

payment methods personal training

This is important because, if HM Revenue & Customs find out you haven’t declared any form of taxable income, you could potentially be charged penalties and interest on top of tax bills. In more serious cases, you could lose your business and even face prison time.

Some people still prefer dealing with cash when paying for services. However, if clients are paying large amounts of money, it may not be wise to have them carrying large sums of cash on them. It’s likely they will also feel uncomfortable doing this too. 

While it is uncommon most clients will pay with cash, be sure to keep track of any cash-in-hand transactions. Keep a record of these payments by noting the client name, date, time, and exactly how much has been paid. All of this information is necessary for end of year tax returns. 

This is fine for session payments or lower-priced packages but if your payments are monthly or made over longer periods of time, it may be better to set up an option for digital payments.

#2 – Direct Debits

personal trainer payment options debit

This is a popular payment method as it essentially works like a gym membership. If you set up a standing order that is paid at the beginning of each month, you will be receiving this in the same way you would a personal trainer salary.

For example, if you charge £25 a session and a client trains 3 x a week, this works out at £75. As there are 4 weeks in a month, this would come to £300 a month. If you have a few clients doing this, it means each month you will be receiving an income from a steady client base.

Even better, with a direct debit system in place, this means you will get paid automatically even when clients are on holiday or have other commitments and can’t attend sessions on certain dates.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll be getting paid for nothing! These sessions will have to be rearranged. If your client is on holiday and misses two sessions, you could schedule an extra session for the next two weeks to make up for it.

It also works the other way around for you too. When you have time off for holidays or at Christmas, you can still get paid by clients. These sessions just have to be rescheduled as you will be playing ‘catchup’ to meet the needs of your clients.

pt payment options

However, you may not want to have every client paying you through a standing order. The reason for this is because, if you have a week off, you will have to catch up with all the sessions you’ve missed. 

If you only have a couple of clients, this isn’t too difficult but if you have many, you could have up to 30 sessions you need to fix around your current schedule! This isn’t a feasible thing to do as it could potentially lead to you being overworked and result in a bad service.

A good idea is to have a mixture of both standing orders and block payments. This means you will be receiving both larger payments as well as a steady income each month. 

It’s also best to have only a few clients paying this way so you aren’t inundated with missed sessions that need to be rescheduled.

#3 – Bank Transfers

personal trainer payment options transfer

If you’re looking for a middle ground with your personal trainer payment collection, bank transfers might just be the way to go. Just like when paying with cash, the control is in the hands of the clients, but the payments are safely made online.

To do this, you send an invoice to your clients with your bank details on them, and they can then make the payment through online banking. 

Clients are also able to set up recurring payments using automated bank transfers (also called direct debits). However, some clients may be reluctant to do so as they feel setting up payments that automatically come out of their bank can be made too difficult to cancel.

Having a personal trainer payment method that keeps the control in the hands of the clients but is generally safer is a good option to put their mind at ease. These transactions are also usually free and once they’ve been made, end up in the bank account within a couple of hours.

However, something you should be aware of is that this payment option may cause frustration for you if certain clients don’t make payments when they should. 

personal training payment methods

It can be easier for a client to bring cash but receiving a bank transfer may be harder to acquire from them. This is because clients that have a preference towards cash payments may struggle with bank transfers, which can cause issues, especially if payments are delayed or missed.

The last thing you want is to have to keep reminding certain clients they need to pay you for your service between sessions. This could potentially result in a sour relationship, and even affect your business negatively. 

A good option would be to consider setting up a different payment method for your personal training service where you don’t have to send people multiple reminders. 

This would then mean that you maintain the positive client-trainer relationship you’ve fostered over your time with the client, and ensure they continue to use your services. 

#4 – Card Payments

personal trainer payment options card

Most businesses have the option to pay by using a card machine. As this is one of the most popular ways of paying, don’t be surprised if clients ask you if this payment method is an option for them. 

Virtual card payments are arguably more popular than cash, and clients will expect you to be up-to-date with this. Many people feel uncomfortable carrying cash around and, depending on how much you decide to charge clients, this could end up being a lot.

While you may not want clients making card payments, this could be detrimental to your business. Something as seemingly insignificant as this could negatively affect your business as people may find only using cash or having to make bank transfers to be tiresome.

If you want clients to make virtual payments, it’s probably time to invest in a card machine. This gives you more freedom for deciding when to take payments as it can be done before a session or at the end.

It’s likely this is only really applicable to those who are self-employed and have physical premises to store their card machine.

However, card machines do come with a price.

personal training payment methods

You will either have to purchase a card machine with a one off payment or hire one for a monthly fee. As they can be expensive, it’s important to have a safe place to store it so you don’t run the risk of it being damaged or misplaced.

Another thing to consider is you may also have to pay a small fee to the card provider for each payment. While this may not sound like much, if your business is growing or your service charges are low, it could add up!

#5 – Online Payments

personal trainer payment options online

As is common with most companies, online payments have become one of the most popular payment methods. However, if you train clients in person, online payments through your website may not be a necessary option. 

If you choose to have online payments through your website or another provider as a personal trainer payment method, you have to ensure it’s a well-recognised, trustworthy service. 

Clients need to be able to use a service they can trust, especially if they’re putting their bank details in. 

Aside from PayPal which we’ll discuss below, two other popular online payment methods are Stripe and GoCardless. These are incredibly popular, and both services have thousands of positive online reviews.


PT payment methods stripe

Stripe is an online payment processing platform for businesses. It allows for safe and secure processing of funds from bank transfers or credit cards to a seller’s account. 

This is a trusted provider for businesses as it allows simple transactions to take place, and protects users from fraud. 

If an error occurs, such as insufficient funds in an account, Stripe will reject the transaction and inform both parties of the matter.


pt payment methods gocardless

GoCardless works the same way as Stripe, allowing users to make recurring payments or one-off payments. It allows customers to securely insert their payment details once then collect these payments whenever they are due.

Here at OriGym, GoCardless is one of the payment options we use due to its flexibility and low charges. Using this software means we don’t have to hassle clients for payment, which is the last thing most personal trainers want to be doing.

If you teach a mixture of both online and in-person classes, it’s probably best to have a mixture of these online payments and the others mentioned in this list. 

However, if you only teach online personal training classes, virtual payments should be your primary payment collection option.

#6 – PayPal

pt payment methods paypal

PayPal was one of the first online systems that allowed customers to make safe and secure online payments. Dozens of UK stores accept Paypal as a trusted payment service. 

When paying for goods or services online, many people feel safer using PayPal than typing out their card details into an unfamiliar website.

It’s a very straightforward payment method that gives you an extra level of security to prevent fraud. Information is kept safe on Paypal as it encrypts your card and bank details so there’s less chance they will be stolen.

Many people are also familiar with PayPal because of its integration with eBay so it’s likely most customers who use this site will already have an account set up. As you can establish yourself as a business on PayPal, most transactions can be done through their Goods and Services option.

This is good for buyers and sellers who want to exchange money safely online as the transaction is automatically protected by PayPal Purchase Protection. 

personal trainer payment collection

The Goods and Services option also allows business owners to request payments by email so you can remind clients if they haven’t paid on time.

PayPal allows you to send invoices which helps get you paid faster. You can choose whichever payment method you prefer, either by bank transfer, cash or check, and doesn’t actually require you to have a PayPal account.

However, the downside is that PayPal does take a cut on each payment that is received. The current fees are 2.9% + 30p, so if someone pays you £500 for a personal training package, PayPal will take around £15.

While this may not sound like much, it is definitely something to keep in mind if your business is small or you’re just starting out. If you choose to use PayPal as a personal trainer payment option, it may be better to use it for larger training packages rather than cheaper ones.

#7 – Cheques

personal trainer options check

Although cheques are likely the least popular personal trainer payment method in this list, they can still be used in some circumstances.

It’s unlikely most young clients will hand you a check at the end of a session. However, if you’re working mainly with older clients, they may feel more comfortable using this as a payment option. 

For those who haven’t used them before, a cheque is simply a document that orders a bank to pay a certain amount of money from one account to the account written on the cheque.

While cheques have swiftly been replaced by online payments, you may still be asked if you take these when it comes to larger amounts of money so it may be a good idea to keep this as an option.

However, as many older people are now pursuing careers in the fitness industry, some PT’s may also prefer the old-fashioned way of doing things. 

Ways To Set Your Personal Training Prices

personal trainer payment collection

It can be difficult deciding on how exactly to price your personal training service. There are a few different ways to decide on your personal training payment collection options so continue reading to find out what they are!

#1 – Personal Training Packages

personal trainer payment collection

Many personal trainers offer blocks of sessions by creating PT packages. This is a very common way to charge for a personal trainer service as it makes it easier to keep track of and has clients committing to multiple sessions rather than just one or two.

This means you can have a 10 session, 20 session, or 30 session package which gives your clients a range of different options while also letting you know they will be committing to many sessions.

Blocks of sessions are a great way to generate cash as it is more lucrative than having clients pay for weekly sessions or after every class. It’s also a great way to expand your client base by having guaranteed clients for a specific amount of time.

You can also offer discounts as an incentive for people to sign up for more sessions. This could be something as simple as one free session for every 20 you purchase.

Personal training packages can be a good way to decide on a price to charge for your services. Having a one-off payment may seem like a lot to clients at first but they will only see real results if they commit to multiple sessions. 

If you’re interested in learning more about creating effective and lucrative personal training packages, watch our video below!

#2 – Pay As You Go

pt payment methods

Opinions differ for personal trainers when it comes to ‘pay as you go’. This is largely because paying for one session lacks the commitment of purchasing a personal trainer package. 

While clients often prefer the freedom of being able to pay for each individual session, it runs the risk of them not returning. 

The last thing a personal trainer wants is irregularity. A personal training business relies on regular clients coming back for multiple sessions, rather than random people turning up for one session every now and then.

When it comes to providing a PT service, one thing you need is stability. It’s better to have clients pay more for multiple sessions than just one or two. They also need to be aware that results will only come from using your service multiple times. 

Although some people may think it, a client needs to be aware their physique will not change after just one session!


#3 – Monthly and Weekly Bookings

personal trainer collection

Something to consider is whether you want to take a combination of monthly and weekly bookings. The reason this is important is because while most people are paid monthly, others are paid every fortnight or even every week.

Only accommodating those who have a larger wage at the beginning of a month and can afford paying four weeks worth of sessions in one go, essentially alienates those who can’t. 

Having the option for clients to pay for weekly sessions may mean you need to have other payment methods available, instead of just one kind of direct debit option.

You want to expand your client base as much as possible so disregarding people who may not be able to afford a PT each month may not be the way to go. While it’s likely you’ll have to adjust your prices to accommodate everyone, this can increase your number of clients.

Streamline Your Personal Trainer Payment Methods

personal trainer payment collection streamline

Most of the mentioned payment methods in this article have many features to help you and your clients have a smoother experience. 

Apps such as Trainerize can make taking payments from clients easier as you can keep everything in one place rather than having multiple softwares for personal training and the business side of things. 

personal trainer payment collection

To make it easier for businesses using PayPal, they introduced the feature of PayPal Invoicing. This is a free professional tool that allows you to create and send detailed invoices. 

This helps businesses get paid quicker as clients receive an email from PayPal with a link to the invoice which can be paid from their PayPal account.

Software such as Stripe and GoCardless also have specialised features that allow you to create invoices that can be sent to customers and generate receipts for them. 

This helps you keep a record of who has paid and also means you can receive money quicker so you don’t have to hassle clients for it.

You can also use services such as QuickBooks to keep up to date with finances and get ahead of them too. It allows you to organize invoices early so you can easily do your tax returns which is important if you’re a self-employed PT or have your own business.

personal trainer payment collection

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Best Payment Method for Personal Trainers?

personal trainer collection faq

In this day and age, online or virtual personal trainer payment options are likely the best way to go! The reason for this is because they offer the most flexibility when it comes to payment plans, especially regarding direct debits.

It’s also easier to keep records of payments and see each transaction that has been made by clients. Having lots of physical copies of bank statements and receipts can be overwhelming and they’re also more likely to be misplaced or damaged.

However, while most people are drawn to online payments, it’s still wise to keep different payment collection options available to clients. 

This stops you risking losing clients or alienating certain people who may prefer physical payments or bank transfers over direct debits.

What Expenses Can I Claim As A Personal Trainer?

Personal trainer collection

If you’re a self-employed personal trainer, the HMRC allows you to deduct business expenses from your overall income when you do tax returns. The result is that you only pay tax on your profits.

If you aren’t self-employed, you can also benefit from this too! You may be able to claim back some of your expenses, but these must be things bought only for work and that haven’t been reimbursed by your employer.

Various things people often claim back on their tax returns include:

  • Training equipment
  • Rent for studio space
  • Merchandise
  • Marketing costs
  • Accounting costs

Anything can actually be considered an expense. However, it must be something exclusively purchased for your business.

Before You Go

Now you understand the different personal trainer payment methods, it’s time to decide on the best one for you! 

If you want to provide a unique service for your clients and attract to plenty of new ones, OriGym’s specialist Level 4 Fitness Courses, including our Sports Nutrition Course, is just the way to do this! 

Check out our range of courses to see how you can keep clients coming back to your service by downloading our course prospectus here.

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About the Author: James Brady

James Brady OriGym Author
James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, playing tennis, rowing, writing short stories, and watching classic movies.

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