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Starting your own fitness classes – a quick intro guide

In this guide, we aim to break the technical stuff down into easy-to-understand FAQs, so you can whizz through the boring bits and get to doing what you love most… ASAP

a group of people in gym class on a street

‘Tis the time of year for new beginnings and big goals – so why not put your dreams of starting your own fitness class into action, once and for all? Whether you’re a yogi, gym buff, or cross fit fanatic, it might just be easier to do than you think. 

You’ll need information, though – like what kind of qualifications you might need and which type of business structure to go for. In this guide, we aim to break the technical stuff down into easy-to-understand FAQs, so you can whizz through the boring bits and get to doing what you love most… ASAP. Let’s go! 🏃

What training or qualifications do I need?

You don’t technically need a specific qualification to run most types of fitness class. This may come as a surprise, as many people talk about completing, say, a yoga course to become a yoga instructor. And there are lots of college courses available to help people get into fitness instruction.

But, in the UK and USA, there aren’t any regulations around things like being a personal trainer or yoga instructor. Having said that, you might find it harder to get clients if you’re relying on experience alone, as opposed to official training. In some cases, you’ll probably find it much harder. 

Having a qualification can also be helpful because it means you can join certain professional bodies, like Yoga Alliance Professionals and CIMSPA (the Chartered institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). Joining a professional body like this gives you more credibility as a fitness instructor. Plus, it can even be necessary to get certain types of insurance (more on what insurance you’ll need below!). 

Checking your government’s website is a good place to start when looking for fitness training courses and qualifications. Doing a quick internet search will also throw up loads of options, too – just be sure to check whether any professional bodies you want to join recognise your chosen course before signing up.

a group of people doing yoga

Where can I host my fitness classes?

To choose a fitness class venue or location, you’ll need to figure out if you need any permissions (or have to pay). It’s also important to think about what kind of surroundings are appropriate for the kind of class you want to teach. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of your options:

  • Village hall or other council venue – enquire with your local council to see if they have any suitable spaces.
  • Gym – you could get in touch with some local gyms to see if any are interested in hosting your class. 
  • Your own home or garden – there’s nothing to say you can’t host classes at home, but it’s important to get the right insurance (more on this below).
  • A park – while you can usually host fitness classes in a park, you’ll need to get permission from the local council.
  • Online – there’s tons of potential to run your fitness classes solely online, or to go for a hybrid approach with a mix of online and some in-person classes. Platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube Live are great places to start.

Do I need to register my fitness class business?

Anyone who starts their own business needs to pick a business structure – but don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems. 

There are two main options that the majority of people pick from:

  • You can be a sole trader – you and your business are one and the same entity
  • You can start a limited company – your business is a separate entity to you, as an individual

Being a sole trader is the less complicated of the two options, but there are pros and cons to each. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know: 

a group of kettlebells on a floor

Tax 

There's a possibility you pay less tax as the owner of a limited company than as a sole trader. But this is only really the case when you earn more and are in a higher tax bracket (even then, it’s sometimes not the case). As a sole trader, you need to submit one tax return (officially called a Self Assessment) once a year. If you earn less than £1000 in self-employed income a year, you don’t need to do a tax return.

As a limited company, you’ll need to submit more forms each year, including a confirmation statement and company tax return. 

Legal liability

One benefit of owning a limited company is that if anyone wants to sue your company – say, if they got injured at one of your classes – you’re protected as an individual. They can only sue the company, not you – so it’s only your company’s assets that are vulnerable, not your own personal property and things like that. Whereas as a sole trader you, personally, are liable if someone decides to sue, but you can (and should) protect against this with insurance. 

Getting started

If you want to be a sole trader, you can start running your fitness classes straight away without doing anything. You’ll just need to register for Self Assessment by 5th October in your second year of trading. To set up a limited company, you’ll need to choose a company name and register your business Companies House, which involves making your company profits public.

What insurance do I need to run a fitness class?

The type of work you do as a fitness instructor means it’s vital to protect yourself with insurance. Even with the best intentions in the world, someone could end up getting injured at one of your classes and bringing legal action against you. Even if you feel you weren’t at fault, this can be very costly to deal with.

Public liability insurance

The main type of insurance you’ll need is public liability insurance. This covers you if someone gets injured at one of your classes, or their property gets damaged because of your business. Say, if they tripped on some cables in your studio and smashed their phone.

Professional indemnity insurance

It’s also worth considering taking out professional indemnity insurance, which covers you if a client decides to sue you because of advice you gave them. Say, you tell a client to carry out certain stretches for a few weeks – if they claim that these stretches caused them an injury over time, they could bring legal action against you. 

Protecting your income and equipment

Other types of insurance to think about are insurance to protect your income if you can’t work, and cover for your expensive sports equipment. 

a person holding a rubber band

How much should I charge for entry? 

To figure out how much to charge per class, do some research into what similar classes in your area are charging. This should give you a good baseline to work with – but you can definitely charge more if you feel you offer more (don’t undersell yourself!). 

Head here to find out more about how to price tickets >

How do I manage attendance?

You’ll need an event registration platform to keep an eye on attendance (even if you plan on taking cash on the door for entry). 

Excuse the self-promo – but Ticket Tailor (hi! 👋) is one of the lowest cost event ticketing platforms out there thanks to our fair flat-fee pricing structure (lots of platforms charge you a percentage of every ticket sale which can eat into your profits). We’re also a super-friendly bunch with round-the-clock customer care, and our platform is really easy to use with lots of great features to make selling tickets a doddle. 

Sell your tickets through your own website, or set up a customised box office page through ours. Simple. 

Phew! We hope you’re armed with enough info to get your fitness classes well and truly off the ground. Next step – spread the word and watch the enthusiastic get-fit crew come flocking. For some tips and tricks on how to do just that, check out our handy hub of event marketing guides.

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