Though left off many fitness lists, Dallas should be considered a top contender as a major market for a personal training business.
Personal Training can be a great career choice for someone looking for more schedule flexibility, a taste of owning their own business, and a more enjoyable line of work – all without sacrificing your potential to earn a comfortable income. I’m under the belief that you can make anything work, anywhere, with the right work ethic and determination, but good circumstances certainly make things easier and faster. I believe Dallas, (and the surrounding area,) is one of the top cities in the world for this career path. There’s a great economy with plenty of disposable income floating around town, a business environment friendly to small businesses, low cost of living, and lots of “potential” customers (I’ll explain later). For an educated trainer with drive and the business ability to survive as an independent contractor, the income ceiling is very high in this town.
There are several reputable sites and companies online that have published lists in the past 5 years citing the Top Cities for Personal Trainers. Each list has a different set of statistics that they have used to draw these conclusions: Number of listed trainers in the area, for instance, to judge demand. Activity level of the city to determine people’s interest in health and fitness. Median income for trainers to judge the markets acceptance of fees for the service. But being a lifelong Dallas Area resident with over 10 years of experience in the Fitness Industry, (both locally and globally), I do think that there’s an argument to be made for Dallas to make its way towards the top of these lists. It’s easy to make a case that Dallas is a very attractive place to live for people interested in building a business and career in Personal Training.
Unfortunately, North Texas cities usually find their place list amongst the fattest of the fat, winning titles that aren’t worth of bragging about, such as “Most Obese City by Percentage of Population” (Arlington, TX according to Men’s Fitness.) Witty authors like to that “everything is bigger in Texas,” including the asses and man titties. Ok… so I paraphrased the asses and man titties part, but they say it without saying it, and as a fitness-preaching Texan I can’t help but get stirred up. What makes it worse is that we also rank on the bottom of almost every “Best cities to be active” list – with common complaints being the lack of access to beaches or mountains that inspire outdoor activity. This paints a bleak picture of life in North Texas, but as an optimist I think there is certainly a glass-half-full way to read these stats if you’re considering a career in personal training, or relocating to the Dallas Area for a career in fitness.
“Top Cities to be a trainer” lists like to rank the fit cities towards the top, interpreting that as market interest for those operating a training business. However, if you see out of shape people as potential clients, then I suggest interpreting the list in the opposite direction. More fat people equates to more market need for your services! More fit people could equate to more people that don’t need much help, they’re already fit. The argument can be made that “fat cities” don’t prioritize health, therefor don’t value the service of personal training as much. But I believe that the best trainers can create interest amongst the uninterested. It’s like being a mechanic in the city with the most break downs vs the city with the best running vehicles. If your goal is to help people, then it should make perfect sense to head to the area where the most people need help. To quote the famous Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
I think the same approach can be used when considering our placement at the bottom of lists that rank active cities. Many of the “Top Cities to be a Personal Trainer” lists use high activity level as a reason to boost a city’s ranking, assuming that high activity levels equate to more active people that will want training services. But those that have spent time as a trainer, especially in an active area, know the reality. Outdoor sports and activities are your competition. Unless you’re a multifaceted trainer that takes his clients mountain biking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter, you know that you aren’t earning money when people are out doing these types of activities. You earn money when they are IN THE GYM. In Dallas where the outdoor appeal is far inferior compared to cities near mountains or along a beautiful coastline, you are competing less against potential clients’ outdoor activity agenda. For people in a city like Dallas the highlight of the day could very well be the gym. That IS their activity.
An important factor to consider when opening a Personal Training business is the economic environment of the area. Ranked in the top 25 fastest growing cities (Forbes) top 10 in cities when you compare income opportunities to cost of living (Forbes) and top 5 for best cities for young professionals (Forbes), Dallas is a town built on business. It’s an attractive place for companies and professionals to build businesses in a variety of fields. Couple the business-friendly environment with the low cost of living and you have a lot of disposable income floating around town. It’s not a coincidence why we are home to some of the best car-meets in the United States. People have money to spend! Personal Training is not a cheap service. A successful training business is not built servicing clients on a tight budget. In markets where the cost of living is very high, it can be much harder for clients to put your fees into their monthly budget.
In the Personal Training world, if you are looking to maximize your income it’s very likely that you will end up working as an independent contractor within a gym. The DFW metroplex is so big that there are hundreds of gyms and studios with a wide variety of specialties. Finding a gym where you can operate your own business inside their facility as an independent contractor is not difficult. There can also be some great prices on commercial real estate because of the size of the metroplex. Trainers with some access to capital that want to work out of their own studio can operate here with low overhead. Finding equipment is never easy but it can be done. There are some great equipment companies in the area, and the second-hand market here is also vast.
Here at …destination Dallas, we are always looking for great independent trainers to use our state-of-the-art facility to serve their existing clients or build a business with new ones.
Sound interesting to you? Let’s talk! Send us an email to [email protected]
“If you can’t be a successful trainer in Dallas, you can’t be a successful trainer! The population is huge (and growing), and corporate HQ’s are moving here at a fast rate.. Toyota and State Farm to name a few new ones. Residents can earn a lot of money, but live inexpensively so there’s room in their budget for training. I won’t say it’s easy though – new trainer’s should still expect 1-2 years of building a solid client base.”
– Kyle Cavnar, Kinesiologist and …destination Trainer.
“I have built my business based out of Dallas. It’s where I like to call home, the people are friendly here and the area is nice. Dallas is also centrally located which is important to me because of my travel schedule as a media trainer and I am just a few hours from anywhere in the country. I believe Personal Training is all about serving, and there is such a variety of great trainers on all levels here. Sports Performance, Private Training, Bodybuilding, Wellness… you can be successful in any of those areas here and the DFW metroplex has plenty of room for good talent to grow while making a great living. You can earn a lot of money here but I think a trainer’s real currency is his list of testimonials.”
–Sagi Kalev, Creator of best-selling Body Beast and The Master’s Hammer & Chisel, Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Expert, 14-time Muscle and Fitness Cover Model and Hall of Fame IFBB Pro
“The need for quality trainers in Dallas is HUGE! We have top programs in every major professional sport: Football, Basketball, Baseball and Hockey and from those pro sports there’s a huge network from semi-pro down to kiddie leagues that all need training. And in Texas we like to WIN EVERYTHING – beauty pageants, bodybuilding contests, you name it there’s a Texan that’s won it. Winners need trainers! Dallas is also a small community compared to show-biz cities like LA or San Diego. Those cities are built for the “have’s” not the “have-nots” it’s way too hard to break into markets like that. Dallas is huge but it’s still a small community. The professional network here is also gigantic and all those high-level professionals are BUSY. They need trainers to motivate and teach them how to get results, they don’t have time to learn about training or to listen to Tony Robbins tapes, they need YOU!”
–Jay Johnson, Trainer and Selection Judge of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Owner of Jayssoldierfit.com, Service Disabled War Veteran, Public Speaker
Valuepenguin.com. (2013). Best Cities for Fitness Trainers https://www.valuepenguin.com/2013/10/best-cities-fitness-trainers
Halvorson, Ryan. Ideafit.com (Dec. 11, 2015). Top 10 Cities for Personal Trainers. http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/best-cities-for-personal-trainers
Millado, Nate. Men’s Fitness. The Fittest and Fattest Cities in America. http://www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/burn-fat-fast/the-fittest-and-fattest-cities-in-america
Kotkin, Joel. Forbes.com (2015). The Cities Where Your Salary Will Stretch the Furthest 2016
Sharf, Samantha. Forbes.com (2017) America’s Fastest Growing Cities 2017
Carlyle, Erin. Forbes.com (2016) America’s Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2016