Are you planning to hire them on as employees, or just gather rent from them as contractors? There’s a little less pressure on you if you engage contractors, but the trade-off is that they’re more autonomous.
Either way, I think it’s important that your prospective trainers seem like a “good fit” with your business ethics and your members, because they’re going to be in your space day in and day out. Someone who has had experience training the types of group-ex members you already have will be a bonus to both of you, because they’ll be able to sell training to your group-ex clients.
I look at resumes, but I also like to see client reviews so I know not only that people like them, but WHY they like them. A few client reviews can give you a great picture of who a trainer is. If I were a studio owner like you are, I would also look at how many clients they have on their current client list that would move over to my space. What type of clients, and can I handle that load of volume, and would these clients be interested in my group-ex classes (win-win)?
I can tell you what I look for when I consider where to work. I don’t do personal training any more, but I used to, and I have been in fitness for a very long time, and I’ve worked in places where anyone who was good could not wait to leave, and places where people never wanted to go, and lots of places in between.
It is harder to answer your question specifically, as you do not say where you are geographically, and that can make a difference. Also you do not say whether you are looking to rent space to trainers to bring in their existing clients, or hire people to work for you as contractors or employees.
The field is very crowded. If you are looking to hire you will have a lot of people interested in the work. If you want to rent space you will have to put more effort into ‘selling’ your space, as there are lots of people who want to do that as well (unless you are in an untapped market, or have a space clearly better than other options.
There are a huge number of online job boards where you can post for trainers. You can look through the IDEA membership and find people near you. I suspect it will be less a problem of finding people, than of sifting through people to find the ones who match your training philosophy and who will be both competent and loyal.
Compensation is the first thing to consider. If you are offer the least in the area you will get people who will stay until they open their own space, or get something better. So do some research on what the going split is in your area. This does not mean you have to offer a lot more than other places, just that you need to be competitive. There are other factors that may out weigh that.
It is helpful to have a specific set of policies and requirements to show prospects. For example, If someone has school age children and your policy is very rigid on scheduling flexibility it is better for them to know before they come to you. You can avoid a lot of turnover by being upfront on expectations and policy.
If I think of the worst places I have worked it is the places where I feel employees are not treated as professionals. If you treat someone disrespectfully or mistrustfully you will often find they respond in kind. I think it is helpful to have policies on things like inappropriate relationships, and attire. If you are going to have a uniform make sure you supply it, and that it underlines that sense of professionalism. When you get a place that doesn’t treat you respectfully, and underpays that is the worst. But either one of them can be problematic.
When I think of the best gym I ever worked for, and I can tell you the name, City Fitness in Washington D.C., it was the best because they paid as well as they could, as they succeeded they shared that by increasing the per class rate for instructors, they treated the staff and members with respect, the equipment and facility was clean and things were in working order. When things broke they were fixed quickly. They didn’t oversell memberships to maximize profit, and actually hosted social gatherings for staff and members to foster a sense of community. That sense of community is extremely important.
Nancy is quite right that reading resumes and reviews are really important. And trainers who have established clients and are looking for a new space are the gold standard every training studio wants. I would just be cautious about people who are ready to siphon clients from one gym to another. If they would leave that place simply for self interest, why would they have loyalty to you? I would ask why they are interested in making the move. And I would suggest leaving room for newer trainers who seem to you to have good energy and skills as well…. Mentoring and helping people forward can be good for you and for your gym and for them.
What you want is not just to get the best trainers but to be the place that makes the really great trainers want to stay.
btw, I met my husband at one of the parties that gym hosted over 20 years ago.
The answers above are good. I’ll add my two cents.
The first thing you have to do if you want good people is you have to pay them more than they’ll get paid elsewhere.
Then you screen them as recommended above. I would also start by drawing from selected current and past clients – these people are already your fans.
Then you’ve got to create an environment wherein they will feel that their contribution matters and that they have some say, in at least how they do their particular job. You need to do this inside a framework that supports and grows the business. Performance based bonuses are a good idea. They don’t have to be a lot but something for them to work towards.
I missed the part of the question that we are talking about personal trainers only, sorry.
Pay more than your competitors if they are going to be employees. Offer bonuses.
If they are going to be independent contractors, have a better split than industry average (which is 50/50). Offer bonuses or a fee split graduation system.
If it’s a rent/fee situation charge less than your competitors, until you get enough monthly trainers.
Make sure what you are providing is better (or cheaper by comparison) than others.
Make sure the facility is clean, orderly and everything is in working order.
I agree with Jason that a competitive compensation system is one of the most important features whether you hire an employee or are looking for an independent contractor.
Fairness in pay is not necessarily equal payment. You may be able to attract more senior and successful trainers when you offer a bonus or a sliding scale.