Should one purchase liability insurance even if I work at big corporate gyms? FYI, I am new to the industry and this will be my first job as a fitness professional. Inevitably speaking, I would like to acquire my own personal clientele in the future and operate my own business. Am I even allowed to take the clients from my gym (Golds, 24, LA Fitness) and offer them training sessions outside the gym? If thats the case, should I register for my business and purchase liability insurance? I might be rushing things, my motivation level is so high right now that I want to accomplish so many things. I would appreciate any advice tips even if it does relate to my specific question per se. I want to hear everything about my mentors have to say thats been in the fitness game for some time.
You do sound like you are very excited, and moreover have some good opportunities being presented to you. The questions you are asking are really good ones to ask, and I think you are right to try to draw a few maps before you start out.
I am going to try to give my feedback to all 3 of your questions at once, as my comments are more general than specific.
First, like Karin I was struck by the comment that you specialize in weight loss. I looked back at your profile but I do not see any specific training, workshops, degrees, or credentials that underline that. If you have a degree in nutrition or have done a certification in weight management, or something like that you probably want to have that up on your profile, and really market to that, as it will increase your marketability and make you more visible as someone trained in that area. If it is that that is an interest of yours, you probably want to put it something like…. ‘I’ve focused a lot in my training on issues related to weight loss, or control’, or something like that …. if this is your first job particularly and you do not have the credential or degree it is probably not ideal to say you specialize in it.
Second, I would agree with Nancy’s assessment about an independent versus a chain. The biggest questions I think you need to ask yourself are: ‘Do I already have a group of people who are ready to sign on as clients’ (a vote for going independent), Do I still need more hands on experience working with clients and do I need to develop the skills to market myself in the industry? (a vote for the chain). I’ve worked in a lot of facilities. For me, I’ve been in chains where I was pretty well paid and extremely well treated, and chains where they pay very poorly and do not treat the staff as professionals. Conversely I’ve been in small places where it was the best experience you can imagine, and small situations where the owner did not know how to do their own job and expected the staff to do it for them. The people matter as much as the sort of place. After all, you will spend a lot of hours there. You want to be nurtured, and supported, and respected, as well as paid a reasonable amount.
Third, if you work as an employee in a facility you do not usually need separate insurance. However, as Karin points out…. you must read the agreement very carefully. It is usually against your agreement to take clients someplace else that you got through the gym. It is also rather unethical. I don’t think I will ever go back to running my own business, but if I did I would not be able to give a good recommendation to someone who used me to further their own business at the expense of mine. Find a good situation and do your best, or, work as a contractor where it is assumed you will develop and provide your own clientele. If you are staying in the fitness industry it is important to have a good name among your peers as well.
Finally, I think it might be useful to get insurance in any case. You never know when some opportunity will come up. When I was approached by my son’s Chinese teacher to do a workshop with several dozen visiting students having insurance in hand made me feel that I could do so. There are some opportunities that will come up that will not be in competition with a place you work, and it is good to be ready.
Good luck with everything. Your energy and interest in learning will really serve you well I think.