a trainer can be an independent contractor, yet still be paid through the gym. You would issue a 1099 at the end of the year. Alternatively, you can have the trainers deal directly with the members, and you would probably have an arrangement of getting a percentage.
The first case would be more likely if the trainer teaches classes, and the members pay for attendance. The other would probably apply more often when trainers work one-on-one.
As a small studio owner as well, we treat outside instructors and trainers as independent contractors.
For the purpose of classes, we pay them a flat rate per class and issue a 1099 at the end of the year.
For PT, we basically allow them use of our space for a fixed rate and they charge their client directly.
Hope that helps and good luck with everything!
I’ve worked independently as a personal trainer for some clubs and I’ve worked as an employee for clubs. Independent personal trainers are responsible to carry their own liability insurance whereas, club employed personal trainers would fall under the club’s liability insurance. Most of the clubs that I worked at as an independent personal trainer allowed me to set my own rate and I paid a percentage back to the club.
At both clubs I was also employed to teach classes. One club charged me a flat rate no matter what I charged my clients. The other club had their set rates for personal training (ex. $40/half hour or $60/hour) and I paid them 25% for utilization of their club facility. At the one club I was responsible for hand recording every training session and then they billed me at the end of the month with the flat rate total amount per session. At the other club I entered all daily training sessions on the computer and the computer deducted the 25% automatically based on their set rates. Hope this information helps!