Tough question. I would say that if there is no demand for your services because of how much you are charging, I would consider it as a red flag. Also if you are charging a lot more than what your competition is charging, it might also be a bad sign. There is a wide variety of how much each trainer charges for their session. I usually check what other trainers are charging in the area where I operate and then I come up with a fee that is good enough for me and also stay competitive with others.
I agree with Harris, you have to check with your local market. Determine what others are charging as a baseline and adjust based on your experience. I’d suggest starting out slightly lower than the competition to build your business and then increase your rates periodically once you’re established. You could grandfather people into older rates as long as they keep training or start training again within 6-12 months. I don’t see charging more than your competition an issue if you can command the higher rate.
At some point you want to consider training fewer clients and charging more; trainers experience burnout fairly quickly if they are training too many clients or doing too many sessions. For an example, it’s better to do 20 sessions per week at $30/session than 30 sessions per week at $20/session. You’ll be able to provide a better experience for those you train – referrals aren’t solely based on how many clients you train, but how many clients you train well!
See what the cost range is in your area and fall in line with that. I agree that training 20 sessions a week for $30 is better than 30 sessions a week for $20 per session. If you aren’t on top of your game that isn’t a good thing.
Offer packages where the more sessions purchased, they get a reduced price per session. Instead of 10 sessions at $65 / session offer 20 sessions at $55 / session. Then you have more stability for you AND a longer time with them to be sure your clients are successful – and getting a nice deal too.
As Harris said, it really depends on your market and demand. I live in a wealthy area so can charge much more than other areas in the country. I am also in demand so can ask more than the average trainer in my area. In fact, I recently raised my rates for new clients and have been shocked that they agreed to pay it. That said my long term clients (some have been with me over 20 years) pay significantly less than the newer ones. They know this and appreciate it, since I have little turnover I can afford to charge new clients a high rate.
It really depends on your area, your skill set, experience and what you have to offer that others in your area may not. Clients will let you know what is too much, as they won’t sign on at that rate. Then again, I find that people are willing to pay more for results, experience and specialty. How do you stand out from your competition? What do you offer your clients that they don’t? How can you communicate that to your potential clients? How do you let them know about your previous successes? All of this communicates to your clients why you should get paid the price you’re asking.