I train my clients either in their home or outdoors. I use equipment that I have acquired over the years and I also utilize body weight exercises. In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), most of what we do is based on dynamic movements which requires very little equipment. My clients enjoy the MMA-based workouts because they are a nice break from the same old gym equipment and they can be done almost anywhere.
I’ve had the same experience you’ve had with major gyms. As others have suggested, you could seek out independently-owned gyms but many of them will still require you to pay a monthly fee to use their facilities. You will have to factor this into your monthly expense report.
Patience, perseverance and creativity are key in building clientele on your own.
Hang in there!
I am open when trainers approach me about using my facility (a smaller, 24 hour gym). I don’t have trainers on my staff here and use independents anyways. I negotiate a split or fee with them. I have had times when the trainers client has then joined my gym. Owners are always open to that and maybe even giving a discount to the trainers clients if they join. Never hurts to approach local, gyms and see what kind of a deal you can work out. Good Luck.
I was running into the same problem. Many of my clients have a gym/facility in their apartment building, but many others did not. After about two years, my husband finally talked me into opening my own studio for training and group classes. Because of my experience, I am definitely offering the space at a nominal fee for trainers to bring clients after meeting them, and proof of insurance/certification. You have to just keep searching for the right one.