On fitness forums, including IdeaFit, I have seen this question posted quite frequently:
Which is better, to hire a personal trainer as an employee or as an independent contractor?
In the following weeks, I will attempt to explore this question from different topic angles with addressing the VERY BASICS. However, I would like to get a more in-depth perspective for my own personal knowledge as a gym owner.
I ask for feedback from you, the reader, no matter where you fit in the fitness industry!
I have posted the first of the series on my blog available at:
The question for someone considering these options is really how much control do you want to have over the trainer? If you require the trainer to be in the gym at specified times, i.e. the trainer has a schedule of any sort that you impose, there is a good chance that in your state that is an employee situation. If you are telling the trainer what to teach and who to teach, that is again likely to be considered an employee/employer relationship. Trying to pass off such a relationship as something else could get you into legal difficulties.
I have heard discussions that requiring a percentage of the trainer’s fee, requiring the trainer to have the client pay your studio the fee and then paying the trainer, and some other strange systems that appear to be designed to keep the trainer honest/accountable can also result in being ruled an employee/employer relationship.
I would say be clear and either employ the trainer or charge a rental fee of some type. And of course, get legal advice. In the long run it is usually cheaper than paying penalties and lawsuits.
I agree with those who think it has to do with the business model. Each business or organization operates in their own way and rules so they hire employees according to their needs and business model. For example, if I was going to hire a trainer to work for me he would need come onboard as an independent contractor, because I operate a very small business and that is the way it was been set up from the beginning.
Pros- not on your paperwork, you get paid for what they do, zero hassle on your part, just verify they have their credentials/insurance and off to the races.
Cons- No/little control over what they do. Can train badly, can fudge their dues, run off with paid clients $ and little you can do to enforce it unless you want to get legal.
Pros- Does what you tell them to do, you can dictate what forms they use to better pass clients from trainer to trainer, uniform the position to easily slide people in and out.
Cons- Taxes, can be a drain on your income if they’re unable to contribute a good number of sales