When people think about finding work, they start to worry whether or not they’ll measure up to the company’s standards. For fitness professionals, this can bring about a lot of stress during the first interview, the audition, and (if applicable) the initial trial period. But what I’ve found over the years is that not every company is worth working for. It’s worth putting in some extra time and effort to make sure you choose the right studio to work for. Read on to find out how.
Do Your Homework
Any time you consider applying for work at a new company, the best practice is to learn as much as you can before you submit any documentation. That includes:
- Their mission statement
- The types of clients they serve
- The size of the gym/studio
- How they treat their employees
- How much they pay (if available)
Nowadays, most of this information can be found from a simple Google Search, by going to their website, or by checking out studio reviews on Foursquare or Yelp. You can also drop by the studio, check out the space, attend a free class, and chat with their employees. There’s nothing like actually BEING in the physical environment to give you a feel for a place.
Know Their Values (and Yours Too)
I’ve witnessed time and time again employers hiring people whose values don’t align with their own. Generally speaking, a great fitness company will be dedicated to
- Helping clients/students achieve their goals
- Great customer service
- Employee growth and satisfaction
- Cultivating a safe, positive, healthy environment for everyone
Specific companies will have additional values they seek to uphold. It’s important that you know what they are, so you can figure out if they align with your own. Note: If you don’t know what your values are, take some time to reflect on that. Scott Jefferey, founder of CEOSage has a great list of values and instructions for how to uncover yours on his blog.
Get Clear On the Employer’s Expectations
If you’re new to the fitness world or just becoming a group fitness instructor or personal trainer, you should know that instructor responsibilities vary from studio to studio. At some fitness centers, you are expected to show up only a few minutes before class and vacate the room promptly at the end to make way for the next session. However, others may require one or more of the following:
- Arrive 10-15 minutes early to greet students and check them in for class.
- Unlock the studio
- Take out instructor supplies, such as mic headset, and audio cables
- Attend to cleaning duties during the day or at the end of your shift
- Shut down equipment, turn off the lights, and close the studio
- Complete administrative tasks, such as making client/prospect calls, sending emails, completing client intake forms and measurements, etc.
Pro Tip: Don’t assume that employers have written out all responsibilities on the job listing. Always ask. Also, be candid about any tasks you see to be outside of the scope of the position. Although they may not always be flexible, it’s better to have the conversation up front than to have it come up later when your needs or the companies’ aren’t being met.
Inquire About Pay
Pay is a strange thing in the fitness industry. How much you make as a group fitness instructor or personal trainer varies from one place to the next depending the size of the center, their business model, the amount of experience you have, and where you live. Here are the questions to ask:
- Does the studio pay hourly or by student?
- What is the base or hourly pay?
- Is there a different rate for administrative tasks?
- If no one shows up, do you still get paid?
That last one is super important, especially if you’re working for a brand new studio or in a low traffic time slot. Make sure you know the details before you sign your contract.
Consider Your Commute
It is rare for group fitness instructors to gain a full time schedule (30 hours in the fitness field) at a single studio. Even the instructors that teach the most engaging classes, end up working at two or three. It’s easy to reason the commute time when you’re just starting out, but as you continue to add classes to your schedule, make sure you’re not spending a good chunk of it on the road. Here are the rules I’ve implemented for accepting classes:
- 30 minutes max commute (20 minutes ideal)
- Two classes back to back unless I’m subbing
- Pay must be worth it. For example, if I’m making $30 for a 60 minute class, but spending 30 minutes getting there (and 30 minutes back), I’m actually only making $15/hour for your time… minus taxes. That’s a recipe for burnout, which we want to avoid at all costs!
These are the main things I consider when choosing a studio to work for. Questions? Comments? Additions? Thoughts? Leave a comment below!
Happy Job Hunting!
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