The Road to $60,000: Group Class Coaches Vs. OPEX Coach

The Road to $60,000: Group Class Coaches Vs. OPEX Coach

One of the main reasons fitness coaches—be it group class coaches or personal trainers—leave the industry is because they quickly realize that it’s next to impossible to earn a professional wage. Or at least, not without burning out in the process.

Though defining a professional wage is subjective, and largely depends on where in the world you live, let’s consider $60,000 as a starting point.

$60,000 in a Dollars-Per-Hour Group Class Model

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The most common way group class coaches are compensated is by the hour, or by the class. In this system, coaches usually earn between $20 and $30 an hour to coach a class.

It might sound like a lot of money when you’re 19 years old, but if the goal is one day to be able to make a living, start a family and save for retirement, then a professional wage is likely the goal. 

Crunching the numbers: In this system, even coaching 8 classes a day, 5 days a week barely earns the coach anywhere near $60,000 annually (not to mention the boredom that kicks in from coaching the same class multiple times a day).

  • $20 a class x 40 classes per week x 50 weeks (let’s assume you at least take two weeks off a year) = $40,000 annually before taxes.
  • $30 a class x 40 classes per week x 50 weeks = $60,000

Note: If you take time off in this system, you do not get paid. Vacation pay simply doesn’t exist for most group class coaches. 

The result: Coaches stick around for a couple years, or they stick around as part-time coaches with another full-time job, as coaching 40 on-floor hours is energy draining and unsustainable for the long term. 

$60,000 in a Percentage of Revenue OPEX Model

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OPEX coaches at OPEX-licensed gyms are paid a percentage of revenue—40 to 50 percent—of each of their individual design clients, and are usually paid by-the-hour for two to three hour floor shifts each week.

A Book of 35 Clients: Let’s say the coach has a book of 35 individual design clients, each of whom pay $300 a month. 

  • 35 clients x $300 per month = $10,500. If he earns 45 percent of that revenue, the coach takes home $4,725 a month.
  • Further, six hours of on-floor shifts at $25 an hour = an additional $600 a month

= $5,325 a month, or $63,900 annual take home.

Now let’s consider the hours the coach must work:

  • On-floor shifts: 6 hours per week
  • Programming hours: (approximately) 8 hours a week (depending on their experience and efficiency)
  • 30-minute lifestyle consult hours: 17 hours a month (4.5 hours a week)
  • Possible assessment hours with new clients: 2 hours a week
  • Administrative hours/communicating with clients: (approximately) 8 hours a week

Total: 28.5 hours per week

Just for fun: With a book of 50 clients, which seems to be the sweet spot for many OPEX coaches, at 45% the coach earns: $6750 + $600 for on floor hours = $7,350 a month, or $88,200 annually working manageable hours each week. 

Not only are these hours more manageable than in the dollars-per-hour group class model, but the energy draining coaching days are now a thing of a past. Now, the coach has more freedom when it comes to their schedule, as well as variety in the type of work they’re doing. Further, if the coach goes on vacation, they continue to earn their percentage of revenue off their book of clients. 

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