PT on the Net Research

Contract Negotiation


Question:

My contract with my employer will be ending soon. I was wondering what I should do in regard to negotiating a new contract. What surveys are available that would help show my employer what I am worth. I am the jack of all trades fitness director, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, sales and marketing manager and yes, even the janitor, for a club with enough space for 180 members (we currently have 130). Right now, I am compensated for 75% of training sessions and $25 for each class I teach. I have no benefits other than the ability to work out and play tennis for free. All of the other duties are not compensated for, in my opinion. My employer feels that the 75% covers my other duties as well, but since they demand an exclusive arrangement with me, doesn't that entitle me to some form of base salary or at least some commission for memberships sold? I am not paid for orientations to new members either. I need help!

Answer:

From your description of responsibilities, it certainly does sound like you are a valuable employee. Compensation in this industry is not standardized and varies based on a number of factors:

  1. Company focus and priorities. In other words, how important is the role of a personal trainer when compared to other positions in the company? This is of course based on what the company's market and focus is and how much of it's total business comes from personal training (or the position(s) that you hold)
  2. Region
  3. Education of the employee
  4. Whatever other factors are agreed upon as per the employer and employee

You stated that your percentage per session is 75%. In health clubs that pay trainers based on a percentage of training revenues earned, this would be considered high. However, I know that performance is not measured in tangible revenues alone. Things like customer service and relationships with the facilities staff as well as members is essential for the continued success of any service-based company, regardless of what industry you're in. From all the positions you hold, it is my assumption that you probably have the potential to impact the intangible aspects of your company as well as measurable revenue.

However, tangible revenue is easier to measure than service and relationships. From your employer's perspective (especially if he is the owner), he bears all the risk associated with the company. He is the one who puts up the money and resources to build the business. He provides the employees with the facility and members to potentially build their personal training clientele. He paid for the marketing that brought the members into the facility. He pays for all of the monthly overhead that keeps the facility running. In addition, if the business is not successful, he is the one that loses his investment. Therefore, when you present your case to your employer, keep in mind that while the intangible parts of your job are important, you need to also demonstrate in measurable terms how you directly have contributed to the financial growth of the business.

As the fitness director, take a look at your department's average revenues before you came on board. How much did your department's revenues increase as a result of having you on the team? Create a very specific report that presents all of the measurable benefits you have produced in each of your positions.

Personal Trainer:

Director:

Group Fitness Instructor:

Sales and Marketing Manager:

There is much more we could take a look at here; however, I do not know your specific environment. The bottom line is, if you can gather specific data that demonstrates your tangible value to the company, you are in a better position to re-negotiate your contract. Many owners and people in upper management are very hard working people with a sizable amount of responsibility. When you present the total profit that you have produced and have the data to support your statement, you position your increase in compensation as a clear investment, not an expense in the eyes of your employer. If you show on paper that you are producing multiple times more than the compensation you are requesting, it becomes easier for your employer to justify trying to keeping you around for a while.