Why do some trainers struggle to sell at basically “not-enough-to-feed-my-family” rates, while others are able to achieve success?

Well, pricing is one of those things where there’s massive variation.

Some online trainers struggle selling their services for $50 per month while others can get $1,000 to $2,000-plus for a month and $5,000-plus for a multi-month package.

The easy advice is just to say, “Oh, you should charge more.” But that’s not realistic for trainers who are starting out.

You have to become really aware of:

  • what you want to offer
  • the time it’s going to take to deliver those services
  • how much money you need to make
  • how all that’s going to change as your career grows over time

And there’s a process for determining this.

How to price your programs and nutrition packages: A seven-step process for online coaches

1. Begin by selling months

At the Online Trainer Academy, we recommend that most new online trainers start out selling by the month. It’s just easier to comprehend.

Plus, it’s probably similar to what you’ve done in the past, if you did in-person training sessions.

2. Find your Freedom Number

Figure out your total monthly expenses—what you spend for basic necessities such as rent, food, utilities, transportation, etc.

This is the minimum amount you need to make per month as an online trainer. I call it your Freedom Number.

3. List your services

Draw a vertical line down the middle of a piece of paper.

On the left side, write down all the services you plan to offer—program design, nutrition planning, online assessment, online support, etc.


4. Estimate your time

On the right side of the page, list the time in hours (or fractions of hours) that it’ll probably take you to deliver each of these services to a single client each month.

Add up your hours to find your total time investment.

5. Do the math

To determine what you need to charge that client per hour to meet your monthly financial obligations, simply divide your Freedom Number by your total time.

Freedom Number / total time = X

Then divide the result by the total number of clients you expect to sign up.

X / total clients = your hourly rate

So let’s say you have $2,000 in monthly expenses, and you estimate that each client will take 4 hours of your time per month.

If you only had one client, you would have to charge that person the equivalent of $500 per hour or $2,000 per month to meet your expenses. That’s nice work if you can get it, but probably unreasonable at first.

But if you have 2 clients, each one’s monthly cost drops to $1,000 per month. With 3 clients, it’s $667.  Four clients = $500. Five clients = $400. And so on.


6. Work those numbers

Eventually, as your client base builds, you can start asking yourself if there’s a way you can deliver your services in less time without shortchanging anyone.

If so, you’ve essentially just raised your rates. If, however, you’re already pretty efficient, then it may be time to consider a new way of selling.

7. Shift to selling packages

This is where things start to get really interesting in the online training business.

Once you have five to 10 clients, instead of selling by the month, begin selling a transformation. Instead of selling steps, you’re going to sell results.

This is a massive shift that will put you way past your Freedom Number if you can pull it off.

Figure out the minimum time you need to transform your typical client. Most trainers sell three-month to one-year packages. (What exactly is included in those packages is irrelevant because, remember, you’re selling results.)

What you’ll realize over time is that every client needs different stuff.

A template program will work for them (and for you) in the beginning, but you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into delivering the exact same services every month. Client progress will slow, they’ll lose interest, and you’ll be doing them a disservice.

A package program based on results keeps clients (and you) motivated and moving forward.

Now, how do you sell a package? I mean, getting clients to pay a few thousand dollars for a three-month package can be easier said than done.

To succeed, you have to pitch with confidence. Clients can sense when you don't quite believe that your services are worth the price you’re asking.

Here’s how to sell packages with confidence

Let’s say, based on our previous calculations, that you’ve been charging 10 clients $200 per month. That’s been working, and you’re confident selling at that level.

Well, to start selling a three-month package, simply multiply that rate by three.

So it’ll be a $600 three-month package, and you’ll be able to pitch it confidently because that’s essentially what you’ve been doing successfully all along.

But here’s the key: Once somebody takes you up on that offer, increase your price to $650 per three months for the next person. Then, once two people sign on at that rate, charge $750, then $850, then $1,000.

See what I’m doing?

You make a sale or two at one price point, gain confidence, then pitch the next one a little higher, and the next one even higher, and so on.

But be patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

You can’t just start out saying, “I’m going to be a high-ticket salesperson.” It doesn’t work like that.

So that’s why there’s this huge variation in pricing. It comes down to selling results, not steps, and the confidence of the trainer presenting their services, and it takes time to build that.

Learn more: Get answers to more online trainer questions.