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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJune 3, 2011

How Do I Start a Personal Training Business?

I would like to create a Pennsylvania-based personal training business where I would come to the client's home to train him or her. I have a nationally-accredited personal trainer certification as well as liability insurance. What other legal steps do I need to take before starting up? Do I need any specific license or pay certain taxes?
Many personal trainers do business under a name other than their own. For example, someone named Angela Smith may want to do business as "Body by Angela" or "Angela Smith Personal Training." To do that, you must file what's known as a "fictitious name statement" (a "Doing Business As" or DBA) with your local county clerk and pay a fee.

Some states don't require a specific "license" to work as a personal fitness trainer individually, but as those rules vary from state to state, you'll want to check with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State.

You may also want to establish a separate bank account for your personal training business, rather than run everything through your personal account. That's the bare minimum to set up, but you won't get any limited liability protection should an accident occur in your client's home and your insurance isn't sufficient to pay it. You may want to speak to a business attorney in your area to get a better sense of your options and the costs.

Related: Keep Your Business and Personal Finances Separate
Related: Business Structure Basics

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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