How to Register as Self Employed as a Personal Trainer

How to Register as Self Employed as a Personal Trainer

If you have completed a personal trainer course, you are probably self-employed or looking to become self-employed. This path offers a whole range of financial and physical freedom.

To legally register yourself as a self-employed personal trainer and even start an online PT business, you’ll need to follow several steps.

Registration with HMRC

To be considered self-employed, you must register as a self-employed personal trainer with HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs). This will calculate the correct amount of income tax and national insurance you need to pay. You can do this online at: If you have been previously self-employed, you will need to submit a CWF1 form.

Once your application is approved (usually within 10 working days), you will receive an activation code to log into your personal Government Gateway account and complete the process.

Ideally, you should register as self-employed as soon as you start your business but no later than October 5th of your business’s second tax year. Late registration can attract penalties, depending on the length and nature of the delay.

Filling in tax returns

After successfully registering as self-employed, you are responsible for submitting your own tax returns. You must do this twice a year: January 31st and July 31st. Your tax return will consist of your income and expenditure, which HMRC will use to calculate the amount of tax you owe. You can submit your tax forms online via Government Gateway or by post.

As a self-employed personal trainer, it is crucial to record all your financial transactions, issue invoices and receipts, and keep receipts from purchases and bank statements. Setting aside time each week or month for bookkeeping is the best way to manage this. Several websites can help you with bookkeeping, such as:


  • FreshBooks
  • FreeAgent
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Nutcache
  • KashFlow
  • Arithmo
  • Sage One
  • Zoho Books
  • Sellsy Invoicing
  • FinancialForce Accounting

Consider hiring an accountant or tax adviser to help prepare your tax returns. While these services come with a cost, they can help you identify tax-deductible expenses and save you valuable time.

Opening a business account

For tax purposes, you should keep your personal and business finances separate. Creating a separate bank account for all business-related transactions is the easiest way to do this. Many banks offer business accounts with useful services such as low-interest overdrafts and access to small business advisors.

Getting insurance for personal trainers

Having insurance as a personal trainer is crucial since it limits your personal financial liability in case of an accident or injury. Understanding the personal trainer insurance UK cost is important for budgeting purposes. The two main types of insurance for self-employed people are:


  • Public Liability Insurance: Covers you if someone is injured as a result of your business or if any third-party property is damaged.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Covers you against alleged professional negligence.

Operating without the right insurance means that if an incident occurs and legal action is taken against you, the costs will be your responsibility. In the case of a serious injury, this could be as much as millions of pounds.

Extra steps to consider

Register with REP and/or CIMSPA


  • REPs (Register for Exercise Professionals): Launched in 2002, REPs is the largest independent public register for the Health and Fitness Industry in the UK. It protects the public from trainers without the correct qualifications, ensuring registered trainers have the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity): This professional development body for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector provides leadership, support, and empowerment for professionals, acting as a unified voice for the sector.

While it may be daunting to register and trade as self-employed, it is a straightforward process. Once you establish yourself, you can enjoy the many advantages of self-employment, including no earnings ceiling, flexibility, and independence. Being employed might be easier initially, but it can be much less rewarding.

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