Have you ever dreamt of being your boss, setting your hours, and working from one of the world’s most active business hubs? If you’re passionate about health and fitness, then a career as a freelance personal trainer could be the perfect fit for you. Why not consider becoming a freelance personal trainer in Dubai?
You could work in a gym, a studio, or even outdoors. You’ll get to help people achieve their fitness goals – losing weight, gaining muscle, or simply becoming more active. Most importantly, you can do everything while making a solid income and enjoying an outstanding work-life balance.
Today, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about becoming a freelance personal trainer in Dubai. We will discuss who is a freelance personal trainer, the benefits of being one, the qualifications you need, and the steps you should take to get started in this exciting career.
A freelance personal trainer is an individual who provides fitness training services to clients on an as-needed basis. You may see such arrangements in gyms and other fitness facilities, where the trainer works with clients during their free time.
As a freelance personal trainer, you will be responsible for designing and carrying out workout programs that suit your client’s individual needs and fitness goals. You will also need to provide guidance and support to help them stay motivated and on track.
According to ZipRecruiter, one of the leading employment information websites globally, a freelance personal trainer in the US earns approximately $51,000 annually on average, which translates to roughly $25 per hour. Many freelance fitness personal trainers charge over $50-60 per session of one hour and a few hundred dollars for personalised fitness, diet, and wellness plans.
Fitness training has gained rapid popularity worldwide, and Dubai and the UAE are no exception. Let’s find out whether you should pursue a career in Dubai as a freelance personal trainer.
If you are considering becoming a freelance personal trainer Dubai, there are two key aspects to evaluate:
- Career prospects as a personal fitness trainer in Dubai, and
- The overall business climate in Dubai and the UAE.
Let’s now explore those in further detail.
With an ever-growing fitness industry, the demand for fitness trainers is rising. According to a report by Statista, the health and fitness industry is worth $96.7 billion and may reach $136.6 billion by 2028.
The Middle East is not too far behind, especially after the Covid 19 pandemic. Ken Research, a knowledge partner of the Dubai-Active event, has estimated that the fitness industry in the MENA region will observe an 18-19% CAGR during 2020-25. A large part of this growth will come from the increasing number of boutique fitness centres and local gyms, major workplaces for freelance personal trainers.
The UAE fitness industry will also follow suit and may become a $600 million industry by 2025 with a 6.3% CAGR. Online fitness solutions, apps, local fitness centres, and many other fitness-related services will contribute to market growth.
The pandemic has also changed how people approach fitness training and has opened up new opportunities for freelance fitness trainers.
Ken Research has also identified that there has been a 20-25% reduction of traditional workouts done by city-dwellers in the UAE and the MENA region from the pre-Covid time to post-Covid times. However, to compensate for this, people have increased home-based fitness activities by 30-45%, which presents excellent opportunities for freelance personal fitness trainers.
Realising this opportunity, more than 70% of fitness trainers also work online to support their clients. Now, let’s look at how much a personal fitness trainer may earn in Dubai.
Freelance personal trainers Dubai make AED 4,426 on average in the UAE. The salary data comprises reported salaries from different regions, including Fujairah, Al-Ayn, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. Those who work in the Dubai Marina earn the most, approximately AED 6,138 per month.
Now let’s explore what Dubai offers you to grow your career as a personal fitness trainer.
You can consider Dubai one of the best places to start a new business or practice as an independent professional. Here are a few compelling reasons:
Dubai offers world-class infrastructure, which is the result of the forward-thinking vision of the government. The city has a state-of-the-art airport, seaport, roads, and other communication channels.
- Business-friendly policies
The UAE Government has created business-friendly policies to attract foreign investors and encourage entrepreneurship. The policies help reduce the cost of doing business, create a level playing field, and protect the interests of businesses.
A recent example is the switching to Monday to Friday work week from the country’s traditional Sunday to Thursday work week system to align the country more with the foreign markets.
- Ease of business registration
Starting a business in Dubai is quite simple. You can register your business online through the Invest in Dubai platform. The platform offers a one-stop shop for all business-related services, including business registration, licensing, and permits.
- Availability of business support services
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides a wide range of business support services to help businesses start, grow, and succeed in Dubai. The Chamber also offers membership packages with exclusive benefits and privileges.
- Cluster effect
Dubai is home to many businesses in different sectors. This creates a positive environment for businesses to thrive. When businesses are clustered together, they can share resources, expertise, and knowledge.
- Economic Free Zones
The UAE authorities have established several free zones to attract foreign investment and promote economic activity. The free zones offer a variety of benefits, including 100% foreign ownership, 100% repatriation of profits, and 0% personal and corporate income tax.
- Strategic location
Dubai is located at the crossroads of East and West in the Arabian Gulf region. This makes Dubai an ideal hub for businesses that want to tap into the Middle East, African, and Asia markets.
Due to these favourable business climates, the UAE now ranks 16th on the global Ease of Doing Business Index, making it an excellent place for you to work and live as a personal fitness trainer in Dubai.
While Dubai is known for being a business-friendly city, there are still some regulations regarding working as a freelance professional.
- Visa Requirement
You first need to check if your country’s embassy in the UAE has an approved list of professions that are eligible for a freelance visa. If your profession is not on the list, you may need to apply for a work visa through an employer.
- Freelancing Licence
Once your visa is sorted, you will also need to register as a freelance professional with the Dubai Development Authority (DDA).
- Professional Licence
The next step is to get your professional licence from the Department of Economy and Tourism Dubai (DED).
- Approval for Institutional Consultation
- Insurance for accidental damages
After you have taken care of the administrative side of things, you will need to get insurance. This is a requirement for all freelance professionals in Dubai, and it will protect you in case of any accidents or injuries that occur while you are working.
Now, let’s run through the step-by-step process to obtain the necessary formal approvals to practise as a personal fitness trainer in Dubai.
A valid visa for residing and working in the UAE is one of the first things you will need to begin your career as a freelance personal trainer Dubai. There are quite a few residence visa options in Dubai, and many of those let you include your dependents. Friendly and knowledgeable consultants at Virtuzone can help you through the entire visa application process and identify the most suitable visa options.
To practise as a freelance professional in Dubai, you will need to obtain a Freelance Permit for Solo Professionals from the DDA. There are several free zones in Dubai where you can apply for a freelance permit directly.
You can apply for the permit online and submit the following documents through the Free Zone Business Communities website.
- Scanned copy of the passport along with a valid visa page
- Self-declaration form
- No Objection Certificate
- Completed application form
- Recent photo
- An updated professional CV that shows your qualifications as a fitness training professional
- Academic certificates and documents verified by your country’s UAE consulate or embassy
- Two professional references along with their destinations and contact details for possible verifications
- A letter of intent. This is very important, and you should demonstrate why you want to pursue a career as an independent personal fitness trainer in Dubai. You should also describe any relevant training, certifications, academic qualifications, and work experience you might have.
Note that all documents mentioned above may not apply to all applicants. You will only have to submit those applicable for you.
DDA usually issues you the permit within two business days after evaluating your application and the documents. You can also contact the Partner Relationship Manager at DDA during business hours.
DED is in charge of authorising and approving the professional, industrial, and commercial licences of all independent practitioners and businesses in Dubai. DED has a detailed licence code list on the website. To operate as a freelance personal fitness trainer in Dubai, you may apply for one of the following professional licences.
- Spa & Fitness Clubs Consultant: Code 7020019
- Men Physical Fitness Club: Code 9312011
- Ladies Physical Fitness Club: Code 9312012
- Medical Fitness Center: Code 8690030
Obtaining a professional licence from DED is a fairly straightforward process, which you can do online or by visiting one of their physical service locations. There are two main steps to obtain your licence.
First, you will need to request initial approval and book a trading name from the Invest in Dubai website. The initial approval will allow you to rent an office space if you want to.
Alternatively, you may also work from one of the shared coworking spaces in Dubai and meet clients. Many shared spaces will also let you set up virtual office space and give you a business address, which you may use for your professional licence application.
After having the initial request and renting a business space for coworking space, you may apply for your full licence only. The licence remains valid for one year, and if you have all the documents ready, you may obtain it within minutes.
If you want to begin a business as a personal training consultation company and organise public events, you may need to apply for a permit from the Dubai Sports Council. The certificate is known as Sports Establishment Registration Approval. If you have already registered your business with the DED, you won’t require any additional documents at this stage except for a logo of your planned establishment.
That’s all you need to obtain the required permissions to work as a freelance personal trainer Dubai.
As a freelance professional, you are not covered by the UAE’s social security system. This means that you will need to obtain private health insurance.
There are a few different ways to do this. You can buy an individual policy, join a professional association that offers group insurance, or get covered by your home country’s social security system if you are from an eligible country.
Virtuzone can assist you in finding the most appropriate insurance policies depending on your needs, work, and budget.
The cost of obtaining the required permits and completing the administrative process to practise as a freelance personal trainer in Dubai largely depends on your work location and operation capacity. To help you make an estimate, find some costs below:
- Freelance permit from DAD: AED 7,500
- Knowledge Dirham Fees: AED 10 (for each transaction)
- Innovation Dirham Fees: AED 10 (for each transaction)
- Initial licence approval request: AED 120
- Booking a trading name: AED 600
- Professional Licence application: AED 600
- Sports Establishment Registration Approval: Free
- Registration with Free Zones: Varies
Working as a freelance personal trainer in Dubai is a great way to make a solid income while enjoying an excellent work-life balance. It is important to remember that you will need to get the proper permissions and insurance before you can start working.
If you are passionate about health and fitness and want to help others achieve their goals, then a career as a freelance personal trainer could be the perfect fit for you. Send a note to Virtuzone today, and we will help you get started on your journey to becoming a freelance personal trainer in Dubai.