We've had so many trainers reach out over the years asking about building their own app. I'm here to tell you, as someone who's gone through the app launching process many times... it's not worth it.
Building Custom Personal Training Apps
We've had so many trainers reach out over the years asking about building their own app. (Side note: WeStrive will be offering custom branded apps later this year. Email us if you're interested!)
I'm here to tell you, as someone who's gone through the app launching process many times... it's not worth it.
I understand that I sound biased, since I run an app for personal trainers, but I'll provide a full breakdown below (plus references) for why this article will save you tens of thousands of dollars + years of headaches.
I'm going to breakdown four points for why there's no value in trying to build your own personal training app - and let's start with the cost.
Building an app can be insanely expensive. We've had countless horror stories where our trainers (or just trainers we know) have spent $20,000-$50,000 building out there apps... and then the app either never launched or the final product was so hard-to-use that they decided to scrap the whole project.
I won't be using names due to confidentiality, but basically every call I've had with trainers (after building their own app) who have spent this much has been a difficult call to have. They experienced the same bugs and difficulties that I faced when I first started WeStrive.
The first few years of WeStrive were miserable, and it ended up costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars before we got to the stage where we were happy with our app.
Sure, you'll hear success stories out there, but those trainers typically spent $75K+ and got extremely lucky with having a quality app team.
Even if you get lucky and have that kind of money... is it really worth it? Will having your own app actually NET you $75,000 more than you would have made by using a platform like WeStrive?
That's the way you have to look at it. If you make an extra $10K each year from the app and you only use it for 5 years... you just lost $25K.
However, If you're confident it will make you a profit, then (be smart about it) go ahead and do it! 💪
On a side note, I know a few of you are saying, "what about no-code apps?".
Yes, there are multiple platforms now that will allow you to build your own app "without any coding".
The problem with these apps is that you spend thousands of dollars and here's what you get:
- You only get about 3-10 screens of functionality
- You don't have a website to run your business on
- It costs thousands more to continue customizing
- Most of the reviews are terrible due to lack of customer service
- Once you're on the app store, if there are any bugs you have to pay even more money to re-launch the app
- You're basically the CEO of your own app - but with zero control over how the app is run
When it comes to no-code apps, please read all the reviews you can before moving forward. There are a lot of scams out there and this can be a huge waste of time + money.
The App Store
Let's say you've finally built your app. Congrats! Now you get to deal with Apple.
I had to experience this first-hand and learned the hard way how difficult this can be.
Here's what you'll have to deal with:
- You'll have to hire a designer to appropriately create all of your App-store designs (iPhone, Android, & iPad) & design your logos.
- You'll have to write out an entire description and categorize your app
- You and your team will have to beta-test the app in Testflight to make sure it works (each version of the app costs more and more money to test)
- Once you finally launch - Apple can pull you off the app store at any point (this happened to me with one of our first apps and it's absolutely devistating)
- You have an annual $100 fee for Apple and a one-time $25 Android fee
- You need to keep up with Apple/Android updates. They are constantly changing their requirements and if your app isn't up to date, they'll pull it off the app store.
Also, are you on Android? That's an entirely new conversation. An Android app could cost you 10's of thousands more. There would be nothing more disappointing then finally launching your own custom build app and then getting a client who can't work with you because they have an Android.
Running a software company
Are you prepared to run a software company? I know I sure wasn't when I first started.
It took years before I felt comfortable dealing with developers, project managers, designers, etc. - let alone bringing them together to build out our app.
You can't just "launch an app". Most of the reasons I mentioned in the prior sections can cover this point pretty well.
When you're launching an app, you are now the head or CEO of a mobile app. What's your marketing strategy? Are you going to build-out your SEO? How does the back-end & website function with the app?
There's no crash course on becoming a CEO. You're a personal trainer - and you're damn good at it.
Focus on your craft, let other people focus on theirs.
If everything goes perfectly well then your app will be on the app store and (this never happens) it will be bug free.
Great! Now you need to market the thing.
Companies like WeStrive are constantly bringing traffic to our platform. We're constantly sponsoring blogs, doing Facebook advertising, and more trying to get more exercisers flocking to the app.
When we do this, there's a chance they find you as a trainer and you can grow your business.
Plus, when you train on WeStrive, there's a 100% higher chance that your clients have heard of our app (vs. an app you just launched) and they will feel a lot more comfortable using it.
If you start your own app, on top of running a software company, you'll have to find creative ways to grow your brand as well.
If you have the money to launch a full-suite personal training software & mobile app, your audience is big enough, AND you're confident you can make a profit on the app... then go ahead and do it!
Otherwise, please don't.
Again, I know I sound biased, but I've had this conversation post-app-journey so many times with countless personal trainers. It's hard to talk to a trainer who just shelled out $30K for their app and they basically feel like they have to go back to square one. Sadly, they usually end up throwing out the whole app.
If you have any questions about making your own app, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll gladly answer any of your questions.
Be smart out there - especially financially!
Make sure you're setup for online training with these articles:
- How to price your online training
- Easy Websites & Apps to make your training business better
- How to make reliable & quality client questionnaires
- How to write a memorable and professional fitness bio
About the Author:
Cory McKane is the CEO/Founder of WeStrive - a platform for personal trainers to manage & grow their personal training business. He enjoys working out and spending time working with trainers on WeStrive on how to manage/grow their business.