The Five Secrets That You Should Know About Running A Training Business.

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The Five Secrets That You Should Know About Running A Training Business.


The Five Secrets That You Should Know About Running A Training Business.

I am writing this blog as a result of reading an article in the business advice centre of  I have been self-employed for over 35 years and for some of those years I was on the payroll, but since 2011 have been running a reasonably successful training business with its ups and downs. The key message I have got from the last 35 years continues building relationships and do not be selfish.  This is the question asked and part of the answer given by Fergal Quinn:-

“Feargal Quinn October 19 2017 2:30 AM

Q: I run a medium-sized training business and find myself on an endless cycle of travelling around the country, delivering workshops etc. I am keen to grow my business but unsure as to whether to take on other trainers. Can you offer any advice?

A: IT sounds like you are successful at what you do and the challenge you describe is not unusual. There is always only going to be a limited number of people in any one area who will want to avail of your services and therefore you have to be national.”

Over the years as an Insurance Agent I would have covered nearly all of Ireland south of Dublin and Galway and found some areas better to work in than others, and that has been the same running a training business as I have worked in Donegal, Dundalk, Galway, Dublin, Cork and numerous other counties delivering training to businesses and job seekers. The key to my success is having the right service for my clients and delivering it to a very high standard so as the client gets the best possible outcome for their time and money and making a profit for my business at the same time.

Starting a training business

When starting my training business I asked myself lots of questions and came up with some of the answers, but six years on I am still asking questions and seeking answers which are very natural when you are running a business.

Some of the questions I asked were;-

  1. Do I need a formal training qualification? – the answer I came up with was yes as it adds credibility to the service you provide. The minimum I recommend is the QQI Level 6 Training Delivery & Evaluation as it is demonstrating you are serious about your training business and it also gives you new skills learned from other learners in the class doing the same course.
  2. What do I charge for my services? – this is an area I have seen trainers get wrong so many times and still get it wrong as training is a very competitive area and most buyers are looking for the best possible training for as little as possible. I strongly recommend lose the business if the buyer wants you to deliver below the margins you have set to make a living and cover your costs such as Insurance, office rental, tutor costs, travel, accommodation, etc etc. Training like any other business is a professional service and you have invested dearly in starting and running that business, do not let it be a race to the bottom and eventually putting you out of business due to no profit. Calculate your cost by adding up everything such as but not limited to the above list.
  3. What service do I provide? – my recommendation is to deliver a service you are very competent at and if you love doing that work then it is a big bonus as your love of what you do will come across to the learners in the room or in the field you practice let it be, engineering, agri, soft skills such as management training (which is the area I train in), sales ICT, Digital Marketing and so on. You will also need to keep up to speed with new technology and new methods as it is a changing world. When I started in sales back in 1980 it was very different when compared to what it is today, despite some of the methods been the same,
  4. How do I expand my services? – In order to expand your services, you will need to form partnerships and get new and skilled trainers in the field your customer requires a problem solved. In my business, I deliver some of the training in areas I have the expertise but engage others with the skillset of delivering training in areas such as social media, payroll, ICM, safety and so on. You would also need to form partnerships with other companies who have developed the courses you have a demand for and are willing to share the profit margin. This is the way the big players expand and it is very doable for you as a training provider also
  5. How do I cover all of Ireland and possibly other countries? – this question was answered by Fergal Quinn very well so I will not steal his thunder as the question is answered below.

“Feargal Quinn October 19 2017 2:30 AM

I would caution about taking another trainer. It may well work but you have to pay this person and make a profit. Your tenders also have to be competitively priced. You could find yourself not making a lot of profit on the second trainer.

As an alternative, can I suggest you look at the feasibility of an e-learning school, with your content in the form of videos, templates and other downloadable content?

This would allow the trainees to be upskilled in their own time and not have to attend formal workshops. You could have a contract with an e-learning platform to host your school. This would enable you to deliver more training to more people, without all of the travelling.

It certainly isn't as simple as throwing a couple of videos up on line and you would need to take advice from some of the e-learning experts. It would also cost to have videos etc produced, but the benefits in the medium term could be significant.

There may even be an opportunity to promote the service in other countries. Don't forget that once you put the content up on line, you will need to work hard through your digital media platforms to promote it so that people know it is there.”


If you are looking to become a training provider or are currently practising be open-minded and willing to network as it is a very satisfying profession and to survive and grow you will need the help of other providers to share your workload and in doing so you will need to be willing to share your profit. That is not a bad thing as I have been doing that for some time and more recently have formed a consortium to win contracts I would not have been able to win.


Charlie Mernagh

Management and Sales Training Specialist

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