I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while, and it's taken me longer than expected to finish. A lot goes in to finding a personal trainer. There are a few super important factors that go in to choosing the right fit, so before you get one make sure you read through these.
You would think it's weird that I put this as #1. The most important thing when it comes to finding a trainer is finding someone who can train you at the times you're available (choose a realistic time where you aren't cutting it too close). You might fall in love with a trainer, but if your schedules don't match up it won't be a good fit,
This person isn't only your trainer/coach, this is someone who you are comfortable talking candidly about insecurities, goals, sometimes work stress or relationship issues. They may become your friend, so pick a trainer who seems "cool" and someone you truly vibe with off the bat.
3. Training style
Before finding a trainer, try to make a list of what you're looking for. Do they have a degree in exercise science? What about specific certifications (TRX, CrossFit, Olympic Lifting, HIIT). What's the trainers background (bodybuilder, college basketball player, or lost a lot of weight in their past). Do you have an old injury and need someone with a physical therapy background? Be ready to ask these questions.
You need to also chat with them about what type of coach they are. Are you someone who wants a drill Sargent, someone completely focused on form and movement, someone bubbly and fun, or someone who is more calm and understanding after you've had a long day. These are all things to think about.
Trainers aren't cheap. 9 times out of 10 what you are paying the trainer is no where near what the gym pays them. That being said, make sure you budget for a trainer and if you want a specific number of sessions to let the trainer know/prep so they know how to program workouts accordingly. In SF Bay Area anywhere between $80-$120/hour is normal.
After chatting with your trainer about your goals, make sure they understand them. A great trainer will know what you need to do to get there. A lot of time homework is given out. It's on the client to make sure they are doing what's asked of them to achieve this goal. For example, if you're a basketball player, but you never practice your shot on your own time then a lot of your time that would be used to progress you to new things will be wasted since your shot is so off.