Becoming a massage therapist isn’t cheap. The Beauty Schools Directory says the cost of tuition, books, and supplies can range from $6,000 to $10,000. Worse, your earning potential can be limited.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapists had a median income of $39,860 per year in 2016. So your income from your full-time job might not be enough for covering rent and utilities as well as paying down student loans. Starting a side hustle could help you make ends meet and get ahead.
What is Zeel?
Zeel is a company that connects licensed massage therapists with clients in more than 85 cities, according to its website. A traditional massage parlor tends to schedule appointments weeks or months in advance and offers services on site, but Zeel works differently. It’s a system that offers on-demand service, and the massages are done in the client’s home.
If clients want a massage right away, they can request one through the Zeel app. Local massage therapists then can respond to the request and be at the client’s door in as little as one hour.
What it’s like to work for Zeel
When clients request a massage through Zeel, they provide details such as the type of service they want (for example, Swedish, deep-tissue, or sleep massage), whether they’d prefer a female or male therapist, and the length of the session.
Once Zeel has that information, it sends a notification to local massage therapists who are working that day. If you’re able to fulfill the request, you go to the provider section of the app and submit your availability.
Debbie Rios is a recruiter at Zeel who also has been a massage therapist with the company since 2015. She uses the app as a supplemental source of income. For her, one of its best features is that she can set her own schedule.
“On average, I do about eight to 10 appointments every other week,” she said. “I average about 20 appointments a month.”
Even better, she said, Zeel allows her to have flexibility and greater work-life balance.
“I have been a massage therapist for 16 years, and most of my experience was working with luxury hotel spas, which are open 365 days per year,” Rios said. “I have worked every holiday. But with Zeel I never have to ask for a day off or get my shift covered like I used to in the spa world. I simply put my app on hiatus and don’t get requests until I am ready to. I love that I am in control. And the money is great too.”
According to Zeel, one of its best features is offering security and safety for massage therapists. All clients must register a valid credit card and pass a strict identification verification system. When you go to a client’s home, you check in and check out through the app, so Zeel knows you’ve safely completed the appointment. Zeel offers around-the-clock customer service via phone, email, or text for any issues.
How much money you can earn with Zeel
Zeel massage therapists can take home 75% of the total cost of every appointment. The price is set by Zeel, which automatically adds an 18% tip that goes to the therapist.
For Rios, Zeel is a lucrative source of extra income.
“I make about $2,000 per month with Zeel,” she said. “I like that tips are included in the pricing of Zeel’s massages because the amount is consistent.”
The amount you earn is dependent on your location and the area’s cost of living, though. For example, a 60-minute massage with tax and tip in New York City’s Manhattan area can cost $159.25. In contrast, the cost of a 60-minute massage in Orlando, Florida, is lower, at $105.02.
Zeel charges clients a fee for late cancellations. That means you could earn some money even if an appointment falls through at the last minute.
How to sign up for Zeel
The sign-up process is quick and easy, and it can be done entirely online. On the Zeel website, click on “More” on the top right and then choose “Work with Zeel.”
When you click on “Apply,” the site will prompt you to enter your name, phone number, smartphone type, email address, and zip code and ask you to create a password. You also will need to enter your professional license number and any other certifications.
Once you submit that information, the company will send a four-digit code to your phone to verify your account. Enter that information online, and Zeel will review your information and get back to you with next steps.
Once Zeel approves your application to work, it’s a good idea to have some supplies on hand. Some clients might have their own massage tables, but you’ll need to bring your own equipment for others. You also will need to bring a variety of massage oils and soothing music to the client’s home. And you have to wear a company-issued shirt and black pants to every appointment.
Earning extra income
According to Zeel reviews on job-search websites such as Indeed, the app can be a lucrative source of income for massage therapists. However, appointment availability can vary, and it can be difficult to keep up a steady stream of work. For that reason, you should view Zeel as a source of supplemental income rather than a primary one.
If you’re looking for other ways to boost your income, check out our list of the best side hustles.
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