Let me start by saying that I’m not really a massage person. I’ve gotten maybe three in my lifetime. One on my honeymoon, another on my five year anniversary and this is probably my third. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of someone working out the knots in my neck or tickling my feet, a massage just isn’t something I normally think to do.
On the other hand, my wife loves them. She’s up for a massage anytime. She’s gotten them at hotels, spas and on vacation. So when Zeel approached me about trying out their on-demand in-home massage service, I ran it by her and we gave it the green light. We carved out some time on a Friday night, put the kids to bed and got ready to turn our home into a spa. Here’s our experience.
Booking the massage is pretty simple, but there are some quirks compared to making an appointment a standard spa. I was able to do everything through their app, which is well designed. It guides you through the process of creating an account and filling in your information. You do need to verify your identity and put in a credit card before you can book. I found this reassuring that this service is legit since Zeel wants both parties to feel secure in the transaction. My ID wasn’t approved for some reason the first time but I scanned it again and was able to get it to work. I also had to fill out my wife’s info, but didn’t have to submit her ID. The app also asks you where you are getting the service – home, office, hotel or other.
Once you book, it takes a little bit to get a confirmation for your appointment. Keep in mind, this is an on demand service so you can book pretty close to your desired massage time. You actually give a range for your preferred time, so if you’re good anytime between 5 and 7 PM there will be a bit more flexibility for a faster-confirmed appointment. We booked for the next day. After a few minutes, I got a confirmation text and notification that our therapists were confirmed. They show you their names and a picture, plus you can click to read a little bio about them.
Pre-Planning, plus a last minute change
The next notification I received had details about how to prepare your space for the service. It said to have 2 sheets and a pillow ready and to clear out an area about 6 x 10 feet big. After searching our linen closet, I found that we had a bunch of random sheets, but nothing matching. So I fired up Amazon Prime Now and found the cheapest twin sheets I could and ordered two sets for delivery that afternoon. Worked like a charm. As for space, we moved some furniture around in the living room to make room for the two tables they would be setting up. It felt kind of funny to do all this prep work for something that’s supposed to be relaxing, but we didn’t mind.
About 2 hours prior to the scheduled massage, I received another text from Zeel. This one informed me that there was a scheduling conflict and my original therapist wouldn’t be able to make it. She would be replaced by another therapist. Since I didn’t make any special requests for a certain person (you can do that while booking), it didn’t bother me. As long as they weren’t canceled, it was fine.
Both therapists arrived separately and at least one waited in her car until just before the appointment time. They rang the doorbell together and said hello, then immediately started setting up their tables in the living room where we cleared space. We dimmed the lights, turned on a Spa station on Spotify and prayed that the kids were really asleep.
According to an email we got, there was a certain routine to the beginning of the massage. It said the therapists would go into the bathroom to wash their hands and this was your opportunity to get under the sheet on the table. Sure enough, this is exactly what they did and our couples massage began. Being at home does have its advantages, but there are also some disadvantages. For instance, we could hear our kid chatting a bit in bed on the Nest cam monitor we have set up. We could have turned the volume all the way down, but then we wouldn’t know if he actually needed us. A few minutes into the massage, we heard fireworks outside for some reason. That was random.
I’m no expert in massage quality but it felt very thorough and I was comfortable the entire time. And yes, it felt good. I felt like I was doing something good for myself and my body. I’m sure someone else could tell you the physical benefits of a massage, but I felt it was equal parts relaxing and therapeutic. My wife felt it was a good quality massage as well and loved the idea that she didn’t have to drive home afterward.
The massage was a solid hour, and when the therapists were finished, they went back to the bathroom to wash their hands. This gives you a chance to chill for a moment and get off of the table. The therapists left the sheets in a pile on the floor, folded up their tables and said their goodbyes. There wasn’t much spoken the entire time, and I was fine with that. The app clearly shows an 18% tip is added onto the price so there is no need to have any cash on hand whatsoever.
Zeel is a high quality, on demand massage service that does it right. They are good at communicating, prices are transparent and the therapists are very professional. I especially like the security procedures because you know if they are requesting ID from customers they are properly vetting their employees as well. We especially liked the receipt at the end of the massage which clearly shows the massage price, tip and how much your therapist earned. In our example, Zeel provided the service to review it, but the receipt was still itemized. The 1-hour massage cost $99, plus an automatic 18% tip for a total of about $117 per person. Out of this, each therapist earned $85. That’s not a bad take home for 1 hour of work. If they do just 2 massages a day for 5 days a week that works out to nearly $45,000 a year. Pretty good for a flexible job where you determine your own availability.
Zeel also offers discounts from time to time. In the few weeks between when I signed up and actually booked a massage, I got several offers via email. I imagine there are many opportunities to save through promotions. Zeel also has several membership options that can save you money if you are going to use the service often. They even give you a free massage table with an annual membership.
Turns out, having someone come into your home for a massage isn’t as strange as it sounds. Zeel makes the process easy, understandable and enjoyable. Just make sure the kids are asleep.
Want to try it? Save $25 on your first massage with my link.