Are the Uber of Massages Creating Mobile Massage Zombies?

Uber of Massages a.k.a. “Massage on Demand”

I have written about Massage on Demand startup “app” companies like Zeel and Soothe (aka the Uber of Massages) previously, examining their impact on the mobile massage industry, which has been highly significant. (See “Has Massage Become a Commodity”). The last time, my focus was more in terms of the customer experience using these apps to order a mobile massage. However in the meantime, it has become apparent that these tech companies are also impacting the way massage therapists think about and perform work – not entirely in positive ways.

Thinking is not overrated.

Interestingly, I have seen a number of newer therapists that started out working in the field with these app companies, who very quickly find themselves completely incapable of working in a more traditional sense (as in, getting a phone call or a text to see if they are free to work, responding, receiving the information and doing the job, etc.). This is pretty basic human / worker functioning – or at least it used to be.

It appears to me that this over-reliance on technology, such as only being able to work via a smartphone app, is resulting in a significant loss of basic worker/employee ability, and flexibility in terms of how work can get done, and how income can be earned. While technology can make things much easier and more efficient in some ways, and I am not anti-technology by any means, I still find this trend troubling. Imagine if when the bicycle was invented, people suddenly were no longer able, or willing to walk. That would be kind of dumb, too.

I do have some selfish reasons for being annoyed by this trend, because it frankly makes my job a little bit more difficult in terms of finding qualified, hard-working, intelligent massage therapists who can provide mobile massage services without a sophisticated app installed on their phone. Who would have ever thought that an app comprised of computer code would be considered required equipment to perform a professional mobile massage?! It’s a wonder that massage has been performed successfully at all for the past several thousand years!

I hope for everyone’s sake that there can be some balance achieved in this regard. Otherwise, before you know it everyone’s brain will be nothing but an empty terminal awaiting activation and task instructions from the central “cloud” – or like zombie drones that await commands from the all-powerful technology gods before being able to lurch into action. If that sounds scary, I’m with you. If it sounds far-fetched, just try to find some good independent contractors who can work without an app these days! Brave new world here we come!

Below you’ll find a copy of an ad we are running for massage therapists to join our team, which gave me the idea to address this topic today. For this ad, I decided to talk a little bit about the emergence of the mobile massage “Apps” including Zeel and Soothe, and how that differs from the way we do things.

Mobile Massage Therapists – It’s Not All About Zeel and Soothe!

Are you an LMT that has done some work with Zeel or Soothe? Are you getting all the clients you want working with the apps? If not, it’s time to check out Body Well Mobile Massage! We need help throughout Miami Dade County from experienced traveling massage therapists with some free time to see clients in their homes or corporate offices, and occasionally hotels.

Many of our therapists, some who have been with us for 10 years and counting, also work with Zeel or Soothe. The technology they rely on is impressive and the pay is admittedly quite good! They are also helping to make mobile massage more popular with younger consumers – also positive. But they are not the be-all and end-all of mobile massage. Most of our best clients would not book through an app for any number or reasons, and this is not likely to change any time soon. We’ve still got the phone ringing every day and we need a few more therapists to see our clients too!

Some other things to consider:

– We believe in building relationships with our therapists and our clients. We care deeply about both. An app doesn’t build relationships – people do!

– Customers come to us for a customized experience. They rely on us and our staff (anyone can actually pick up a phone and call us!) to choose the best therapists for their specific needs and provide personalized service. Call it old fashioned but we actually play an important role in the services we deliver, and we like it that way!

– We’re a mobile massage company, owned and operated by a Florida LMT for 10+ years, passionate about the work we do. We’re not a tech company whose primary mission is paying back millions of dollars to venture capitalists who are supporting an experiment in capitalism. (If they can pull it off in the end, more power to them)!

So, if you would like to see more clients, including many who are looking for regular visits to their home or office, and you are able to function in the real world, with or without using a smartphone app to communicate and manage your calendar, apply with us online today!

The key features we look for include:

-Experience performing in home/hotel and/or office massage. At least 1 year out of school preferred.
-Possess quality equipment and reliable transportation (massage chair a plus)
-Sufficient available/flexible scheduling time week to week
-Cooperative attitude – know how to be a team-player – can make the best of imperfect situations without losing your cool
-Quality hands-on bodywork that keeps clients coming back

To apply, visit http://www.bodywelltherapy.com/jobapps-register/ (Please read the instructions for registering. If you have difficulty please reply by email).

To learn more about Body Well visit: http://www.bodywelltherapy.com

Interviews being scheduled soon! We look forward to hearing from you!

In conclusion, only time will tell how well these Uber of Massages app companies and those workers who can only function by using them will fare. Stay tuned for more on this topic and others by subscribing to this blog – just enter your email address in the box above or below!

In Health,

Dan Melmed, LMT
Owner, Body Well