Imagine taking a quick dip in a neighbors pool to cool off this summer – but without actually knowing them. A website called Swimply is like Airbnb, but for private pools.
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The app lets people rent out their backyard pool by the hour: users get some much-needed relief from the hot summer sun, owners get extra cash in their pocket. Some are reportedly making thousands of dollars in the process.
“We have met a lot of really nice people, very sweet,” said Cooky Bali, a pool owner in Los Angeles. We met up with Cooky, and her husband Alain, at their home.
The couple is among the thousands using Swimply to rent out their pool.
“I guess people are stuck in apartments or things like that and they tell us thank you so much for letting us come into your pool it has saved our life,” said Cooky.
“We thought in the beginning that Swimply would help people pay for their pool costs, turns out we’re helping people for their entire mortgage,” explained Asher Weinberger, co-founder of Swimply.
The website, which was featured on the TV show Shark Tank, now has thousands of pools to choose from in over a dozen states including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Homeowners set their own price, which averages about $45 an hour. Listings describe the pool dimensions, depth, and amenities like available bathrooms, shade, diving board, and lounge chairs.
Guests use the app to select a pool, pay and proceed to cool off.
“You decide what kind of bookings you’re willing to accept. You’re in full control about the amenities you’re offering, the rules, the price it’s all up to you,” explained Weinberger over Skype from his home in New York.
The CDC says there’s no evidence COVID-19 can be spread to humans through pools which has given the platform a boost during the pandemic. And although some listings do allow for groups, now is not the time for pool parties.
“It’s contactless, no cleanup required and you can’t break a pool, you can’t break the water,” quipped Weinberger.
Well, unless you’re doing a cannonball.
“My own pool which is right out there has been on the platform for the last 5 weeks. I’ve made $25,000 in 5 weeks,” said Weinberger.
The Bali’s told us they’ve made about $7,000 renting out their pool.
Pools are inspected for safety before they’re listed and there are options for pool owners to purchase extras including cleanings and maintenance.
With summer travel at a minimum right now, heading to a nearby pool offers a nice alternative.
“Last weekend I had to turn away about 12 bookings,” said Alain.
“This is the new reality: the modern economy is very very horizontal and decentralized,” concluded Weinberger.
As for insurance, Swimply tells me that guests sign a waiver of liability while pool hosts are required to obtain insurance in accordance to Swimply’s Terms and Conditions.
What do you think of Swimply? Would you rent out your backyard pool? Would you rent someone else’s pool? Let me know in the comments on my Facebook page!