Fancy a dip but don’t have a swimming pool?
A new website and app called Swimply connects owners of private pools with people looking for a place to swim.
The concept is simple: Pool owners charge an hourly rate for the use of their pool, and people wanting to take a dip can search Swimply’s online marketplace for pools to rent in their area.
“We already are filling an unmet need for lots and lots of people,” Swimply’s co-founder, Asher Weinberger, told TODAY Home. “We're democratizing the process of owning a pool. Most people just can't afford one.”
Pool owners charge an hourly rate of around $45, though they may charge more or less depending on location, timing and demand. Hosts can also decide how many people are allowed to use the pool at once, and they can choose whether to allow loud music, alcohol or pets.
Swimply tested the service with a pilot program last summer and the response was enormous, Weinberger said. In fact, during the five-week pilot program, “we had over 10,000 strangers swim in strangers’ pools,” he said. “So we said, OK, I think we're onto something.”
The site has been a game changer for Rachael Joseph, 29, a stay-at-home mom in Oceanside, New York.
She and her husband recently bought a house and, this summer, they’ve been renting out their pool for $70 an hour.
“Our pool is nice but it doesn’t get used very much and it’s kind of expensive,” Joseph told TODAY Home. “It’s just me and my husband and an 8-month-old baby. So we decided to do that to keep the pool from costing us tons of money, and it makes me really happy to see the pool being used, because it doesn’t get used enough.”
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Joseph estimates she will make around $3,000 this summer from Swimply bookings, which more than offsets the $1,800 it costs to maintain their pool each summer.
“I’m actually going to make a little bit of money off of it this summer, which is great,” she said.
Joseph’s pool has almost become a private event venue, hosting groups of up to 20 people for hours at a time.
“We’ve done work parties, birthday parties, photo shoots, family swimming time, you name it,” she told TODAY.
Weinberger himself recently started renting out his home pool in Long Island, New York, and in his first week he made $1,200.
He understands that people might be wary of opening up their pools to perfect strangers. But he points out that compared to marketplaces like Airbnb, where people rent your entire house, Swimply is less invasive.
“They're not going to your home. They can't. They're not sleeping in your bed, they're not using your toilet or damaging your paints or hardwood floors,” he said. “You don't have to work hard to clean up after them. You can't really damage water … So it's a lot easier for hosts to get comfortable with the idea of Swimply.”
The Swimply marketplace is currently available in 26 states, including California, Florida, New York and Texas. Joseph says she’s not surprised at all the concept has made such a big splash.
“It’s a fantastic option to go find a private pool,” she said. “You can go swim and have fun and not have to worry about other people.”