Swimply, the “Airbnb of swimming pools,” seems to be having its moment in the sun. The pools-by-the-hour app has grown in popularity during the pandemic and is now expanding into new markets. Here’s what you need to know about renting a private pool, or renting out your own, if you have one.
How Swimply works
Available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, Swimply is very similar to Airbnb: private homeowners rent out their pools for varying hour rates based on the amenities they provide, usually between $35-$250 an hour, for a maximum of 15 guests at a time (you can search for pools here).
Swimmers can use Swimply’s app or site to find pools nearby, and filter those search results by the type of amenities they’re looking for—a heated pool, diving board, additional hot tub, barbecue grill—along with information about the pool dimensions and water depth.
What’s offered varies. Some pools are listed as “party friendly” and allow loud music and alcohol, whereas others have restrictions on the number of guests, small children, or whether you can use their property’s bathroom (that’s a deal breaker for me), so you’ll want to read the rules before booking.
Supply will affect price, too. As there are more pools in Los Angeles than in New York, amenities and are larger than what’s offered for the same price in New York. For example, one “pool” in New York is listed at 12 x 10ft (and only 5 ft in depth), and the owner charges $100 per hour, whereas in Los Angeles, pools triple that size are commonly available for $45 per hour.
What about renting out your pool?
While there are some impressive stories about pool owners making $50,000 a year during the pandemic, you’ll want to temper your expectations and understand the upfront costs before you choose to rent out your pool (especially with loosening pandemic restrictions on public pools). The truth is that income will vary based on location, season, and the amenities you provide.
Swimply’s site claims that pool owners can earn $10,000 per month, but that would certainly be on the high end, as it assumes you would earn approximately $330 every day for a given month. Unless your property also has premium amenities like a mini-golf course, barbecue, hot tub, or lawn bowling, you should expect less. Plus, the $10,000 figure doesn’t appear to include Swimply’s 15% cut of your earnings, nor does it factor in occasional discounts imposed by the company, which some pool owners have complained about.
On the other hand, if you already have a pool that’s barely used, rental fees can be a nice bonus to your income and help cover the annual operating expenses for your pool, which are roughly $3,000-5,000 on average, according to Home Advisor.
Renters might need extra insurance
Swimply requires that swimmers sign a waiver, but that might not cover all the gaps in terms of liability, according to CNBC (the company says it’s working on an in-house insurance policy for homeowners).
So, you’ll want to review your home insurance policies with your carrier and make sure that medical payments and casualty losses are included with policy, in addition to property damage. Of course, extra insurance means higher premiums, which you’ll want to factor in as a cost before you decide whether this is a worthwhile venture.
Lastly, since you’re turning your private property into a semi-commercial space, you’ll want to check municipal and state laws and see what requirements or restrictions are in place. As CNBC points out, additional safety equipment and signage might be required. Also be aware that Swimply requires that pools must be inspected for health and safety to maintain quality control.