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do you have a pool Here you can find out how you can earn more than six-figure sums with the rental

This article is reprinted with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for second home owners and those who want to become one. Subscribe to here. © 2022. All rights reserved.

Like many others, Lisa Schroeder and Rob Sample have been left unemployed during the pandemic. Sample was fired from his 28-year job as a sales manager and trainer, and the couple were forced to temporarily close their beloved restaurant, Mother’s Bistro, in Portland, Oregon, where Schroeder is the chef.

Then they heard about Swimply, an app that allows homeowners to rent out their pools by the hour. People like to say it’s “the Airbnb ABNB,
-1.45%
of swimming pools,” but Swimply co-founder Bunim Laskin said while that’s the easiest way to explain it, it’s not really an accurate comparison.

“The biggest difference, obviously, is that we work hourly, we’re not daily. But the bigger difference is that we’re used by the community,” says Laskin. “So the hosts and the guests are from the same schools, same neighborhood, same city. And so they’re really supporting their own neighborhood and community, rather than being an alternative to a hotel for someone from another community.”

Laskin, then 20, laid the foundation for Swimply in 2018 when he was stuck at home in Lakewood, New Jersey with his 11 younger siblings. Her neighbor had a pool, but she was reluctant to let the family use it.

“She figured that once we used her pool, we’d live in her backyard, so she was very protective,” he says. “So I offered to pay her. And she said, ‘Instead of paying me, why don’t you help me with the expenses?’ So we agreed to pay 25% of her monthly bill. That was mid-June 2018. By the end of June, she had five other families paying her. I realized that her pool not only paid for itself, it made her money. ‘I’m like, hey, I’m stuck at home for the summer, I might be a pool pimp.'”

Laskin quickly found 80 other homeowners who wanted to rent out their pools. He would bill people over the phone and deliver checks in person. He’s made about 400 bookings this summer.

“I decided this had a lot more potential than my city,” says Laskin. “So I decided to drop out of school, raised $1 million, and started Swimply in 2019.”

There are now more than 25,000 pools listed on the platform, which operates in the US and Canada. (Laskin hopes to expand to Australia soon).

Although homeowners may initially be reluctant to let strangers use their pool, fears quickly dissipate once they realize the financial benefits.

Hosts on Swimply receive $1 million Host Liability Insurance and are eligible for up to $10,000 in Property Damage Insurance. Schroeder and Sample wanted to get secondary insurance for their pool, but had to settle for a waiver that an attorney helped them draft.

“It is very difficult [to get insurance]this is such a new company that none of the insurers really have a way of evaluating it,” says Sample.

After some discussion (Sample describes himself as “really risk-averse”), the couple decided to list their L-shaped pool in March 2021. They received their first booking in April. You rarely experience a lull in bookings during the summer season. Their pool has a five star rating out of five and has been consistently rated in the top 10 on the app.

“Host was very nice. Instructions were clear. Felt like home. The pool was deep and had very cool ledges on the side of the pool which the kids loved. Lots of pool noodles and the pool was so warm. clean area; beautiful neighborhood and very relaxing. We will definitely be back,” reads their latest review.

When they first listed their pool, Schroeder and Sample charged $55 an hour. Now it’s $75 an hour for five guests and $10 an hour for each additional guest. The price includes use of a hot tub, pool toys and speakers. The couple declined to disclose exactly how much they make from Swimply.

“We made more money in six months than I did in a year at my previous company,” says Sample. “That’s what I tell people.”

One of her regular customers is Rebecca Enberg, who has been using Swimply since Summer 2020.

“I have a five year old who loves the pool and we’re trying to teach him to swim so I’ve been booking a pool every week lately. It’s just become part of our lives,” she says. “We like going into the same pools so we know the situation and can befriend the hosts, which is part of the fun: feeling connected to the people opening their homes to you.

A swimply pool in San Diego.

swimply

For people thinking of hosting their pools on Swimply, Schroeder and Sample have some important advice: tell your neighbors.

“We didn’t tell our neighbors. You finally figured it out. We were knee deep in a remodeling project (started pre Covid) so you couldn’t park in our driveway because all the trucks were up here. So cars had to park at the end of our driveway and people saw families getting out of their cars. And after doing this every day for several weeks, you know something is going on. We had people blocking driveways and mailboxes and stuff like that,” says Sample. “We ended up apologizing to everyone for not telling them and we had a big pool party catered for our neighbors.”

Wish you had a pool that you can monetize with Swimply? Soon you might be able to list your kitchen, your art studio or your tennis court.

“We believe that every passion needs a space, and we started with pools, but we’re working to expand that path beyond pools,” says Laskin. “We really have this utopian view of the world where we really want to democratize luxury and give everyone access to things that few have access to today. So things like tennis and sports and art and cooking — pretty much any passion we want to give people access to the things they want most.”

This article is reprinted with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for second home owners and those who want to become one. Subscribe to here. © 2022. All rights reserved.

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