Swimply offers another way to dive into pool life.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes. We’re well-versed in one of our state’s most-used taglines. Minnesotans certainly embrace their water lives—but not everyone enjoys swimming among aquatic life and, at times, invasive species. And even fewer folks own home pools.
There are approximately 10.7 million swimming pools in the United States (about 10.4 million of the pools are residential and 309,000 are public), according to the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance. While those figures might appear to be high, note that they equate to about one pool for every 31 people in the U.S. What is everyone else doing when they want to take a dip in a pool, host a pool party or need some quality float time?
Swimply, best described as the Airbnb or VRBO of the pool set, offers an option for those willing to pay the price for pool time privacy. For an average of $45 an hour (costs vary), renters can secure the use of a pool in over 125 markets across the U.S., Canada and Australia.
At press time, home pools available for rent around the Metro include sites in the Lake Minnetonka area. For those willing to drive a bit further, there are spots in Eagan, Edina, Lake Elmo, Lakeville, Osseo, Prior Lake, Stillwater, Woodbury and more. (Availability fluctuates, so check the website before making plans.) Take note: One of top 10 rented indoor pools on the platform is in Minneapolis, according to Asher Weinberger, Swimply co-founder and COO.
Kendra and Alex Seaton began renting out their Minnetonka pool in spring 2021. “We had just purchased the house, and we had worked all spring redoing the backyard landscaping ourselves,” Kendra says. “A friend told us about Swimply, and after doing some research, it sounded like a great opportunity to cover our pool expenses while giving back to the community. We knew that public pools were closed due to the pandemic, so our main motivation was to provide families access to a pool when they wouldn’t have access otherwise.”
Similar to booking short-term homestays, interested parties search the Swimply website for indoor and outdoor pools in their desired locations. Sites include amenity information and stipulations. In this pandemic-influenced world, Swimply mandates open time between bookings, so hosts are able to sanitize the pool and adjacent areas before the next renters arrive.
Amenities vary by location, but the Seatons offer a heated pool, diving board and slide, along with a pool house that contains a kitchen area with a fridge/freezer, bathroom, changing area and shower. “We provide a lot of pool games, floaties and diving rings,” Kendra says. “We also have a large deck and pool surround with multiple (five) seating areas, a fire pit and a grill.”
Renting out the pool for nearly 100 events, most are for birthday parties. “We can accommodate 25 people, so we typically get requests for larger parties, like work celebrations, bachelorette parties and birthday parties. We have also had a company book the backyard for a swimsuit model photography session,” Kendra says.
Once renters arrive to a pool, does the homeowner stick around? “Each host is different,” Weinberger says. “We find that some hosts choose to be home during rentals, and others don’t. This is completely up to the host as they are not forced to leave their home.”
Speaking of hosts, what is the most important thing homeowners should know about the process? “You’ll need to trust people that you’ve never met,” Kendra says. “There is an inherent risk, allowing people access to your space without supervision, but we’ve been so impressed with the respect our guests have had for our space. Each time, the guests leave our space cleaner than when they arrived. We’ve had some wear and tear on some of our pool floats (to be expected with kids’ birthday parties), but guests have always reached out to let us know in advance. Our experience has actually restored our faith in humanity a bit.”
Making A Splash
The company, based in Los Angeles, was cofounded in 2019 by Weinberger and Bunim Laskin, who met during an entrepreneurship event and discovered they both were on a mission to provide pool access to those who wanted to swim at a home-based pool without the cost of ownership, according to Weinberger. On the flip side, they also were in search of a way for pool owners to maximize the use of their pools while offsetting the costs of ownership.
With the help of Google Earth, the enterprising duo located homes with pools and went straight to the sources—knocking on doors to inquire if the owners were interested in renting out their pools. It worked. Within a few weeks of launching the website, thousands of bookings were made.
What does the future hold? While pickleball and tennis courts are limitedly available, they are not fully scoped at this point and remain in beta, as do other types of rental elements, including sport courts, home gyms and more.