No swimming pool this summer in Australia? No worries – just rent a backyard pool by the hour | gig economy

For Aussies lucky enough to have a big backyard with a swimming pool, summer is a time of lazy weekends with a place to cool off from the scorching heat.

But with the cost of living crisis still looming, some people are looking for ways to capitalize their suburban assets.

A growing number of pool owners are looking to rent out their realm, hoping it will alleviate some of the financial pressure of maintaining a pool.

Swimply, an Airbnb-style platform that allows pool owners to rent out their garden by the hour, wants to come to Australia.

The service is looking to “relaunch” but has been active for some time, with a small but growing number of hosts looking to share their pools with others.

Hemant Benne has been renting out its pool for over a year and claims to have paid its own maintenance bills for 12 months.

He charges $60 an hour for his pool, which he describes as gorgeous and complete with “colorful lights for late night, a slide for the kids, and our favorite double hammock.”

“In 2021, all my bills were covered by the rental, it made a big difference for me,” he says.

“We get a few bookings a month, and we usually see a peak around January and February, and that’s been good for us. I maintain the pool myself, for my family, so it was a natural extension.

“It’s a good idea. If people are willing to share what they have and allow others to enjoy what we do, why not? There are people who don’t have a swimming pool or who can’t afford it. Why shouldn’t they experience it?

The service allows users to scroll through a selection of pools for rent in their city.

At the time of writing, there were 24 rental pools in Sydney, six in Melbourne, 13 in Brisbane and seven in Perth.

Users browse photos and see a description of the hosts, including the size of the pool, how pet-friendly it is, if salt water is used, how private the space is, and if restrooms are available .

While that might seem like an awkward adjustment, Benne says it works even when hosts stay home, like he and his family sometimes do.

“We don’t usually have a problem with guests, some may have their music too loud, but generally it’s fine. We close our blinds and have a divider so they can access the toilets.

While the system worked for Benne, it was not so successful for the other hosts.

Swimply has been operating in “beta mode” due to the pandemic and intends to ramp up its presence in Australia over the summer.

A Swimply listing of a swimming pool for hire in New South Wales

This means the service has hosts but little traction. A pool owner who asked to remain anonymous says he didn’t think it was sustainable.

“There just haven’t been too many enquiries, I get maybe one or two bookings a month, and the cost of maintaining the pool exceeds the revenue.

That doesn’t make much business sense to me. If there were more requests, I think it would be worth it.

He says he’s not bothered by potential bad behavior or awkward customers — he just wants more bookings.

“It’s a good idea, I think, in this climate to put this in place. My swimming pool is an asset and I think it can perform better.

What seems like a simple idea – a way to share good times – comes with some dangers, warns a spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading.

“There have been several incidents where children have become trapped in the cleaning and skimming systems used in swimming pools,” they say.

“Owners of properties with swimming pools must at all times ensure that the swimming pools are surrounded by a childproof safety barrier which separates the swimming pool(s) from any residential building and any area adjoining the property. “

NSW Fair Trading advises pool owners to ensure doors and gates are closed and children should not play near pool exits.

“Swimming pools and electricity can be a deadly combination. Owners should be extremely careful if the pool is equipped with a portable electric pump and filtration system, especially if it does not have a protective enclosure.

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