Swimply’s Airbnb style pool rental expands to Pittsburgh area
Dubbed “the Airbnb of swimming pools,” Swimply has seen significant growth since starting in 2018, including in Pittsburgh.
While the Pittsburgh area doesn’t have any pools available for rent in 2019, there were 19 as of the end of July.
According to Growth Vice President Sonny Mayugba, Swimply follows the sharing economy business model.
Hosts rent their pools to guests for a few hours at a time, allowing the host to enjoy and the guests to enjoy the space.
Registering a pool on Swimply is free and the company takes 15% of the host’s profit. In addition, Swimply offers $ 1 million in liability insurance and $ 10,000 in property damage to protect guests and hosts.
Mayugba said hosts determine the times and days they rent their pools to guests and that they can offer other amenities, including additional garden space, towels, bathroom access, internet connection Wi-Fi and electrical outlets.
Hosts can also set preferences for group size, parties, whether they allow pets, alcohol and smoking restrictions, and age requirements.
Ron Young from Reserve Township joined Swimply just after July 4th. Four groups have rented its space so far, including a returning guest and same-day reservation.
Young said he heard about Swimply through a Facebook ad and thought it would be a good way to generate extra income since he only uses his pool a few days a week.
Young was also inspired after reading the story of a couple from Oregon who made a big profit from the service. Swimply spokeswoman Kristen Marion said the couple hosted 2,700 guests and earned $ 111,000 this summer alone.
Likewise, Jennifer Hanuska decided to “sign up and see what happens” at the end of June after hearing about Swimply from a neighbor and a press article.
Hanuska, from Springdale, has so far received family rent from her. She rents her pool for $ 36 an hour on weekdays and $ 45 an hour on Sundays, plus an additional $ 10 an hour per person in groups of more than eight people.
Hanuska also offers bathroom access, patio, deck, furniture and coolers for guests to store food or drink there.
Customers can also rent Hanuska’s fire pit and grill for an additional $ 10.
Young rents his pool for $ 24 an hour on weekdays and $ 30 an hour on weekends. There is an additional $ 5 per hour per person in groups of more than five people.
It also gives its guests access to a variety of toys and floats for the pool, as well as its patio and backyard. Towels can be rented at an additional cost.
Mayugba said Swimply saw 4,000% revenue growth from 2019 to 2020, which he suspects is in part the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because the pandemic has caused the closure of various businesses and entertainment facilities, Mayugba said Swimply’s pool-sharing service has become a popular option. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement that outdoor chlorine pools are safe made more customers feel comfortable renting.
Hanuska said the family who rented their pool said they felt safer swimming in a private pool between them than going to a public facility, which is part of the reason why she is attached.
“I thought (joining Swimply) could be a good way to make money and help people at the same time,” Hanuska said.
This rate of growth only continued in 2021. Mayugba said hosts are available in all 50 states, as well as Canada and Australia.
While growth in the United States is Swimply’s goal for this year, Mayugba said he hopes to expand internationally in the coming years.
He would also like to continue the trend of expansion into smaller towns across the country.
According to Mayugba, there are 45 hosts in the Pittsburgh area in the integration phase, which will translate to almost 65 total pools for the area once officially registered. He said it was exciting to see this growth happening organically, as Swimply is intended to be a “hyper-local community site”.
There are two swimming pools available for hire in Westmoreland County, one in Irwin and the other in New Kensington. The owners of these properties declined to comment.
Swimming pools can also be found at McKeesport, Bethel Park and Washington.
Mayugba said he hopes these local expansions continue to connect communities and “democratize (the) luxury” of swimming pools, especially because that’s the main reason the company was founded.
Mayugba said one of the founders was the oldest of 12 children and he was often looking for a pool to take his siblings to in the summer. After a neighbor mentioned that he would like to earn money by renting out his pool, the two got together to form Swimply.
Brackenridge Man Enrolls
Swimply host Sean Dicer of Brackenridge said he wanted the service to exist when he was growing up.
“I would have loved to rent a pool just to spend a few hours on a hot day,” he said.
Reflecting this sentiment, Hanuska believes the flexible, community-driven design of Swimply creates a “nice concert side” for hosts and a good entertainment option for guests.
“They do that with motorhomes, houses – why not with swimming pools? Hanuska said.
Dicer said he heard about Swimply when his kids noticed ads for it on popular TikTok accounts. Dicer, a teacher from the Highlands School District, joined Swimply towards the end of July to earn money during his summer break.
Dicer said his pool is available for booking on weekdays and weekends for $ 40 an hour, plus $ 3 an hour per person in groups of more than 10 people. It also offers its terrace, towels, Wi-Fi, electrical outlet and bathroom at no additional cost.
Mayugba said hosts weren’t required to open their bathrooms for guests, but those who choose not to be required to limit bookings to one hour at a time. So far, 80% of guests allow access to the toilet.
Dicer said he hadn’t received any reservations yet and was not sure people would feel comfortable renting a pool in Brackenridge, but he thinks there may be an increase in the price. number of customers if pandemic restrictions remain lifted.
Young plans to continue hosting on Swimply for years to come and hopes to attract more guests through Facebook advertising.
“All of the families have been very respectful of my property,” Young said. “I haven’t had bad experiences so far.”