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BOSTON — An app that allows people to rent a pool by the hour has been a booming business internationally, as well as in Massachusetts.
Somerville resident Marlon Davis found out about the app called Swimply in early August. He and his wife listed their inground pool without any expectations of how well they would do.
“I have to clean the pool the same way whether anyone uses it or not,” Davis said. “My thought was if we can only swim in it so much, why not open it up to other folks and let other people enjoy it?”
Swimply has more than 20,000 pools listed in the United States, Canada, and Australia receiving about 100 new requests for pool listings each day, according to a Swimply spokesperson.
Pool owners earn about $5,000 to $10,000 per month on average.
Davis rents his pool out only when he’s home for $60 per hour for the first five guests, then $10 per guest per hour for up to 10 people. He’s had multiple guests book a time slot every day since Aug. 2.
“My average booking has been two hours, and my highest has been five,” Davis said. “It’s really like a diamond in the rough. I did not expect to be able to turn it around and make it a useful asset.”
He also offers Wi-Fi access for $5 an hour and $10 for grill use where he’ll cook food such as burgers and hot dogs for his guests. He’s looking into offering vegan and vegetarian options in the future as well.
Working to keep guests as happy and comfortable as possible, he offers access to a full bathroom inside his home. Outside by the pool, pool floats and games are ready for use, and he stocks a cooler with ice, water and nut-free food.
Next summer, he’s planning to build a pool house with a bathroom and fridge that guests will have access to so he can schedule bookings when he isn’t home.
“I make sure they have towels, I make sure they have snacks,” he said. “Everything is kind of self-contained.”
Swimply offers up to $1 million in applicable insurance-backed coverage through Evanston Insurance Company if a guest is injured during a reservation, according to Swimply. Hosts are covered up to $10,000 if a host’s pool or property is damaged during a booking and the guest is unwilling or unable to pay for the damages.
In Massachusetts, 400 pools are available to rent, according to Swimply. Average
earnings are $2,500 with the top earner hitting $10,000. Swimply takes a 15% flat fee from the total booking cost. For Davis, he makes $51 for every $60 hour booking.
“It’s been a blessing in disguise, a needle in the haystack; it’s been all those things,” he said. “I’m just excited about the potential. Stumbling into this has been so rewarding on so many different levels. It just really gets me excited to open next summer and make people’s experience even greater than it already is.”
Over in Everett, Andrea Bova also joined the app in early August, offering availability for her pool mostly on weekends.
“I made this decision because my kids are getting older, and I open the pool every year, and it’s not used like it used to be,” Bova said.
Bova rents her inground pool out for $100 an hour. So far, she’s had a consistent couple book time with their dog.
She is allowing guests to use her bathroom and would allow access to the fridge if any large groups needed to keep food cool. Bova isn’t overly concerned about COVID-19, but does appreciate her guests wearing masks when they go inside.
She’s closing her pool after Labor Day, but she’s already preparing to open early next summer.
“I’m excited for next year,” she said. “Usually, I open at the end of May, but I’ll probably open it in early May so it’ll be ready to go by Memorial Day.”
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