New App Is the Airbnb of Private Pool Rentals

A new app allows homeowners with pools to rent them out by the hour – mostly in the $15 to $60 range – and help offset the cost of pool maintenance.

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a hot, roasting, sweltering Florida summer day. You long for a way to cool off, but even though Florida is home to more than 2 million pools, you don’t have one.

But now a marketplace app is letting the pool-less dive into their neighbors’ swimming holes. Swimply is the Airbnb of pools, and it’s growing in popularity around the country and in metro Orlando.

For pool owners such as Jack Lazinsk, it’s a way to turn his unoccupied patio into an asset. “We don’t use our pool much,” he said. “The kids do, but to be honest, they haven’t been in it this year since school got out.”

The way it works: Hosts list their pools and set their own hourly rate, with some going up to $100 an hour or more. Swimply takes 15%. Guests book the pools, sometimes with an extra charge for the more guests that are coming.

Simply has 15,000 pools listed nationwide and 140 in metro Orlando.

Lazinsk, 41, said he was interested the moment he saw the idea on an episode of “Shark Tank.” “Before me and the spouse could even talk about it, I was already downloading the app,” Lazinsk said.

“Owning a pool is expensive,” said Sonny Mayugba, Swimply’s vice president of growth. “This is a way to cover some of those costs.”

And those costs have gone up this year, as a chlorine shortage has left pool owners scrambling to keep their swimming spaces clean.

Though the app launched in 2018, Mayugba said it exploded in popularity during the pandemic, experiencing 4,000% growth over 2019. “Since people couldn’t travel, they were looking for anything to do,” he said.

Lazinsk said having people use his pool during the pandemic never presented a sanitation issue for his family. “We just did a very thorough restroom cleaning each time,” he said.

Pandemic or no, some people may be wary at the idea of inviting strangers to use their pool. But Lazinsk said they don’t really interact and no one has abused his property.

“When it’s good, they’re very clean, they don’t make a mess,” he said. “We’ve maybe found a diaper in the trashcan or something.”

The company also offers $1 million in liability insurance and $10,000 in property insurance to its hosts.

Later this year, Mayugba says they plan to add a new feature: Joyspace. This is for other amenities people have at their houses and want to share. “Minigolf courses, tennis courts, basketball courts, climbing walls, outdoor kitchens,” he said. “It’s amazing what people have built in their homes that they’re willing to share.”

The 32-foot-by-16-foot pool at Lazinsk’s Sanford home is listed on the app for $15 per hour, with an extra $3 per hour per guest over five guests. While Mayugba offers tales of hosts making tens of thousands of dollars, Lazinsk hasn’t quite seen those returns. Over the past year and a half, Lazinsk’s average has been between roughly $25 and $50 a session, though he has had a few over $100.

Still, he says it’s been worth it. “In my mind, it keeps it clean and becomes a profitable venture – instead of just sitting there.”

© 2021 Orlando Sentinel. Visit orlandosentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.