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Pool rental app, Swimply, is catching on in Metro Detroit


Dianna Zabinski of Clarkston said she was suffering in the dreadful August heat last summer, mindlessly scrolling through social media when she discovered a service that would change her summer. 

With the click of a button, she was able to rent a nearby pool to cool off in with her friends and family using Swimply, a company that allows people to rent out privately owned swimming pools. 

"I couldn't wait to use it again this summer," the 53-year-old said. 

Launched in 2019, Swimply offers pool access across the U.S., Canada and Australia. About 96% of people in the U.S. do not own their own swimming pool, Swimply says on its website, swimply.com.

In the Metro Detroit area, which includes Windsor, there currently are 49 listings on the site with prices ranging from $30 to $185 per hour.

Zabinski has used other rental platforms, such as the popular home rental service Airbnb, and said she is comfortable with Swimply. 

So far, Zabinski has rented pools three times, including for a Fourth of July pool party she held with 10 other guests. In order to host the picnic party, she paid a small fee for  five additional guests. 

"We just felt like it was our own oasis," she said. "It was just a really nice day." 

The pool rental concept started to come together when co-founders Bunim Laskin and Asher Weinberger met at an entrepreneurship event, where the two discussed how they were both seeking a way to make pool rentals available and accessible to a broader community, said Kristen Marion, a Swimply representative.

Marion said  that while Weinberger was hoping to profit from people who asked to borrow his pool, Laskin was looking for a staycation one summer while living at his parent's home in New Jersey.

Searching for an activity to entertain his family, Laskin convinced a neighbor to allow him to rent their pool for a few hours, and other neighbors caught on and did the same. These pool owners were able to cover their monthly pool expenses with the profits made from local renters, Marion said in an emailed statement. 

Eager to make pool access more universal, Weinberger and Laskin turned to Google Earth and began knocking on the doors of homes with pools to find out if the owners would be interested in renting out their spaces. Soon, the website Swimply was born and, according to Marion, there are currently more than 20,000 pools available nationwide for rental. 

"On Swimply.com, pool seekers can browse nearby pools, check out amenities, read reviews and find the pool of their dreams to make their own (for a few hours)," Marion wrote. "Once bookings are confirmed, guests will receive an email detailing the exact address, enter/exit info, WiFi and anything else they need for their reservation."

Pool hosts are able to list how many guests are allowed, bathroom access, alcohol rules, and if the space can hold large gatherings. The website will list the maximum number of attendees allowed, but homeowners may allow additional guests with a fee. Pool rental prices range from about $30 to $200, with the average pool rental price at $45 per hour, said Swimply representative Andrea Toch. 

For newcomers to the platform, Zabinski said certain criteria must be met before she selects a pool.

"I'm a budget person, too, so I look for the ones that seem like a good value for what you're getting," she said. "The pictures are a big deal... some of them are really nice and other ones are, well, that's just someone's backyard. I look at how clean it is, what the amenities are, it definitely has to have a bathroom, and that it's heated." 

From spring through early fall, Clarkston resident Zachary Pullin rents out his pool and other backyard amenities on Swimply.

After his wife heard about the platform on Facebook, they decided to give it a try as a way to offset the cost of owning their pool, as well as a means to justify purchasing pool accessories. 

"We use the pool quite a bit, we have parties out there, but there's a lot of times where we don't," Pullin said. "It really doesn't cost us a lot, we go out and clean up the yard, but we would do that anyways. We don't do anything extra that we wouldn't do for our own friends and family."

Bloomfield Hills pool renter Sharee Simmons has been listing her backyard pool on Swimply for two years after she came across an advertisement for the website on Instagram.

"I actually had never heard of it (Swimply) before," Simmons said. "I listed my pool thinking, 'why not?' and to my surprise, it's really a thing. We don't use (our pool) that much or that often, and if I can give someone else the opportunity to have fun and make money, why not?"

Escaping for a family vacation in the summer is no easy feat. Marion said. Swimply aims to not only create additional income for pool owners, but to provide renters with the opportunity to relax at a pool without committing to a long-term stay. 

"Our vision is that with Swimply, consumers will have unprecedented access to beautiful spaces," Marion wrote. "No other service enables homeowners to market their outdoor space and safely share it with others on an hourly basis. Swimply is democratizing luxury and providing access to something people don’t or can’t own — pools — through a model that millennials gravitate towards."

Among the fun that comes with splashing and sipping at the pool, homeowners are not liable for any injuries or damages that may happen at their pool, Pullin said. Swimply ensures a $1 million host liability insurance policy and up to a $10,000 property damage protection for hosts. 

"Some of the ways we promote safety are through our review system, our in-platform chat system, and our verification system marking verified users," Marion wrote. "Swimply also conducts background checks utilizing a third-party background check system to check for past criminal activity."

After renting his pool almost daily for nearly two years on Swimply, Pullin said he has experienced very few issues with renters or the Swimply website. 

"Swimply does offer a pretty significant package for insurance, that's stating that as long as we don't go outside of the app and contact (renters) directly or ask them to pay in cash," Pullin said. "As long as it's in the booked time and there's some kind of issue, either personal injury or damage to the property, Swimply has a pretty good package to cover that."

Zabinski said pool owners have all been very kind and welcoming. She believes the most enjoyable part of the rental process is being able to relax and float in a clean pool without the maintenance of owning one.

"Some people think it's strange, but Airbnb is the same way, you're going into somebody's property," Zabinski said. "But you do your research to make sure it's a decent place and safe, it's the same thing. I think it's a great way to enjoy a swimming pool and also, I figure you're helping somebody else out with the cost of maintaining that pool, too."

This year, the Swimply platform will expand to include other backyard amenities, including sport courts and music studios, Marion said.

"We’re going beyond pools in order to place the awesome spaces of the world at your fingertips," Marion wrote. "From pools, to courts to fire pits, we want to facilitate community sharing by offering amazing spaces for people to enjoy with friends and family."