Article by Gabrielle Bienasz
Sometimes it pays to have a pool.
Jim Battan, of West Linn, Oregon, has made revenue of $177,000 in less than two years renting out his pool through an app dubbed the “Airbnb of pools,” according to CNBC Make it. (The outlet said it verified the revenue through documentation.)
Swimply, a venture-backed startup founded in 2019, allows people to rent out their home pools by the hour. Hosts can require a minimum of hours when purchasing.
Battan told CNBC how he brings in the cash as a “pool provider,” from monitoring the chemicals to keeping it clean. He and his wife, Lisa, work on the side hustle.
“Unless you’re retired or don’t have a day job, it takes a lot of time to learn about pool chemistry and management,” he told the outlet. “I look at my pool chemicals probably five to 10 times a day.”
Battan added to CNBC Make It that he spent $110,000 on his pool initially and has spent about $37,000 in upkeep over the last 10 years.
Battan cites his love of luxury resorts for his success in bringing people in: He guessed 65 percent to 70 percent of his customers were repeat customers.
“My wife and I are very used to five-star luxury resorts, so we know what excellent customer service looks like,” Battan told CNBC Make It. “Part of that is ensuring all the needs are anticipated: responding appropriately to queries, greeting [guests] with a smile and making sure that all their needs are satisfied, and then disappearing.”
The reviews are enthusiastic, too. On the pool’s rental page, it appears that all of Battan’s 385+ reviews are five stars.
“This is more than just a pool it is a little retreat!” one Battan pool-renter wrote. “Located in the rolling farmland of West Linn, this pool is located on a large and private property… The hosts are wonderful!”
Because the home is rural, there are no HOA regulations to deal with, Battan added to the outlet. (Though one day, he added, the couple hopes to move to Portugal.)
Like outside, the Swimply competition is heating up. More hosts are joining the platform, and, Battan added, people have more options for scratching the swimming itch as they start traveling more than they did during the early pandemic.
Still, Swimply CEO and co-founder Bunim Laskin told the outlet revenue from bookings is up 100 percent since last year.
In December 2021, Swimply raised $40 million in funding, less than a year after pulling in $10 million in backing, per TechCrunch.
“As the word gets out about Swimply and we add additional hosts to the platform, we are also adding just as many additional users … Top pools will always be in demand,” he told CNBC Make It.
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