Make money renting a backyard pool to strangers

When Jim Patten spent $110,000 building a luxury pool outside his home in In West Lane, Oregon in 2012, he knew he was making an investment.

Little did he know that after 10 years, he would earn more than enough to pay it off by renting it out to strangers on the internet. Patan says that since September 2020, his pool has hosted nearly 9,000 swimmers through a platform called Swimply, which calls itself Airbnb for pools. The result, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It: $177,000 in revenue in less than two years.

“I like to say that [the pool] She paid for herself and more “Patane, 57, for CNBC Make It.” I built a man’s cave last year, and I also attribute that to my swimming pool.”

The experience isn’t for everyone, says Patan: Hosting a rentable pool isn’t as simple as laying fresh towels in between visits. He says he’s paid nearly $37,000 in maintenance over the past decade for the 26-by-18-foot pool, along with the pool house. From cleaning and testing the chemicals for the water to managing all the reservations, Patan estimates that he and his wife, Lisa Patan, spend roughly 12 to 14 hours a week on their side hustle.

Bataan’s backyard has a pool and spa, which is maintained at 103 degrees year-round.

Courtesy of Swimply

“I love income, but I generally warn people about it,” says Patan. “Unless you’re retired or don’t have a day job, it takes a long time to learn and manage pool chemistry. It’s not a good idea to rely on a once-a-week service to look at things. I look at pool chemicals probably five to ten times in a day. ”

In addition, the Bataan pool is considered the gold standard: it is the highest earner of Swimply among 25,000 pools in the United States, Canada and Australia. Here’s how he manages his pool and keeps his team ragged against the growing competition.

More than one chlorine care agent

The Bataan Pool and its amenities are located on two acres of rural property, which means they are not restricted by city regulations or the Homeowners Association. The pool is also right next to the family’s barn, where the Bataan wife takes care of rescued animals such as horses, llamas, opossums, and pigs.

With additions like a luxury pool, pool house, barn, and man’s cave, Patan estimates he’s doubled the value of his home.

Courtesy of Swimply

Patan says the site is a magnet for families with children with special needs. His pool and property are quiet and secluded, which explains the relatively high rental cost: $70 an hour for five people, a rate that goes up with extra people and longer periods. Swimply takes a 15% discount off every booking, although Patan says the ease of use of the platform is worth it.

Patan says he books 26 visits a week during the summer. The rest of the year, he says, he keeps the pool temperature at 90 degrees and provides heated blankets to guests.

“My wife and I are very used to five-star luxury resorts, so we know what excellent customer service looks like,” says Patan. “Part of that is ensuring that all needs are anticipated: respond appropriately to inquiries, and welcome [guests] With a smile and making sure all their needs are satisfied then they disappear.”

The personal touch seems to pay off: Patan estimates that 65% to 70% of his clients return as swimmers.

Keeping his boisterous side above the water

Pattan credits Swimply for giving him the unexpected income stream – but says the platform’s success may not be sustainable.

When Bataan joined in 2020, many local swimming pools were closed due to Covid restrictions and summer travel was practically non-existent. These days, he says, demand appears to be decreasing as travel returns and gatherings open.

Plus, with the company signing up for more hosts, Battan has more competition. When he joined the podium, there were five swimming pools in the Portland, Oregon area. Now, it is estimated that there are 65.

“I got about half of my regular bookings this year compared to last year,” says Patan. “Swimply is trying to get as many pools as possible, thinking that the demand in terms of swimmers will naturally go along with that. That hasn’t really been the case until now.”

According to Swimply co-founder and CEO Bonim Laskin, the company’s booking revenue is currently up 100% year over year. “As with any market, there is volatility for individual hosts,” says Laskin. “As talk of Swimply spreads and we add additional hosts to the platform, we are also adding a large number of additional users…the best pools will always be in demand.”

Renting out your personal belongings is always risky as well. Swimply currently offers hosts up to $10,000 for damages incurred during a reservation if a “guest is unwilling or unable to pay for damages,” according to the company’s website.

Patan and his wife say they plan to continue renting their pool for now: they are considering moving to Portugal one day.And the We hope to pass their Swimply list on to future homebuyers.

That is, as long as the following owners are willing to make the effort.

“I think of my collection as an investment, and I take it really seriously,” he says. “But there are all kinds of hosts I see posting on a Facebook group saying, ‘Hey, I put a batch of chlorine in it. Is this good enough? And I think to myself, “This is just the beginning.”

Update: This story has been updated to reflect Swimply’s property damage protection policy.

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