Sonoma County residents rent pools on an app. This is how Swimply works

Sonoma County’s recent record temperatures have had crowds of local residents and visitors rushing to the nearest swimming pool or coastal beach. Determined to beat the heat, many water seekers endured the crowds as long as they managed to stay cool.

Now, a new Los Angeles-based app not only gives pool-goers the chance to stay cool when temperatures start to soar, they can do it without the crowds.

Swimply, which has billed itself as the Airbnb of pools, offers pool owners a way to rent out their backyard pool spaces by the hour to neighbors looking to “get away locally.”

Kathy Housman started renting out her space in May 2021. She owns Sebastopol’s only swimming pool on Swimply.

“I built this pool 20 years ago, but the kids are big and it’s not getting used to and I still have to pay,” Housman said. “Now I’m reserved all the time and I think people should just give it a try. People are usually more impressed and happy with what they did than what they thought they did.

Swimply was created by co-founders Bunim Laskin and Asher Weinberger, who noticed that the pools in their area were mostly unused.

They started asking neighbors if they would be willing to rent them out and created a website that has now expanded into an app where people can instantly book local private pools, hot tubs and garden spaces. on time.

“Most people have this idea that Swimply is an app for pool parties and disruptive events,” Laskin said. “But Swimply was born because my family didn’t have access to this recreational activity.”

Laskin said people’s families and their health are the main reasons people book with Swimply, adding that 70% of Swimply bookings come from families with pool parties and events – which must be pre-approved by hosts, follow company policies regarding respect for neighbors. and having permission from neighbors – which accounts for less than 4% of all bookings.

Laskin also said the company is actively working to ensure swimmer safety by verifying every pool listing that is on the site. He added that 99% of the pools on Swimply have five-star reviews.

“Safety is our number one priority,” he said. “Trust and safety teams check all pools and the people who list them.”

The app works just like Airbnb, with an added “Instant Book” feature that allows pool seekers to book as fast as the same day with a two-step process.

The average cost for a pool reservation is between $45 and $75 per hour. Rentals in Sonoma County tend to range between $50 and $80 per hour. Some reservations have additional equipment that may be included in the reservation, such as pool toys, grills and barbecues, or towels and dishes.

Laskin said bookings were up 152% from the previous year. Some guests book pools for kids’ birthday parties, while others book just for quiet time by the pool.

Christine Richardson at Petaluma said parents who couldn’t find public pools open during the pandemic began booking her pools for private swimming lessons for their children.

“People at Nextdoor were saying how sad they were that their kids couldn’t take swimming lessons,” she said. “I said I would be willing to rent out my pool if you want to have your own swim instructor.”

Like Housman, Richardson’s children are older and his pool isn’t used much anymore. Renting her through Swimply has helped her offset the costs associated with her pool and helped her get to know her neighbors better.

“He’s a good community builder,” she says. “It’s great to see the pool repurposed.”

Contact editor Sara Edwards at 707-521-5378 or [email protected] On Twitter @sedwards380.