Swimply is the Airbnb for swimming pools.  We tried.  it was strange
Swimply is the Airbnb for swimming pools. We tried. it was strange

Swimply is the Airbnb for swimming pools. We tried. it was strange

We have become accustomed to the so-called exchange economy. We forget that Airbnb gives us the odd bed for the night (or more). Uber put us in a stranger’s car. These are just the ubiquitous ones. Peerspace offers you a stranger’s backyard, barn, or basketball court for a bridal shower, birthday party, or bat mitzvah. Outdoorsy will lend the camper to a stranger. Sniffspot is for dog owners who need a fenced off-leash lawn. JustPark rents your parking space. GetMyBoat is self-explanatory.

Then there is Swimply.

Which feels different. It’s not that different. It just feels different somehow. The best way I can explain it – having recently used the app for the first time – is legitimate pool hopping. As kids, my friends and I would climb the neighborhood fences and spend 15 or 20 restless minutes quietly splashing in a stranger’s pool and graciously wading in until a porch light came on and we were like cockroaches. 16 years. Swimply — which came to Chicago a year ago and is now offered in 125 cities around the world — might rent the same pool to strangers by the hour, usually when they’re at home.

But old habits die hard.

SCHHHHHHH,“I told my wife and 6-year-old daughter.

They played Marco Polo in a heated in-ground pool in Lake County that we don’t own. We rented Swimply for 90 minutes as a farewell to summer and because we live in Chicago, where private pools are rare. I didn’t want to be a bad guest though. A number of published guidelines called for music to be played quietly (neighbors may become “sensitive”). It also offered the owner’s Wi-Fi password, a softer version of:


Because of this, our pool game has become:




Not that the pool owner cares. She was pleasant for someone who welcomed the townspeople into their yard on Sunday. We stopped in front of her house, she got out and said HELLO! Please park in my driveway! Embarrassed, I got away with it, is it weird to rent your pool? It seems a bit strange, doesn’t it?

At first it felt that way, She said. But now he gets so many customers that it’s a little less weird.

I wondered if, despite the generous reception and the cost—$75 an hour—I might feel transported into something remotely comforting, especially walking around the backyard shirtless in my bathing suit in broad daylight. of a stranger. I wouldn’t hesitate to get in her car, but she private bodies of water? Not included in the cost of a Swimply garden pool is your inhibitions, which Swimply happily ignores.

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“You know, my feeling is that the personal and public boundaries that we once maintained have been steadily shrinking ever since we decided together that we’re willing to be caught in someone else’s moving vehicle,” said Pradeep Chintagunta, a professor of longtime marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “But then attitudes (to private property) are evolving and younger customers are ready to push those boundaries now. I just hope it doesn’t get to the point where people rent underwear.”

In fact, clothing rentals — from sites like Nuuly and Rent the Runway — have been booming for some time, though the used lingerie market currently remains a last frontier.

On the other hand, backyard pools?

At a Glance: Beginning with the Fall Equinox, when summer ends and fall begins, Swimply still offers above ground pools in Chicago and Carol Stream and large indoor pools in Northfield, Lemont, Wheaton, Des Plaines. Too cold now? There are indoor pools at Long Grove and Prospect Heights. Some offer barbecues for an additional fee; Some bundle their grill into the cost of their pool. Some offer tennis, table tennis, a fire pit and pool toys. Some charge for towels, but many do not. Some cost less than $40 an hour. Some are so fancy you’ll wonder why the owners would occasionally charge $100 an hour. Victoria Kent of Irving Park rents her very nice (4-foot-wide, 4-foot-deep) backyard pool to you for $60 an hour.

“I put my feet up, had a cocktail and thought, ‘I’m working from home, I should monetize this yard,'” she said. “And it was discreet. People are respectful. Some come and read one book and then leave. It’s like they need an anonymous space to escape for an hour or two.”

If you can afford it, it’s an endless summer.

Or another reminder that living in Chicago and having regular access to a pool means you’re a member of a good YMCA or an expensive athletic club. This comes after a summer in which Chicago’s public pools — some of which were founded by the Works Progress Administration — opened late and faced a lack of lifeguards and an erratic schedule. This in a climate where big cities stay hot longer.

Swimply claims to have brought 1 million people to private pools since its inception four years ago. Although the company unsuccessfully pitched itself as the “Airbnb of swimming pools” on Shark Tank, the company’s timing was good and it took off just as well as the pandemic forced people out of public spaces. By the end of 2021, it has raised $40 million from investors that include (ironically) the co-founders of Airbnb and electric scooter supplier Lime.

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Still, Swimply’s origins were humble, said Bunim Laskin, the company’s Gen Z co-founder and CEO, who founded Swimply in suburban New Jersey and has since moved to Los Angeles. “I started out of necessity,” he told me. “Mom had just taken them 12th child. We were all at home with no opportunity to camp or even travel. I needed something to do.” He offered gardening to a neighbor who had a pool in exchange for his family’s use of that pool. “Within weeks, these people were making the same arrangement with other families.” Then he went on Google Earth and found backyard pools in the area and started calling owners and offering brokers rentals. He gave his number. “The phone didn’t stop ringing after that.”

Laskin had come across a truism: “Almost all backyard pools are underutilized. Even owners who say they use it a few times a week don’t use it often so much. But they still pay for it.”

After Swimply takes 15 percent of each rental, top pool owners made $10,000 a month; but on average, Laskin said, they make a few thousand here or there. In Chicago, with its shorter bathing season, owners say they approach hundreds here or there. But, they add, they do little.

In fact, our Lake County experience was the definition of casual. Not careless, just thoughtful Relax. I walked onto the tennis court – yes la-di-da – and loosened in warm water. I glanced at the back windows but didn’t notice anyone watching me. A bathroom for changing and showering was easily found through a basement door. Pool toys and life jackets were on deck. There was a stroller with sunscreen and grilling utensils. In addition to a fire pit, a deck full of lounges, a speaker for Spotify.

Sunlight filtered through the surrounding canopy. the roar of nearby traffic was the only sound.

That and my 6 year old who squeals, splashes and insists on making cannonballs.

I understand why some owners on Swimply do not rent to parties with children. And why some don’t rent for large groups of adults. Who wants a bachelor party or a frat party in the backyard? Most of the time, the owners make their own rules – some don’t want glass bottles, some don’t want alcohol or cigarettes, some require that all evidence of a party be thrown in the trash. Kent had to “add a no-nudity clause after we had a topless moment.” Greg Brzowski, who rents out his above-ground pool in Edison Park, realized too late that 15 people in his backyard was way too many, so he set a party size limit.

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He was also startled when, shortly after listing his pool because the app didn’t alert him to the rental, he said: “I had no idea people would come. They just showed up, knocked on the door and asked where my pool was.”

He said the issue was resolved.

But with an app that blurs the private and the public so tightly, bigger problems were inevitable.

Swimply urges pool owners to follow local laws and urges them to inform neighbors; the app even includes a page for your neighbors to report incidents and annoyances with the landlord. But Laskin said he didn’t anticipate the biggest problems because Swimply was “community driven in the beginning.” Airbnb has faced opposition from neighborhood groups and hotels. Uber is a growing concern for the taxi industry. And Swimply — currently mainly in western states — is facing communities that say the app violates zoning laws against using a private residence for commercial purposes.

As for liability, the company offers owners up to $1 million in insurance coverage (plus defense costs for any litigation) if a guest is injured; It also offers up to $10,000 for property damage. However, in June, a 7-year-old girl drowned in a New Jersey pool rented through Swimply. Laskin told CNN Business that the company determined it was a “pool incident” at a property whose owner had received good reviews from previous customers, and not a “foot incident.” Swimming, he added, “is inherently something that requires supervision and discipline.”

Not to mention the existential angst and self-loathing that Swimply (and Airbnb for that matter) raises—the questions of ownership and loss of privacy, the rising costs of leisure and the outdoors. Namely, if you could afford that beautiful pool you’re enjoying right now, you wouldn’t rent it from a stranger. If you hadn’t gone into journalism, maybe you wouldn’t have silenced everyone FRAMEWORK! PILLAR!

“I wish we We had a pool,” my daughter said as she toweled off.

“Yes,” I said. “Tell me.”

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Source : localtoday.news