Sometimes it pays to have a pool.
Jim Battan, of West Linn, Oregon, has made $177,000 in revenue in less than two years renting out his pool through an app called the “Airbnb of Pools.” CNBC Make it. (The point of sale said it has verified revenues through documentation.)
Swimply, a enterprise-backed startup founded in 2019, allows people to rent out their home pools by the hour. Hosts may require a minimum of hours upon purchase.
Battan told CNBC how he’s raking in the money as a “pool provider,” from checking the chemicals to keeping them clean. He and his wife, Lisa, work in the side job.
“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 probably look at the chemicals in my pool five to 10 times a day.”
Battan added to CNBC Make It that he initially spent $110,000 on his pool and has spent about $37,000 on maintenance over the past 10 years.
Battan cites his love of luxury resorts for his success in bringing people in: he estimated that 65% to 70% 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 making sure all needs are anticipated: responding appropriately to questions, greeting [guests] with a smile and making sure all their needs are met, and then disappear.”
The reviews are also enthusiastic. On the pool rental page, it appears that all 385+ reviews of Battan are five stars.
“This is more than just a pool, it’s a little retreat!” a Battan pool tenant wrote. “Set in the rolling farmland of West Linn, this pool is set in large private grounds…The hosts are wonderful!”
Because the house is rural, there are no HOA regulations to deal with, Battan added to the outlet. (Although one day, he added, the couple hopes to move to Portugal.)
Just like outdoors, the Swimply competition is getting hotter. More hosts are joining the platform and, Battan added, people will have more opportunities to scratch the swim itch if they start traveling more than during the early pandemic.
Still, Swimply CEO and co-founder Bunim Laskin told outlet booking revenue has increased 100% since last year.
In December 2021, Swimply raised $40 million in funding, less than a year after raising $10 million in support, per TechCrunch.
“As the news about Swimply comes out and we add additional hosts to the platform, we also add just as many additional users… There will always be a demand for top pools,” he told CNBC Make It.