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Not long ago, if someone told you that simply owning a backyard pool could haul in a six-figure income, you'd have thought they were off the deep end. But some pool owners are now swimming in dough.

Swimply, an app that lets owners lease their pools on an hourly basis, has reportedly received 122,000 bookings since the start of 2020, turbo-charged by recreation seekers craving room to stretch out.

The Backyard is Big Business

Some 13,000 hosts in 125 U.S. markets are leasing out their pools through Swimply at $35 to $50 an hour, with local families making up the primary customer base:

  • Hosts are earning an average of $5,000 to $10,000 a month, according to company COO Asher Weinberger. One host, who's accommodated 2,700 guests since September, is on track to net $110,000 by summer's end. Swimply's revenues come from a 15% cut taken from hosts and another 10% cut from guests.
  • The added income has helped many pool owners keep their heads above water amid a historic chlorine shortage. Prices are expected to spike 70% this summer, according to financial analytics firm IHS Markit, after already doubling in some places in the last year. In the Las Vegas area, for example, the price of a 50-pound bucket of chlorine has already jumped from $75 to $85 to $140.

Fun in the Sun, But Not Fun to Run: While pools can be blissful for those swimming laps or lounging on an inflatable float, pool ownership is no picnic. Due to risks of property damage, injury, or even drowning, Swimply offers host liability insurance with coverage up to $1 million. And about 80% of hosts stay at home while renting out their pool in an attempt to mitigate the potentially severe risks.