If you’ve ever spent a summer peering over your neighbour’s fence in the hope they’d invite you over for a swim in their pool, a newly launched website might significantly reduce the time you spend in longing this hot season. Swimply, the first online marketplace for pool sharing, launches in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney today.
Founder, 22-year-old Bunim Laskin, came up with the idea after his parents paid their next-door neighbour to let him and his 11 siblings swim in her pool. He launched Swimply in New Jersey, in the US, this past July and has expanded it to cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
Like Airbnb, it lets owners put their pools up for hire and gives the pool-less a chance to take a dip for an hourly fee. Before they’re allowed on the site, pools are thoroughly vetted by an independent local maintenance company to make sure they’re adhering to local health and safety standards.
Those looking for a pool can search their location to see nearby hosts. Details listed on the site include hourly rates, a description and photographs of the pool, amenities such as Wi-Fi and towels, and whether loud music, smoking and children are permitted. Some pools have barbeques, spas and cabanas, and some allow swimming lessons and have pool toys for kids to play with. As with much of the sharing economy, pool renters are given the chance to rate and review their experience.
There are currently three pools available in each of the three Australian launch cities – but it’s early days yet. The pools vary from an old-school suburban fibreglass pool in Western Sydney to one with its own pool house in north Brisbane, and an all-seasons indoor lap pool in St Kilda, Melbourne.
Pool owners are given the freedom to set their own hourly rate, stipulate rules and choose whether or not they’d like to accommodate particular requests such as parties or loud music. They can also specify the maximum number of people allowed in their pool.